What would you do if your significant other masturbated twice a day? Would you be upset? Grossed out? Concerned? Or would you not care? Slate’s “Dear Prudence” heard from a man whose wife was upset by his twice daily masturbation habit and, I have to say, I’m not sure how I feel about her advice. “Illicit Self-Lover” writes:
“I have been married for seven years, but I am still troubled by how to speak openly about masturbation with my spouse. I masturbate pretty much every morning after getting up and every evening before I go to bed, unless I think my wife and I will make love. The problem is that my wife sees my masturbation as a declaration that she does not please me, which is not true. I enjoy our lovemaking, and I’d prefer to make love to her as often as I masturbate; she’s simply not interested in doing it that often. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) Moreover, she complains that I “take too long” and says she would be more willing if I were “normal” and didn’t last so long. My wife also has suggested there is something wrong with me for wanting to make love or masturbate as often as I do. I accept that I’ll never be able to make love to my wife as often as I would like, but how do I convey to her that masturbation is normal and that she shouldn’t see it as evidence that she’s inadequate?”
While I agree that twice a day does seem like a lot, I have to admit I respect the fact that Illicit is taking care of his own needs rather than seemingly pressuring his wife for more sex than she’d like to have. But Prudence disagrees. She writes:
“Masturbation by married people is perfectly normal and not a problem, unless it becomes one. In your case, it’s become one…. Maybe if you make the decision to do something else with your hands (whittling? knitting? flossing?), you’ll find you aren’t so obsessed with your urges. Then masturbation will become a pleasurable thing you do sometimes instead of a twice-daily necessity.”
I didn’t get the impression from Illicit’s letter that masturbation was a “necessity” or that it wasn’t pleasurable — and besides that, can’t sexual release be a pleasurable necessity? Sure, maybe Illicit doesn’t need to answer every boner’s call, but should he give into his wife’s shaming either? I agree with Prudence when she says that Illicit and his wife need to build intimacy outside of the bedroom — and that, in turn, will help with intimacy between the sheets — but can that be done when his wife is making him feel like his sexual proclivities aren’t “normal”? What do you think?