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Wife masturbates behind my back

By Butter on Aug 2, 2010 at 10:01 PM

My wife and have been married for over 20 years with 2 teenage children. I purchased a vibrator a few years in an effort to "spark" our sex life. It did work. However, she now complains she has little to no interest in sex and yet I have caught her several times using the vibrator when I am not home (during the day when I am at work), when I am away on business and even when I am home. There have been a number of times when I have tried to initiate sex and have had her say she is too tired, only to be woken up in the middle of night with her masturbating in the bed beside me as she thinks I am asleep. When I confront with this, she has denied it and grows defensive. On two occasions, I caught her in the act. I explained it made me feel inadequate and I felt as though I had been replaced. But she continues to use the toy despite my feelings claiming it helps her sleep. We have a good marriage and communicate well in other areas except this one. My questions are as follows: Am I being too sensitive about this? Should I just let go of the issue? If I feel badly about myself and this situation I am correct in asking her not to masturbate behind my back anymore?

14 replies

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Emily Nagoski | Aug 3, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Reply | Report

Your reaction is very understandable. You feel rejected. Indeed, you're BEING rejected by your wife, but it sounds to me like her rejection and her masturbation are actually separate issues.

Having interest in sex is not the same as having interest in having an orgasm. The nice thing about a vibrator is that it can provide a quick, easy, complication-free orgasm. It probably DOES help her fall asleep.

Separate the masturbation from the lack of sex - I really believe they're not related. It's just not in the same category as sex with you.

But do talk to her about finding a way back to a sexual connection with you. What works for many couples is agreeing to non-sexual touching a few nights a week (it's an idea I've discussed here on my blog). Women are more likely to feel interested in sex AFTER foreplay has started.

bkrbabe | Aug 3, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Reply | Report

let me start by stating I am 53 and up to 4 months ago NEVER experienced a real orgasm!
I have been sexually active since i was 11 and can you imagine never experiencing what every man i ever had sex with, the joy and rapture of an orgasm. When I think of all the times my husband of 30 years climbed up and did his thing while i tried to even come close to his enjoyment.Thru many health issues he has become inactive for the time being. And i chose to "experiment" with ky and a vibrator. Oh my freakin God. What I had been missing. If your wife is finally able to "climax" for what is probably the first time in her life you need to celebrate. Imagine you having sex and never truly understanding the purpose. Sure it feels good but so does eating a steak cooked just right. Vibrators get us where you have always been. how she can do it right next to you i can't understand. I have to totally alone and focused on me with no distractions;not easy.
don't worry. you can not be replaced.


Deirdre | Jan 14, 2011 at 7:21 AM | Reply | Report

I had my share of experiences in h.s., but did not actually cum until college. As you say - BIG DIFFERENCE. Key for me was learning how to do it myself, not relying on partner to figure it out (how could he if I did not know myself?) Part of it too was that many of my earlier sexual encounters were in locations not conducive to me relaxing: a car, boyfriend's house, a pool, outdoors. After getting advice from a magazine, I figured it all out by masturbating. At first this was just by touching, but by my 20s I got a vibrator and a "fullsized" dildo. Huge help.

OhioGirl | Jan 14, 2011 at 10:23 AM | Reply | Report

I guess I was unusual but I learned to orgasm while in high school, from masturbating and reading my sister's magazines. It was easy for me & prob helped me from getting prego as I could "get off" myself if horny & to risky stuff with a boy. By sr. yr., if a boy touched me right or fingered me enough, even in a car, I could cum, though not usually vaginally. 1st time I had orgasm felt like deep throbbing in vagina, I was using large candle to simulate sex. I shook all over! I told my sister @ it (she was never embarrassed, always open) and she said she never had one, so she tried same thing later and told me it worked for her 2. No we chuckle @ candles when we see them.

bkrbabe | Aug 3, 2010 at 9:18 AM | Reply | Report

You are not being replaced.There is nothing that can compare to the real 'package'. However a real orgasm for a woman is a complicated feat.Only she knows where to touch and how good it feels, yes she can tell you, but your really not going to sense it. let her have 'her' time. It has helped me understand, relate, and feel compassion for my husband. Don't be insecure. There is no comparison. You couldn't really give her this feeling. I don't think anyone could for me but me. It's too involved, too complicated to explain and guide thru. I think it would be very kind of you, considerate if you will to let her have this. Though you might want to ask her to at least do it in private and allow her that private time. It might just help her to come back to you, arms open wide. And that is an understanding i think too many couples do not have.

kayla | Aug 3, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Reply | Report

I think you may be "too sensitive" on the wrong thing. The problem isn't that your wife is masturbating, it's that she has "little to no interest in sex" (with you). She's obviously got a few sparks left if she's enjoying sex with herself. I'd suggest two things. One, try to focus your efforts on making sex with her better; interest her more in sex with you. (It sounds so simple... but still, focus on that rather than masturbating.) Two, try not to "confront her" about masturbating. She probably feels bad for not wanting sex with you, but still enjoys an orgasm every once in awhile. Ask her if you can watch, maybe! (Not when you catch her doing herself-- ideally, before). Maybe try to talk about it with her, but not by saying "it really bothers me that you do it"; say rather that "it's bothers me that you aren't interested in sex with me anymore". And, please stop waking you up!

Butter | Aug 3, 2010 at 2:40 PM | Reply | Report

I should clarify that when we do have sex (together with me) that she always has an orgasm. I always insure that she does orgasm with me. And when we do have sex it is great. I guess part of the issue is that when she masturbates likes this it takes me out of the loop. I have always had a stronger sex drive than she has.
Thanks for the perspectives and the comments

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Emily Nagoski | Aug 6, 2010 at 6:14 AM | Reply | Report

You being out of the loop is not inherently a bad thing - your feeling *rejected* is bad, yes, but we're all entitled to a sex life separate from our partners. You're allowed to masturbate without her, too.

I wonder if it might help, in talking with her, to assume she WANTS to be more interested in having sex with you, but isn't because of... well all kinds of things. Stress, worry, mood, exhaustion, feeling uncomfortable with her body, all kinds of things can potentially reduce sexual interest. Ask how you can help, maybe?

bkrbabe | Aug 4, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Reply | Report

hmmm. well if i had an orgasm every time me and my husband got it on i wouldn't need to crank up the vibrator. Perhaps she is having clitoral orgasms for a change of pace. you never did specify what type of vibrator you bought her.
Either way your 'clarification' post makes me think there is a little more going on then what you are questioning. Good luck!!

Butter | Aug 8, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Reply | Report

My wife just returned from a week long vacation by herself at our vacation home. I waited 2 days after she returned so she was rested after flying and settled here then suggested we talk about ways to increase her interest in having sex together. I did not bring up the masturbation. I told her I missed our sex life and wanted to find ways and things we could do to get back there. She blew me out of the water. She said she had lost interest in me physically. She admitted she still had an interest in sex, but did not find me sexually interesting and that the only reason she had been having sex with me was to keep me happy and keep me from getting angry. At this point I asked why she was still in the same house with me. She stated she still loved me, but that simply did not have any interest in sex with me. She also stated she liked the life style: stay at home mom, vacation home, nice cars, etc. I do work out; I am not a model, but I am healthy and not overweight. Now what?

Ron | Aug 9, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Reply | Report

Well, I think you may have to ask youself "Is staying together better than the opposite option?" I think you're in a tough spot and that whatever decision you make will be correct. If you decide to just stick it out and see what happens, you may become bitter because you know she's only having sex with you because it's one of her "chores". On the other hand, and it seems this is more true: You do love her and I think that maybe she's willing to be more of your best friend rather than lover. Ask her what she thinks, too, about your sexual needs. There are many options out there, it just depends on what boundries are created or eliminated during these frank discussions. But also remember, if it's not mutually agreed upon, it's really only going to get worse. As was the case with my ex-wife and I.

Cajun | Nov 3, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Reply | Report

With all due respect you should consider counseling in order to make your marriage whole again sexually! If she is not interested in that, then you have your amswer: stay until the kids are gone, find a mate outside the home, or ask her if she wants to have an open marriage (only if you can handle it)! Best wishes.

deeppassions | Sep 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Reply | Report

Maybe its just me but she went alone to vacation place hmm could be a secret getaway with a new lover and when she masturbates wh is she thinking of

iceman | Nov 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM | Reply | Report

Hi I feel your pain. my wife does the same thing behind my back. I have caught her too. right now I don't know what to do. Talk to her or let it go. I will tell why I feel like this is she works days . I work swing. so we are not together during the week. then if the kids are home we not together on weekends. Then I feel if she masturbates I feel inadequate too. And when we are together she orgasm a lot.

I wander if I did that and she found out I did. would she feel the same.

So I complete understand were you are coming from.

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