masturbation-myth-three

Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D.

Let’s get rid of this hierarchy thing. Both masturbation and intercourse are just fine. Sure, if everyone preferred masturbation so much that they quite having intercourse, the species would be in trouble. But rest assured this is not going to happen. What is true is that there is no such thing as one act being more mature or less mature than the other. We do start masturbation before we have intercourse—some infants are observed in their cribs rubbing against the sheets and enjoying the sensation. But early sexuality doesn’t mean immature sexuality; it’s just part of the training our bodies get about learning how to feel good.

If a man or a woman places masturbation—either alone or as a couple activity—squarely in the center of his or her adult sexual life, it’s perfectly mature. The point is not how you get pleasure, but that you create sexual pleasure in your relationship and learn how to give you partner what he or she needs and wants. As long as no one is hurt, there are no rules about what should happen in bed.

I have heard women say that they feel degraded if their partner masturbates. But that is a product of how they feel about sexuality. It is not a fact, not a shared reality. Why not feel that your partner is sharing his or her innermost needs and fantasies in front of you and inviting you to be part of the turn-on? Or as Cecile says, “My lover likes to watch me touch myself. It is a turn-on for both of us. I can’t really have an orgasm during intercourse, even though I enjoy it and enjoy my partner’s excitement. But that’s no big deal. We have our orgasms separately, and we have the presence of mind to watch each other—and get excited all over again. All this is making love. I don’t know why people make distinctions about what order you do things in—or for that matter, what you do!”

from Everything You Know About Love and Sex Is Wrong: 25 Relationship Myths Redefined to Achieve Happiness and Fulfillment in Your Intimate Life