Recently my wife caught me jacking off to a porn magazine and got really upset,claiming it was the same as cheating on her. Is this true? She doesn’t like for me to masturbate,so I sneak it in when I am alone at the house. We have a great sex life,but I have been beating off since I was around 12 or 13. I would like a females perspective,though any help would be appreciated!

Thanks a bunch!

– Ben G.

Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson
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While we think it is unreasonable for your wife to demand that you refrain from masturbating (it’s normal human behavior and is in no way the same as actually having sex with another person), it’s best to find common ground and make agreements about sexual behavior that you both can honor. If she feels as strongly as your question suggests, this may be difficult, but the more openly and honestly you can discuss your sexuality, the more likely it is that you’ll keep the relationship happy and healthy. If your behavior – looking at porn, masturbating, and keeping it secret – is in any way compulsive, that could be a problem. The activities themselves are not intrinsically wrong. It is the secretiveness and compulsivity around any activity that can be quite damaging. If you feel it’s compulsive, or if you and your wife are unable to communicate with each other kindly in a way that makes it possible to make mutually supporting choices, you might do well to find a therapist to help you reach an understanding.
Cassie Wolfe LSW, MEd
Profile | Website
Double moral whammy! So not only did you get caught masturbating (which can cause your hands to fall off); but you also got caught looking at a porn magazine (which can make you go blind)! Clearly I’m imploring my facetious side here; but for clarity, I promise your hands will not fall off nor will you go blind.Reality is, is that people’s packages come with all sorts of values and beliefs that stem from their familial, religious, moral, cultural and social backgrounds. It is possible that your wife was raised under the belief system that masturbation is wrong, or represents a behavior that implies blatant disrespect to one’s partner and relationship. Similarly, it is possible that she was socially constructed into believing that pornography is immoral and only “those” people (e.g. perverts) are turned on by it. Assuming the porn you were looking at was adult and not child porn, then I don’t see anything wrong with it.What I would offer to you both is this: masturbating to a porn magazine is NOT cheating. Perhaps your wife catching you elicited some emotions that could be felt if one found out their partner had cheated (anger, disgust, mistrust, disappointment, etc.)…but they are truly not the same thing. I would encourage exploring with your wife her beliefs about both masturbation and porn to see where they come from and to see if there is any misinformation you can challenge (or a couple’s therapist can explore) and perhaps offer another perspective on. Maybe even revisit how you both define “cheating” and your rationale. I also think it’s important to tell your wife that your masturbating does not correlate with being unhappy with your sex life (and here’s where you also tell her how much you love and desire her and having sex with her) – and that porn is simply visually stimulating because of its fantasy appeal.

Jane of Dick-n-Jane.com
(degreed Nursing professional)
I have to admit there was a time in our marriage when I felt the same way. I “caught” Dick masturbating to porn and was very upset by it, feeling as your wife does, that it was the same as cheating. I don’t feel that way anymore but I think, for me anyway, it was kind of a blow to my self esteem. The women in porn are almost always beautiful, with perfect bodies and large breasts and I felt like I was somehow not good enough for him or not satisfying him. I felt like he would rather be with women like that than me, which is a really hard thing for a wife to feel.Over the years Dick and I have become much more open with each other… and, as you may have heard time and time again, the experts are always saying communication is key. I know now that Dick has a more intense sex drive than I do and that porn is nothing more than fantasy. He jacks off because he’s horny and I’m either unavailable or uninterested. I used to believe that he imagined himself with these women, but now realize that it’s just fun to look at naked bodies or to watch other people enjoying sex. I think it’s very normal and healthy to masturbate but I think it’s common for people to feel that it is something that should be hidden.Dick and I got past that through mutual masturbation in front of each other. It wasn’t easy, but it has had amazing benefits. We both continue to masturbate when alone at times but neither of us views it as a threat to our sex life. I think perhaps your wife just needs some reassurance that you love her and would choose sex with her over porn and masturbation, but sometimes you just simply want to get off and nobody knows how to do that better than you. With something as delicate at self esteem, I think baby steps are important. Start with a conversation, see if you can weed out what threatens her about your masturbating and go from there.

Good luck Ben.

Dick of Dick-n-Jane.com
(layman with a website)
I masturbate and it’s not cheating. I also look at porn and that’s not cheating either. Why? Because I’m open with Jane about these things and she understands that these activities are no threat to her. If I were to start sleeping around THAT would be a problem… though for some couples it is not.The real issue here is trust. For whatever reason, she feels threatened by your masturbating and I’ll guess that has A LOT to do with the sneaky behavior which goes with it. She’s expressed concern (justified or not) and you have demonstrated a willful disregard for her feelings. Whether masturbation is normal or not, violation of trust is harmful.Jane and I also went through a period in our relationship when we were not open about our masturbation. We were both doing it… we just kept it to ourselves and, I’ll admit, I was a little sneaky. Mostly because I felt there was shame in doing it. Since then we have become very open about masturbation and often share it with each other. This has helped take the shame out of it while also creating a comfortable zone to discuss it openly.

There has already been damage done in your relationship and repairing that will take some work. Your wife is old enough to understand masturbation is a normal thing… so explaining that part may not be necessary. She needs to understand that masturbation is a sexual preference of yours that has no direct connection to your desire for sex. If she is willing, and you are both comfortable with it, I suggest masturbating with her present or with her assistance (maybe she could play with your balls). This activity can strengthen your bond, create a safe space for dialog, and take the mystery out of your activities.

Be open with your wife; tell her how often you masturbate, show her the toy you bought to assist, when you approach her for sex and she declines ask her if she minds if you masturbate instead. And let her know her presence would be appreciated.

Regarding the porn thing… that could be a tougher sell. Many women feel threatened by most porn and so you might consider setting that aside as a compromise. Most women DO respond positively to the right kind of porn but the mainstream crap pumped out by the porn industry is mostly offensive. Try [flirtatiously] sending her a tasteful selection of erotica from our Hot Pics collection every once in a while. Warm her up to the idea of erotic imagery and she may begin to understand your desire for it. Again, I am going to say it… enjoy this sexual activity together with her, not in secret.

Good luck Ben, we wish you and your wife the very best!