Marriage and Masturbation


In marriage, sex and honesty are like two wings on the same bird. You need both for your marriage to soar.

My wife Ashley and I recently wrote a book called The Naked Marriage which is designed to spark some very honest and intimate conversations between a husband and wife that can help them improve their sex life and all other aspects of their marriage too. We’ve found that one issue in marriage that needs greater honesty and clarity in marriage is the issue of MASTURBATION. Is it helpful? Is it wrong? Is it harmless? I believe these questions about masturbation are more important than many people realize.

As an important clarification, when I say “masturbation,” for the purposes of this article, I’m NOT referring to the self-stimulation or sexual play that happens during foreplay or intercourse with your spouse. Those can be just a fun part of sex between a husband and wife. When I’m referring to masturbation, I’m talking specifically about someone pleasuring himself or herself to the point of climax when NOT in the presence of his or her spouse.

Here are three reasons you may have never considered why masturbation can negatively impact your marriage…

1. It can negatively impact the sexual intimacy, performance and pleasure with your spouse.

We receive a lot of emails and messages from frustrated wives whose husbands have lost their drive for sex because they’re “taking care of it all on their own.” Men, when you choose to masturbate, you may be gaining momentary pleasure, but it’s happening at the expense of your wife’s needs and desires and you’re also missing out! This doesn’t impact men’s masturbation only. Ladies, a recent article in Women’s Health Magazine pointed out that some women are experiencing what they call “Dead Vagina” which is a numbness in the genitals caused from excessive manual stimulation (mostly from vibrators). This is making intercourse with their husbands much less enjoyable and much less frequent. Never let the substitute sabotage the real thing!

#2 is an important factor related to masturbation that you may have never considered…

2. Masturbation often creates “mental infidelity” through fantasies that don’t involve your spouse.

In marriage, monogamy isn’t just physical. You need to be “mentally monogamous” as well. This isn’t just my opinion. Jesus was teaching in a time and culture that didn’t have our access to porn, but they still struggled with lust and He taught that to lust after another woman is to commit adultery with her in your heart. Keep your thoughts and fantasies focused on your spouse. Masturbation almost always includes either porn OR mental fantasies that probably don’t include your spouse. Stay physically AND mentally monogamous and your marriage will be much stronger. If you or your spouse has a struggle with porn (like millions do), I’d encourage you to visit:

#3 might be the most important one on the list…

3. Masturbation often trains your mind to reduce sex to a selfish act, and that selfishness will impact other aspects of your marriage (both inside and outside the bedroom).

When you masturbate, it’s all about YOU, but sex is about your spouse too. Masturbation trains your mind and your body to approach sex as another way to get your needs met. It trains you to be selfish, and you can’t be selfish and be a great spouse at the same time. Put your spouse’s needs and desires ahead of your own. The happiest marriages have two people who both place the other’s needs ahead of their own.

Share this article: