Can masturbation be a healthy outlet when the other spouse is unwilling?

Can masturbation be a healthy outlet when the other spouse is unwilling? October 14, 2009

Assuming that both spouses are aware and approving of the practice, and that thoughts are directed towards the spouse (like past sexual encounters with spouse) what do you think of the idea that, FOR MARRIED MEN OR MARRIED WOMEN, masturbation can be a healthy outlet when the other spouse is just not willing or interested (in my case 30+years) in participating or improving their overall sexual intimacy with spouse?

Now a thought on this next response:

“If you and your husband feel comfortable about the fact that your self-stimulating is increasing your libido, that it is done in a way that increases your intimacy and that your fantasy thoughts are focused on your spouse, then this decision is really up to the two of you. Put trust in yourself and in your husband.”

This is great council! I agree with 100%. However, I worry for the near future. What if the husband never gets it? What if his libido never awakens? Then we have a very frustrated wife who has awakened a very special part of herself with no where to go except more self-stimulation. I feel that it would be appropriate for her to continue to take care of herself and her own needs rather than just suppress them. I applaud this lady and am grateful to know there are some women actually interested in this very special part of the human experience. Sadly, there are multitudes of very active LDS couples living parallel lives and staying very busy in an effort to ignore this aspect of human intimacy.

Other than procreation, sex has the primary purpose of increasing physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy within a spousal relationship. Therefore, the concerns I have regarding solo masturbation have to do with the following issues:

  • When masturbation practice is kept secret from the spouse. This tends to heighten dishonesty and anxiety within the relationship, both of which do little to increase overall intimacy.
  • When masturbation is coupled with pornography use (again, especially if the spouse is unaware).
  • When masturbation practices become addictive (i.e. recurring thoughts of wanting to masturbate throughout the day, masturbating several times a day, desire to be sexually with spouse is diminished, etc.).
  • When masturbation becomes the “easy out.” In other words, when one or both spouses find little to no desire to work on their sexual relationship as a couple and come to rely on masturbation only to fulfill personal needs. This then clearly communicates a “giving up” process towards mutual enjoyable sex that the couple may find difficult to recover from. I would prefer a couple to use solo masturbation as a temporary fix that both have an expectation will eventually not be necessary. I would also prefer to see couples using masturbation with each other as an exploratory, learning, and/or creative tool.

With all this being said, it is still up to the couple to decide what is best for them and what they mutually agree to. Where sex is concerned there needs to be a balancing act between our personal needs and the needs of our spouse. Just like in most aspects of marriage, compromise and communication are paramount for success. At times personal needs may need to be put on hold for the overall goals and direction of the entire system. More than likely, not all of our needs will be met in this relationship we call marriage – and most definitely not all at the same time. The goal is for both husband and wife to get as close as we can to a mutually satisfying physical and emotional relationship. This is best accomplished through the ability to give of oneself. When both are willing to do this, the sky is the limit. I realize that not always are both willing. When this is the case, it is an individual decision as to how the problems will or should be handled. I agree that many couples live together in parallel realities rather than conjoined. Hopefully, through education and sites like this, more couples will be enabled and willing to challenge their status quo and move forward to a more positive and enjoyable existence.

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