Large woman worried about her weight, isolated over white

After many years of not mentioning this, my husband just revealed that he masturbated because I gained weight. There was a time when he didn’t have sex with me. I often told him how much I missed being with him. I never knew he was self-pleasuring as he drank so much and I considered it the reason for no sex. Even after all these years, I am very hurt. He is older than I am, and can no longer have sex. How can I resolve this?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    I’m very sorry you’re suffering over this.

    Let’s start with some background information. Most men masturbate more than most women. Many a lot more. It’s somewhere between quite likely and virtually certain that he’s been self-sexing regularly all along, from before he met you until now. Masturbation is our original sexuality. Partner sex does not replace it. Especially for men. Masturbation and partner lovemaking are both “sex,” but they’re quite different. During solo sex, you have only yourself to please. Partner sex requires more negotiation and accommodation. It’s more work. Most coupled people feel an ongoing need for self-sexing. The research shows that coupled folks self-pleasure just as much as singles, often more. Now it’s quite possible that your weight gain had something to do with his loss of interest in partner lovemaking. But I seriously doubt he “started” masturbating “because” of your weight. I bet he’s spent most of his life been doing what most men do—stroking regularly for pleasure and stress relief.

    You say he’s older and can no longer have sex. I’m assuming you mean he has erection problems (ED) and can no longer manage vaginal intercourse. Around 90% of men over 60 have some level of ED. If he’s still drinking heavily, ED is a virtual certainty. For his health and longevity, it would be best for him to consume no more than 2 drinks a day.

    But there’s much more to sex than intercourse. Because most older men develop ED, most older couples who remain sexual stop having intercourse, and instead embrace “outercourse,” all the other ways to enjoy lovemaking: extended kissing and hugging, playful mutual whole-body massage, handjobs, fingering, lots of oral sex, and maybe some anal (most people limit it to sphincter massage and shallow fingering) or BDSM (most limit it to blindfolds, spanking, and playful dominant/submissive role playing).

    Now about feeling so hurt. It’s great that you want to resolve it. Admitting the situation is the first step toward solutions. I suggest that you and your husband consider a short course of sex therapy. Sex therapists are psychotherapists with extra training in sexuality. You could go to any couples therapist, but since your presenting problem involves sex, I recommend a sex therapist.

    Sex therapists do NOT have sex with you and do NOT watch you have sex. They rely on face-to-face conversations. They impart sex information and lovemaking insights, and often assign “homework.” Costs vary, but expect $200-300/hour. Some providers discount fees for those who can’t afford standard rates. For more, read my the chapter on sex coaching and therapy in my book, Sizzling Sex for Life, and/or see the film, “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.

    If your husband won’t accompany you, I urge you to go by yourself. That’s suboptimal, of course, but the therapist may still be able to offer helpful suggestions.

  • dianegiggi says:

    Thanks Michael,
    Problem is he deliberately said he didn’t come up for a while (1 to 2 months) for partner sex because I turned him off. After a short while, he said he came up for sex because it was more pleasurable than his hand. He claims that he later changed his view of being with me because he realized what he had in me as a wife. A couneselor i have talked to said he is emotionally immature and superficial.

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.