About eight months ago, my boyfriend of two years came home early from work and caught me playing with myself in bed. I thought at the time I hid it quite well until he confronted me about it later in the night. He told me I had completely lost his trust and he asked me not to do it again. What he doesn't know is that I am a frequent toucher and love the feeling, but I am too ashamed to tell him this. Ever since this happened, he tells me it's 90 percent of what he thinks about and can't trust me alone. I don't want to be the bad guy—after all, most of my friends do it, so I feel horrible for doing something that's "healthy." I love him to death, but this has torn us apart and I have given up doing it, but it's not enough. How can I make him see my view? After all, all I really wanted was to know myself so he could too.
Oh, please. Ask yourself (or your boyfriend) this: If masturbation is unnatural, why did the human species evolve so our arms are just long enough for our hands to reach between our legs?
Masturbation isn't just normal, it's one of life's great, near-universal pleasures: completely free, environmentally friendly, portable, and available on-demand.
I think this is more about control than masturbation, but I'll get to that in a second. First, in case you need a fact to prove that you're acting normally and he's being irrational, tell him this: According to one study, 95 percent of men and 89 percent of women masturbate. Most experts agree with you that masturbation is great for your sex life—especially for women—because it helps you to understand your body better. Another fact you don't need an expert to confirm: It feels awesome.
You have absolutely no reason to feel even the most microscopic shred of guilt. You shouldn't apologize. You shouldn't stop.
However, you do need to think about why your boyfriend is being so controlling that he's even jealous of your own hands. It's frankly absurd for him to say he's "completely lost his trust." It's hurtful and manipulative for him to say he "can't trust [you] alone." I don't even know what that means, but I do know you don't deserve to be made to feel bad for such a nonissue. You do not deserve to be put on the defensive like this.
He's trying to use your guilt to control you—to put you on the defensive and use it to his advantage. (For instance, he's clearly lying when he says it's "90 percent" of what he thinks about.) This is a neon danger sign, so look for other signs of controlling behavior that might indicate an abusive dynamic. Sure, there's some slight chance that he's got an irrational hang-up about masturbation. But I doubt it. It's more likely that he's trying to establish a manipulative, unfair relationship, where your needs and preferences are seen as less legitimate than his.
Please think hard about how your boyfriend is treating you. Right now, it seems like you're getting a lot more positive energy from your fingers than your boyfriend.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.