Masturbation is rarely spoken of. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to dive into the topic and highlight several things to be mindful of and some benefits to considering mutual masturbation.
What is mutual masturbation?
Mutual masturbation refers to partners being in the same space while pleasuring themselves. It only includes pleasuring yourself, not pleasuring your partner, and it's done next to your partner while they are also pleasuring themselves. It's a bonding activity rarely done in relationships.
Mutual Masturbation | Top 5 Benefits!
Building sexual safety is a big topic for couples for a variety of factors. One reason is when a partner has a history of sexual trauma and direct sexual contact feels too threatening. Therefore, mutual masturbation may be a stepping stone to experience sexual activity together with the safety of only touching yourself. Another reason it may build safety is when a partner struggles with performance anxiety. Pleasuring themselves next to their partner can be a way for them to become more comfortable with sexual activity without feeling like they need to perform.
Another advantage to mutual masturbation is it builds variety into your sexual repertoire. It's easy for things to become predictable and boring in the bedroom and for heterosexual couples to become too penetration focused rather than clitoral focused. Therefore, mutual masturbation can be a nice addition to the variety of things to choose from for sexual activity.
Another reason to try mutual masturbation is it creates a shared experience. Both of you pleasuring yourself and reaching climax at roughly the same time can be extremely bonding. The more couples do any type of shared activity together the more bonded they tend to feel, especially if it's sexual activity.
A fourth reason to try mutual masturbation is it increases the level of vulnerability in your relationship. Pleasuring yourself is a highly personal activity that usually no one else has ever witnessed. Therefore, allowing your partner to witness it and all of your breathing, movements, and sounds that come with it can be quite vulnerable and subsequently bonding.
5-Teaches you how to touch your partner
The final benefit to mutual masturbation is it shows you how your partner likes to be touched. It allows you to study them to see how they touch their body, what type of motion they use, how much pressure they apply, etc. This is vital information to learn so you can implement it the next time you touch their body.
Many couples wonder if solo masturbation is OK within marriage. Some couples are open to it and some are completely against it. My perspective is masturbation should be allowed in marriage as long as it's supplemental and not instrumental. Let's imagine your partner just had a baby and is unable to have sex for awhile. Masturbation can be supplemental here. Let's imagine your partner is really sick and is unable to be sexually active. Masturbation can be supplemental here. Let's imagine you're the high libido partner and you want sexual contact more often than your partner. Masturbation can be supplemental here. So, there's a time and place where masturbation should be allowed because it's supplemental. However, there's also some cautions to consider.
First, don't replace sexual activity with your partner with masturbation because then it becomes instrumental instead of supplemental. This can happen if you start feeling like sex with your partner is too difficult or complicated so instead of working through those issues you take a short cut and masturbate. Now you're replacing sexual activity with your partner with masturbation and that's a problem because part of having a healthy marriage is having regular sexual contact. Also, when you avoid sex with your partner and masturbate instead, it doesn't consider your partner's sexual needs.
Second, don't replace your partner emotionally with masturbation. High libido partners sometimes fall into the pattern of turning to masturbation to cope with all sorts of emotions. They're stressed, they masturbate. They're depressed, they masturbate. They're anxious, they masturbate. They turn to masturbation as a way to express or relieve their emotions. This is a problem because a healthy marriage includes emotional intimacy where both partners are turning toward one another for comfort and connection. Therefore, if you are turning to masturbation instead then it deprives your marriage of emotional intimacy. Remember, emotional intimacy is cultivated not just by listening to your partner's highs and lows but also sharing yours.
Third, don't fantasize about anyone beyond your partner while masturbating. It's human nature to find other people sexually attractive, whether it's the good looking clerk at the grocery store, the attractive person standing in line at the post office, or the handsome individual sitting in front of you during yoga class. It's OK to find other people attractive. It's involuntary. Finding other people attractive doesn't turn off just because you get married. However, you want to avoid thinking about other attractive people beyond your partner while masturbating. Therefore, while masturbating intentionally focus on your partner and if another person pops into your mind redirect your thoughts back to your partner. This is mental fidelity, which is honoring toward your partner and it ensures you're not fostering feelings toward someone else.
Fourth, don't overdo masturbation. For high libido partners, if you're not careful sex can dominate and become the main thing you think about in the morning, afternoon, and night. Further, libido builds upon libido so the more you masturbate the more you'll want to masturbate. Therefore, be careful masturbation doesn't become a compulsion, where your libido starts to control you rather than you controlling it. A good rule of thumb is don't masturbate more than once every other day. Once every other day tends to be frequent enough to enjoy the supplemental benefits of it without it becoming instrumental.
Fifth, don't hide your masturbation. Talk about it with your partner. What are their thoughts on it? What do they think about keeping it supplemental instead of instrumental? Also, share with them when you masturbate and discuss if it reflects anything in your marriage that needs to be addressed. For example, did you masturbate because you were feeling sexually frustrated with your partner or did you masturbate to cope with your feelings because you don't feel like your partner is emotionally supportive? Talk about the reasons so you can leverage the information to make needed adjustments to your relationship.
In sum, the top things to consider with masturbation is don't use it to replace sexual activity with your partner, don't use it to replace emotional intimacy with your partner, don't fantasize about anyone other than your partner during it, don't overdo it, and don't hide it. Next, remember mutual masturbation can be helpful by building safety, adding variety, creating shared experiences, increasing vulnerability, and teaching you how to touch your partner.
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