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You Asked: Is Masturbating to Pornography Okay?

Dear Sugar--


I am a 44 year old male living alone, and I have been divorced for five years. Currently I am involved in a very open and loving relationship with a wonderful woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with. Our sex life goes beyond words in terms of it being complete and fulfilling for both of us; we are both very happy and take much joy in satisfying each other, often several times a day whenever we are together. Truly, we are happy and I love her with all my heart.

Unfortunately, she does not approve or understand of my occasional need to masturbate using pornography such as the Internet, videos, or magazines during those times when we are apart. She asks me "am I not enough for you?" to which I answer "of course," as she is truly the woman of my dreams. I believe that she feels threatened and worried that I need this external visual simulation of other people engaging in sexual activity to help me achieve my physical release.

Truthfully, I have been masturbating to pornography ever since puberty, but I have always been faithful to whomever I was seeing at the time. In the case of our love life, my private interest in pornography has never stood in the way of our intimacy, ever. I want to be sensitive to her feelings. I try to tell her that those images don't mean anything to me other than a means to help me get off and she shouldn't feel threatened or jealous by them. Personally, my conscience is clear, but she does not share in my opinion of the need to masturbate when alone, especially when the use of pornography is involved.

--Questioning Kevin

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Dear Questioning Kevin--

I have to say that it doesn't really matter if masturbating to pornography is "right or wrong." The issue here is that it makes your girlfriend uncomfortable and upset. As with any issue that two people disagree on, you have to try and find some common ground.

You can try and convince her that it's totally normal for guys (and women) to masturbate using pornography, but it sounds like she's not going to change her opinion. Talk to her and try to figure out if it's the pornography she's upset about, or if she doesn't understand why you need to masturbate when you're apart. Perhaps she'd be okay with you masturbating alone without pornography or images of other women. Or maybe you can ask her if she would be willing to look at pornography with you. If you can get to the bottom of why she's against it then it may help you to figure out a way to compromise.

Everyone's level of sexual comfort is different. If you want to stay together, you may have to agree to disagree about this. If she is completely against both masturbating and using pornography, and you can't live without it, then this relationship might not be all you thought it was. With that said, you're allowed to have some areas of your life that only you know about, but just be respectful to yourself and your relationship.

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