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Masturbation in Relationships: Is It Cheating?

Humans like to touch their private parts. So much so that we have entire months dedicated to the celebration of masturbation (yay Masturbation May). Masturbation has spanned the entirety of our existence, yet the ethics, ideologies and social attitudes towards masturbation have continuously changed throughout different eras and societies. So, in today's world, is masturbation within a relationship considered cheating?

Flower in bloom

The short answer: it depends on who you ask! 

The long answer: 

As a woman raised in a society that taught me little to nothing about masturbation (except that it was something mostly men did) I was confused. Before I started studying sexuality, I rarely engaged in masturbation myself. It felt more like a sexy idea than an enjoyable reality. And since no one really talked about it, I didn’t know how to feel about it. 

When it came to my relationship, I wanted to be supportive of my partner’s own masturbation practice but it often left me wondering if I was not enough for them sexually. This led to even more confusion, feelings of uncertainty and a touch of shame. All of which sucked. 

BUT THEN I changed careers and started to study sexuality and my entire world view on masturbation opened up. I got a front row seat to the good and the bad, all of the research and hours and hours of in depth conversations on the topic. And let me tell you something, it has changed my life for the better. (Yes, I know it may sound ridiculous to say learning about masturbation has changed my life but it really has!) 

What I have learned is that intentional masturbation in moderation has a ridiculous amount of health benefits, both physical and psychological. My own personal practice helps me relax my body, reduce stress, sleep better, connect with myself, boost my self confidence and love, manifest and set intentions for my life, as well as feel pleasure. It is truly a tool that has many different applications and depending on how you use it can be a very positive source in your life. 

BUT even with all that being said, I understand how someone might feel that their partner's masturbation is a form of cheating. Because like I said before, I once was someone who felt threatened by my partner's practice because I did not understand it nor did I feel like I had access to learn more about it. 

So, here's my official answer: Ultimately, whether or not masturbation within a relationship is considered cheating is a deeply personal decision that varies from couple to couple. The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to make sure that you are not making decisions about this topic within your relationship out of anger, frustration, shame or judgment. The key is open and honest communication.Understanding the role that masturbation plays in your relationship can transform it from a potential source of conflict into an opportunity for greater intimacy and self-discovery. Remember, masturbation offers numerous benefits, from reducing stress to boosting self-esteem. By embracing it as a natural and healthy part of your sexual life, you and your partner can enjoy a more balanced and satisfying relationship.


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