Ask the Sexpert
Husband Masturbates Too Much
Dear Dr. Klein,
My husband masturbates a lot, but we only have sex once a month if I'm lucky. I get turned on when he masturbates and this makes it even more frustrating that he doesn't want to have sex. Why does he prefer himself to me?
People prefer masturbation to partner sex for a variety of reasons. Your husband may be angry with you about non-sexual (or sexual) things, and unwilling to tell you directly. He may mistrust or fear women, or sex with women. He may have sexual fantasies or desires that he's ashamed to admit to you, but which he can enjoy by himself.
It's possible that he simply doesn't like the way you make love together -- he may not like the way you kiss or touch, or the way your bodies fit together, or the way your body smells, looks, or tastes. To dig a little deeper, his emotional development may not allow him to bond with an adult woman within the challenges of mutual eroticism.
But this is probably not the question that interests you most. I think what you really want to know is, "How do I increase his sexual interest in me?" Let's explore an answer.
When your husband is masturbating and you're getting aroused, are you in the same room? Are you close enough to touch? Does he do it in the bathroom or shower behind a closed door? Each of these would indicate a different level of intimacy and comfort with sexuality.
There may be a workable compromise here. You can both enjoy cuddling or you stroking yourself while he masturbates. If these ideas don't work, you might want to pay less attention to his masturbation so you don't get too frustrated.
Many people assume that a man in this situation should be encouraged or required to masturbate less, figuring that his desire will then turn toward the available outlet, his partner. I have not found this to be the case. Sexual desire isn't the same as hunger for food, in which people deprived of say, chicken, turn to beef rather than starve. Your husband's desire for sex with himself is probably not interchangeable with desire for you.
It's essential that you have a serious, straightforward conversation with him about this situation, without yelling or blaming. Let him know that your frustration will destroy the relationship sooner or later, regardless of how much you love each other. Since you're interested in finding a workable solution with or without professional help, give him the choice. If he agrees to contact someone, that's great, but don't find or call a therapist for him. When he's scared or worried enough to pursue change seriously, he'll be motivated to do it on his own.