AdviceHey, Bonita!

Am I a Jerk for Jerking Off?

Dear Bonita,

I’ve been in isolation with my partner for over a month now. I didn’t have to isolate with her, but we decided to since we are pretty serious about each other now and wanna move in together once my lease is up. But she gets really upset about me watching flicks [adult movies] and wacking it. I work from home, but she doesn’t, so it wasn’t an issue for a long time, but now the cat is out of the bag, and she feels super betrayed. It wasn’t a big deal in the past because I kept those particular habits to myself, but she busted me in the act and really freaked out.  She’s talking to me like it’s cheating! She never had a problem with it or least never said so before. It never came up when we didn’t live together. Everything else is great. I like her place and her neighborhood, and I love her, of course, but now I feel guilty about doing something I’ve always done, and no girl ever had a problem with it before. I don’t feel like I’m cheating on her, but she says that if I ever want sex, I’m supposed to do that with her and no one else, not even myself. I feel like she’s crossing the line, but I’m not sure how. That just feels like too much, and I never thought that my “private time” habits would end up ruining a relationship. I don’t want it to ruin this, but her reaction truly baffled me, and I am not comfortable with treating my girlfriend like a sex object when all I might want is something quick at 10 a.m. when she isn’t there. Am I really cheating on my girlfriend when I masturbate? I really don’t think so, but she does, and the whole jealousy thing is giving us both a lot of trouble. Thanks for reading!

Hey there,

I’ve never been jealous of a partner’s private time, but I know plenty of people, male and female, who freak the hell out at the notion alone. I had a friend on the East Coast who was very threatened by her boyfriend’s private time, and in the end, this fact was counted among the many reasons she got dumped. Her already-unstable mental health unraveled after that, and I often think of how awesome of a friend and girlfriend she’d be if she could just love herself enough to trust that others love her, too.

That’s really what it is. To some degree, your girlfriend thinks that you choosing to masturbate is a judgment on either her fitness as a partner or her desirability and sex appeal. And it’s not. Onanism is a thing that healthy people do at a responsible rate and in responsible ways, and I only make that distinction because I did actually date a chronic masturbator in the past. Seriously, I’d be dozing off during a movie, and I’d wake up because the couch was rocking, if you get my drift. I’d ask him if the extended cut of The Two Towers was really that sexy, and he’d just respond that he was bored. No big deal for me, our sex life was fine, and when we broke up it had nothing to do with his particular addiction. This guy rubbed one out at least five times a day by his own admission, but that’s not you. Healthy masturbation practices are the sign of a person who is secure in their body and with their sexuality.

Taffy pulling is not cheating. Stirring the soup does not betray your relationship. I would only be concerned if your chicken-choking was deadening your sex drive to the point that you don’t want to bang your girlfriend. If that’s the case, then I’d recommend lightening up, but if not then the issue is with your girlfriend and her insecurity either in your relationship or herself. Since you two are getting serious, I’d recommend doing a few sessions with a couples counselor and facing this issue head-on. I have confidence that this can be resolved, and that you two can keep on keepin’ on.

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