No privacy to masturbate

Dear Alice,

I used to always masturbate at least once a day before I came here to college. However, now that I have a roommate, I can never find time alone to masturbate. I feel a need to masturbate at least once a day, but now I can't go through with my urge every day. Thus I start thinking about masturbation during class, and it's really affecting my mind. I need to masturbate or else I can't function correctly. Please help me out. Maybe there is another means to get out my sexual urges.

— Always aroused

Dear Always aroused,

You clearly know what you need to function effectively, and the issue seems to be primarily a logistical one. Given your roommate woes, it appears that your solution is to either find ways to masturbate within your current set-up or find ways to alter the situation to facilitate more privacy.

For example, many college students in just your situation find some much-needed privacy in bathrooms and showers. All of those slick soap suds from washing up can result in some smooth hand-jobs for folks with penises, though folks with vaginas may want to steer clear of using soap as lubricant (the vagina is self-cleaning and getting soap on the inner tissues may cause irritation). The water pressure from detachable showerheads can also be used as a handy DIY sex toy, or you may enjoy a more hands-on approach. Of course, if you’ve never masturbated standing up, getting off in the shower may take some getting used to, but with a bit of practice it may help solve your privacy woes.

If you’d like to stick to masturbating in your own room, then your other option is to try to find time when you can be reasonably sure that your roommate will be away and the room will be empty. Does your roommate always attend class at a certain time? Do they take 30-minute showers every morning? Do they have standing social plans every Friday night? Getting a sense for their usual schedule may give you some insight into when your shared room may be free. If you’re worried about starting to masturbate and then hearing the key in the door, you might consider setting up a code or signal with your roommate to indicate that someone is using the shared room and doesn’t want to be disturbed. It could be as silly as a sock on the doorknob or as straightforward as a whiteboard note saying, "Studying. Please do not enter till 2:30 P.M."

Or, if you feel comfortable, you might consider talking to your roommate to schedule some private time (to nap or study or make a private phone call, or whatever other excuse you want to give). You might say, "I need to make a private phone call tonight from 9 to 9:30 P.M. (or from 3 to 3:30 P.M.)." This gives your roommate time to plan to be invisible, and you a block of time to do your thing, although this might not work every day. Your roommate might also appreciate being able to request some alone time for themselves too.

It may also be realistic to think about how much time you need. Figuring out how much time it takes you to reach orgasm when not under pressure may help you figure out how long you'd need in the bathroom or to request from your roommate. While some people may be able to achieve orgasm in a matter of minutes, others may need a little more time. Knowing this information will also help you in moments when you're in a bit of a pinch and still trying to meet your needs. Since masturbation is a key part of your wellness routine, it’s understandable that you want to prioritize your ability to engage in this self-care tactic. With a bit of creativity, you could be well on your way to the Big O, audience of one.

Last updated Jul 08, 2022
Originally published Nov 01, 1993

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