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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Masturbation and relationships (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Masturbation and relationships
BeatlesBoy
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I recently had a conversation with a couple friends that made me stop and think. My two friends said that although they had no problem with masturbation by either or both partners in a non-sexual relationship, they did have a problem with masturbation in a relationship in which the partners are sexually active. I argued that I didn't see anything wrong with masturbation, even in a sexual relationship. My friend's counter to that was she thought masturbation was disrespectful, and she didn't see the difference between masturbating and having sex with a prostitute--in both cases, it's sexual gratification without any emotional connection. What do you guys think? Is masturbation on your own disrespectful to your partner? Is there a logical reason why it should be considered different from having sex with a prostitute?

P.S. I wasn't quite sure where to put this--I figured it could either go here or in Relationships. If a moderator feels it should be moved, that's fine by me.


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faifai
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How did your friend come up with that? Just wondering. That's like saying, well, since I get happy from hugging my boyfriend and/or girlfriend, I should not be allowed to feel happy when I hug anyone else. Ever.

--->

Personally I think masturbation is fine whether you're in a sexually active relationship or not. Why would I want to pin all my sexual needs on someone else and expect them to fulfill those needs? That's unfair to that other person and to myself.

I don't think it can be compared to having sex with a prostitute because it's you. It doesn't involve other people [especially someone who could potentially have major STIs], it doesn't involve going to someone outside of your relationship for fulfillment.

You + significant other = relationship. Therefore, with math and a dash of common sense, we can prove that you are indeed a part of your relationship and you touching you isn't breaking any boundaries.

And what happens if you're in a sexually active long-distance-relationship? What about if you're with someone who you rarely see but are sexually active and in an open relationship with? What about when it's 1am and you've just finished reading/looking at exciting things and you're alone, you're aroused and you can't exactly call your significant other to come and... rub you the right way [pun intended]?

I don't think partnered sexual activity is what everyone wants all the time. Hence, masturbation, self-gratification and feelin happy all on your own.

Other people or no.

[This message has been edited by faifai (edited 03-21-2005).]


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dailicious
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Woah, while I don't want to tread upon the opinions of your friend, I think she is crossing the line a bit with the prostitute reference. Like has been said, there is a hgue difference bewteen pleasing yourself, and having actual intercourse or sexual contact with another human being, stranger to you, who could put you at risk of infection.

Also, a couple cannot be expected to be together all the time and have sex all the time and be at the beck and whim of their partner to satisfy every sexual urge, that just wouldn't be socially healthy.

I don't see why there is anythign wrong with giving yourself pleasure when you are not able to be with your partner for any number of reasons, and most of the time you won't be masturbating instead of having sex were the option open to you, in that sort of situation, it's not like you are choosing masturbation over sex because it's better, so I don't see a reason why it is disrespectful in any way either.


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MarvellousPurple
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quote:
in both cases, it's sexual gratification without any emotional connection.

I'd say I'm pretty emotionally connected to myself. To quote Woody Allen, "Don't knock masturbation! It's sex with someone I love."


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DarkChild717
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I thought that as well, Marvellous.

I'm very aware of my SO's masterbating habits. Both of us are quite open about it. He inquires as to my own masterbation. He's got a rather healthy sex drive, especially when I'm on my period and not that interested, so his masterbation is fine.


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LilBlueSmurf
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quote:
Originally posted by BeatlesBoy:
... My friend's counter to that was she thought masturbation was disrespectful, and she didn't see the difference between masturbating and having sex with a prostitute--in both cases, it's sexual gratification without any emotional connection.

Umm ... Who says masturbation is w/o any emotional connection? Maybe for her, but she can only speak for herself. Masturbation CAN be emotional. Same goes for sex with a prostitute. Not that i see the real connection there, but i don't see why sex with a prostitute HAS to be void of any emotion. Doesn't make sense.

quote:
What do you guys think? Is masturbation on your own disrespectful to your partner? Is there a logical reason why it should be considered different from having sex with a prostitute?

I don't think masturbation is AT ALL disrespectful to a partner. I dont understand how it's only okay if you're single ... Is it because they must not be able to get anything else, so it has to be okay?

I think it's kind of selfish and overbearing ... I'd be REALLY ticked off if my partner told me i couldn't touch my own body, for whatever reason i wanted.

I see it as insecurity ... If they 'let' their partners masturbate, maybe they won't want sex or something. Or maybe they'll be able to please themselves better.

I masturbate. I know my partner masturbates. We don't care. I don't see why we would. Masturbation and partnered sex aren't the same thing ... Why one should cancel out the need for the other is beyond me.


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14rare
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"I think it's kind of selfish and overbearing ... I'd be REALLY ticked off if my partner told me i couldn't touch my own body, for whatever reason i wanted."

First off I'd like to note that I am a male, in a committed relationship and I choose not to masturbate for my own very personal reasons (not religious or moral). I do understand that masturbation is a natural thing and for people who have no reason to deny themselves this natural act should not do so.

Recently I was informed by my partner that she masturbated the other day, and to be honest it disturbs me. Mostly because she knew how it would make me feel.

I have been addicted to pornography and masturbation for nearly 10 years of my life. I have seen a psychologist about the issue and I am now beyond my addiction. Personally I feel that I do not have the option of masturbation and it upsets me that my partner would choose this option of sexual release for herself.

Does this not make sense? Can I not ask her to withold her from masturbation out of respect for me and my unique situation?


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Heather
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No, you can't.

To do so would be like someone who has a problem with overeating to ask a partner, who does NOT have the same problem, not to eat as they'd like.

It's fair, for instance, for an alchoholic to ask a partner not to drink in front of them. It is NOT fair for an alchoholic to ask a partner or friend not to drink on their own time.

You're the one with -- apparently -- a problem via pornography and/or masturbation. Not your partner. Asking her not to do something that is 100% healthy when not a complusion or obsession, because YOU had trouble managing it yourself, isn't at all respectful of her having her own body and her own life, separate from you. And her masturbating is in no way disrespectful to you.

You CAN, however, ask perhaps that she not discuss it with you if it is painful for you to hear about it, still. But, given that nearly everyone in the world masturbates, you may perhaps want to work on that with your counselor, per your not being able to address that a partner does without it being a big issue for you personally.

But look what you said right here; "I do understand that masturbation is a natural thing and for people who have no reason to deny themselves this natural act should not do so. "

That right there should answer your question per your partner.


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lizenny
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quote:
Originally posted by BeatlesBoy:
Is there a logical reason why it should be considered different from having sex with a prostitute?

Of course there is. Masturbation allows you to use your fantasies in a way in which you don't really act them out. Normally there are no harmful consequences and no human beings end up being used or feeling used in the process.
And why would it be disrespectful to your partner? What if it's them you're thinking about while you're doing it? In the heat of the moment I'd certainly prefer that my partner just masturbate as opposed to me surrendering to the blue balls excuse. It's not like your hand of choice is "the other woman".

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14rare
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quote:
And why would it be disrespectful to your partner? What if it's them you're thinking about while you're doing it?

What if your partner knows what you've been through (aka sex/pornography addiction) and would definitely find it disrespectful. Afterall how can she know what I'm thinking about while masturbating?

In the end, I choose to respect her by not masturbating. I know how it would (even might) make her feel, so I choose not to.

...and to keep the shouting down, I also do my absolute very best to not voice the crappy feeling of blue balls. It exists no doubt, but it's not the end of the world like it might seem. I've maybe said something twice, ever.

What I'm trying to say is that there are reasons why it might be seen as disrespectful. Also I think masturbation is a natural thing, but is somewhat overrated by people on these boards. You CAN choose not to do it, and it SHOULDN'T be difficult to do.

[This message has been edited by 14rare (edited 04-06-2005).]


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Heather
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No one working for Scarleteen has ever stated people cannot choose not to masturbate, and that if they WANT to choose not to, they should by any means feel the need to make a different choice. Nor has anyone working for Scarleteen ever stated that choosing not to masturbate at any given time is a challenge: quite the opposite. In a word, you're projecting.

Your partner cannot choose to know what you're thinking about while you are having sex with her, nor you she. So what someone else is or isn't thinking about during any sexual activity is laregly irrelevant, be that masturbation or otherwise.

What is relevant is that your body is yours, your partners hers; your addictions are your own, and same goes for your choices about masturbation, and they're about you. Same goes for her. Trying to dictate otherwise is about as disrespectful as it gets because it implies she is not her own person, in full ownership of her own body.

In many ways, masturbation is ultimately no different than say, exercising or dancing alone: it's something one does because it feels good in body and mind, and it is solitary, 100% independent activity. Telling a partner not to masturbate, or asking she doesn't for YOU would be not unlike asking her not to dance or do situps alone in her house for you.

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ST homepage • ST blog • about Heather & Scarleteen


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Pumpkin_Pie
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Of course you CAN choose not to, but why SHOULD you if you don't WANT to??

To be quite honest, if my partner asked me not to masturbate out of respect for her, I'd most likely get into a fit of giggles.

Frankly, whether or not I masturbate is none of her business. No one has the right to tell me what I can and can't do with my body. Especially when it relates to something as completely healthy and normal like masturbation.

I can't see how it's disrespectful. I think that using the "it's disrespectful" line on your partner is just a method of controlling them, which imo is NEVER ok.


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14rare
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First off I want to make it clear that I am being misunderstood. By saying you CAN choose not to masturbate I suppose I was emphasizing some of my difficulties with my previous addiction. I used to feel that it was not a choice. Another reason for emphasizing this point is that nowhere on the internet have I seen anything about people actually wanting to stop masturbating. Also I haven't seen much about what happens physiologically if you choose not to. Maybe this information is niche only for those suffering with addiction.

A few more comments.

-For someone who's fantasies start taking over their normal life they must be careful with their fantasies. Therefore I would argue that what I'm thinking about while doing anything sexual is not irrelevant to my partner.

-I feel that whenever two people commit themselves together for life they must take into consideration things that don't necessarily make sense. Despite the fact that I know masturbation is a normal and healthy thing, and can and should be enjoyed by people even in relationships, I have a problem with it. I have these feelings, and yes I probably should (and hopefully will) overcome these feelings over time. However they exist now and so I really hope that my feelings are considered by the person I love. I'm not (and have not, and will not be) asking her to stop. I have started to discuss this with her, and wanted only to hear what would be said on this board.


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logic_grrl
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quote:
Despite the fact that I know masturbation is a normal and healthy thing, and can and should be enjoyed by people even in relationships, I have a problem with it. I have these feelings, and yes I probably should (and hopefully will) overcome these feelings over time. However they exist now and so I really hope that my feelings are considered by the person I love.

You're asking her to refrain from behaviour which is perfectly normal and healthy for her, because you have had a problem with it. That is not healthy for the relationship, and it does not contribute to your overcoming those feelings.

It's a little like saying "I'm lactose-intolerant, so I'm not going to allow you to drink milk ever, not even when I'm not around".

Nothing you have said indicates that she is not considering your feelings. She is not trying to hurt you or taunting you with the fact that she can masturbate when you choose not to.

Considering your feelings, and caring about you, does not translate into "not ever doing anything that you might not like to think about".

quote:
Also I haven't seen much about what happens physiologically if you choose not to.

In a word: nothing.

It's possible to get compulsive about masturbation, just like it's possible to get compulsive about any other activity. You can think of that as a "psychological addiction" if you want.

But it is not physically addictive in any way. Your body does not develop a dependence, and there are no physical withdrawal symptoms if you choose to stop.

There are no physiological effects of either stopping or starting masturbation.


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huily
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Got a big problem with my boyfriend (who i've been with for a year now).

Just admitted i masturbate occassionally.

Well, he asked me if i did.


We'd never mentioned the subject before but i didn't expect him to have a problem with it.

Well, I was very wrong.

First he just said he knew he shouldn't have brought up the subject.

Then he said 'it's such a turn off it's not even funny, I could ask about who you think about but i don't wanna know...'

Then he said 'why the hell would you tell me you masturbate in our relationship? What's wrong with you?'

Then he went on about how wound up he was and started giving me a huge description of a masturbation fantasy he'd apparently had that day, andhow much it turned him on. Asked if i thought it was cool and open enough.


Jesus christ.

So obviously I'm pretty upset about this. Actually I'm more angry actually
Don't really know what i should say/do. Seems a large part of the problem is that he doesn't like it that I would think about anyone else in that way during masturbation. So i guess maybe it's an insecurity thing.


eeek.


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huily
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I think a large factor here is that my boyfriend has a problem with what fantasies I might be having whilst masturbating - what other men I might be thinking about.

It's not just actually sleeping with another man that would hurt him, but the thought that i might enjoy imagining it, imagining being with someone other than him. I think it's similar to if I started checking out other men when I was out with my boyfriend - it's showing an interest in other men, and therefore would make him jealous. In this respect I think perhaps what exactly you're thinking at the time is a relevant factor in a partner not wanting you to masturbate.

Of course this wouldn't apply if during masturbation I only ever thought of him...should someone in a committed relationship only ever fantasize sexually about their partner? Or is that simply too much to ever expect?


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logic_grrl
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Personally, I don't think that being in a relationship with someone entitles you to police their thoughts and decide what fantasies they are or aren't "allowed" to have.

quote:
Jesus christ.

That'd be my reaction too. Not liking the fact that a partner masturbates is one thing; launching into a huge hostile attack on them because of it is another thing. Especially since he's the one who asked to begin with.

It could be worth explaining some basic facts to him - e.g. that masturbation is just not the same thing as partnered sex, they're not in competition. Most people masturbate whether they're in relationships or not; it doesn't mean there's anything lacking in the relationship or that you'd rather be with someone else.

But if he's not prepared to listen, there's not much you can do to make him.


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sunflower85
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I think it's ok if you masturbate even if you are in a relationship, sexually or not. Me and my boyfriend have been talking about this and we both think it's ok. Sometimes you just need to have a little time for yourself, and I don't think that you shall feel guilty about this.
Fantasies are just fantasies and if you are sure about who you love and wanna be with it's not such a big thing if you happen to think about another person when you're masturbating. It just happens, you can't always control what you're thinking about, so feel free. Maybe your boyfriend doesn't wanna know about this but I think at least he shall accept that you're masturbating. Also, you can't pleasure eachother all the time. I think many people do this in relationships but are afraid to admit it or talk about it. It's good that you aren't

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lizenny
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quote:
Originally posted by sunflower85:
Also, you can't pleasure eachother all the time.

Well of course you can't and trying to IMHO is ridiculous and can put unecessary demands and restrictions on both parties. No one has the right to put restrictions on what you do to yourself which may in fact have absolutely nothing to do with them just because they feel that it's THEIR job. It's NOT. While sometimes it feels nice to let them, it's not anyone's duty to pleasure you just as it's not your duty to please anyone else. What I don't get is why something as simple as a hand or whatever foreign object you choose often ends up hurting someone's ego when it could lead to giving them a few valuable pointers in the long run?

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sunflower85
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lizenny: You're absolutly right, I agree with you. What meaning would it be if you feel like you HAVE to pleasure someone else? Of course it can be very nice but maybe not always and it doesn't seem that fun if you feel forced to it.
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LilBlueSmurf
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I've been seeing a pattern here that i missed before ...

People seem to be seeing fantasizing and masturbation as the same thing ... It's not. At least not to me.

I don't have to be fantasizing or really thinking about anything in particular. I'm sure i'm not the only one.


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sunflower85
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LilBlueSmurf: Well it's not the same, you don't have to fantasize but I think many people think it's more exciting.
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dailicious
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I think another assumption people could be incorrectly making about fantasy during masturbation is that fantasy automatically means it isn't about that person's partner.

I know of a lot of people who, when they masturbate, think about their sexual partners. I know I do, mostly because I can't see myself right now with anyone else than my boyfriend, and have no desire to, so why would I fantasize about being with someone else?

I'm also with LilBlueSmurf in the notion that to masturbate you don't necissarily have to be thinking of anything in particular.

It could just be me, but I don't see masturbation as something that requires huge amounts of concentration and deep, precise though.


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Shortys Angel
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I kinda think that it's disrespectful too, because when a person gives their partner sex and they still are 'selfish' enough to masturbate it's kinda like a kick in the face -- like they're sayin you aren't good enough so they still want more. That irritates me. If I'm not involved, it usually offends me..
Plus, about fantasizing, an ex boyfriend of mine told me that he fantasized about having sex with other women when he masturbated so I'm sure that contributed to my not liking it. Guys can be suck PIGS sometimes..

PLUS, when girls masturbate it's usually by clitoral orgasm, and in MY experience, you don't get those with sex. Anyway that's just whut I think.


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RUDeelite08
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Hi everyone!
Just wanted to say hello I stumbled upon this website today so intrigued because I plan to be a sex therapist when I grow up. I have researched all this stuff alot and this is right up my alley.
Well...masturbation. Before I started dating my boyfriend I masturbated almost daily. Since dating him and getting sexual attention almost every day from him there is almost no need to masturbate but I still do it to fall asleep and relax.
He masturbates as well..sometimes we even do it together. I dont think there is anything wrong with couples doing it apart or even as a part of their foreplay.

------------------
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DarkChild717
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Wow, Shorty.

So, what would your solution be for me, and MANY women like me, who simple find that inserting tab A into slot B isn't nearly enough to achieve orgasm? Actually, in the three years my partner and I have been dating, I have yet to orgasm through his stimulation alone. *I* know how to touch myself to achieve orgasm, and simply put, I like it that way. It doesn't bother me that I don't orgasm with my partner.

In addition, I fantasized about an actor last night. Does that make me a pig, or any less faithful to my partner? Does role-playing with him in different roles make me less faithful? That's the thing about fantasy--it doesn't have to leave the vast corners of one's mind. I usually don't tell my partner what I fantasize about, because they're my fantasies. I tell him the ones we can do together, but frankly? I don't forsee time travel to the middle ages or old west happening anytime soon. Nor do I imagine many others of my fantasies will come true at all, because they're fantasy. They don't exist outside my mind.


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summergoddess
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It depends on the couple and how they see masterbation, and sex when they are in a relationship. People can masterbate together, and alone regardless.

When Isaiah and I were just starting out in our relationship, we were sexually active, but we masterbated when we were apart (in the times that we couldnt' be with each other) but as time went on, my need for masterbation became lesser as i felt that i could self-control my urges, and let it build up when it was the next chance that we could make love, and it was just awesome. He still masterbated the nights we weren't together just to help him sleep. I though did self-pleasure myself once in a blue moon if i was very horny to pleasure my body.

Now we just started to live together after almost 4 years of being together as a couple. We have sex a lot, and he doesn't really feel a need to masterbate anymore even if we are apart for a few hours in a day due to work or to me in class because he has that self-control as well.

As for fantasies, they are different from masterbating. Masterbating is pleasuring your body, this is pure physical. Fantasying is in your mind, it's an emotional state. You allow yourself to be picturing someone whether it's your SO, a friend, a crush or whatever. I fantasied a lot of guys and girls when i was single, and when I was still regular with my masterbating, i still fantazied about other people. It is very normal to picture other people sexually as long you don't act on it in real life.

The difference is how you fantasize during masterbation and sex. I believe it is very rude to picture and think about other people during sex, it's like breaking a code. It feels like they can't see you sexy if someone else in their fantazing world is hotter than you.

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~Jules


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Zander
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WOW. i personaly think it is un-fair to say masturbation is like sex with a prostitute.
i mean ITS MASTURBATION!, not an illegal act or cheating or disrespactful. it is simply gratification either way.

xxx. the closing of open minds .xxx


Posts: 28 | From: Hamilton | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kaitjarbeau
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My boyfriend and I are very open about masturbation. We share each other's sexuality, and that's part of it.

Sometimes in phone or AIM conversation we get each other aroused because we miss each other, and talking to the other person can bring up the fact that we haven't been intimate recently due to distance.

"I should probably get off this so I can... get off."
"Hahaha... I'm feeling kinda like that too. Wish I was there."
"Well duuuh."
"What do you think about, do you mind me asking?"
"Not at all. Mostly a combination of fantasy and memory."
"Me too, actually. I close my eyes."
"I do too, usually."

It's not that big of a deal, and it's healthy to be open about ALL aspects of your sexuality with the person you're intimate with!

I think we have a very secure relationship though, in the sense that both of us are very comfortable with ourselves and each other. We also trust each other.

And jealousy is a reflection of insecurity, which means you never CAN trust the other person. Which is why so many spouses wanna "find out if their husband/wife is cheating". They're MARRIED. There's clearly something more wrong in the relationship itself other than infedelity.

You must love yourself first in order to love another with trust and compassion. Because security of self is so so important.


Posts: 10 | From: Acton, MA | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CEC523
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Wow, I think saying it's comparable to hiring a prostitute is taking things WAAAY too far. Personally, I see no problem with masturbation for men or for women.

I know my boyfriend masturbates; he knows I masturbate. Neither of us see a problem with it. Yes, when we're together, sex is great. But when we're not and we're horny.. well, I'm not just going to ignore it and wait until I see my boyfriend again.

I think it's all about sexual desires within the moment. If the feeling's there, you have to go with it.

Is it cheating? No way.

------------------
"Talking about music is like talking about sex. Can you describe it?"
-Bruce Springsteen


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Nicky NK
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I think i posted this in the wrong place. oops! :-)

Ummmm... Hi, my name is nicky and i am 14 years old and i have a *small* problem. my twin brother, who is also 14 (obviously), and whom i trust more than anyone else in the world, has asked to watch me masturbate. i feel comfortable letting him, and know he would *never* do anything bad, but is it illegal or anything? i really dont know. i would like some help please!



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logic_grrl
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Nicky, I notice you've posted this in several other places as well. Please respect the board guidelines and don't double-post; it won't get you an answer any faster, especially when you post in un-related threads like this.
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thetimehascome
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I find nothing wrong with masturbation in a sexual relationship. I've been masturbating for awhile & wouldn't stop nor expect my significant other to just because we were to become sexually active.
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DerHatten
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i can't imagine why it would be wrong. sometimes you're horny and they can't be there or aren't in the mood or whatever.

plus, they can always watch.


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dream_blammerator
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This may sound wierd. At least it does to me.

When my boyfriend and I are together, doing sexual things with each other...to keep it general...he can normally get me to orgasm, multiple times even. Well, when he doesn't, he feels there's something wrong...with him.

We're very open, and he's never had a problem with me masturbating. He doesn't, as he just thinks about the physical act... But the last time I was with him, I didn't reach an orgasm and he knows I would probably masturbate later, and he got upset. He told me it makes him feel inadequate. He thinks of orgasm as a goal, if he's good enough, that's what will happen. I've tried to explain to him that's not how it is, and masturbation is different from me being with him. With me, it's for the sake of pleasure. It generally makes me feel better. With him, there's emotions involved which makes the whole process so much better.

Long story summed up, he thinks it's wrong and it makes him unhappy. I wanted to tell him I wont do it anymore because it does, but I don't want to lie to him. I don't want him to be unhappy with my actions though. Any ideas on what I should do?

Thanks <3


Posts: 27 | From: Ohio | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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