sex

"I recently moved in with my boyfriend, and I have an X-rated confession."

I woke up late today, and stretched out in bed, feeling around for the impossibly warm body of my partner for our morning post-sleep cuddle, but he wasn’t there.

A quick glance at my phone filled me in on his whereabouts – he’d ducked out to the store to grab some things and wanted to let me sleep in. He knew I was struggling with insomnia and to wake me up when I was finally getting some rest seemed like a cruel thing to do, especially on a weekend.

I smiled contentedly to myself. Not because of his sweet gesture, but because, since moving in with him a few months ago, this was the first time I’d been alone in the house without him. And I was going to finally get to masturbate again.

So far, I have no complaints about our shacking up together. Things have been blissful. The ‘waking up each day next to my best friend’ thing makes my heart feel full, but the lifestyles we both lead mean he’s always home when I am, so I haven’t had the privacy to have some sexual ‘me-time’ in a while – and I really miss it.

Because even though I’m completely satisfied with our sex life – which is actually better than ever – I can’t deny that I wish I got a chance to masturbate more often.

In fact, my ultimate fantasy right now would be to kick back with a facemask on, a glass of sweet wine on the bedside table and ten minutes with my favorite vibrator. Not because my partner doesn’t satisfy me, but because sometimes I just want to masturbate. And that’s okay.

Masturbating, for me, is intrinsically tied to my own empowerment. I’d never really ‘explored’ myself until my early 20s, and once I started, I realized it had significantly improved my pleasure when I was having sex with someone else as well. I was able to learn all of the things I liked and what made me tick in a completely new way, and got well-acquainted with my own vagina in the process. And I’m not alone, either.

A 2013 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that a lot of women feel sexually empowered when they masturbate. This empowerment comes from being about to achieve orgasm, having better self-esteem about their genitals, and learning more about their bodies. The study also concluded that when women were able to focus solely on their own sexual pleasure without having to be worried about pleasing a partner or falling pregnant, they felt more sexually empowered.

Once I got into my current relationship, I wasn’t going to suddenly throw my vibrator to the side and abandon all of the amazing orgasms I could have on my own just because I was having them with someone else as well. I’m very much a ‘more the merrier’ type of gal. Why only have three orgasms when you could be having five, I always say.

After all, masturbating is a normal part of human sexuality, and the urge to touch yourself doesn’t go away just because someone else might also be touching you.

It’s always bothered me when people in relationships get all up in arms when their partner masturbates, believing that they should be the only outlet for their partner’s sexual wants and needs, and treating the whole thing as if they’d caught their lover in the act with another person, instead of just with themselves.

I’m not entirely sure where this horror at self-love has come from; does it stem from a misplaced belief that we have to be everything for our significant other, including their only sexual outlet? Does it stir up feelings of jealousy or questions, like “why didn’t they wait to have sex with me”? Or is it all connected to the still-taboo nature of masturbation?

Maybe it’s a combination of the three.

The popular love story narrative we’re drip-fed through fairytales, movies, sitcoms and a myriad of other sources convinces us that the person you love should be everything to you. Your partner should be your best friend, your ‘one and only’., and fulfill all of your needs – socially, romantically and sexually.

To a degree, this is true. Your partner should be satisfying these needs, and if you’ve agreed to be in a monogamous relationship, they should be the only person you’re having sex with, sure. But one person can’t be everything for another person. If you’re looking for a bit of variation with your social life, you organize a girl’s night with your friends, or join a sports club, or engage in some other social activity outside of binging Netflix with your partner for the umpteenth night in a row.

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Is Monique Bowley a prude if she doesn’t want to see vibrators on television? Mia Freedman and Jessie Stephens say yes, on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below. 

Masturbation is the exact same thing. Everyone has sexual needs and urges, and sometimes you just need to scratch that itch by yourself without getting your partner involved. As long as it isn’t affecting your sexual relationship with your partner – it might be worth having a chat about it if your partner is masturbating in place of being intimate with you – then it should be all systems go on the self-love front.

If the idea of your partner masturbating makes you feel jealous or angry, you’re definitely not alone. A lot of people worry that if their partner is engaging in solo play time, it might mean they’re sexually unsatisfied in their relationship. I’ve been down that road of thought myself.

I remember the first time I opened my partner’s laptop for some innocuous purpose and found his browser open to a porn site. I was young, and curious, and so I watched a section of the video, intrigued to see the sorts of porn my boyfriend watched to get off when he was alone. I’ll admit that I crossed my fingers behind my back and hoped he wasn’t fantasizing about a busty blonde woman – as I have dark hair and small breasts – as if that would mean he wasn’t attracted to me anymore. The pornstar on the screen sort of resembled myself, I was relieved, closed the tab and continued with the task I’d originally set out to do.

If the same scenario happened now we live together, I don’t even think that curious muscle would flex. After all, I don’t seek out porn which features men identical to my boyfriend. I’m usually not even thinking about him when I load up the page and get down to business. Honestly, I’m thinking of myself. Because masturbating is for me. Even if having some solo love does actually have benefits on our relationship as a whole.

A study from the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy found that married women who masturbated had higher sexual and marital satisfaction than women who didn’t, and boy, do I have high levels of sexual and marital (we’re not actually married, but you get the idea) satisfaction.

In fact, a 2017 study which aimed to determine if people in relationships were using masturbation to compliment their partnered sex lives or to compensate for sexual dissatisfaction found that women who had sex more and reported being sexually satisfied actually masturbated more than women who weren’t having sex as often. And while 79 per cent men who had less sex did report touching themselves more often, 60 per cent of those who had sex three to four times a week and said they were sexually satisfied still masturbated frequently.

Because masturbating is completely normal and something almost everyone does, whether they’re loved up, single, and everything in between.

So I look forward to the times I’m alone and get to engage in a little ‘me-time’, and I’ll admit I wish they were a bit more frequent. It’s hard to suddenly go from an almost once-a-day habit to a once-a-fortnight affair. Plus, if I’m desperate, mutual masturbation is always a route I can gently suggest in the moment – wink, wink.

This post was originally published on SheSaid.com and has been republished here with full permission. Read the original article here. 

For more from SheSaid, read:

Pleasuring Myself Isn’t Shameful It’s Self-Care

5 Things No One Tells You About Masturbating

6 Things People Who Have Lots Of Sex Do That You’re Not Doing

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