Does Masturbation End When You Move In Together?

A woman wonders if her boyfriend’s “self love” is a reflection upon the quality of lovin’ he’s getting from her.

Dear Sexes: In the middle of the night, I heard my live-in boyfriend get back into bed and say, “I love you so much” and go straight to sleep. It was sweet, but nothing registered to me until I woke in the morning and found a bottle of lube on the bathroom counter. Now I’m confused. Am I not enough for him? Why did he need to get up and do that if we just had sex yesterday?

She Said: Let’s pretend we’re in school. I want you to get a piece of notebook paper and write the following line fifty times:

My boyfriend’s masturbation has nothing to do with me.

Go on, do it. I’ll wait…

Done? Cool. Now that we’re on the same page it’s important you know that no matter how much he loves you (or doesn’t love you), his masturbation habits over the long run aren’t going to change. He may jerk off more or less depending upon stress, the amount of sleep he’s getting, the amount of sex you’re having, his health/age, or what Padma Lakshmi was wearing on tonight’s Top Chef. But it’s not really about you. Or even Padma. This is a personal thing between him and his willy.

Most importantly, you should do your best not be angry at him over his middle of the night jerkfest. Masturbation can be an awesome way to combat insomnia for both men and women. Try it some time! There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and you need to be sure you’re not putting any shame on him for it. The last thing you want in a serious relationship is for your partner to think he needs to keep anything a secret from you.

If you absolutely must talk to him about it, if it’s eating you up inside, make it clear that you didn’t really realize that guys still masturbated if they were having regular sex. Let him know that you’re committed to giving him the best sex life you can offer and that if he needs anything else from you, you’re there to hear it. It’ll make you feel better when you (most likely) hear him say that his masturbation has nothing to do with you. Tell him you’re glad he was willing to talk to you about it and, just for fun, offer to participate next time… If he wants you to.

And by the way gentlemen, the same exact advice goes to out to you. Your lady’s masturbation has nothing to do with you! Don’t try to control it or shame her about it. Self-love is one of the greatest pleasures in the natural world. Embrace it… so to speak.

He Said: Maybe you were just dreaming? Or having a nightmare? Can you convince yourself that none of this happened? Seriously though, I was more surprised by the fact that your boyfriend used the lube to assist his masturbation (who has time and energy for props and tools during a middle-of-the-night self-love tugging?!) but not that he was actually masturbating.

Men masturbate, therefore they are. They can masturbate in the morning or the evening, on an empty stomach or after a delicious meal, when they’re happy, or when they’re bored. The patterns are pretty random, the regularity varies, but there’s a good chance it’s gonna happen. I am sorry for your shock, and I understand your concern, but his masturbation most likely is not a reflection on you, his love for you, his attraction to you, or the quality of your sex-life together.

Your boyfriend was probably stressed, bored, or horny. He didn’t want to wake you, so he took care of his craving all by himself—showing some nice initiative, consideration, and independence along the way. Just so you know, even if you and your boyfriend were having amazing hour-long sex romps, five times a day and eight nights a week, filled with countless mind-blowing orgasms and undiscovered new positions, your boyfriend would still, most likely be jonesing for a jerking (on his own), from time to time.

If it really upsets or worries you, you should just talk to him about it. Hopefully, he won’t be embarrassed, and he’ll talk back. Regardless, you should rest assured, your boyfriend is probably just being a guy. And no matter what, at least your boyfriend tells you he loves you!

If you have a question for Josie and Eli, ask it here.

Originally appeared at SheSaidHeSaid.

—Photo onliska/Flickr

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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 www.shesaidhesaid.me was born.

Comments

  1. “Why did he need to get up and do that if we just had sex yesterday?”

    Some people masturbate 2-3 times a day, it’s a great stress reliever. I use it myself whenever I feel anxious because the hormone release after orgasm lowers my anxiety A LOT and leaves me feeling more calm and focused (and of course because it feeeeels good)

    Masturbation isn’t at all a sign of him being bored with you, he was probably horny and figured you were tired and wanted you to have a good sleep. He may fantasize about you when he does it, only he can say but either way it doesn’t mean a failure on your part. If he starts to deny your advances and prefers masturbation then you can start worrying a bit.

    Don’t forget you can masturbate too! Self-love is a great way to discover your sexuality and find out what works for you, and if you do discuss it with him then you can ask to watch and mutually masturbate together.

  2. i don't believe you says:

    “bottle of lube on the bathroom counter”

    Umm.. He’s hornier than you are. I can tell by the phrase “just had sex yesterday” that you don’t have a high drive. Your “availability” is the problem, not you. Your man probably wants sex every night, but is considerate enough not to disturb your sleep. Now it’s your turn to be considerate. Find out how often he’d ideally like to “do it” versus how often you’d like to do it, then work out a compromise. The increased amount of sex will curtail a lot of his midnight masturbation.

    • Justin Cascio says:

      Not necessary, idby. As She and He Said, masturbation fulfills a separate personal need from having sex with your partner. While they can be combined (simultaneously horny and desiring our currently available partner), most of us were wanking way before we moved in with our first domestic partner, and it continues to be important to be able to take care of ourselves, even after we’re partnered off: like being able to fix our own midnight dagwoods, even if we’re married to chefs.

      And He: some people need lube. Or props, or whatever. No judging!

      Love this column and glad to see it come to the GMP.

      • i don't believe you says:

        Don’t be silly. Do people generally masturbate more or less when single versus in a relationship?
        Much of masturbation is a replacement for sex. Of course that’s not ALWAYS the case, but let’s be real. Sex drive and frequency is something that should be talked about in any committed relationship.

        • Mark Neil says:

          You acknowledge it yourself twice. people masturbate less in relationships, but less isn’t not at all. And “much” of masturbation is a replacement for sex, but not all. Nobody is suggesting that the guy is masturbating as much now as he was when single, the comment was in fact about a single incident.

          • i don't believe you says:

            What???

            If others can give the advice “don’t worry, it’s just masturbation” based on a single incident, then surely I can use the same data to advise “make sure he’s getting enough”.

      • Still it’s pretty common for men in relationships where the couple have mismatched libido’s to take the edge off manually….. Masturbation is normal, clean, safe and does not violate fidelity….Same goes for women in relationships where she has the higher libido….. although in that case, socially normative expectations of the male sex drive can have a damaging effect on her emotional well-being.

    • I couldn’t agree more. My wife says the same sorts of things.

  3. Some people masturbate 2-3 times a day, it’s a great stress reliever. I use it myself whenever I feel anxious because the hormone release after orgasm lowers my anxiety A LOT and leaves me feeling more calm and focused (and of course because it feeeeels good)
    True.

    In fact this is probably the root to the concern that one can become addicted to masturbation. Realy if you think about smoking, drinking, drugs, sex (with a partner) they can all be methods of releiving stress and anxiety.

    • Yeah I believe Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in that. The porn addiction article goes into it’s effect more, it’s on this website from a few months ago. The relaxing effect I believe is a mix of endorphins and oxytocin. But that’s my best guess based on google research:P

  4. It’s not just an either/or kind of thing, where one takes the place of the other. It’s not just a question of a pre-existing appetite not getting met. For some people, within certain parameters, having more sex makes them even more horny, not less. Frequent sex with you may actually increase his libido somewhat. You may actually be stimulating him to think about sex even more than he did before. Partner sex and masturbation don’t just “take the edge off” – sometimes they actually increase the original appetite. It sounds weird to take it as a compliment, but in a way, it could be that you really turn him on, not that you’re not enough for him.

    It would be legitimate to have some parameters depending on what you’re comfortable with. Expecting him not to masturbate at all is not realistic nor fair. But, “boys will be boys” doesn’t necessarily mean a blank check either . You could make some requests — don’t get the keyboard sticky, don’t whip it out during Thanksgiving dinner, and no, you can’t borrow a photo of my sister.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Hey That Guy, no comment about this photo? ;)

      Even I almost made a comment about it and it’s my blog!

      To serious matters: “boys will be boys” is the dumbest thing ever. And I’m not trying to deny gender differences when I say this, but as far as I’ve anyone I’ve ever known, women are just as horny as men, when we feel free enough to discuss it openly, even to feel it openly. Of course there are outliers on either side, but anyone setting boundaries on the other’s masturbation habits is going to cause a problem for a relationship.

      The boundaries you suggest are obviously okay, but also in seriousness, they shouldn’t masturbate to a point that they aren’t able to meet their partner’s sexual needs. Other than that, let it rip.

      And yes, I agree (and one of us should’ve noted in the piece) that sometimes having more sex begets a higher sex drive. Masturbation is often, in its root, very different from partner sex.

      • @Joanna Schroeder: “women are just as horny as men”

        Then women are the biggest liar ever. ;)

        I’d like to believe you :D but I’m afraid it’s not true: even a factual thing as testosterone level (on average inferior in females), should mean that women have a lesser sex drive – on average.
        Having said that, of course some women have more sex drive than some men.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Well, it is often more complicated for us. Often we’ve been raised to feel dirty about sex, to feel ashamed of our bodies and our “parts”, we have hormonal fluctuations that are more obvious… We’re almost cultured to think that when our desire wanes, that it is funny or unimportant, whereas men find that very upsetting.

          When we’re in touch with our bodies and our desire, we tend to have just as active sex lives as men, and just as much desire. We may express it differently, but trust me, for the women I know and work with, there’s a LOT of desire there.

          • Julie Gillis says:

            Agreed.

          • A woman told me of how her mother caught her masturbating when she was young and really made her feel dirty about it, like it was morally wrong. Sexual repression like that is EVIL, to shame someone over sexuality to me is a huge evil because it can lead to sexual dysfunction, insults like you’re a slut, or you’re a virgin, and what good does it do? Sadly she found it hard to orgasm because she felt that shame, she couldn’t masturbate and achieve pleasure and it really hit me hard at just how fucked up doing that to someone is.

            Males are expected to masturbate but females still get shamed over it, although lately times are changing and I’ve had far more female friends be quite open “like the boys” which is a good thing because they can find pleasure without as much shame.

            I see barriers for women and men expressing sexual desire, men cop the creep and perv shame, women cop the slut and promiscuous shame. What good does this do? Leaves both holding back and not feeling secure in being honest about what they want and desire. There are many popular stereotypes of men wanting sex a lot and women rarely wanting it or only wanting it when they want something else, eg a means to get intimacy such as cuddling, but how true is that really?

            I think person to person it varies heavily, some people are quite openly horny, some are very reserved, some have high sex drives, some have low, but something I hear quite commonly is when the sex drive is low, the insecurity is high. My friends had a child and the romance has been lacking and from what I understand is she feels quite insecure over her body and looks since she has a bit of extra weight + post natal depression. I felt so sorry for them both because life can throw you those curveballs that upset intimacy. I was so happy when I saw a status update basically saying he got to use a “gift” card ;) because they need that intimacy.

            I am quite open about these things because I believe sex isn’t something to be ashamed of, when I hear from female friends who think most women don’t masturbate I have a sense of shock, it seems popular stereotypes push these issues onto us all and really affect our perception of the world. If she had known friends like I have, who are quite open and have no troubles admitting they too are HUMAN, she might not have had such a problem with her own discovery of masturbation.

            I’m not sure it’s more complicated, but simply a vastly different experience between the genders. Men and women each have quite a few issues regarding sexuality, when a MAN’s desire wanes his manhood comes into question, when a woman’s desire is too high her ladyhood/purity? (not sure the right word:P) comes into question.

            There’s no shame in sex, whether you’re getting heaps, or getting none.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              It’s really sad. Sex needs to discussed in a healthy way in order for sex to become healthier.

              Sex after babies is very complicated, Julie and I wrote a piece here about that…

              http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/wheres-the-sex/

              Hormones play a huge role, as well as sleep deprivation and body image… We’re so programmed to think that sexiness is skinniness, and that we need to hide our bodies in shame when they’re not “perfect”. I really hope some day to do some work where I can study and educate new mothers about changing sexuality. There’s also such a weird cultural thing teaching women that sex is a means to an end: to land a guy, to make a guy fall in love with you, to create a family… And sex outside of those spheres is shameful.

              So when you have the family, if you’ve been shamed out of desire for desire’s sake, sex serves no purpose. If we could get women to be more in touch with their own desire, a lot of this would change, I believe.

            • An idea I had for photography would be to take some really nice photos of mothers, maybe even glamour photography and actually show them that they are sexy to try help their self esteem. I think people get to caught up in the looks that people have in magazines, and associate that with what people should look like naturally but they need to remember those magazines have professional makeup artists, hair dressers, clothing stylists, the lighting and posing is just right to show a certain look.

              I think many people would be surprised how that level of makeup, hair, etc would make them look. It would probably help them identify how much work goes into the images they see and let them realize they can be as beautiful as anything in the magazines.

              The most important thing to realize is not everyone is superficial, people vary on what they like and there’s no 1 size fits all attraction. If he loved you before having the baby, thought you were sexy, he’s most likely going to still be very attracted to you and your looks aren’t as important as you think. Physical beauty isn’t a narrow range, and it varies person to person. The emotional attraction, the feelings of love, can make someone be the most beautiful person in the world regardless of how they look and that’s important to remember!

            • @Joanna Schroeder: “We’re so programmed to think that sexiness is skinniness”

              OMG! :shock:
              For me, and many, many other men, curviness is sexiness!!! 8)
              (of course I mean “healthy curvy”, even plumpy, not obese)
              Please spread the gospel! ;)

              It’s mostly a marketing trick. Historically, men have always liked curves.

          • Justin Cascio says:

            It’s not just hormones, either. Two people of the same sex, with measurably normal hormone levels, will still have very different libidos and sex lives. Not that hormones aren’t powerful stuff, but a) people are different, and b) feeling and expressing sexuality are highly regulated by the personality.

        • I have to agree with Valter. I want to believe it, but don’t. I’m well aware that there are exceptions, but like comparing upper body strength, I think saying that women are just as horny as men is like saying women are just as strong as men. No, they aren’t.

          You and Julie make that point yourselves in your piece about sex after babies, which was excellent for understanding women’s sex drive in that context, but the point was how women don’t typically feel as horny after childbirth for a while as men continue to feel.

          There are different components to “feeling horny”. I’m willing (thought not always convinced, to be honest) that when they’re feeling horny, women feel that just as intensely as men, as far as the craving, the wanting, the needing, the enjoyment of the act itself, whether solo or with a partner. What I reject on the basis of extensive anecdotal evidence and probably research if I weren’t too lazy to look it up, is the idea that over the course of a lifetime, day in and day out, that women are horny as often as men, for as long as men, pretty much regardless of their life circumstances.

          I think you (and other women) admit this difference without realizing you’re admitting it, when you talk about things like how a negative body image can make you feel less horny. I consider that evidence that contradicts the thesis of woman being just as horny as men, because a man with a negative body image may despair of finding sex, but he’ll still be a horndog. For example, you write:

          When we’re in touch with our bodies and our desire, we tend to have just as active sex lives as men, and just as much desire

          Do you see how that puts a prerequisite on women’s horniness that men don’t have? Being in touch with one’s body and desire is terrific, but someone who requires that to feel horny is not “as horny” as someone who doesn’t. And over the course of a woman’s lifetime, what percentage of that lifetime do you think most women spend in that ideal state of in-touchness where they have just as much desire as men? I’d say not much, at least not in this culture.

          If you can tell me you want sex almost regardless of mood, and regardless of how you think you look, even when sick unless it’s severe, even when tired from work and/or parenting, even when stressed, even when the house is a mess, even when you’re an overnight guest in someone else’s home, even when (and partly because) you’ve received tragic news, even when you’re mad at your partner, even when you know it’s inappropriate for the venue you’re in (like a supermarket or an academic conference), even when you’ve already had an orgasm since the last time you slept…then I might start to believe you’re just as horny as a man. But I’ll still consider you an exception.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            I would say, yes, I am.

            My husband is going to be oh-so-pleased that I’m sharing this with the world!

            But sure, I am. I bet Julie is too.

            Here’s what I am saying: society has taught us to push down our sex drives, to feel ashamed of our desire and to let things take over our desire and to tamp it. What I’m saying is that, at our core, we are equally as horny as men, with outliers on either side of the bellcurve on both sides.

            But practically? No, probably not. But I think that’s less hormones and biology than it is society. The only way biology plays into this is pregnancy/childbirth/nursing and menopause. Or rather, when things get out of whack. But for guys, as you guys get older, you get more impotence, especially with high blood pressure, and you guys get more high blood pressure. But then you have Viagra (thanks a lot, Jamie Reidy, if you’re reading this) to equalize that.

            So I don’t know. Whatever. At our core, we’re the same. Sad thing for everyone is that it’s just sort of been cultured out of us.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              PS Marcus, not all guys want to have orgasms THAT MUCH. I know lots of guys who fall more in the middle of said sex-desire bell curve.

            • Right, and not all guys have great upper body strength, but I believe that the middle of that bell curve is still in the direction of greater desire than the middle of the women’s bell-curve.

            • i don't believe you says:

              There are culturally derived differences between women’s and men’s horniness, but those pales in comparison to the biologically derived ones. Joanna’s feminist ideology will not allow her to accept this BLATANT truth anymore than a creationist accepts that the earth is more than 4000 years old. We are primates… and thus are wired to have different levels of sexual interest and response.

              Men are hornier by design!

            • I was right there with you until you said “by design.” Our biological characteristics have never been designed, certainly not designed by nature or natural selection. Natural selection has tendencies, but there is no design to it. Saying we are designed is really not any different than saying we were created by God. It’s just creationism dressed up in new robes.

            • @That Guy: “I was right there with you until you said “by design.” ”

              I use “by design” as well, but it can be used with no theological meaning.
              “Design” in the sense of a “project”, a “blueprint” for life; not something random, but preordered and programmed.
              DNA is an example: it’s our genetic blueprint. The “design” of DNA makes the cell reproduce themselves, in a very precise and efficient way.

              Animal biology is “designed” (in the sense it’s made for always working in a certain way) to desire sex and, hence, making babies – regardless we want it or not.
              Thus, it’s scientifically correct saying “Men are hornier by design”, because their biological programming make them so. It’s not random, it always works that way (except when culture gets in the way).

              Then, we can speculate whether life is casual byproduct of nature, or some higher intelligence created it. Who know for real? :roll:
              What’s for sure, is life follows its own rules, a kind of design.

            • Why isn’t millions of years of evolution a design? Oh, because there was no higher plan to it? Isn’t the “higher plan” just that we become more “fit”?

              That was a lot of quotes, sorry.

            • Maybe I’m splitting philosophical hairs and being too literal, but most evolutionary biologists will tell you that species do not necessarily become “more fit” over time. There is no overarching program, and it’s not just “survival of the fittest,” a phrase that Darwin hated. Maybe in most cases those that reproduce more successfully survive over the long term, but it’s impossible to say that it’s part of a plan. Just because there is an outcome doesn’t mean that the result was part of a plan. I’m saying there are non-theological forms of the intelligent design argument, and these are just as wrong as theological ones.

              Looking at the whole span of life on the planet, based on the fossil record and educated estimates, the best guess is that 99% of all species that have ever existed have gone extinct, even before humans show up. There are genetic dead ends – some species develop mutations that make them go extinct. Not all physical characteristics help a species survive, and not every physiological characteristic has an actual “purpose,” no matter what the Discovery Channel might tell you. So, if there’s a design, it seems to be *against* survival, fit or unfit.

              Taking an even longer view, for the first half of earth’s existence, there was no life on it at all, so maybe that’s what the design is supposed to look like. Seeing a program or design usually means being selective about what one chooses to be “natural” or “the way it’s supposed to be.” Probably in the next few billion years, life on earth will be gone once the sun begins to run out of fuel. That’s not a very nice plan.

              Natural selection does not design or plan or program anything. That would be like saying we fall down because gravity wants us to fall down. Or, like saying that Hurricane Katrina happened because Mother Nature was mad at America. Natural selection is not just chaotic random chance, but that doesn’t mean that it’s planned, either. Those aren’t the only two choices.

              There’s nothing invalid about seeing the universe as planned, but that’s a philosophical assumption, not really an empirical scientific argument. Same with seeing Progress. It’s something we want to see when we look at the past, whether it’s there or not.

              Our DNA does provide a kind of blueprint, and our DNA is a product of natural selection, but even DNA is not quite a program exactly. Our genes are in a very complicated relationship with our environment and with other genes, and the same gene can help us live longer or shorten our lives, depending on other factors (e.g., sickle cell trait). Our DNA keeps us alive but can also kill us. Plus, human DNA mutates. When our bodies make copies of our DNA, not all the copies are faithful to the original. If it’s a program, it’s not a very elegant one.

              This thread started with talking about human sexuality. If there’s a design to human sexuality, it’s clearly not just about reproduction. And, if men are somehow hornier than women are, that doesn’t mean that this trait helps with human survival over the long term. Theoretically, given what happens in the rest of the animal kingdom, men being hornier than women could actually spell the doom of Homo sapiens.

            • “We are primates… and thus are wired to have different levels of sexual interest and response.”

              Are you referring to chimps or bonobos? All primates are not created equal (yes I used ‘created’ on purpose there). Bonobos have extremely high sex drives, both male and female. Chimps, on the other hand, do not. Genetically, both chimps and bonobos are the closest existing relatives.

              So you could argue ‘we’re very closely related to chimps and in chimps female sexual desire is not high.’ And I could argue ‘we are very closely related to bonobos and in bonobos female sexual desire is high.’ And genetically speaking neither one of us would be more right than the other.

              I think the thing to remember is that we are primates…but we’re not bonobos, or chimps, we’re human. There are differences.

            • The only way biology plays into this is pregnancy/childbirth/nursing and menopause.

              And testosterone.

              But even if you skip the testosterone effect for some reason (???), you are pointing out several factors that make women less horny than men. Sure, some of them are transient, but men do not experience those same prolonged influences that suppress libido, and even taking andropause into account, I don’t think the impact on libido is as near-universal or severe as menopause is for women.

              Again, I’m not saying women want sex less, when they want it. I’m saying that I don’t believe they want it (with the usual disclaimers about overlapping bell curves) as frequently, for as much of their life, as men.

              I think hormones play a huge part. It’s not like I’m saying this is some defect in one sex or the other. We have different stuff flowing through us, and that stuff makes for different sex drives. During or right after pregnancy, those differences are even more pronounced, even when “society” hasn’t changed a bit, which leads me to believe that in this respect, as a matter of biology, men and women are essentially different. (Overlapping curves, yada yada.)

            • Well I wonder how much nature vs nurture plays a part. How much of a woman’s libido is tied in with ovulation and do men have something similar? I can be aroused quite easily every day, multiple times a day, desire sex multiple times per day….day in day out unless I was sick. Is that common amongst men and is it common amongst women?

              I myself find it a bit hard to believe women are as horny, and match libidos up with men when both are averaged out. If women do vary according to ovulation, and other factors wouldn’t that lower their overall rate of arousal compared to a man?
              ht tp://www.webmd.com/sex/features/sex-drive-how-do-men-women-compare – This is all I could find on it and it seems men win hands down on both strength and frequency of arousal.

              By all means someone disprove me, it’d be great to know woman want sex as much as men but if the above is true than that does explain quite a few things about the gender differences of sexuality…..Of course individuals can vary still!

              Quite frankly though a high sex drive is annoying unless you can find someone to match it, especially when others mistake your high sexual desire as ONLY desiring them for sex when it simply isn’t true.

            • i don't believe you says:

              The thing that drives me crazy about feminists is that the more conspicuously biological the subject the more inclined they are to dig in their heels and blame culture. There is some nurture, but mostly nature defines the difference.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Well here. Yes, you’re right, quantitatively, if you figure in the things that affect a woman’s libido, and the fact that you guys don’t have those things, then absolutely yes we have less of a sex drive.

              But my theory is that society deeply diminishes the sex drive we would have in those times when things are normal, and that if we could create a healthier view upon sexuality then the gap between female and male sexuality would be narrowed, and greatly.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Yeah, I think so too. Here on this very site I see a lot of comments like, “her number matters in terms of what kind of woman she is.”
              So….if she’s got a high sex drive and is adventurous, she’s not really to be trusted. But if she’s got a trustable sex drive, then that means you’ll be beggin’ for it and she won’t give it up.
              Well who would give it up under those circumstances.

              I think that one difference is anatomical in that if it was a sure bet that women came purely from a quick bout of in and out without any seduction, you’d see most of us having sex a lot of the time. Our drives are strong, but they work differently is my take on it. We feel desire and intensely, but it manifests differently and is satisfied differently.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Julie is SO RIGHT and it’s something you guys need to all pay attention to:

              You all thing my sex drive is so fantastic because you know I’m someone’s wife, right? You think, “Man did that guy Ivan get lucky to marry a girl like that who wants to have sex every day”… Right?

              Well, you gotta think to yourself what that meant for when he met me. I’m not going to speak to the experiences he had or feelings he felt, but I’ve always felt quite healthy about sex and good about myself. So that means that I was far from a virgin when I met him. And I wouldn’t tell him “my number”… Would you be okay with that? Would you be okay with your wife writing a column like http://www.shesaidhesaid.me ?

              Because it’s all one big package, a girl like me or Julie. Julie talks publicly about sex every week, Julie and I ask for what we want. Julie and I have conversations about sex like this one here.

              Now, my husband can go online and be a part of this if he wants, it’s not a secret, but when you get a girl who is open about sexuality, that can sometimes be complicating to the ideas you had about your pure, virginal bride.

            • i don't believe you says:

              Nope.

              There isn’t just one type of high sex drive woman, there are two types…Women who have channeled their lust toward a boyfriends/lovers and those who got/get around. The whole idea that a woman with a low partner count isn’t lusty is a self serving myth.

            • My wife, before we dated was always the one with the higher sex drive, in her relationships. I hope I understand high libido women….yet as with us I’ve rarely heard of a woman that was up for it twice daily on average after 30 years together…….But on a libido discussion group elsewhere, I could find a doz guys and maybe 1-2 women that would meet that criteria.

            • You all thing my sex drive is so fantastic because you know I’m someone’s wife, right?

              No. I think good for you and him if his matches, but you could be having lots of sex with little horniness, or very little sex with a lot of horniness. The initial claim looked pretty straightforward, but I don’t get the feeling we’re talking about the same thing. You and Julie are talking about sexual expression and behavior, or some overall attitude toward sexuality – the “package deal”. You said yourself “it’s more complicated for [women]“. I’m talking narrowly about the original claim that “women are just as horny as men”. Horny as in hungry for sex. Not some meta-desire mitigated by culture and attitudes and partners who accept our sexual history – just the raw, uncomplicated wanting of sex. On that level, I don’t think it’s even close. From puberty to old age, I think men crave sex more. I think women match the craving intermittently, but are much more likely to have diminished cravings due to changes in biology or environment.

              I also don’t think horniness is a competition, so please don’t confuse my claim with a claim that either sex is superior or inferior for the libidos they have. I don’t think being more horny is an advantage any more than I think being more hungry or more thirsty is an advantage. In fact, it’s quite annoying.

              I think you and Julie make a lot of really interesting and important points about female sexuality, but that really is separate from the horniness question, and in my opinion, keeps demonstrating my point. :)

            • “You all thing my sex drive is so fantastic because you know I’m someone’s wife, right? You think, “Man did that guy Ivan get lucky to marry a girl like that who wants to have sex every day”… Right?”

              Not me. To be quite honest I’d probably be more attracted, a woman in touch with her feelings and sexuality, speaks on the issues with intelligence on the matter is hella sexy. I think your husband is very lucky but that’s because he seems to have an intelligent, caring, loving, beautiful wife with a decent sex drive and isn’t afraid to discuss serious matters. The whole “package” is important. What more can any man want? Maybe a Porsche in the garage, financial security and a nice boat but that’s beside the point.

              “Now, my husband can go online and be a part of this if he wants, it’s not a secret, but when you get a girl who is open about sexuality, that can sometimes be complicating to the ideas you had about your pure, virginal bride.”
              Kinda sounds like someone is generalizing here:P I’ve been with a “pure, virginal woman” and my god that was awkward as hell especially since I was pure n virginal myself, I had this silly romantic idea about sharing my first time with someone else and now that is done I really don’t care if they’re a virgin or not. Long as they’re a, disease free, b, trustworthy, c, similar libido to me so I’m not left yearning and she’s not angry at me wanting it all the time.

              Not every man is after his 82 virgins, free from STD’s is about the only requirement. I think one of the biggest worries some men have for women who aren’t virgins, and may have quite a long list of ex partners is the STD risk and trusting them to not cheat. STD’s aren’t guaranteed and safety precautions can be taken, and trusting them not to cheat…well anyone can cheat whether they’ve had 0 partners before or 100 so it’s silly to worry about.

              He better treat you right! :P

            • I think there are several things going on at the same time, and they are not mutually exclusive.

              Men may be hormonally more easily aroused or have a higher sex drive than women in general – two bell curves with some overlap. At the same time, there may be social and cultural factors that are suppressing or undermining women’s libido. There are also cases in which women really do want sex but that message does not come across. I suspect there is more parity than both men and women have been led to believe, which is what I think SheSaid is saying. That sounds totally plausible to me.

              How about it’s nature and nurture both?

              How’s this for an unscientific estimate pulled out of thin air: women are 20% less horny than men are, but our culture acts like women are 60% less horny than men. The sexes are not equal in this regard, but they are more equal than commonly thought.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I give you 5 points for using the word “parity”, 2 points for calling me “She Said” and 2 more points for making up statistics that somehow seem pretty right-on. That’s 9 out of 10 points on a scale that I just made up right now.

              Nice work.

            • Sweet, that’s an A minus. Can I get that on a Good Men Project official transcript to put in my online dating profile?

            • I think you’re making hormonal horniness the only definition of sexual desire, while Joanna, Julie, and others are saying that there are other factors that contribute to a woman’s felt sense of horniness. All rivers lead to the ocean.

            • @Joanna Schroeder: “I would say, yes, I am.”

              Honey, we weren’t talking about YOU, we were talking about women at large. ;)
              I noticed the same mistake in Julie Gillis’ approach: “It’s true for me, so it must be true” (actually, lots of people fall for the same mistake).

              When we’re talking about the average, we should quite “forget” ourselves. A person doesn’t make a statistic.
              I’m glad your sex drive is terrific (and I envy your husband ;) ), but that doesn’t make you “the standard”.
              I agree with Marcus, who pointed out some objective facts. Biology is not an opinion, and it’s leading us regardless of our beliefs.

              Then, I really hope we’re mistaken and you’re right! :D

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Well, Marcus asked about ME, I answered about me! And I recognize that that’s purely anecdotal. ;)

            • Oh, ok, sorry; I was talking about all women.
              All this intertwined commenting and replying makes me confused. :?

      • “The boundaries you suggest are obviously okay, but also in seriousness, they shouldn’t masturbate to a point that they aren’t able to meet their partner’s sexual needs.”

        I see your point about not masturbating in such a way that it detracts from the relationship. That’s a fair request. It could feel hurtful if you feel like your partner would rather self-please than have sex with you.

        And yet… And yet…

        Ultimately this is part of the give-and-take of the negotiation of boundaries, and part of the balance that has to be struck between being an individual and being part of a partnership. Ultimately, a request about limiting your partner’s masturbation is saying what you want or saying what you won’t tolerate, but it won’t work as an order. It’s not really a negotiation if you simply tell your partner to stop because of how you feel about it. Your feelings about your partner’s masturbation have to count, but so do your partner’s feelings about it. Both people have to have their sexual desires met on some level.

        The flip side of “boys will be boys” is “don’t do it, because I don’t like it.” Not necessarily any more constructive than “everybody does it.”

        It might also detract from the relationship for a partner to feel repressed by his partner’s sexual preferences. And, it’s hard to say in all cases that the person is actually preferring to go solo instead of having partnered sex. You may think he’s doing it *instead of* having sex with you, but that may not be what’s happening from his perspective.

        I’ve been in a committed relationship for many years now. It’s a not uncommon occurrence for one person or the other to prefer to do ____ at this moment rather than have sex. (Actually, I’m the one willing to stop whatever I’m doing if there’s a chance at nookie, but that’s neither here nor there.) Fill in the blank with whatever you want to: housework, getting something to eat, tending the garden, etc. Some of these even make one too tired for sex anytime soon, in which case it really is one activity instead of the other. If that’s acceptable for all these other solo activities that one does instead of sex, why not masturbation?

        This seems like a silly question on the surface, but I think it’s key: why is masturbation more threatening or disconcerting to a relationship than any other solo hobby?

        (Yes, I know masturbating can also be a partnered activity. I’m referring to the solo version here.)

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Interesting questions, all of them.

          So first… I’m talking about someone jerking to the point where they really have no interest in sex with their partner that day. If you’re a high-needs woman, sexually, then you’re probably going to be pretty frustrated. I’d say at that point, “listen, you gotta save some of that for me”… And that’s definitely a part of the give and take of relationships—explaining how much you need and what you’re willing to compromise on.

          But is that different than a husband asking his wife not to watch The Walking Dead before getting into bed, because it kills her libido (ahem)? Can she watch it earlier in the night and then do something else so that she won’t be either on the verge of vomiting or crying as he reaches under her nightie due to her zombie trauma? Should she be less sensitive? Probably, but damn that show is well done!

          Oh wait, got off track. Haha.

          Thing is, sex does need to be held to a higher esteem than a lot of activities done throughout the day, and energy does need to be reserved. Why? Because, in most monogamous relationships, there is only one place for your partner to get that partnered sex. And you’re it. If she wants to garden, she can do that another time, on her own, with her friend, with her mother, or whatever. If she wants sex? Nope, it’s dependent upon you.

          And sure, any activity that makes you not want to have sex (watching Walking Dead, for instance) should be talked about and negotiated if it’s impacting the other negatively.

          This is all to say that I’m talking about the context of a *healthy* relationship with *normal* communication and boundaries. I have a few friends in really unhealthy relationships where the partner tries to control every f’ing thing because s/he thinks it detracts from their “coupleness”… That’s not cool. Go jerk it to a lady stuffing panties in her hoo-hah. Fine, no problem. Watch The Walking Dead. Why not? Just understand the consequences to your sex life before you decide when and how much.

          Yay or Nay?

          • @Joanna Schroeder: “sex does need to be held to a higher esteem than a lot of activities done throughout the day”

            That’s a key point. Many people (and even men), especially when long into a relationship, just let the sex slide offside. We need to ask: why?
            – Is it a moral/religious thing? “Sex shouldn’t be that much important”
            – Is it easier that way? Is it a sort of laziness?
            – Is it a way to avoid intimacy and the struggle of connection?
            – Has sex become an effort to please the partner, thus it’s seen as a duty more than a joy?
            – Has sex developed into a habit?

          • Dang it, I’m trying to be an argumentative troll, but I agree with everything here, so I have to say Yay.

            It took me years to figure out the obvious, healthy request to make to my partner: please reserve time and energy for our sex life. So simple, now that I see it.

            P.S. I see nothing in the photo that I can comment about. I have put on some weight myself over the last few months and haven’t replaced my overworked jeans, so I am in no position to make any comments in that regard.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I think she looks like she was given roophies with the express purpose of putting someone else’s pants on her. Someone two sizes smaller.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              And no, roophies aren’t funny. But that picture is funny.

            • Oh. When I first saw that photo I thought it was a man. I’ll have to take your word for it that it’s a woman. Trying not to read too much into my inability to notice the difference….

              Now I get it. You were expecting me to make a comment about masturbation because the photo was of a supine woman on a bed? I may be That Guy, but I’m not “That Guy.”

            • No, I was expecting you to joke about the fact that she looked knocked unconscious or like a strangely posed body on CSI….

              Maybe it is a man and I’m presuming it’s a woman? No, it’s a woman. Probably healthy that you didn’t know.

            • The hips, back, and shoulders look very masculine…you sure it’s a woman?

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I’m totally not sure, I’m judging the narrow waist, style of jeans, round butt and inner thigh fat.

              This is an interesting mini-thread, it is cracking me up.

  5. I think there are probably many factors that go into whether a man masturbates in a relationship or not. This article offers some great dating tips for men, because often we assume things to be one way, when they’re actually a variety of different factors and nuances that go into it.

    In my opinion, self-love and leveled another person are to different things, that feels slightly different. Maybe the guy was also just looking for an alternative to sex.

  6. Cool piece!
    BTW, another benefit of masturbation (or, better said, of orgasming), is about headache.
    Having an orgasm usually makes the headache go away and, since having sex while having headache is not the best :roll: relieving oneself can have this double outcome.
    (pun intended ;) )

  7. I have a feeling that being upset with one’s partner masturbating has to do with possession.
    It’s not only that we expect to fulfill all of his/her wishes and needs (quite an unrealistic, presumptuous idea) and that it hurts our pride when we discover our beloved needs something else. But also that we, somehow silently expect to be the only lord and master/mistress of our partner’s total self.
    His/her heart should be totally ours, of course. His/her mind should be set on ourselves 24/24. And, finally, his/her body should be used and enjoyed only by ourselves. So woe and shame to whoever dares to break these silent rules (present company included!)

    • @pat: “I have a feeling that being upset with one’s partner masturbating has to do with possession.”

      It sounds likely, but even more likely it’s about insecurity (and possession is often linked to insecurity).
      If I’m insecure I need to know my partner depends on me; if she needs me and I satisfy her, she won’t leave me. Lots of people feel that way.

      • Certainly! Need for possession is more often than not the other side of the insecurity coin.

        • True. I would rather be wanted than needed. If she’s with me out of *need*, then just about any ol’ guy will do. If she *wants* me, then there’s something special about me. It’s certainly more flattering to be wanted than needed.

  8. why do married men masturbate to porn, and when they get caught by there wives they say it’s not you i love only you but they wake up at 730 in the morning leave you sleeping and go in the other room an wack off to watching porn

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Can I put this into our blog to answer? I think it’s a fantastic question and if I thought my partner, Eli “He Said” Kaplan were awake right now, I’d call and ask him!

    • Because they think that they shouldn’t bother her when she is trying to sleep at 730am? As others have mentioned there is a definitely a force a work that says men are horny all the time and want it and women don’t. And I think this plays out in the form of men masturbating to porn away from their wives under the thought that he has to because she’ll think he is bad for wanting to have sex all the time (namely the whole “women exist for male sexual pleasure” bit).

    • I’m sure there’s more than one answer, but generally speaking, I think a guy will “sneak off” to porn if the reaction to him using it is “getting caught”, as opposed to not trying to hide it if he’s not guilt-tripped about it.

      I have a couple scenarios and questions for you, tami. They’re grounded in my own experience, so I don’t presume that it matches the married man or men that you’re thinking of, but maybe it will be food for thought.

      When I look at porn, my fantasies are not sophisticated at all. By which I mean, I tend to look at the body parts that turn me on the most, and fantasize about the sensations I would feel if I could touch them the way I want to. You can call it objectification, and it is, but I don’t add any kind of backstory to the fantasy about how that woman (or roomful of women) would really understand me as a person, how we’d complete each others sentences, have the same taste in movies, etc. In other words, my porn fantasies are not about relationships with the models/performers. It’s not all that unusual (thought I don’t claim it’s every time) that I’m looking at the images, but really thinking about my wife, like what it would be like if she were doing that to or for me right now.

      When I fantasize without porn, there’s still a lot of fantasizing about the bodies I want to touch and how they would feel, but since I don’t have a visual reference to focus on, my imagination is more likely to fill in some gaps. Besides imagining various women naked who I know I’ll never see naked but would like to, there may actually be some “story” involved (nothing real structured), and I’m much more likely than I am with porn to fantasize about having sex with some person I know, who isn’t my wife. I may even have some relationship-type fantasies, like it starts with some real-world woman I find attractive, I pull the “Everybody Loves Raymond” trick of my wife dies so it’s not cheating, and have great sex with the fantasized complete woman, not just that woman’s body.

      To my mind, neither type of fantasy is being unfaithful, because fantasy isn’t action. Would it change the way you feel about a husband fantasizing to porn if you believed his fantasies were more likely to involve his wife with porn than without? How about if his non-porn fantasies were more likely to include making emotional connections with people besides his wife? Finally, do you think it’s desirable or realistic for spouses to have a spouse-only policy when it comes to masturbation fantasies? (I don’t think you were suggesting that last one, but it seems to me where the logic leads if any fantasy involving a non-spouse is considered a betrayal.)

    • “why do married men masturbate to porn, and when they get caught by there wives they say it’s not you i love only you but they wake up at 730 in the morning leave you sleeping and go in the other room an wack off to watching porn”
      You mean SOME right?:P
      Heaps of possible reasons.
      Maybe at 7:30 they try to wake the wife up for some loving and get told to F off?
      Maybe they use orgasm as a way to calm themselves if they are overly anxious in the morning?
      Maybe they’re extremely horny in the morning and want to get it over with quick?
      Maybe they’re afraid their partner will find out and feel ashamed?
      Maybe they feel totally rejected by their partner?
      Maybe they’re superimposing their wife onto the porn actress, themselves on the actor, and simply using it as visual stimuli and building a fantasy of their wife?

      You’re best bet is to task them though and find out why, it’s probably not anywhere near as bad as you think and probably even quite reasonable. Communication is essential.

      Now ask yourself, why do SOME wives read romance novels, even the erotic ones instead of having sex with their partner?

    • @tami: “they wake up at 730 in the morning leave you sleeping and go in the other room”

      Question: are you willing and happy to have sex with him regularly at 7.30 in the morning?
      If your answer is “Yes!”, let him know it; I think he’ll be much more willing to have sex with you instead of doing on his own.
      If your answer is “No!”… well, you answered yourself. ;)

  9. This article is 100000% correct.

    • “Just so you know, even if you and your boyfriend were having amazing hour-long sex romps, five times a day and eight nights a week, filled with countless mind-blowing orgasms and undiscovered new positions, your boyfriend would still, most likely be jonesing for a jerking (on his own), from time to time.”

      Exactly

  10. Re: Women want sex as much as men do.

    If that’s really true, that’s not necessarily good news to me. I have had a few long-term relationships in my life. In every case, the woman I was with lost interest in having sex, while my interest in sex never waned. I don’t think my libido is at all above average for men in general. So, if women want sex as much as men do, this leaves me with only a few viable explanations:

    a. I have been very unlucky in finding partners who have lower libidos than average. That’s rotten luck.
    b. I am somehow subconsciously choosing women with lower than average libido. That’s disturbing.
    c. They actually lost interest in having sex with me, not in having sex on the whole. That’s depressing.
    d. They all lied to me when they said it wasn’t anything about me or what I was doing, that it was just that they didn’t want it as much as I did. That’s aggravating.

    These are not all mutually exclusive, either.

    There is something to the point about men too often assuming women have lower libidos. That idea is at the heart of a lot of traditional gender ideas, so there’s a lot of expectations riding on that assumption. One reason that myth survives is that in some ways it is reassuring to men, like what I suggested above. If I think women just don’t want sex as much as I do, it doesn’t feel so much like a personal rejection when they say no or they lose interest; it seems more like something that has nothing to do with me or anyone else, it’s just the way it is.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      There is something about this that compels me to respond.
      Marcus described the male sex drive as a hunger. So just like you wake up every morning famished and want a good breakfast, so too do you want to get laid. And just like being underfed is a terrible state to stay in so is being underlaid for sex. An annoying, hungering, frustrating feeling.

      I’m not sure women feel that particular kind of hunger. Some may feel that and need to get that hunger fed daily.

      I’m going to use a food metaphor and it may not work.

      So I often think that for men, they could wake up make a fine amazing elaborate breakfast and feel full. And they can also have a bagel and cream cheese and feel the edge was taken off.

      My thinking is that for a segment of women, most of us would prefer the fine amazing elaborate breakfast and stay fuller longer from it. The breakfast would include some level of build up (the romancing and desire, lets say) rather than just popping a muffin in our mouths and moving on. And when we want a muffin, masturbation is usually adequate. Some women I know would rather do some self love than deal with the time it takes to have the sex, because the sex in a long term relationship becomes routine and the women in question don’t feel desired or adored and seems like there is a trigger mechanism wherein if you feel taken for granted, it’s hard to get it up so to speak. Doesn’t mean they don’t want sex. They may not want it with their mates.

      All couples reach a point where the elaborate breakfasts are a thing of the past. Due to time, exhaustion, kids, or boredom or just too much exposure to each other so the edge of desire has worn off. And just like that, the quickie (not indicating time, but the desire, flirt, sexy build up to it being missing) may just not be that appealing to many women. Hell, to many men. This is something that can’t really be generalized.

      I know a lot of women who talk about missing being desired. Not “hey I just brushed my teeth I have a boner jump on it it’s business time” desire (brilliant video by the way) but being DESIRED. I don’t know why many women seem to want or need that. It’s perhaps conditioned culturally or the evo psych people probably have a theory, but as I said, it can’t be generalized because there are men out there with lower sex/desire drives and women who could care less about love and romance.

      But I think there is a particular deadening of the mutual spark in long term relationships just due to familiarity. But with men, if the house is a mess or the bathroom sink is full of hair that might not be such deterrent to having sex. For women, some of the women I’ve talked to, it is a cause for resentment.

      Housecleaning services and really elaborate seduction schemes and date nights? It’s work but maybe it would payoff?

      It’s modern America, everyone is exhausted and everyone has extremely high expectations for the perfection of coupling up. Something has to give.

      All I know is, that’s all cold comfort if you are hungry all the time.

      • Julie, you’re insightful as usual. And I think you’re mostly right.
        Often men and women want similar things, but they want them in different ways.
        At the beginning, both are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy the partner. With time, routine, tiredness and boredom set in and that willingness is long gone – for both.

        Human beings are tricky. You know, a dog can eat the same chow every day, and it will be always eager for it.
        Alas, we are not that simple. :roll:

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        The hair in the sink and dirty house thing is really timely because I turned down sex this morning because the dogs jumped up and gotten mud on the bed and I was irritated and felt an immediate need to change the bed. That’s an unusual scenario for me. And now because the day has started I feel very deprived, like I should’ve just ignored the mud. I don’t know if most women would feel that deprivation from having missed it…

        I feel *very* strongly that women are disconnected from their sexuality, and that this is a major cause of all the sexless marriages, or marriages where the wives are consenting to sex they’re just not into. There are so many ways in which society has made us feel we are sort of supposed to be sexless… I’ve enumerated them in the above conversation enough. But like Julie said, sometimes we just don’t desire our husbands. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But I think one reason that happens is not because our husbands are not *desirable* but because our society really teaches young women that sex works to “hook” a guy. That that is how we make you guys love us, want us, affirm us, want to marry us. And it serves that function well.

        So we want so badly to be your sex goddesses, and there is SO much pleasure in knowing you want us, that we’re blowing your mind, that you can’t believe you finally landed us, that eventually you’re going to love us—because of our sexiness.

        Once you love us, there isn’t much of a model to how our sex is supposed to look. Maybe we’ve had babies, maybe we don’t feel like sex goddesses, maybe we wonder whom you’re thinking of, we wonder if you want something new… the function of sex at that point seems to be one sided, like it’s just for the men, to keep you guys happy, so you don’t find someone else to sleep with.

        But I don’t believe any of that is biology. I really believe it’s part of the virgin/whore dichotomy, and we go back to being the virgins after a while in that relationship. It’s a really, really unhealthy dynamic and it makes me very concerned about monogamy. I’m already concerned about the state of monogamy in this society, not that I think it needs to be protected, but a lot of people buy into it only to get totally burned (men AND women).

        Women, in general, are so disconnected from our bodies. This new generation might be different, but for those of us over the age of 30, there was a lot of shame coming up about or bodies. Masturbation for women was considered COMPLETELY taboo, I mean NEVER discussed. Women’s desire was never addressed. I was taught about sex from the perspective that men needed it, the boys are going to pressure you, it’s your job to protect your virginity, etc.

        But no one ever addressed our desire, so it became man-centered. And in a long-term relationship, sex has to be about your own self- your desire, your needs, your stress relief, your sense of your body, your pleasure – or it’s going to fade.

        • @Joanna Schroeder: “women are disconnected from their sexuality”

          I SO agree with you!
          I knew lots of women who were disconnected from their own desire and bodies. Their mind was telling them all the stuff women are taught*, hence they didn’t allow their sexual feelings.
          So they could be sex- and touch-starved, but not being able to acknowledge it.

          And of course is NOT biology; it’s not like the body shuts down (as a matter of fact, the sexual peak for a woman seems around 35-50 years old).
          The body works and does his stuff, but when the mind is controlling, the body is not heard.

          * I think women are taught sex for them should always be a consequence of something else: love for a man, desire for a baby, making the man happy, etc. And outside of those conditions, sex is bad or dirty or immoral or wrong…
          Sex is never taught as something that has value in itself, for the sake of it, for the pure pleasure and wellbeing it can create. Women aren’t told they can be “sexual creatures” and it’s ok; so they somehow “cut off” a part of themselves.
          For these women, wanting sex for the sake of it, the desire itself, looks wrong and they feel “dirty” about it; a “whore”. Yes, it’s the old virgin/whore dichotomy again.

          This is a sort of brainwashing. This “hypnosis” creates a deep disconnection between men and women, and both suffer because of it.

        • There’s something to the idea that women don’t really have as many messages about being sexy once they’re married and have children. If pop culture is any indication, there are very few women in movies or on TV who are married and have children and are having great sex with their husbands. Maybe having sex with other men, but never within a marriage. (Same with men – not a lot of steamy sex scenes between married people either way.) In fact, you are probably more likely to see a love scene between two people who are married to OTHER people than see sweet lovin’ between people married to each other. I do quite a bit of bookstore browsing, and it’s the same with novels, especially romance novels. If there’s hot sex and marriage involved, the book and the sex usually ends with the wedding.

          It’s very telling that even when we fantasize about what could be, even when we can make characters do anything we want them to, they still don’t get to have sex once they’re married!

        • Sorry to sound crude, but if this is the virgin/whore dichotomy, why does the virgin always win? Why can’t marriage unleash the whore part? Why does ‘whore’ get such a bad rap, anyway? Surely if you’re married you can dispense with the whole virgin thing. So that just leaves the whore part. C’mon, at least gimme a 60-40 whore/virgin split.

          It’s always seemed silly to me to uphold virginity as some sort of ideal. Who wants to be with someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing? A heaven where you get 70 virgins doesn’t sound all that appealing to me, frankly, and it’s probably even less appealing to women. Let me be with someone who enjoys it and knows what she’s doing. Voltaire said that honoring virginity is like celebrating ignorance at the expense of knowledge.

          • Valter Viglietti says:

            @That Guy: “Why can’t marriage unleash the whore part?”

            AFAIK, sometimes it happens.
            But you seem to misunderstand the “virgin” part: it’s not much about the hymen (or the lack of it), it’s about being virginal and “pure”, i.e. not hot, passionate and horny.
            Hence, a married “virgin” (in a psychological sense) still feels the need to behave “virginally”, i.e. prudish and constrained. Otherwise she’ll be afraid of becoming (or being judged) a “slut” (oh! The horror! :mrgreen: ).
            For many people, a “slut” is a kind of pariah, a leper, an awful being. No surprise many women can’t stand the pressure.

            Silly? In the utmost way.
            Yet this mindset is still widespread, even among liberal people. We are somehow brainwashed in it. After all, it’s been in force for millennia.

        • NickMostly says:

          That sounds like a plausible enough narrative, but I suspect that’s true for only a handful of relationships. But I’ve always understood the virgin/whore dichotomy to be a frame through which men saw women. If that narrative were true, we would expect to see sex drop off shortly after the rings were exchanged, and that does happen in some cases. In other cases we have the sex dying when the kids are born, not through exhaustion so much as through shifting one’s identity from “partner” to “parent.” Ayelet Waldman speaks to this in her controversial essay about loving her husband more than her children. But in many more stories that I’ve read (and there are thousands of them in the “I Live in a Sexless Marriage” group on The Experience Project) it’s often a steady descent into infrequent sex. This happens with or without kids and happens to both men and women.

          I wonder how many people would still make that monogamous commitment if they thought the odds likely that “forsaking all others” might later be amended to “and forsaking each other too.” Would we still role the dice if there was a good chance that what now happens once a day might in a few years become once a month? Dan Savage posed the question of monogamy in a way that exposes the paradox of sexlessness in relationships: why is it so important that we not do something that’s not important in the relationship? “I don’t want to have sex with you, and I don’t want you having sex with anyone else” is logically equivalent to “I don’t want you having sex” even though it’s awful to think of it that way.

          If your relationship is important to you, and sex is important to your partner, why not prioritize it? Why not say, “okay, but I’m going to need your help folding the laundry afterward.” I think we need to tell ourselves it’s not important because to admit that it is when we’re not having it, particularly if we’re the one doing the bulk of the refusing, is to admit to ourselves that there is something that threatens our bond that is partly of our own making. And so instead of trying to find ways that our partner can be sexually fulfilled, whether that be through partnered masturbation (what Savage calls “the loving assist”), through prioritizing sex, or through negotiated non-monogamy, we instead allow our insecurities to dictate the shape that sexuality takes in our relationships. Instead of owning those insecurities and taking responsibility for our mental health, we externalize that responsibility upon our partners and elevate our need to feel “secure” above their need to be sexually fulfilled in a monogamous relationship. And in so doing we lose sight of what it means to be a partner, and what it means to be there for each other.

          • Valter Viglietti says:

            NickMostly, you made several good points. I think we can say meany people enter a relationship with much good will, little awareness, and some hidden agenda.

            The “I don’t want to have sex with you, and I don’t want you having sex with anyone else” can be translated into “I want to possess your body and especially genitalia, even if I’m not interested in them. It’s my property anyway”. :(

            And yes, most people prefers feeling “secure” over happiness. That explains possession, jealousy and holding onto stale relationships. It’s often egoism masked as love.

      • This really sounds like women are far more complicated/picky/choosey/expect too much than men…Are women trained from birth to be more worried about the house being messy than having some funtimes with the hubby? Or is there something in biology, a nesting instinct that is causing issues?

        Turning down your partner for sex because the house is dirty sounds like a very lame excuse, what’s worrying is that it seems to be genuinely an issue. The housework can wait, why get all caught up n flustered over it when you could engage in an activity that releases stress and helps bond couples? I’m not saying you should drop everything to service HIS needs, I’m wondering why everything can’t be dropped to have some passion and refuel the happiness levels? Given the choice between cleaning a dirty house, or having sex….I’ll choose the sex, and clean later. If the house is that messy…have sex in the shower:P

        I find it deeply troubling that people allow life’s bullshit to interfere with their love life, sex, etc. Unless you have to goto work, or have some obligation…HOUSEWORK CAN WAIT.

        • Interestingly it’s me that has most of the household responsibilities, yet it still effects my wife. There seems to be a female gender role linked issue with no fun sexy time till the household chores are squared away….almost a guilt issue……yet other types of fun/diversions are not affected the same way. The living room not being straightened might put my wife off sex…..yet facebook/games are fine for an hour…..it makes me go argh…..it seems so twisted from a male perspective.

        • @Julie Gillis: “It’s one thing if it’s two people, no kids and a messy house”

          Yep. That’s why, more often than not, (having) children are “killing” romance and sex (or, at least, putting them in peril).
          Ironically, sex brings kids into the couple, and then kids bring the sex out of the couple. :lol:

          Maybe that’s Nature’s way. No need for sex after you had kids, the survival of the species has been assured. :roll:
          Alas, Nature doesn’t seem to care much about our happiness; that’s OUR business, not hers.

        • I guess there are a lot of dynamics at play there. If there is free time and only a bit of house cleaning is needed, I’d be wondering wtf if I got rejected. If my partners standard was that which I found extreme, say vacuuming 2-3 times a week where cleaning becomes a much larger issue than it need be…I’d be going wtf.

          My question is…why is a woman’s version of sex different to a man’s? Biological difference? environmental/how they were raised?

          I understand that when the time is really constricted such as with kids it can become a major problem, I should probably have made it more clear I meant more in terms of having the time available for sex and the house duties. Although I did grow up in a house where both mum and dad did fairly equal shares of housework, and I do quite a lot myself so I find it strange that women still are pushed to be doing the housework more than the men, although I’d say men would be pushed to do the outside “breadwinning” as well which should be tiring them out and stressing them.

          Maybe there are biological differences where men can have sex when stressed more often than women can? If I am stressed I’ll be up for sex because I know it calms me, is this more common in men?

          Middle ground is very much needed, and….I really don’t want kids until we have robot servants that can do the house-work:P

        • Whoever gets the housework done first gets the first orgasm?

          Sounds like a great idea in principle, but in practice that would rarely work. I would love to get out of doing housework and then give my partner an orgasm before I get one. Sounds like an ideal arrangement to me…. After doing all the housework, she would not be interested in sex no matter who came first.

          Of course, as a way to inspire men to do housework it does sound appealing. I am extremely skeptical it would work over the long term that way, either. I can see many women saying, “you think I owe you an orgasm just because you did a little laundry? What a pig I married….”

  11. wellokaythen says:

    Women and men may “want sex” the same amount, but that tends to express itself in different ways, in my very limited experience. Women seem to have more prerequisites for being ready and willing to have sex, and their arousal seems less durable than a man’s arousal. Men seem to be much more quickly “ready to go” and more difficult to turn off. A lot of men have heard a woman say, “I can’t believe you still want to have sex after what just happened!” I suspect that’s much more common than for a man to say that to a woman. There must be far more women than men who can’t have sex if the house is dirty or if they had a bad day at the office.

    None of this means that men want sex more than women, exactly, but to many men it looks like women arrive at sex from further away, or have to go through more obstacles to get there. If it’s easier for one person to be in the mood than the other, then it sure looks like one wants it more than the other.

    I can’t tell how much is nature and how much is culture, and I know I’m repeating stereotypes, but there really does seem to be some fundamental, general differences. Maybe the point is that men and women want it the same but some things are being misinterpreted?

    One useful test would be to look at same-sex relationships, to see if male same-sex relationships have as much sex as female same-sex relationships. That’s not the best source of evidence, but it is suggestive. From what I hear, there’s a very common phenomenon called “lesbian bed death” (I think this is Pepper Schwartz’s term), but I’m not aware of any comparable phenomenon among gay men. Is there a “gay bed death”?

  12. Valter Viglietti says:

    @wellokaythen: “I can’t tell how much is nature and how much is culture”
    I agree with most of what you said.The desire can be similar, but they way men get at sex is more straight and direct. It’s almost “Click! Bang!”. ;)
    For many women, it’s more of a tortuous and full of “If…?” way.

    Regarding the nature vs. nurture debate, I think culture plays a role, but part of it is innate. Evolutionary biology explains the most of it.

    @wellokaythen: “One useful test would be to look at same-sex relationships”
    That would be really interesting.
    But then you’d still have individual variety, like different levels of neurochemicals.
    (isn’t it funny that most of our lives are dictated by those pesky tiny molecules? :lol: )

  13. I was worried about the end of masturbation thing when my boyfriend and I moved in together about 6 months ago. But we managed to talk it out and fortunately we were both on the same page (masturbation is not a reflection of unfulfilled sexual needs). I can only assume that women who are uncomfortable with their men masturbating, are women who don’t masturbate.

    However, I will say that it is necessary to not interfere with the couple’s sex life. I tend to want sex everyday, regardless of if I masturbate or not (actually, masturbating seems to make me hornier, is that a woman thing? The more sex/orgasms I have, the more I want), but my boyfriend is basically done for the day if he does it. So it sucks to come home and want to have sex, but he can’t. :(

    Also, can we retire the whole “men are hornier than women” thing? I bought into that stereotype when I first started dating and it really did a number on the relationship, because I assumed he was hornier than I was. Which he is not. So I would take it personally when he didn’t want to have sex and we were having sex so much that he was worried it was just a physical relationship. That stereotype is really hurtful to both genders and can create a lot of problems. How about we go with, “some people are hornier than others, find a partner that matches your libido.”

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      Artemis, I’m glad about your sex drive (I’d like all women were like you ;) ) but you can’t assume yourself as the standard.
      Through all the studies, people feedback and my (extensive) research, it’s just the average truth that “men are hornier than women” – on average. That means some men is less horny than average, and some women are more (like you). We should never forget statistics talk about people at large, not single individuals.

      @Artemis: “find a partner that matches your libido.”
      That’s excellent advice! :D

      • I can agree with the average statistics, I am not saying I am the standard, but the whole “men are hornier than women” is a trope that pops up again and again. For it to be reinforced as a stereotype so frequently just does damage to the outliers, the ones who are above or below average.

        Also, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like all women to be like me. :/ A high sex drive is just as frustrating as a low sex drive in a partner.

        • Valter Viglietti says:

          @Artemis: “the whole “men are hornier than women” is a trope that pops up again and again.”
          People should rememeber that statistics describe an average, not an absolute. :!:
          If I read “Men are taller than women”, of course it doesn’t deny some tall women or short men.
          Is the fault in the statistics, or in the people not smart enough to get the difference? ;)

          I would like for women to be like you because, having myself a high sex drive, it would be easier finding partners with a libido like mine. :)
          Besides, there would be much less men around, complaining they can’t get enough sex. 8)

          • Well, normally when it is presented, it isn’t like, “Statistically, I have this chart here, and oh look, men want sex 3 times a day and women want it 3 times a week, on average,” it’s just this all-pervasive stereotype that shows up in humor, tv, advertising, whatever, as men want sex all the time, and the only thing keeping them from getting sex all the time, are their lame gfs/wives who are never horny!

            So maybe we should pay less attention to the average and more to the variety within and across genders.

            So honestly, yeah, maybe people aren’t smart enough to get the difference, because it is rarely presented as statistics and these are things that you pick up on pretty young.

            On a sidenote, I read a whole bunch of articles for a class today on hormones, and thought of this discussion. It seems likely that men’s libido probably remains fairly constant through adulthood (I imagine it tapers off in old age), while women’s are more prone to fluctuation. If libido is affected by hormones, women have more fluctuations in hormones, whether it be from ovulation, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, menopause, or what have you. So I could see that translating into generally less horny, because they would be more likely to go through peaks of high sex drive followed by low sex drives. Just a theory, I would actually need to see if there have been any studies on that.

            • Valter Viglietti says:

              @Artemis: “So maybe we should pay less attention to the average and more to the variety”
              Yes, but averages and generalizations are often useful, and more practical (you can’t pinpoint differences all the time). It all depends on the skill and brain of who’s using them.

              @Artemis: “men’s libido probably remains fairly constant through adulthood”
              AFAIK, it begins to lessen around 40.

              @Artemis: “If libido is affected by hormones”
              IT IS! :lol:
              I wonder why your “if”. I don’t think it can be doubted. Hormones and neurochemicals move us like “puppet strings”.

              A woman scientist once took artificial testosterone for a while, because she was curious about that “mythical” male sex drive, and she discovered she felt horny all the time! :o
              She constantly thought about sex!
              She concluded “Now I understand all those tales about man’s lust”. :)

            • “AFAIK, it begins to lessen around 40.” Good to know, I wasn’t sure about that.

              I said “if” because at least with women, there seems to be little consensus of exactly how hormones affect sex drive. Testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen all interact, so it is a bit difficult to see the actual impacts.

              Also, what is considered a high sex drive for men and women?

            • Valter Viglietti says:

              In my little knowledge about women, I saw there are vast differences.
              Take just menopause: for some it arrives before forty, for some at over fifty. And they have several hormones going on, and different cycles… so it’s much more complex than men.

              Regarding “high sex drive”, I can’t say; I distrust “lifestyle recipes”. ;)
              Besides, it’s all relative (age, culture, etc.).
              More than frequency, maybe it’s about intensity and craving.

              Talking about me, at 50 I’d still like having sex every day. Until 40, even more than once a day would have been great, with the right partner.

            • right, I understand, but you were referring to averages and such, so are there actually statistics? (I’m not being an ass or anything, I would just be really interested in studies on that)

            • Valter Viglietti says:

              I think there are studies, but I have no references handy.
              As usual, Google is your friend. 8)

  14. Leroy Joseph says:

    My wife and I have been together 13 years and we both masturbate; her once in a while and me maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Nothing to be ashamed off. I still have a very strong sex drive and my wife has back problems, so though we do have great sex, we can’t do it as often as we would like. Sometimes she will satisfy me orally as that is easier on her back. Often I will masturbate lying beside her and she will encourage me or let me look at her naked body. We love each other dearly and have had to find a balance of sexual activities that works for us (she is 50, I am 57). We are both very conscious of fulfilling each others needs to the best of our ability. We know we will stay married until death takes one of us.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      Joseph, your comment is tender and loving, thank you.
      It’s uncommon finding such sweetness when talking about masturbation.
      I admire the two of you; best wishes to both.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Leroy, this is awesome. Healthy sexuality isn’t measured just by how many times penises meet vaginas, it is best measured by the physical and emotional satisfaction of the people involved. I really appreciate you offering an alternate view of what we see as “married sex” in our society. Wishing you and your wife a lifetime of satisfaction and happiness.

  15. Thanks Leroy!

    My wife and I have a similar balance for different reasons. We are 31 and 34. I’m glad to see it is a sustainable option!

  16. Just because a man masturbates doesn’t mean his partner isn’t good for him. I think she should just ask him directly if he is sexually satisfied if she is truly concerned about his sexual needs. If you live with him and are having sex but can’t talk about it then it will lead to problems. A woman nor a man should feel insecure about a partner masturbating unless sex is being replaced by masturbation. I would masturbate more if it didn’t take so long. In this area I do have penis envy. Still I would never trade off my vagina just to be able to swab lotion over my member to get relief in five-ten minutes. I have always wondered if porn is shorter because men come quicker or if men come quicker because porn is shorter. Anyways, masturbation is completely healthy and I hate how men are seen as perverted or excessively horny if they masturbate. Biologically they have to unload their gun for prostate health. Really he is doing a self check up. Way not make it fun and ask him to masturbate in front of you. The role reversal is a turn on and men surprisingly feel pleasantly aroused not because it is perverse or taboo but because his partner accepts his sexuality.

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