File photo: Masturbation is a wonderful way to relieve stress or simply comfort yourself at the end of a nasty day.

I was having a drink with a male friend this week and asked him what he thought I should write about this week. “Masturbation,” he said. “It’s been done,” I replied, and then he asked a very interesting question.

Are people who masturbate more self-centred and self-absorbed than those who don’t? I have absolutely no idea. I suppose on some level we are all self-centred and self-absorbed. Some of us more than others, but does this affect our masturbation routines? I think we should conduct a study.

I wonder if some blue pill company would like to fund it?

So this week we talk about a subject I have written about before. In fact, it is an occupation I am a great fan of - masturbation.

I always think it’s such an odd word, but far better than the hundreds of slang words for it.

Masturbation is defined as the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm.

Many of us were raised with the notion that masturbation is a sin. This was more so for women than for men. Think about it from a practical point of view: Men’s genitals are just so much more accessible and, let's face it, there's more to play with.

The question I get asked more often than any other is why you would masturbate if you are in a relationship. I am often surprised at how betrayed people feel when they discover their partner masturbates. I would too if there was just masturbation going on and no intimacy and sex between the partners. So I guess the starting point is: are you getting the sex you want?

Masturbation is a wonderful way to relieve stress or simply comfort yourself at the end of a nasty day. Maybe your partner isn’t up for it and sometimes the work involved in having sex isn't really what you're looking for.

Masturbating means getting to know your own body. You know exactly how much pressure and how fast you need to go without having to direct, grunt or groan. It’s uncomplicated. So why is it still such an issue?

If you are choosing to masturbate instead of having sex with your partner, then you may have a problem in your relationship. You need to figure out what’s behind it. Have you been rejected one too many times? Are you lacking technique? Did one of you cheat? All these issues will affect your relationship.

The problem with masturbating regularly is that you know exactly what pleases you and it is sometimes really difficult for sex to measure up. With today’s toys that are multi-functional and have multiple speeds, it is difficult to compete.

If you're using toys to your heart’s content, I would recommend that you do not always bring yourself to orgasm with the toy. Play and get yourself worked up and then finish on your own or with your partner, especially if you are afraid that your partner will not be able to satisfy you.

I love using toys as part of play, with and without my partner. They are not always part of our repertoire, but maybe they should be. They are a lot of fun and always add an extra spin to the play.

Life is busy. We live at a frenetic pace with images bombarding our every sense, and sometimes it is comforting and rejuvenating to spend some “me” time with my body. It’s like taking a chill pill in the middle of the afternoon and nothing sends me off to sleep better than a little orgasm. So why not?

Does this make me self-centred and, more importantly, is it damaging my relationship? I don’t think so and, believe me, we talk.

I think masturbation is a tool for pleasure. I think it can be used for self-discovery and to learn new tricks that can be shared with your partner. If, however, your ritual and pleasure is making your partner unhappy and affecting their self-worth, then you have to re-examine why you are spending so much time with yourself.

We all do things for different reasons. It has never occurred to me that masturbation is selfish and that I was excluding my partner. I think that if this was the case, I would ask him to watch because almost everyone likes to watch. Who knows? Your partner may want to play along.

If you have a partner that spends more time masturbating than having sex with you, it’s time to speak up. But timing is everything - don't talk while they are on the short strokes!

Saturday Star

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