Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week: What to do when you’re a little weirded out by your partner’s “personal time.” Have your own questions? Email email@example.com
Dear Scary Mommy,
I didn’t realize how often my husband was masturbating until we were trapped in the house together 24/7. We have an active (I think) sex life and have sex 2-3 times per week on average. I just think it’s weird that he masturbates every day! Like I’ve walked in on him a few times, and it made me so uncomfortable and a little creeped out. I finally asked him how often he typically does this, and if it was a new thing. It’s not a new thing, and he said “pretty much every day.” He knows I’m weirded out, but he says he’s not gonna touch himself less to make me comfortable. I can’t pinpoint why I’m uncomfortable (I don’t self-pleasure often), but it’s not really jealousy I’m feeling. Is this normal behavior for a married man? I would assume he normally looks at porn or something while he’s doing this. Is that normal? I need another POV and I’m too embarrassed to ask my friends.
Funny what we notice when we’re crammed up one another’s asscracks for nearly a year, isn’t it? And in your case, you’ve found out something that’s usually kept (let’s hope, anyway) private.
But that’s the thing — this probably isn’t a new habit. It’s likely been going on all the time, and you were perfectly happy with him before you knew. Your sex life, you say, is active. So if your dude wants to, ahem, indulge himself once in a while (or each day), and it isn’t affecting your intimacy, you should consider letting it slide. As long as he washes his hands.
According to the Journal of American Medicine, nearly 50% of men reported that they masturbate at least twice a week. Masturbation, the Journal says, is “an enduring component of sexuality.” And as the mother of four boys myself, I can attest — from the time they can wrap their little fingers around it, they do. From childhood, we are curious about what feels good to us, and masturbation allows us to take our sexual pleasure in our own hands … literally.
Individual sex drives vary; what seems like an excessive amount of masturbation to you is just someone else’s baseline, and that’s fine. It just isn’t something that’s widely shared due to the unfair stigma around touching ourselves, which is probably why you feel uncomfortable with it in the first place. It’s not that your husband is doing anything “creepy,” it’s just that the messages you’ve received all your life about masturbation was that it is a shameful thing — or at least not something to discuss.
Now, it would be a different story if, say, your husband refused to have sex with your because he favored porn over actual intimacy. Or if his big-O obsession was interfering with his daily life in a detrimental way, and he was missing appointments and deadlines and social gatherings in favor of spanking it. But from what it sounds like in your letter, what we have here is a classic case of two people with different sex drives, and your husband is simply satisfying his in a very harmless, very natural way.
Psychology Today says that masturbation is an integral part of sexual health. So you can think of your husband’s habits as a proactive measure in taking care of himself. In that light, popping a boner is not much different than popping a multivitamin, amiright?