Ask the Doctors: He Doesn’t Masturbate When He’s In a Relationship

Is there something wrong with a man that does not masturbate? Does he not feel the need, if he is in a relationship?

One of the most common myths is that people only masturbate when they don’t have someone to have sex with. But even people who have sexual partners, even people who have great sex lives can still enjoy a little self-pleasure. Plus, plenty of people incorporate masturbation into their sex lives as a couple. So being in a relationship doesn’t have to mean giving up solo sex.

At the same time, some people simply don’t feel the need to masturbate when they’re regularly having sex with a partner. For this guy, maybe it’s because he’s getting enough action that he doesn’t feel the need. Or maybe he thinks that all of his sexual energy is supposed to be reserved for his partner (whether they’re having sex or not). Or maybe their living situation is such that he doesn’t have the privacy he wants. Or maybe he’s depressed and his sex drive has plummeted. It really could be anything and I can’t tell you whether he has a problem without knowing more about the situation and his perspective on it.

If I were talking with him, I’d want to ask him a few questions:

  • Do you masturbate when you’re not in a relationship?
  • When you’re in a relationship, why do you choose to not masturbate? Is it because you don’t feel the need to? Because you think you shouldn’t?
  • Is this is a pattern in all of your romantic/sexual relationships?
  • Did you start taking any new medications? (since lots of meds can affect sex drive)
  • Is this causing any problems for you or your partner?
  • What would be your ideal pattern for sex and/or masturbation?
  • What do you think the reasons are for your sexual patterns?

These are really just a starting point and his answers would definitely affect any suggestions I might make. Ultimately, his pattern might be a sign that something is going on for him and/or the relationship. It may also be totally unrelated. I wish I could give you a more definite answer than that, but there are so many different factors that might be coming into play that it’s simply not possible.

Lastly, I think it’s important to mention that when we ask questions like “does this mean that something is wrong, we’re reinforcing the idea that there’s a “right way to have sex. Sure, we can talk about things that are more common or less common, but as long as everyone’s pleasure, health, well-being, and consent are being cared for, it’s not a question of right or wrong. So I invite you to shift the way you talk about sex by letting go of this sort of language. You might be surprised at the difference it makes in how you think.

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Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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