Contact Masturbation

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I was without a girlfriend for over 10 years. Nine months ago, I became involved with a friend of 4 years who asked me to help her with sexual issues stemming from an early hysterectomy (she is 37). Her doctor told her if she wanted to have a “normal” sex life, she should try to find someone to trust. Luckily, this was me.

In a short amount of time, we declared our love for each other.

I have found out recently that she was abused or assaulted sexually at some point in her past.
My libido is very strong. I desire sexual contact almost daily, but can control myself under most circumstances. I understand sex is different for women in general and her specifically. She tells me I am the only person she has had “comfortable” sex with both physically and emotionally.

She takes hormones due to the hysterectomy and is less active sexually than I am. I have exhibited extreme patience and gentleness with her and plan to continue to do so.

Throughout our relationship, there have been occasions where I could not sleep because I was extremely aroused. I, and please forgive me, have rubbed my genetalia on her buttocks and or thighs until I reached climax. I did not wake her up as she is a deep sleeper.

She gave me the “green light” to do this, providing I told her the next morning, which I always did. The frequency of this over nine months is perhaps six or seven times. She actually did not mind because, knowing I have needs she cannot always be in the frame of mind to satisfy, and actually approved.

Keep in mind that this is in no way preferrable to having sex with her.

Recently we have had a sexual break due to her emotions and hormone issues. Twice in one week I climaxed on her via rubbing.

She has since taken away the green light, explaining that she prefers to be intimate so we can feel more connected, though this continues to be less frequent than I would prefer.

Unfortunately, I attempted this again, my desire overwhelming me. We had attempted sex twice in the last week after a 3 week “break.” I was unable to climax, once due to performance anxiety and the second may be attributed to Tequila. The next night, I was caught in the act.

I understand her reaction and was instantly contrite and sorry, promising never to do it again without her participation. She is less experienced than I am and wonders if it is “normal” for men to do this. I am concerned that I may need therapy and this is my question. I can abstain from this type of action, but consider masturbation not involving her in her home as an undesireable action. I don’t want to feel abnormal. She can’t talk to anyone but me about this and she does not know if this is abnormal.

She feels betrayed and hurt, claiming a visceral reaction due to her past and realizes the vast patience and gentleness and love that I have shown her.

Am I abnormal? I clearly have a fetish for her backside, (non-penetration) and I don’t want her to be asleep but refuse to wake her up. I sometimes lose willpower and just want to know if I need help.

A. I don’t think your desire to have sex with your girlfriend is abnormal. You have a high libido. As I’ve mentioned many times in this column most couples have mismatched sexual desires. Usually one person in the relationship has a higher sex drive than the other.

Because you have a higher sex drive than she does, you want sex more often. You temporarily found a way by “rubbing on her” to satisfy that drive. As far as I can tell you did it when she let you and stopped when she asked you to. Again, I don’t think this is particularly abnormal nor is your fetish for her “backside.” It’s a common fetish.

What may be problematic is that you find masturbation undesirable. I understand that sex is preferable with another person but you have a partner that does not want it as often as you do, and it’s causing major problems in the relationship. If you were to masturbate, then your desire to “rub against her,” something she currently does not find acceptable, would be decreased.

Masturbation can be a difficult and even controversial issue. People tend to have strong feelings about it. For some, masturbation is prohibited due to a religious belief. The Catholic Church, for instance, believes that it’s sinful to masturbate. Then there are some who refuse to masturbate because they don’t think they should have to. Masturbation is “beneath” them, something only single people engage in or “losers” who can’t find a willing participant. I speculate that the latter explanation is much more aligned with your thinking. Perhaps you are of the opinion that because you are in a relationship you should not have to masturbate. You may also believe that if you did then there is something seriously wrong with the relationship.

The truth is that masturbation is perfectly normal and healthy, no matter your relationship status, and in this situation, it could be the solution to your problem. I think you should strongly reconsider your thinking.

If you’re not willing to consider masturbation as a way to satisfy your high sex drive then the two of you need to create an alternative plan that is satisfactory to both partners. This would involve finding an activity that you both could participate in, perhaps something other than straight intercourse. You could explore other options such as oral stimulation or sex toys. If you’re not sure how to achieve this then you could read about it or meet with a sex therapist. A sex therapist is trained to deal with these issues. He or she could guide you on the best way to approach this problem. A few meetings with a sex therapist, in which you both attended the sessions, could be very helpful for the relationship.

I hope this answers your questions. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Contact Masturbation. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/06/contact-masturbation/