Is Self-Pleasure Normal in Relationships?

Despite being perfectly normal, numerous misconceptions and outright myths surround self-pleasure. One of the more frequently asked questions about masturbation over the internet is, “If you masturbate, are you cheating on your partner?This question alone reveals the frequency of misinformation surrounding self-pleasure in relationships. If you are reading this, you may be wondering if masturbation is really okay while in a relationship?

In this blog, we would like to delve into why masturbating while in a relationship is not only completely normal, but also beneficial to your relationship as a whole.


Busting Self-Pleasure Myths in Relationships

Myths surrounding self-pleasure are not uncommon and unfortunately there is a lot of shame surrounding masturbation. One of the most common myths people in a relationship may hear is that masturbation counts as “cheating” on your partner. According to certified sexologist Gigi Engle, this idea is plain ridiculous. Cheating refers to having sexual contact with someone without your partner knowing. Therefore, since a sex toy is not a partner, it does not count as cheating. The last time we checked, sex toys (at least currently) don’t have emotions. They are tools designed to enhance self-pleasure. In short, equating self-pleasure to cheating reveals the negative perception of self-pleasure that sadly remains prevalent to this day.

The demographics of people who masturbate most frequently are between the ages of 25 and 29- an age where there's the high possibility of cohabiting and being in a relationship. It is important to remember that masturbation is not a substitute to sex, but something entirely separate with different sensations and emotions compared to partnered sex.

When masturbating you are performing an act of self-care, deepening your relationship with your body, and discovering which things make you feel good or even lead to orgasm. On the other hand, when having sex you are playing off of, and reacting to, your partner. While good sex is of course pleasurable, masturbation allows you the chance to be present with yourself and discover what truly makes you feel good.

Benefits of Self-Pleasure

According to the TENGA Global Self-Pleasure Report, most Americans masturbate on their own while in a relationship. However, due to cultural and societal beliefs and pressures, people are still hesitant to discuss masturbation, especially while they are in a relationship.

Despite this, there are numerous benefits associated with self-pleasure, and no reason not to enjoy time with yourself while in a relationship. Masturbation is one of the keys to self-care with a multitude of physical and psychological benefits. Just like incorporating movement into your daily life, or making time for your skincare routine at the end of the day, it is important to think of masturbation as a part of self-care. It enhances the relationship that you have with yourself, both mentally and physically.

Masturbation is a fantastic stress reliever. As mentioned above, while sex can feel pleasurable, there is an element of remaining “on” for your partner, reacting and actively communicating with the other person. However, masturbation can be the ultimate relaxation and a perfect way to unwind, as the only person you need to think about pleasing is yourself. In fact, according to Dr. Gloria Brame, "an orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available,” releasing mood-lifting neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin.

Incorporating Self-Pleasure into Your Relationship

In a relationship, people may feel downright awkward masturbating apart from their partner. However, taking time for yourself has been proven to improve and deepen your relationship.
People who masturbate regularly become more in touch with what makes them orgasm. Masturbating regularly in a relationship can also improve your sex life, as understanding your body is the key to effectively communicating to your partner the things that make you feel good.
Additionally, self-pleasure can also make you want to have sex more frequently, as it causes your overall sex drive to naturally increase.

As much as you may think that spending time masturbating may be awkward or even detrimental to your relationship, just remember that masturbation is not only normal, but can improve your sex life and overall relationship.


It is perfectly normal to masturbate while in a relationship. While there is unfortunately shame surrounding the topic of self-pleasure, it should be encouraged, especially in a relationship. Spending time to focus on yourself, specifically on your self-pleasure, has numerous benefits including relieving stress, strengthening your communication skills in and out of the bedroom, and increasing your sex drive. We urge you to think of these benefits the next time you may feel hesitant to engage in self-pleasure in your relationship.

Once you’re comfortable with self-pleasure separate from your partner, you can try incorporating mutual masturbation into your relationship. To learn more about mutual masturbation and its many benefits take a look at our iroha blog on the subject, here.