Last year, friends of Slutty Girl Problems, TENGA, revealed the fascinating (and surprising!) results of their national study on masturbation. The verdict was in – masturbation isn’t openly discussed nearly enough. We even gave you some fun and easy tips, courtesy of Dr. Chris Donaghue, to kick-start a conversation with your friends, and do your part to bring self-pleasure out of the closet!

But what about talking about masturbation with a partner?

Masturbating while Dating

In some ways, discussing solo sex is easier with someone you know intimately. They already know what you like and the thought of you experiencing pleasure is erotic, not embarrassing. However, it can also be difficult to broach the topic without the potential of uncovering some feelings of inadequacy, or feeling guilty for masturbating when a willing partner is in the picture. TENGA revealed that while 85% of people still masturbate while in a relationship, only 68% present of people are aware their partner still masturbates – talk about the numbers not adding up!

Furthermore, only 41% of people are comfortable talking about masturbation with their partner and 29% of people have gone so far as to lie about it! There is some good news though, 70% of people have openly discussed masturbation with a partner at least once. So why aren’t they comfortable when doing so? Enjoying a solo sex life in addition to our partnered sex life is totally healthy and normal. Not to mention, masturbation can actually make your partnered sex life better! It helps you to learn what you like, and how you might want to be touched by someone else.

Masturbation can also be a huge confidence booster, as it puts pleasure into your own hands, so to speak, in a different way than partnered sex. Dr. Donaghue told SGP,

“There’s a pleasure-phobia. We’re always apologizing for what we do. We always want to excuse it, like we’re supposed to feel bad about it. So there’s something really confidence enhancing about masturbation. Especially if you go out and buy a toy, because then you’re making a statement that you’re prioritizing your pleasure, rather than it just being functional.”

So how do you bring up the topic?

Having a conversation together doesn’t have to be hard. TENGA’s study shows that 90% of people are comfortable with their partner’s masturbation, and 72% think it’s completely natural, so there’s no need to feel guilty for doing it! SGP founder, Lorrae, explains,

“[…] experiencing sex and pleasure is such an integral part of us. So many other species aren’t having sex for pleasure, but we’re kind of blessed that we’re able to. But we’re very disconnected from that.”

How can we move past that disconnection? At the Sexual Health Expo in New York, Dr. Donaghue suggested using mutual masturbation as a way to open up a discussion with your significant other. According to TENGA, 52% of people engage in mutual masturbation. Mutual masturbation is both voyeuristic and exhibitionist and is a great way to get used to the idea of your partner enjoying themselves sexually without you. It’s also an excellent way to have sex with a partner you can’t experience penetrative intercourse with, because of distance, physical ability, or any other reason. You can also try to start a dialogue by asking your partner if they ever think about you while they masturbate. According to TENGA’s study, as many as 52% of people in a relationship think about their current partner as part of a fantasy during self-pleasure, and 34% of men think about specific prior experiences with their current partner when enjoying solo sex.

Masturbation is healthy, it improves partnered sex, and it builds self-esteem – what’s not to love? Talking about self-pleasure with someone you love, or even just someone you’re seeing casually, is a healthy part of your relationship. Your solo sex life should compliment your partnered sex life, rather than threaten it, and there’s no need to shy away from open communication. Spread the word!

You can see all of the fascinating findings from TENGA’s study ­HERE.