I’ve been single for exactly a year now. Being a sex writer, one would think that I am out getting some nookie every night of the week. Alas, that isn’t so. For the most part, unless I’m really physically into the guy/gal, sex just seems like way more effort than it’s worth. A few months after my breakup, my sex drive ramped up to crazy proportions. I was horny level 10. Cue months of sub-par sexual experiences followed by reality-driven disappointment setting in. These days I’d rather masturbate – explore my sexual side, alone. At most I will make out with a man, and will only take him home if the stars align and all falls into place. If not, I head home and masturbate.

I get it, if you’re single…

I’ve had a few female friends complain that their significant others masturbate – even though they are *gasp* in a serious relationship. The most often complaint was, “Why masturbate when he has me?” Occasionally I would get this complaint from my male friends too. I get that seeing or catching your significant other self-pleasuring when you’re ready and willing might feel like you’re being rejected, and rejection feels painful. When I was in my very serious relationship, we would masturbate separately (and together) as well. Occasionally I would notice him masturbating in bed when he thought I was asleep and feel a little hurt because he had said no to sex earlier in the night.

So why do people choose masturbation over having sex?

First of all, there seems to be an inaccurate belief in some people that we only masturbate because real sex isn’t available to us. Once real sex is available, then masturbation should stop. In fact, they can’t understand why anyone would choose masturbation over relationship sex.

There are many reasons why people might choose to masturbate over having sex. There is no one reason that will explain why people in relationships masturbate; however the reasoning that one must pick either masturbation or sex stems from an inaccurate belief about sex and masturbation. While the two aren’t the same thing, they can compliment each other instead of taking away from the experience.

And the reasons are…

When my ex and I talked about why we would masturbate separately, the most common reason was because we wanted a quick release and we were lazy. Yep. Laziness trumps everything it would seem. But after a quick unofficial poll, here are some reasons why others do it:

    1. It’s quick and easy.
    2. So I can focus on myself, and not have to worry about the partner’s needs.
    3. I can’t sleep.
    4. I’m bored.
    5. I had 5 minutes to spare.
    6. Because I wanted to do it and I like it.
    7. Because she was on her period.
    8. Because my partner didn’t want sex.
    9. Wife just gave birth.
    10. Just want an orgasm, without fuss.
    11. Partner is sick.
    12. So I am satisfied when I’m away.
    13. It’s fun.

So as you can see, the reasons are numerous, and there are many more that I didn’t list here. The thing is, masturbation is a solo act that lets you focus on yourself. Relationship sex, as its name suggest, requires the cooperation of someone else, and demands that you also focus on the other person as much as yourself.

Sometimes you just want to get off.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get off by yourself. If your partner masturbates, this doesn’t mean that he/she doesn’t love you, isn’t attracted to you anymore, is cheating on you, etc. Stopping someone from self-pleasure because you falsely believe by doing this they will choose to have sex with you instead will only damage a relationship and cause the person to start hiding things from you. Also, just because you have banned masturbation doesn’t mean that the partner will now choose to have sex with you.

All sex doesn’t have to be a mind blowing, hours long affair. Sometimes people just want to quietly get off and go on with their day. If you do find that your partner masturbates without you, and that offends or scares you in some way, I would suggest to approach the situation with curiosity and a need to understand rather than taking the easy way out and banning it outright. Masturbation is not something to be feared!