Masturbation in Marriage

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Married Masturbation

246 women and 577 men have answered
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For this survey masturbation was defined as self-stimulation to climax APART from one’s spouse.

Have you masturbated in the last three months?

Seventy percent of the women and 83% of the men said they had masturbated in the last three months.


  • Many of the less than once a month answers were due to separation or sickness.
  • Doing the math, 21% of the women in our total sample masturbate 2 or 3 times a month, and 27% are doing so more often.
  • Of our total sample, 34% of the men masturbate 2-6 times a month, 20% do so 7-14 times a month, and 15% masturbate 15 or more times a month.


  • For men higher sex drive was the most common answer. For women higher sex drive was the second most common reason given.
  • A third of women have masturbated after failing to have an orgasm during sex, as have 4% of men.
  • Sexual refusal was a reason for 38% of men and 18% of women. This is not the same as choosing not to ask. Of those with higher drives who did not want to bother their spouse, 24% of the women and 41% of the men also said they are often told no. This means the majority of these men and women masturbate without seeking sex from their spouse first.
  • Stress relief and help going to sleep were common for both men and women.
  • Twenty-nine percent of men and 4% of women masturbate in an attempt not to be mad at their spouse for sexual refusal.
  • One man in five masturbates because his wife is on her period, and 12% of women gave menstruation as a reason.
  • Three in ten men and 18% of the women said they enjoy solo masturbation even when they are having plenty of sex.


  • Women are more honest with their spouse about their masturbation, both in letting them know they do it, and especially in letting them know how often.
  • Half of men and 42% of women do not share the fact they masturbate with their spouse.


Comments from Women on Why they do it :

  • When my spouse won’t initiate sex in a couple of weeks, I do it out of spite.
  • I seem to ‘want it’ at the wrong time of the day. Too tired at night.
  • Spouse no longer “needs” sex.
  • I’m pregnant and my husband refuses to have sex with me, but I want it now more than ever. I have to masturbate.

Comments from Men on Why they do it:

  • She likes woman
  • I give in to the temptation instead of asking God to be my portion or just ask my wife.
  • To fight the temptation to lust for other women
  • Wife had affair. Intimacy between us disrupted for now.
  • To relieve the pain in my testicles from being aroused without release.
  • Spouse will not take the time I need to have a really good orgasm.
  • Not interested in sex with my wife.
  • I desire for her to swallow during oral sex. She will not do this, so while I pray that God will remove that inner desire from me, it remains a fantasy I have to try to avoid being a silly obsession.
  • To relive pain from medical condition.
  • My spouse is the primary caregiver of our new-born, and is pretty worn out right now, so I’m giving her space for now.
  • Just for fun and I like playing with myself.
  • She has pregnancy-related nausea.
  • Sometimes the need to release is so great I need to take care of things. Mental need that is.
  • Due to an affair I had 10 years ago she decided that she could no longer trust me.
  • I do it because I’m afraid to initiate with my wife, there has been a lot of rejection.
  • I am an internet porn addict.
  • Because my wife won’t give me what I want.
  • No sex with spouse in over 5 1/2 years. marital problems.
  • Spouse does not necessarily say no, but it is evident she does not want to have sex.. I cannot force her to do something she does not really want.
  • Sexless marriage for 3 years.
  • Lack of intimacy, no affection.
  • Sometimes it’s because I’m not getting a response that I’ve been hoping for. Fantasizing about my DW only for what I’ve been thinking about to never happen…just leads to frustration. So, I finish my fantasy, and try to avoid the frustration/disappointment.
  • Practicing techniques to control premature ejaculation and trying to learn multiple-male orgasm.
  • To control how horny I am.
  • Knows I masturbate when she is not available or able to make love due to either or both of us being exhausted, overworked or overcommitted. It is not my outlet of choice though.
  • Yes, and doesn’t care if it keeps me from bothering her.

Comments from Women on right and wrongness:

  • I don’t believe it is good nor God’s ideal for a healthy marriage regardless of whether it is wrong or right.
  • I don’t know if it is wrong. I don’t feel right about it. I’d much prefer sex with my husband, which only happens occasionally.
  • When years of trying to coach him still doesn’t work, you just take care of it yourself. My private, personal release.
  • I think secrecy with masturbation is very wrong but find my husband has a hard time talking about needs.
  • Spouse should know because I text him things like “I touched myself thinking of you today”, but I don’t think he really gets it because he’s told me in the past not to masturbate because waiting makes it better. Waiting doesn’t make it better – in fact it makes it harder for me to orgasm and makes it take longer which means hubby might stop trying.
  • My husband encourages me – he wants me to be happy and it relieves the pressure for him to perform. We have a healthy sex life and often masturbate with each other.
  • I think it’s impossible for a man to masturbate and have pure thoughts. Even though when my husband struggled with it, it was because he was lusting after images in his head whether ones he had really seen or not. It really, really, really, REALLY hurt our marriage. It took us four years to heal from it and it’s still a deep wound. We take Jesus words literally when he said to even lust after a woman you have already committed adultery within your heart with her. Masturbating together really makes no sense. If sex is meant to create oneness, I don’t see how masturbation would promote that.
  • Spouses are meant to fulfill each other’s sexual desires. That’s part of the marriage covenant– of being one instead of two. But that leads into communication of your needs and putting the needs of your partner in front of your own.
  • As a wife, I feel offended when my husband does it. I feel I failed as a wife!
  • I do not believe the strictest definition of masturbation is wrong (i.e. self-stimulation w/ or w/o orgasm). However, engaging in masturbation apart from one’s spouse for whatever reason is wrong as Scripture teaches us that our source of sexual gratification is to be our spouse. Of course there are grace-filled-exceptions (military deployment, illness etc) but those must be discussed, agreed upon & completely transparent between spouses.
  • I think it’s best for couples to depend on each other in this area as much as is possible. I realize in hurting marriages this is a struggle.
  • I feel like fantasy is a slippery slope. Masturbation perpetrates fantasy apart from your spouse.

Comments from Men on right and wrongness:

  • If it decreases the desire to make love with your spouse, it’s wrong.
  • Relatively frequent masturbation, along with controlling my breathing better during intercourse, has allowed me to go from being a guy who could barely maintain intercourse for 1-3min to being able to maintain it for 20+ minutes. My wife is in the rare set who orgasms easily and frequently during penetrative sex, so my increased stamina increases her satisfaction greatly. She will sometimes ask if I’ve been “taking care of things” to know what to expect. I would much rather be having sex with her than masturbating to maintain that stamina level, but between stress related lack of drive in her, too busy of lives, and hectic schedules in our family of 4, we do not have sex more than 2-4 times a month.
  • By God’s grace I am overcoming my addiction to internet porn. My porn use / masturbation habit is in the past, and I intend for it to stay there.
  • My wife and I battled to understand each other’s sexual needs but a fair number of honest, loving conversations (often emotionally loaded) helped us understand each other’s needs and subsequently masturbation is a last resort we both try to avoid, but sometimes cannot.
  • I believe it’s selfish and a sin. As a youth I masturbated and I always felt the spirit leave me when I did. I felt so guilty. In fact, when I gave it up and sought God I had my first experience with the forgiveness of Jesus.
  • Sex should never be used as a weapon or a control factor in a marriage.
  • Never thought I would after I got married. But 25 years, three kids, and opposite schedules have brought back the need. I would always rather have sex with her or even a hand job (so that we are “together” even when she can’t have intercourse. I think about her when I do. It would be hard for me to see how that would be wrong and it keeps me from looking around!
  • I don’t think this can give any married couple a perfect satisfaction God designed for a husband and wife.
  • I think there is a place for it. I do when my wife is gone to visit her family for extended periods of time. So far not at all while she is here, but I think with her permission is would be acceptable during illness or other times you cannot be intimate together.
  • My wife and I both masturbate and we both share with each other. The occasional picture, etc. I firmly believe that one does need some private time. My first present to my wife was a vibrator and she loves it. Whenever she plays I can always look forward to a hot and willing wife later that evening.
  • I am a recovering PORN addict that used to do it all the time to the porn. As a result I am having trouble in my married sex life, though not with getting or staying aroused, but rather with wanting it more than once a week or so. My job also has me working while my wife sleeps so our schedules are completely opposite.
  • Masturbated for over 30 years to compensate for sexual infrequency. She felt couple times a month was plenty so I developed a fantasy life imagining the things I wanted. Our communication wasn’t good so this was kept secret. About a year ago I was convicted by some sermons and pro-marriage podcasts so I manned up, confessed, and quit as an act of love. She was crushed by this but we are recovering and our intimacy is improving on many levels. We’re still struggling with honest communication. The masturbation was a way to avoid difficult, painful conversations, but they’ve been years overdue.
  • I am slightly mixed about the topic. I think that within our hearts we have to desire God first. I truly believe that God can change a man from the inside out, including his inner desires. Having said that, I am 43 today, and still can struggle with being horny. My wife’s drive is just slower than mine, she can’t help that. She genuinely does the best she can, and I truly pray that God helps me to appreciate her, all of her, exactly as He made her. So, I need to focus on God. But my flesh is real, and its chemicals are real, and my thinking is so much clearer when I am not fighting my testosterone. So masturbation does happen. But I believe that God knows my heart, and if I focus on Him, and the woman He gives me, I’m hopeful that His understanding is truly as powerful as I need it to be.
  • Mutual masturbation has been helpful for us during times when she is menstruating. It has actually removed some of the negative emotions my wife has had towards her own past with masturbation addiction.
  • If it’s not with my wife then sexual experiences create separation not unity. I think there can be great variety in the serial relationship when both spouses are present.
  • I don’t want to masturbate, I want my wife, but her health issues and our schedules often make that impossible.
  • My spouse doesn’t want sex as much as I, but she seems to love holding me while watching me masturbate.
  • I don’t know if a guy can do this purely…
  • I used to very frequently, but have cut back a lot since our sexual frequency has improved – even went seven weeks without sex or masturbation back in the fall because of a new attempt to not have pleasure without her – she knew I was being disciplined and when we did finally have sex, the orgasm was amazing!
  • I don’t prefer it and would rather be with my wife or have her do this for me which does happen sometimes. I wonder if it weakens my self-control because sometimes it’s obvious we are both so tired that I don’t want to bother her and I expect a no in those circumstances.
  • Have found that it will take away from the enjoyment of making love with my wife when we unexpectedly make love after I have masturbated
  • I used to masturbate all the time. However I now believe that it is often the first step to a sex addiction and since stopping over 2 yrs ago sexual desires are a lot easier to control as you are no longer ‘feeding’ them. However I am still undecided on whether it is outright wrong.
  • I don’t need to, we have sex 5-6 times a week.
  • I want to be open with my spouse about my masturbation but she would take it personal. It’s not her fault I want daily release. She gives me plenty of sex.

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