Skip to content

    Men's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Is Solo Sex Hurting Your Relationship?

    Wives often get upset if husbands are engaging in solo sex, such as masturbation or phone sex. But who is hurting whom?
    By
    WebMD Feature

    A woman might feel neglected if her mate spends too much time watching sports on TV. But if his leisure time involves solo sex, such as masturbating, engaging in phone sex, or using the Internet to view explicit sexual images or chat with an anonymous partner, she might go through the roof. And she might post to WebMD's Sex Matters® board, where the overwhelming majority of posts concerned with a mate engaging in solo sex come from women.

    Of course it's true that many women as well as men find pleasure in gratifying themselves alone. So is it cheating when the partner is left out? Psychologist Willard F. Harley of White Bear Lake, Minn., says men and women are probably hardwired to react differently. "Most women will say they want their husbands' sexual expression to be exclusively with them -- no masturbation, no pornography, no strip clubs. But men don't care if their wives look at naked men. They think it gives them license to look at naked women."

    Recommended Related to Men

    Admit It, Men: You’re Stressed

    You probably think of yourself as an average guy. And you probably think you cope pretty well with everyday stress. Sure, the boss might be causing you stress at work and making you uneasy about how secure your job is. Yeah, and maybe your wife has been too busy or too tired lately to notice just how much stress you have to deal with. And look at how fast your daughter is growing up. It's as if you're watching her in time-lapse photography while your college-aged son is still stuck in high school...

    Read the Admit It, Men: You’re Stressed article > >

    Whether solo sex is a problem for a relationship is in the eye of the beholder, says David Schnarch, PhD, director of The Marriage and Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colo. "For some couples, it's a breach. For others, it's not."

    When the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Centre in Santa Clara, Calif., observed an increasing number of people in therapy dealing with online sexual behavior, its researchers surveyed visitors -- 86% male and 14% female -- to the MSNBC web site. The often-quoted survey showed that 64% of the 9,177 respondents were married or in a committed relationship, and 92% did not have problems related to online sexual activities. Perhaps surprisingly, most respondents said they got excited but not aroused by viewing and chatting.

    Who's in Charge of Sexual Fantasies?

    Solo sex can involve human interaction, as with phone sex or Internet chatting, or it can be totally private, as with masturbation. "The common traits are that the partner isn't involved and nobody is touching anybody else," says Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, a licensed marriage and family counselor/sex therapist in Fair Oaks, Calif. "Sometimes people think when they marry that they've just gotten a license to run the life of the other person, including their sexual thoughts and feelings. That's where everybody gets up in arms about solo sex."

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    Men shouldn’t ignore.
    man swinging in hammock
    And how to get out it.
     
    shaving tools
    On your shaving skills.
    muscular man flexing
    Four facts that matter.
     
    Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
    Slideshow
    Thoughtful man sitting on bed
    Quiz
     
    Man taking blood pressure
    Slideshow
    doctor holding syringe
    Slideshow
     
    Condom Quiz
    Quiz
    thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
    Slideshow
     
    man running
    Quiz
    older couple in bed
    Video