Wake Up or
Break Up

Do Married and Committed Couples Still have Solo Sessions?

One of the controversies I often discuss with couples and individuals in counseling is whether masturbation helps or hurts a long-term partnership. Before I pass along a few suggestions from successful couples in my counseling practice, let me first ask you what's been your lived experience on this issue:

  • Have you ever felt guilty or uncomfortable for taking matters into your own hands and not telling your partner?
  • Have you ever felt resentful toward your partner because you or your partner felt the need to masturbate rather than having sex together?
  • Have you ever discussed the possibility of masturbating with your partner's verbal encouragement or actual physical assistance on nights when one of you is too tired or not in the mood for sex?
  • Have you ever argued with each other about whether one or both of you is masturbating too much, or is addicted to porn or Internet sites?

While very few couples talk openly about their solo sexual moments, in fact a non-attacking conversation about the presence orabsence of masturbation can have a major impact on the success or failure of your relationship.

Here's what I mean:

1) Men who masturbate only on the nights when their partner is not in the mood tend to be more patient, loving and resilient than men who refuse to masturbate and turn each sexual turn-down into a whining plea or an angry battle.

Many women find it to be a relief to know that their husband can take care of his own business on nights when she's tired or stressed.

2) Women who masturbate at least once or twice a month tend to learn a lot about what they enjoy in lovemaking and are better able to teach their partner what brings them to a great orgasm.

If a man wants to be a caring lover, he should listen closely when his wife or partner describes what pillows, vibrators, bath faucets, finger motions, or other methods give her the most wonderful pleasures.

3) Men who are addicted to porn or who actually prefer the predictability of masturbation to the complexity and riskiness of making love with a real-life partner tend to create a lot of arguments and emotional distance in their relationships. I strongly recommend that if you and your partner have been clashing about porn because of religious values or a sense that porn is getting the way of real intimacy, you may need to try a 7 day or 30 day sabbatical from porn to revive your interest in real human-to-human contact.

4) Many healthy couples utilize masturbation as a way of increasing the closeness and intimacy of their relationship. For example, in my book Wake Up or Break Up: The 8 Crucial Steps to Strengthening Your Relationship, I describe a real-life example of a couple where the husband takes the pressure off his wife by masturbating on nights when she is too tired and she gets to enjoy watching him and embracing him afterward.

I also describe a real-life example of a couple where the wife unwinds after stressful days by masturbating in the bathtub that has been lovingly prepared by her husband who also gives her a relaxing neck rub before letting her have thirty minutes of private, uninterrupted time for herself.

5) Quite often when one partner is too tired to make love and the other partner offers to do "most of the heavy lifting solo," it turns on the tired partner who then decides to join in the fun. While there is no guarantee that this kind of intimacy will lead to a lovemaking session together, it certainly increases the odds from 0% to close to 50% that both of you will be rolling around in the sheets in a little while.

©2008, Leonard Felder

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Leonard Felder is a licensed psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles. As a popular lecturer and recognized expert on how to improve personal relationships, his books have sold more than 1 million copies. His latest book is Wake Up or Break Up: The 8 Crucial Steps to Strengthening Your Relationship He has appeared on more than 200 teleivsion and radio programs, including Oprah, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, AM Canada, NPR, and ABC Talkradio. He and his wife, Linda, have been together since 1980, and they hare the parents of a 12-year-old son, Steven. E-Mail or www.wakeuporbreakup.com

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