We’ve talked about masturbation on Offbeat Home and Offbeat Bride before. We’re familiar with solo sex here. But what if you no longer live solo? “Easy,” I thought when thinking about how my sex life would change when my boyfriend and I finally moved in together. “Sex whenever/however/wherever we want. This is, as far as I can tell, the only reason anyone moves in together at all ever.” And more or less, this has proven true.
Except sometimes… I want, and he doesn’t.
And other times… I want very specifically to do my thing alone.
Well, guess what? I realized that for me, masturbation while living with my partner is perfectly normal. More than normal, it’s good. Great, even.
Initially I felt weird about looking forward to being alone to masturbate — or even sneaking off to bed early to get down to some independent business. Once when my boyfriend was up late watching a movie, I found myself lying in bed just waiting and growing more frustrated by the second, I realized that if we didn’t live together, I would have been done and asleep happily by then. I can’t expect our sex drives to match up all the time — we have to be in the mood at the same time. And that’s the thing: it’s about mood.
Good sex is, I think, more of a mental thing than a physical thing — and being turned on doesn’t wait for anyone. The mental aspect of sex is exactly why I believe that even if our sex drives synched every time, I’d still want to masturbate regularly. Being the conductor in your own orgasmic symphony is a completely different sexual experience than when someone else is a participant. Fantasy is a big part of sexual gratification, and it’s easiest to fantasize alone (cause in my head I can have all the lesbian threesomes I could want — even though that doesn’t work for my relationship dynamic in real life). As a teenager and young adult I explored my fantasies and sexuality with masturbation — why should those pursuits end at a certain age?
Once I realized that these moods and interests exist independently of my partner just as they had my whole life since puberty, and that “sex” includes solo sex as much as it includes sex with others, I wondered if he ever flew solo, too. So I asked him.
“Have you jacked off since I moved in?”
“Is it cause you don’t want to or cause you don’t have time alone?”
“Definitely cause I don’t have time alone. There’ve been times when I wanted to just rub one out.”
“Rub one out.” The casual nature of that slang phrase really made me realize something else. Despite how fantastic the mental part of masturbation can be, there’s also still some times when you physically want to orgasm. ASAP. Like, before you can do anything else. Sex with your partner as a “means to an end” for that release of sexual energy is a lot more complicated emotionally than masturbation. Sometimes you just want to rub one out.
So I guess in summary, masturbation is for me an activity no less legitimate than staying up late to watch a movie. It’s a way to explore fantasies and your own sexuality. It’s a craving no less real than wanting ice cream right fucking now. It’s a means to an end so you can go the fuck to sleep. Whether or not you indulge these cravings or use this tactic is up to you — but now, our apartment is a masturbation-friendly zone. And we’re stoked.