My “beau” has been in a sexless marriage for 12 years and has been used to masturbating daily. Now I have a hard time getting him to have intercourse. If he stops masturbating will this increase his desire for intercourse? With practice at intercourse will it become easier? What is an okay balance between masturbation and intercourse (and me giving him a hand-job). Note: I am 50, recently divorced, he is 52, once divorced and in process of second divorce.

Responses

  • Michael Castleman says:

    Many young men can masturbate and/or have partner sex several times a day. But as men age, especially after 50 or so, the “refractory period,” the time from one comfortable sexual interlude to another, increases to the point where masturbation may leave him without sufficient erotic energy for intercourse. From this perspective, it would make sense to think that if he masturbated less, he might have more energy for sex with you.

    There is also another way to view his situation. Masturbation is sexual, but for many men, it’s not so much about “sex” as self-soothing to deal with stress. Many women self-soothe by talking with friends, taking baths, or shopping (which is why it’s sometimes called “retail therapy”). But for many men, self-soothing is done with one hand. Why would your beau need to self-soothe? Everyone experiences stress, but beyond that, I’m guessing he’s extra-stressed about his current divorce and perhaps about his new relationship with you, which may be wonderful … but it would be reasonable for him to wonder if it’s the first step toward a third painful divorce….

    In my view, it’s unreasonable for women to ask men to stop masturbating. But it’s perfectly reasonable for women to insist on a balance between masturbation and having partner sex. For a quick fix, you might request/insist on a schedule for partner sex, say Sunday mornings, with him free to masturbate later that day and on other days.

    You guys have a desire difference. Desire differences are extremely common in long-term relationships, and sex therapists have developed a program that usually resolves them. I’ve adapted that program into an article that may help you, “How Sex Therapists Recommend Overcoming Desire Differences.” I suggest you both read it and then discuss how the approach it recommends might help you.

    Or you might request/insist that the two of you consult a sex therapist to help sort out a mutually acceptable balance between his masturbation and your partner sex. If you’re unfamiliar with sex therapy, read my article on it, and/or see the Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones movie, “Hope Springs.” 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.

    Beyond that, if he’s concerned about his masturbation frequency or his stress load and how to deal with it, he could arrange an individual consultation with either a sex therapist or a psychotherapist.

    I hope these suggestions help!

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