Why Do Men Masturbate When They’re in a Relationship?

Advice from three of our guy friends. This time they answer the following: Why do men masturbate in relationships, even when the sex is good and regular?”

Straight Married Guy (Ben): Every guy has a regular masturbation frequency (RMF) that is more or less unchangeable (though over the long-term, factors which usually have nothing to do with sex — like age or stress — can influence it). Take however many orgasms a guy’s already having with his partner and multiply it by his RMF — that’s how much a guy will masturbate.

For example, a friend tells you his RMF is 1.3, so if he’s had a total of 3 orgasms with his partner in the past week, you multiply that by 1.3 to get the number of times he’ll want to masturbate that week (about 4). Now, some guys are high (RMF=2 or more) and others are low (RMF=1 or less!). But even if he has a really low RMF, like .25, that still means he’ll want to masturbate once after he’s had sex five times with his partner that week.

So don’t focus on whether or not he’s masturbating: it’s a given. Instead, engage him on what he’s doing while he’s masturbating — what he’s looking at, or imagining, or fantasizing about. That’s where you’ll learn about your guy. Generally, most guys watch porn. But there are lots of different varieties and types of porn and that is where things get more complicated. Lots of men like teen porn, like that on college porn, but some prefer things a little more taboo.

Gay Committed Guy (Mark): Perhaps the most obvious answer would be “Why shouldn’t they?” (As long as it’s not interfering with the sex — “Sorry, honey, I’ve already come three times today.”) No, wait, the most obvious answer is, “Because they’re men.” I’m sure, when it’s all over with, that people don’t look back on their lives, regardless of gender, and wish they’d had fewer orgasms. Also, if it’s meant to be a monogamous relationship, better he should have the extra fun with himself than with some third (or fourth, etc.) party(-ies).

Straight Single Guy (Max): While it’s hard to believe, I think that most men view masturbation (which we’re addicted to, by the way) as completely separate from our sex lives. When you’re living the solo sex life, you’ve got your fantasies as well as hormones to answer to. The only solution is masturbation. Many turn to pornography. It’s sad. I understand then, that it must be confusing to women when we continue to masturbate, even while having great and consistent sex, after you’ve saved us from our lonely and always wanting existence.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we may love our lady friend and the sex that we have with her, it’s incredibly hard to fulfill our voyeuristic and most fantastic desires. We don’t want to cheat (most of us). And yet we have thoughts of other girls, other places and impossible situations. Thus, we masturbate. It’s the eternal answer to everything that plagues men. Don’t take it as an insult to your skills in bed. Because trust me: You don’t want to do the things that we’re thinking about when masturbating.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. Our Committed Gay Guy, Mark, is a writer and teacher in NYC and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New England — both asked us to file them under “shy.” To ask us or the guys your own question, click here.

This post has been updated.


  1. My boyfriend and I are pretty open about our masturbating. He’s been a lifelong friend of mine, and a few months ago, we took our friendship to a romantic relationship (we both had no idea that the other had “feelings” for each other for 27 damned years). This is likely one reason we are able to be extra open. Another reason is that he lives 2 hours away from me currently. Obviously, we video chat and do our dirties over video in between visiting each other. Besides that, I’m already well aware that men are masturbators. But, so am I! It shouldn’t matter if a man masturbates. It’s normal for everyone to.

    One thing he said to me last night caused me to search “Why my man will NOT masturbate without me.” He has always been a frequent masturbator, healthy sex drive and sex life. But last night, he told me that since the last time we saw each other a week ago, he had not masturbated. His reasoning was that he only wanted to masturbate with me from now on because he felt guilty doing it without me. He’s throwing away his porn. I mean yeah, as a woman, I get slightly jealous of my man looking at porn, but once again, I know it’s natural. However, I have supplied him with a collection of photos of me, and he could use those. But, he doesn’t want to masturbate at all without me, citing that he feels it’s not fair to me.

    There we have it folks! I’m not sure if he’s saying that to make me feel good about myself or what. We are still pretty fresh, and the sexual desires and love has had a whole 27 years to grow strong, so that could be it too. I’m going to stop thinking so much I to it, however. It’s a sweet gesture.

  2. My issue lol in this whole thing with masturbation, no matter how many times we have sex or how good it is how many positions he wants to try or witch hole he wants it out of still everyday he jack offs no matter what fantasy or thing he wants me to act on no matter how good he says our sex is, the best he says still.. no matter what there’s always an excuse for men to do this and whatever sick fantasies you guys have we have too .. I get te single people who masturbate all the time or even long term Boring relationships or being bored once in a while but everyday being in a relationship and with sex partner who is fun likes kinky stuff having to masturbate everyday cause your a man and have urges and fantasies about 100 women in a day or whatever, at that point just point having no self control on desires with other women or your thoughts if your mind not settled or even to a point where you say hey I have a girl I can wait till she is home ..man if acted out in every thought I had lol I would probably be in mental hospital or a meeting AAA help I get it we all get bored in relationships or what not but everyday come on guys .. that’s why women are turning into roofless creatures doesn’t matter how good Hot how you please them always more more more .. nothing ever enough !! SaVage

  3. My issue is that it kinda interferes with our sex life. He doesnt see that though. For instance it takes about 5-7 minites to drop my son off at school in the morning, before I go I give him kisses and the like to ‘warm up’ and when I’m back hes completley disinterested because he has jerked off. We both have high libidos and usually I have no need to masturbate, we will go through two to three days of having quite a bit of sex and then for two to three days it drops off completely and usually because he is masturbating.

  4. My boyfriend and I recently moved in together and I have been finding crunchy wads of paper towels and noticed that the amount of sex we were having was down to once, maybe twice a week. I was concerned and brought it up to him. He assured me everything was fine. The following day I felt playful and decided to send some pics and videos of what I was doing at home. This was outside of my comfort zone, but it was fun and thought I’d try something different. It made me feel sexy and confident. Our sex life seemed to be back to our usual (sex or some version of sex daily). A coupleasure of days later I came home and walked into him masturbating in front of his computer. It made me feel deflated and confused. I thought that since we were back to our usual routine the need to masturbating wouldn’the be as much. Am I wrong in assuming that masturbating is a reflection of something I’m doing wrong, that our sex leaves him unsatisfied, or is a lack of attraction to me?

    1. I feel my boyfriend masturbates too much, at least once a day to porn after we have had sex, 7 days a week he has to masturbate,and that’s with or without sex with me..I just wonder if he would cheat..

  5. My only problem with masturbation is when my guy says to me when I’m feeling aroused, oh I have to be honest, I just masturbated yesterday. It makes me feel like wow, you’re all taken care of and yet what about me?

  6. Wow. Just wow ladies. I’m sorry but I have to call a lot of y’all out in that I’m betting most of y’all searched and found this because you were ACTIVELY looking for a place to take your anger out that you “caught” your guy… masturbating?? For all of the comments I’m reading, all I have to say is that it really seems like y’alls confidence is wayyyyy too co-dependent on your partner. There wouldn’t be so many male species flamers here if it wasn’t so.

    I’ll explain, sometimes we feel like doing it the normal way of intercourse. In-between these times depending on what you like, your body, etc., you as a man will have a varying degree of an urge to wank one out for multiple reasons… Absence of parter for longer than hour, wanting to explore the fantasy your too embarrassed to share, simply just wanting to have an orgasm without the hassle, it has been two weeks since any sexual experience and the wind blows your pants just the right way to rub your member just the right way and then you see 90 year old Bertha’s skirt get pounded by the breeze that just gave you a 3/4ths chub and saw the ankle of the original ankle model… It all varies from guy to guy, if it is all masturbation and no sex and he will not explain why, then yeah, something is wrong. Just because a guy masturbates a lot in a relationship and barely has sex with you doesn’t mean he is selfish or pathetic, perhaps he could be going through a period of depression (what was my case with my beautiful wife). Seriously, just respect and support him, unless it is blatant that he is a selfish ass of the jack. Don’t punish him if anything, or you may likely push thing’s especially y’alls sexual intimacy farther apart by interrupting his time. I’m not saying men should be allowed to get away with ignoring their partners at all. I’m just defending all the men out there in monogamous relationships who would never DARE physically cheat on the one they love and still masturbate. Picturing other women via. porn or mental… just don’t borrow trouble gal’s, it seems pretty damn normal now. If both of you were happy until you found out he masturbated and you came here to rant, once again, stop borrowing trouble. Do any of us really want to go into each other’s minds now? Your intrusively entering your guys private time to himself that he may be embarrassed about etc., stop finding reasons to be mad, please, and just be accepting and loving.

    1. Hear hear! We love the idea of not “borrowing trouble” when it comes to a relationship — there are so many real issues that you will have to deal with over the course of a long-term relationship, and what your partner does with his or her own hand/mind/imagination while you’re not there really shouldn’t make the list.

  7. So why would a man wank instead of having sex with his girlfriend?? I really think that’s pathetic

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