Many women complain that their boyfriend or husband won’t make love to them very often – “although he’s downstairs masturbating almost every night.” Another way I hear about this is “he’s too tired, busy, or distracted to have sex with me – but he has plenty of sex drive for his porn websites.”
Why do so many men choose masturbation when they could be having oral sex, intercourse, or other erotic experiences with a real woman?
The standard answer from many psychologists is fear – fear of intimacy, of women, of pleasure itself. The darker answer from many religious and “decency” leaders is the internet – that the lure of unlimited free porn is just impossible to resist, hooking new victims every day, pulling them away from sad, lonely, oh-so-willing women just to jack off.
Why men choose masturbation over lovemaking?
In reality, when men choose masturbation over lovemaking it’s typically because it’s easier – or at least seems easier. In many relationships and life situations, masturbation is easier to start, to enjoy, and to finish than partner sex. It can also offer greater variety and emotional validation. This is less than ideal, of course. It’s hardly ideal when one partner feels frustrated or pushed away, judged or misunderstood. But if your guy currently prefers masturbation to partner sex, seeing him as possibly making a logical choice in a distressing situation can be an important step. It opens the possibility of understanding him better, seeing his behavior in the context of the relationship’s dynamics (or your own sexual behavior). Re-imagining your high-volume masturbator from Mr. Crazy to Mr. Maybe-Reasonable can give people new ways to appreciate, talk about, and even change situations.
Consider, for example, why masturbation would be easier to start than partner sex. When two people haven’t had sex in a while, initiating can be awkward. Who starts? What do we do? How fast do we go? How do we recover and continue when one person says, “no, not there,” or “no, not that way”? And what about kissing, the truly intimate activity that gets lovers so aroused? Unfamiliar bodies can collide more or less successfully, but kissing someone when you don’t feel comfortable can be a real turn-off.
For most people, masturbation offers a high chance of satisfaction with relatively little emotional cost. There’s no chance of rejection, very little sense of pressure, no partner to arouse, and no sense of guilt about coming too quickly or not pleasing a partner. While masturbation may not offer certain pleasures (kissing, hugging, pleasuring another, hearing or saying “I love you”), the pleasures it does offer come easily and cheaply.
Feeling awkward with a partner
Partner sex, for all its advantages, can also bring much unpleasantness. Feeling awkward with a partner feels terrible. Not knowing how to please someone – indeed, wondering if it’s even possible to please the person you’re with – stains sex with anxiety and resentment. Wondering if someone is enjoying herself – or feeling sure that she isn’t – certainly makes it hard for any reasonable man to enjoy himself. Then there’s the disappointment that often accompanies the end of sex. He came, but didn’t feel close to her. She came, but it was so much effort it wasn’t worth it. She didn’t come, and one or both of them blame him. The whole thing can seem like more trouble than it was worth. It’s a common experience, part of a downward spiral that’s hard to interrupt – impossible to interrupt if people don’t discuss it.
Masturbation is a chance to have sex when you want it, the way you want it, without the distractions of a relationship that isn’t working. Without the negativity of assuming something will go wrong. Without the frustration of mismatched sexual appetites, preferences, rhythms.
The solution to a frustrating relationship
The solution to a frustrating relationship, of course, is to fix it or end it. More people might do this if they talked to each other about how things really are. Alas, talking honestly about sex is, for most people, far more intimate – and difficult – than actually having sex. So not talking about sex is what many, many women and men do. Perhaps you or your mate are among them. If so, instead of thinking about a guy who masturbates a lot as “addicted” to porn, or afraid of closeness, or an immature, selfish jerk, assume that choosing masturbation over lovemaking is a reasonable response to a less-than-ideal situation. You can then either leave it at that, or move on to thinking about what that less-than-ideal situation is. Doing something about it, of course, is the hardest step of all.