The Sex Files with Emily Morse

Dear Emily: Why Does My Partner Want Me To Touch Myself In Front of Him?

Q: Dear Emily,
My boyfriend and I have a great sex life, but there is one issue that keeps popping up. He recently asked me to pleasure myself in front of him, and it’s not the first time he has made this request. I masturbate from time to time, but never in front of another person! I feel like masturbation is such a private activity and trying to do it in front of him feels awkward and forced. The last time he asked, I got angry and told him to do it himself and see how it feels, but my plan backfired because he totally loved it. Why is this such a big turn on for him? And how can I masturbate for my BF without feeling so uncomfortable?

Self-Love Self Conscious

Dear SLSC,

Let me start this off by saying that your situation is a fairly common one, from your boyfriend’s request to your discomfort with it. A lot of it comes down to the fact that men and women view masturbation differently. Even though we’ve come along way in our journey to sexual empowerment, many women still have a stigma attached to masturbation: It’s a private activity, one that is certainly not talked about. And on top of that, we’re late bloomers! Most women don’t start masturbating regularly until they reach their 20’s, while most guys discover their “magic touch” before they fully hit puberty

The majority of men have no hold-ups with masturbation. They know how good it feels for them and have most likely seen enough porn to believe that it brings the same kind of pleasure for women. They don’t view female masturbation as a shameful act – On the contrary! They love nothing more than to see you give yourself the good lovin’… And here’s a few reasons why it’s not a bad idea to let them:

It is a treat for the eyes
Men are visual creatures. Unlike women, who need to feel turned on in order to actually get turned on, men rely heavily on visual stimuli to get them in the mood. This is why they watch so much porn: They want to see women enjoying themselves sexually, from every single angle. And as you mentioned earlier, female masturbation is a very private, sensual act. The fact that he is getting a front row seat to such an intimate experience gives him a voyeuristic rush, like he is witnessing something that no other man gets to see.

It can be extremely erotic
Ask any guy – There is something undeniably arousing about seeing a woman take her pleasure into her own hands. For men, bringing their female partner to orgasm is like rebuilding a car engine – It requires dedication, finesse, and perfect technique. When a woman can put the puzzle together in half the time, it shows that she is confident, comfortable with her own sexuality and knows what she is doing under the hood.

It’s a learning experience
Don’t think that your guy is just sitting there slack-jawed while you press all the right buttons. No, rest assured that your partner is taking copious mental notes. The fact is, new sex partners do not come with an instruction manual. Every person likes different things below the belt, and sometimes the best way to discover the RIGHT way to touch somebody is to let them show you how they like to be touched. Nobody knows your body better than you, and watching you touch yourself gives him an up close and personal masturbation education!

Now on to your second question: Many women feel uncomfortable touching themselves in front of a partner, for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they still feel some shame associated with self-love. Maybe they feel insecure about the way that it looks while they’re doing it (although I can pretty much guarantee that it’s the best thing your guy has seen all day). Or it’s possible that it just feels weird to perform such a private act with a partner watching intently. Like all he’s missing is a Coke Icee and a bucket of popcorn.

In order to make it feel less like a private show and more like an intimate shared experience, ask your partner to join in on the action! This will take the pressure off you and help you feel more comfortable, which will hopefully up your chances of getting into it and actually having an orgasm.

Ask him to sit behind you so you can lean back against him while you masturbate. Encourage him to run his hands all over your body, kiss your neck, and engage other hot spots while you do your thing! You can also hold his hand over yours while you massage your clitoris so he can feel exactly what kind of touches and caresses feel best for you.

Another way to integrate his fantasy into an act that you can both enjoy is to suggest mutual masturbation. Many will recognize the practice of mutual masturbation from their pre-intercourse hookup day. Back in highschool it was considered a sexual loophole, a way of experiencing sex and orgasms together without actually doing the deed. Nowadays it’s kind of like cyber sex, only you’re actually face-to-face. And there are some definite touching possibilities!

To really set the mood, try lighting some candles (Aromatherapy Massage Candles, anyone?) and turning on a sensual playlist. Sit facing your partner, either on a couch or the bed, and take turns playing with yourself while the other watches. Take note of the way they stroke themselves, and how they react to each new movement. As you get closer and closer to the edge, hold eye contact and mimic each other’s rhythms to try and bring yourselves to orgasm, simultaneously! Then all that’s left to do is snuggle close and share the intimate moment together. No awkwardness necessary.

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