Twenty Years Down the (Shower) Drain?

A man is frustrated with being left out of his wife’s vocal self-pleasuring, and asks Eli and Josie if she might be cheating on him.

Dear Sexes: My wife masturbates in the room next door. She is very vocal while she does this, but she won’t masturbate in front of me. I love her and don’t want to lose her – we’ve been together 20 years. I also think she has a girlfriend, though I can’t prove it. One night, she came home late, and had a shower immediately. When I asked her why she had to shower immediately, instead of in the morning, she got really angry, and said I was accusing her. How can I get her back, or are we already done?

She Said: There are two reasons she could be getting angry about you asking about her shower. First, she is having, or has had, an affair and was covering up evidence. Second, she is doing nothing wrong and thinks you’re being a bit scary in your third degree about the shower. It’s possible it was just a shower.

The core truth here is that you don’t trust your wife. We can’t know from your letter whether or not this is warranted, but you feel it, and that fact alone makes it matter. Ultimately, you need to decide what you want from this relationship, and the two of you need to sit down and create a very safe place to tell each other the truth. That means that you can’t be defensive or attacking or accusatory. Just listen. Yeah, what she says may hurt. Maybe she’s angry at you. Maybe she’s not getting what she needs. Maybe she has recently come to terms with the fact that she’s a lesbian.

There’s no way to know what is going on with her unless you become the type of person she can be honest with. Be kind, promise her you won’t be mean no matter what she says. That doesn’t mean some things she says won’t hurt you, or make you angry, or even make you decide to leave the marriage, but in order to get the truth you’ve got to be a safe person to tell the truth to.

As far as the very vocal masturbation… Masturbation is fine, in fact it’s great. It is hers and she gets to do what she wants, just as you do. However, each couple needs to decide for themselves what is comfortable for both, and that may require some compromise. To me, it sounds like she may need to compromise here by piping down.

Masturbating loudly while your husband (who loves you and desires you) is in the other room, but not letting him come in, is just sort of rude. She has the right to do it, but you also have the right to be hurt about it. In order to alleviate that, like all other problems in a marriage, you’ll have to come to middle ground and decide what each of you can do to so both of you get your needs met while not doing anything to hurt the other.

For a model on how to communicate non-defenisively, which will help make a safe space for you both to express how you feel and work through the problem, see my article on GMP called On Withholding Sex.

He Said: As I tell many women (regarding their husbands, boyfriends, etc…), just because your partner is masturbating (without you involved ) doesn’t mean they’re not totally satisfied or happy with you. The roles are reversed here, but the situation is (most likely) the same. So your wife masturbates. For her, it’s a private and personal event. No cause for alarm.

Now, about the other parts of your question. Your wife is loud while she masturbates in the room next door. That’s a bit strange, as it almost seems like she’s teasing you (intentionally or unintentionally) that you’re not involved in her self satisfying activities. If she has to be loud, maybe she can pleasure herself when you’re not around. If she can’t wait until you’re out of the house, then she should try and keep her voice down. Of course it is possible she’s just getting lost in the moment, and doesn’t realize you can hear her. It’s up to you to decide what parts of your wife’s masturbating habits bother/confuse/concern you enough to address.

What concerns ME are the conclusions you’re drawing about you and your wife’s relationship. Why do you think she’s cheating on you? And what makes you think she’s cheating on you with another woman? Are you not connecting (the way you used to) with each other emotionally? Is your physical love life leaving either of you unsatisfied? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you can figure them out—together, with your wife. The two of you need to sit down and communicate about your needs—what each of you wants, and how you can achieve those things together.

If you can’t get those things as a couple, maybe it’s time to move in another direction. But don’t jump to any conclusions just yet. 20 years is a long time, and you owe it to each other to be transparent and straight-forward. Talk it out. And listen too. Try your best to not be too defensive OR aggressive. Honest dialogue is the key to getting clarity here.

Until you’re ready for that conversation, don’t make your wife feel like she’s under investigation (even if that’s how you feel). Sometimes a shower is just a shower—nothing more and nothing less.


Do you have a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here!

Originally appeared at She Said He Said


Image courtesy of Flickr/JaseCurtis

About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so was born.


  1. The fact that she came home, showered immediatly, and got all defensive about it tells me there’s definitely something going on. If she’s ‘switched teams’ there’s probably nothing he can do to get her back. If, however, it’s another guy she’s seeing, the loud vocal ‘solo sessions’ says he has a shot at it. Just remember, 10-20-30- years togeather means nothing if someone ‘wants out’. You dont get senority rights or a pension in relationships (although there is alimony!)

  2. There is insufficient info here.

    Why is she in the adjoining room doing this? Do they sleep in separate bedrooms? Is the marriage sexless? How long has this been going on in the 20 yrs?

    Her masturbating loudly is simply insensitive and pathetic.

    Obviously she has a libido if she is masturbating. If she is not having sex with him, then he is correct to question her fidelity. Unfortunately, a lack of sex in marriage is common in America.

    He should point blank ask her about the affair matter. If she is defensive, then he has his answer. The majority of married women who are not screwing their husbands AND have a libido are definitely screwing someone else.

    If he has the $$$, I would hire a PI to get me the answer on the cheating issue. Simple as that. If he wants the truth, he is going to have to think outside the box on this one.

  3. I don’t see you can answer this questions as presented here. If he and his wife are having a sweet sex life it’s very unlikely she’s a lesbian and her solo sessions are probably, well, just fun solo sessions. If their marriage is sexless (which seems to be what he’s kind of implying), then yeah, her solo masturbation is a problem and the shower incident takes on a whole new significance.

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