Is it a bad sign if your partner still masturbates solo?

Short answer – no. Lots of people think it must mean their partner isn’t enjoying sex with them or isn’t getting enough of it. But that’s simply not the case.

According to a US survey of 1200 people, people in relationships masturbate an average of 10 times a month. Singles do it 16 times per month. Assuming masturbation isn’t replacing ‘real life’ sex, continuing to do it in a relationship doesn’t mean your partner’s not getting enough sex or that it’s unsatisfactory. It simply means they can still feel like a bit when you’re either not there or not interested.

Solo sex is selfish sex – usually based on a filthy fantasy you don’t particularly want to share. The mission is accomplished in under five minutes. It’s a side dish to the main course sex you have with your partner but also has spin-off benefits for them.

Studies repeatedly show people who masturbate regularly have higher libidos. What came first, the chicken or the egg (does putting our hands down our pants causes us to want more sex or do we want more sex generally and that’s why we have our hands down our pants) isn’t clear. Doesn’t really matter though: the point is masturbating is good for you and good for your relationship. It keeps your sex drive high and stops you turning into a sex pest and hassling a partner who really isn’t in the mood.

Almost everyone masturbates – 95 per cent of men and 81 per cent of women admit to doing it at some point. But we are all a little guilty of thinking that even if we continue to indulge in solo sex, our partner probably isn’t.

I’m asked the ‘Why is my partner masturbating when they can have sex with me?’ a lot. My question to the person asking is always, always, ‘Well, do YOU still do masturbate?’. Invariably they say yes. Then I ask, ‘Then why are you worried that your partner does?’. The answer is always ‘It’s different’. When I ask why, they can’t answer. I think secretly we’re all a little narcissistic: we’re so sexy, so great in bed, why would our partner want to look at porn or fantasise about anyone else? It’s called a need for variety, folks. And that’s very human. Masturbating to something arousing is a very sensible way to satisfy the desire for sexual variety without harming the relationship. Cheating in your head is not the same as cheating in your bed.

It’s getting better – nine out of 10 of people in another survey said they were comfortable with their partners masturbating in a relationship. And so they should be! It’s a plus not a problem!