Sex Talk

Is it normal for a person in a relationship to masturbate?

Q from a male, First Year student from St. Bonaventure wants to know....Is it normal for a person in a relationship to masturbate?

Dr. Caron's Answer: Yes. Masturbation seems to be one of the most widely practiced and least talked about sexual behaviors. And it isn’t just “beginner’s sex” that kids do until they’re ready for the “real thing.” Men and women, boys and girls, people with a regular partner and those who are single, heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals, all masturbate. While some may believe that single adults are more likely to masturbate, the 1994 Sex in America survey found that adults with a partner are more likely to masturbate than those who did not have a partner. The researchers concluded that masturbation is “not an outlet so much as a component of a sexually active lifestyle.” Some people worry that if their partner masturbates, there must be something wrong with their relationship. However, there appears to be no relationship between frequency of masturbation and frequency of sex with one’s partner. If fact, some studies have found that married people who masturbate have greater relationship and sexual satisfaction than those who do not.

© 2008, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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