“I caught him watching porn.” It is one of those phrases that still comes out in groups of friends as if the couple “caught in flagrante” were committing some type of criminal act. But it is a phrase that has ceased to have an exclusively masculine connotation, if one takes into account that more and more women consume pornography: according to the leading online pornography website, Pornhub, the proportion of female visitors grew by 29% in 2018. In addition, it is clear that everyone, who else and who less, seeks their moments of self-pleasure, a habit that seems to be more or less accepted when one is single but not when he has a partner, especially when living with her. Everyone can happily say that he goes to the bathroom to relieve himself, but few people openly confess that they are going to masturbate.
There is a sexuality of its own and another that is shared
The underlying problem, according to sexologist Alberto Álamo, is that we still believe that “masturbation is a substitute for an erotic relationship with another person.” But masturbating, in spite of what one may believe, does not mean that one is dissatisfied with his or her Sex life as a couple.” In fact, there are two issues that have no relationship, since masturbating can serve to de-stress, get better sleep or simply be the result of a person who wants to.
This way of thinking makes us perceive that sexuality, once you have a partner, is something that you have to share completely, which, according to sex coach Raquel Gargallo, should not be like that. “Not all of a person’s sexuality is the private property of their partner,” he says. If this is not understood, they end up giving illogical situations as “many couples understand that the other person have erotic fantasies, but not masturbate with such fantasies,” especially if they include other people. The expert clarifies that the only real thing is that “it is true that there is an individual and private responsibility of each one with his sexual life”, but that feeding individual pleasure should not be seen as a betrayal, but as another way of “favoring and nurturing the relationship”.
But if the matter is so clear, why is it usual for couples to “hide” when masturbating to avoid giving explanations, or even to avoid arguments? Surely there is still guilt and continue to be hidden because of that belief that if you masturbate is because you are not having the number or quality of relationships you want, and that can disturb the couple,” says Alamo. “There is still too much taboo about masturbation to normalize it and include it as something natural within a couple’s relationship,” he adds.
A stronger taboo among women
“Sometimes I feel like masturbating more than having sex with my partner, even though he is at home, it’s not that I do not like sex with him, I really love it, it‘s just that sometimes I need a moment of mime and relaxation to me alone, and I prefer to take a moment to use my favorite erotic toy because it is easier for me to concentrate, other times what I need is to connect with it, they are different needs, “explains Julia, 35, who admits that this is a thought that rarely shares because not everyone understands
In fact, if masturbation as a couple is a taboo in general, in the case of women it is even more so. Thus, in many comedies we can see scenes in which there is a funny moment when the boyfriend is caught watching porn or is in his internet history. However, seldom is she the one who masturbates secretly, although perhaps this situation can be seen more now, after the phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Gray and the rise of erotic literature, which have also brought a new perspective on autoerotism in the women.
In this regard, also sexologist Veronica Vivero argues that “we continue to think that man has a greater desire or need frequency of erotic contacts and this is a false belief, not so much gender, but inter-individual issues.” The same goes for erotic toys. It is true that many men feel replaced by them and even feel insecure before the dildos with the shape of a penis – that they do not pretend to “comfort”, but to contribute different experiences, so their use can further inhibit their female partner.
Given this type of dilemma, Vivero insists that “just as we understand that a couple does not have to do everything together and that there are individual plots, as far as sexuality is concerned, we could say that there is a shared part with the other, but we still have our individual sphere”, both men and women.
What if masturbation also gives pleasure to another?
More than seeing the masturbation of the other as a problem, it should be a recommendation for all couples, since it may involve some benefits. Without going any further, not having to argue because you do not feel like at the same time or because you have more or less desire than the other. “If we masturbate alone and, also, we have erotic relationships with our partner, we will enjoy a lot of diversity in our pleasure and that helps to avoid falling into the routine,” says Alberto Alamo, who recommends autoerotism as a remedy for avoid monotony in long relationships.
In the same line, Vivero insists that masturbating alone helps to have sex more pleasant with the couple. “It improves the quality of our orgasms, since, the greater the activity, the greater the genital toning and, therefore, the greater strength in these orgasmic contractions, which produces a more intense orgasm”. Also, other possible benefits are that you can practice new games individually, to see if we like them or not, before proposing them to the couple. “The greater self-knowledge of our bodies and their pleasure makes us gain greater security and we know better what we like or not, and, therefore, we can communicate it to the other and put it into practice, so that shared contacts will also gain in quality”, concludes Vivero.