A relaxed Anne

Masturbation and Intimacy, A Musing about Relationships

Happy New Year, My Beauties! I’m jumping into the year with some deep thoughts about masturbation and intimacy. Self-love is a powerful way to learn about your sexual needs and can serve as a gateway to improving intimacy in relationships.

Last night I came across a question on Twitter that stopped me in my proverbial tracks. The question seemed simple: If you’re available for sex and your partner wants to masturbate, should you be offended? (I’m paraphrasing)

It’s a pithy answer. But the truth is that things tend to get complicated when it comes to both masturbation and intimacy.

The possibility of a partner choosing masturbation over partnered sex is scary to some folks. For many people, intimacy is centered around sex and exclusivity making masturbation a transgression, in and of itself.

To me, masturbation is a form of self-care, like hot showers, milky sweet cups of tea, and sleep. Don’t get me wrong, partnered sex is fantastic. But sometimes I want (and need) the touch of my own hand. 

It’s not intended as an insult to my partner. We find so much pleasure together. Mr. Crispy knows I love his hands on me and vice-versa. Hell, I drape myself over him like a cat if he sits still for more than a few minutes. Still, there are times when I want to witness my pleasure for myself.

Caring for my body’s needs is empowering.

Struggling with anxiety, I experience moments when I want to crawl out of my skin. Self-harm has been a stumbling block in the past, and bringing myself to orgasm is a way to vent that energy positively. 

Some days my joints hurt, and I want the relaxation and oxytocin that accompanies a sexual release. My point is there are a million reasons why I choose to masturbate. Not one of them is intended to leave my partner out in the cold.

Almost five years ago, my SLE disease process worsened.

The changes my body experienced put a damper on our sex life. Mr. Crispy and I didn’t have partnered sex (intercourse or any other sexual pleasure) for almost three years. 

Fucking was uncomfortable at best and, at worst, painfully intolerable. I had zero energy for that kind of intimacy. Luckily, my partner is a phenomenal human being.

Partnered sex was impossible due to my disability. Finding peace with my needs included confronting a host of toxic cultural messages.

A relationship is broken when a partner chooses masturbation over partnered sex. The only path to intimacy is sex. Self-love isn’t satisfying…And the toxicity goes on and on. 

We faced those hurdles together.

It took work, including listening to each other’s concerns with an open mind and heart. Talking frequently about our intimacy needs, we brainstormed ways to maintain our intimate connection. 

Masturbation became a way to find pleasure in my own skin and foster an intimate relationship with myself. If you’ve ever dealt with chronic illness/pain, you know that finding moments of peace in your body is both difficult and necessary.

And when my health improved enough to have partnered sex again, it turned out that masturbation had kept us in touch with our own needs. We had the ability to guide each other as we became sexually reacquainted.

Together we forged a path that worked for us, and we’ve emerged stronger and more aware of our sexual and intimacy needs. My point is that sex and intimacy change throughout any relationship.

Masturbation can be a powerful tool in keeping a relationship healthy.

Give yourself permission to be fearless in the pursuit of expressing self-love. It can help you find the space to talk about your truth with your partner(s).

Be well, be wonderful, and above all, be you.


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