Memo to the ladies: Your boyfriend jerking off to Perfect 10 or the occasional American Apparel ad isn't cheating; masturbating to a hot message that he got from a new 18-year-old "friend" he met on Facebook is. See the difference there?
Given the long history behind criticizing masturbators — you know, hairy palms, a hell-bound soul, blindness — haven't we pathologized the practice enough? Look at the facts: Surveys show that anywhere from 70 to 95 percent of adult men and women get it on alone, and yes, that includes people involved in monogamous relationships.
According to Kinsey research, 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women in relationships masturbate. Another survey of Playboy readers found 72 percent of married men masturbate, and a similar Redbook survey found 68 percent of married women do it, too.
While various old-fashioned social constructs might discourage women from being forthcoming about their "private" sexual habits, the vast majority of men have never been ashamed to brag about marathon masturbation sessions.
So are we all a bunch of perverts? It depends on your attitudes regarding sexuality. The bottom line is that a successful relationship demands a certain amount of space. Sometimes you need a (sexual) moment to yourself, and there's nothing wrong with that.
The average person is most assuredly aware of how healthy and normal the practice of masturbation is, but when it comes to our partners' self-love, the lines can get murky. For example, how much is too much?
I had a boyfriend who endlessly trolled online porn sites. And if it didn't drive me to great consternation, eventually the implications of this behavior did start to irk me, insidiously creeping into my psyche. Did our sex life leave something to be desired? Am I blowing him often enough? Should I invest in some stripper shoes and a hot pink teddy?
The general rule of thumb for evaluating whether you have a right to bitch and moan about it is how it's affecting your sex life. If you get the vague sense that he would rather indulge himself privately than get sexy with you, that's one thing. But if you haven't had sex in weeks and he's consistently taking an extra 10 minutes in the shower, you may be feeling pissed off or hurt.
The former warrants a "talk," but the latter may be a side effect of more serious problems within the relationship. However, if that's not the case, then let the dude masturbate. And if you're not taking care of yourself on your own now and then, you should be. Now go forth, and diddle your skittle.
This article was originally published at The Frisky. Reprinted with permission from the author.