One of the habits I got into when I was younger was masturbating when the house was empty. If the whole family took off somewhere, that would be my chance. This pattern developed even further when I got older and moved out of the house and had roommates. No People = Help Yourself. I also used masturbation as a simple stress-reliever during hard times; it was a break I could take that I new would help relieve stress and any sexual tension that may have been contributing to that stress.
In part three of this series I wrote that “what we look at before and during ejaculation has a very profound affect on our sexual conditioning...many of us come into marriage with our minds already locked on something else (porn, fantasies, situational conditions).” In my case, my sexual fulfillment had been defined by my situational conditions — at home and alone or stressed out by things in life. (Yes, in a small way, I had trained my brain to get turned on by stress.)
After I got married, I quickly found out that just because our sex life was great and we were having sex frequently did not mean that I suddenly stopped desiring to masturbate when the house happened to be empty. I spent years training my brain to sexually desire that environment, and it did not want to change. I would also get pretty frustrated during stressful times knowing that before marriage, I could just slip into the bathroom and relieve a little bit of that stress. After marriage, however, I forced myself to press through and simply hope that she would be in the mood that night. Though she was always willing, I knew she would not be up for it as often as I wanted it, and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to talk to her, but didn’t know what to say.
What Does Your Wife Know About Your ‘Personal Time’?
I am of the strong belief that there should be no areas off limits between a husband and wife. I believe that the moment I said, “I do” my body became her body, and that she was allowed to say what I did and didn’t do with it.
Doug Weiss compares the idea of “equal ownership” of each other’s sexuality with the illustration of a couple sitting in a restaurant when the husbands announces to his wife, “I’ve decided that 70% of our savings belongs just to me.” The idea is ridiculous; both were saving for the trip to Europe – and both want the trip to Europe – but the husband feels he’s entitled to take a part of what they share for himself and his personal desires.
Imagine that same couple in the same restaurant, Weiss describes, and the husband announces, “From now on, Honey, 30% of my sexual expression belongs just to me.” What does she say? Does she have to convince herself that it’s “normal” to only receive 70% of her husband’s sexuality? If we’re honest with ourselves, insisting on our “right” to masturbate in marriage is saying just that.
Are you honest with yourself and with your wife about your sexuality? Many men think that their wives are fine with it, but they don’t have a single conversation to back up that theory. Doug Weiss writes in his book, Sex, Men, and God:
“You may say that she has never asked you about your masturbation habits; thus you have never lied. Unfortunately, only men think this way. If you never told her, why didn’t you? If you’re really okay with what you’re doing in private, why not tell her? If both of you sit down and agree that it’s okay for you to have a sexual behavior without her, then she should be fine with knowing the truth...
“If this sounds too strange for you to do, then you might have made a sexual decision for yourself that is not mutually agreed upon and is secretive. This can lead to marital and personal problems down the road. If you can’t be honest with your wife about your total sexual expression, then you probably need to evaluate the reason for the ongoing lies to your wife.”
When I finally did get the guts to sit down with my wife and explain to her my sexual frustrations with my desire to masturbate, she expressed that she was still very uncomfortable with me engaging in it, as it made her feel less desirable and more like I wasn’t satisfied with her. Though this wasn’t the answer I was looking for, we did come to a solution: She chose to be overly-aware of my natural need for release every 48-72 hours, and she also gave me the freedom to be very up-front with her about my “unexpected” needs. Now, if there’s ever one of those afternoons where I just want to relieve some tension, I go to her and say, “I really need you tonight.” I’m more connected to her because of this agreement.
I don’t think that connected, “Type B” masturbation is a bad thing in marriage (especially during travel, sickness, etc.), but I do think it is a bad thing if your wife isn’t comfortable with it.
And I believe that she has the right to choose whether or not she’s comfortable with it.
On Saturday we’ll conclude this series with a discussion of practical ways to re-teach your brain what and who to desire so that we can truly love sex with our wives more than we do sex with ourselves.
Make sure you check out the previous articles in the series on masturbation in marriage: