Hey my loves, May is not only Mental Health Month, but also National Masturbation Month! What better way to celebrate than by igniting a conversation about self care?! We’re discussing the taboo act that most individuals privately partake! Enjoy.
When we invest in relationships, we tend to merge our varying lifestyles, personalities, and habits. The nail-biting, snoring artist joins the loud, frugal scholar to form a forceful team of passionate people working towards their version of a happily ever after, right? It gets interesting once we start to consider every tiny detail of another person’s existence. They spend so much time playing 2K! I’m starting to notice when she digs in her nose. I can count the number of times he has gone to the restroom. Intimate moments with ourselves happen a little less frequently once another person is taken into consideration. I remember reading that one of the most shocking experiences a woman had was when she caught her husband masturbating. Imagine that! How do you respond if you “catch” your partner literally with their hand in their pants?
Instances like this pull masturbation out of the self-care shadows into mainstream conversation. It actually inspired me to survey my peers to discover their feelings about their partner’s seeking singular satisfaction. Here are a few initial responses people reported if they walked in on their partner masturbating:
“I won’t even lie, that would turn me on. I’d help them or join in.”
“I don’t want to see my partner doing that, let’s be serious.”
“I’d laugh and walk out.”
“Ask why would you masturbate if you have me?”
For contextual purposes, data was collected via social media and personal contact with a collection of predominantly Black males and females between the ages 21 and 32. Although most of the individuals surveyed identify as heterosexual, at least 40% of the responses came from homosexual people. After reviewing answers, I noted that most people responded by either asking to join or assist, questioning the sexual satisfaction of their relationship, or leaving the area.
Would you like some assistance?
One popular action step after catching your partner masturbating is to immediately ask how or if you can contribute to the successful completion of the task. I noticed that a lot of people responded by saying they would join, but we must remember two things: consent is everything and your partner does not need you for everything; some solo activities are better left as just that. Now that it has been clarified that your companion actually does want assistance, support can come in many forms. Two of my favorite strategies include incorporating sensate focus exercises as foreplay and coaching.
Sensate focus exercises are often used a sex therapy technique to decrease symptoms associated with conditions such as erectile dysfunction, performance anxiety, or vaginismus. In short, the supporting partner would sensually caress their partner’s body without engaging with the genital areas. Partners tend to get aroused by focusing on the feeling of sensual touch. Another strategy that can be used in combination with sensate focus exercises is coaching. I don’t mean giving a motivating pep talk in the locker room, but many of the bases are similar. Coaching a partner through masturbation can present itself in multiple ways, so for time sake I’ll highlight verbal cues. Verbal coaching includes giving a partner direct cues to follow throughout the process. Some cues can include controlling rate or direction, positional guidance, orgasm control, requiring eye contact or verbal engagement. Storytelling is another form of coaching as well.
So why masturbate if you have me?
I noticed that quite a few people would not be pleased if they caught their partner masturbating especially if they were accessible. The feelings of betrayal expressed not only baffled me, but also inspired me to develop follow up questions that help take a deeper look into the instinctive response. Does masturbation feel the same as sex with a partner for you? If they feel different, why create the automatic comparison? Does the desire to masturbate insinuate sexual dissatisfaction or just an urge for self-stimulated pleasure? I presented the possibility of masturbation and partnered sex being treated like clothing options. Sometimes the weather requires shorts, other times it demands pants, and many occasions would accept either. Just because I choose to wear pants today doesn’t mean shorts are useless. The results snowballed into discussions on boundaries, sense of worth, purpose, and even kinks. Varying perspectives were shared leading to some transformative changes in understanding mindfulness and introspection as it relates to sexuality.