Sex Advice

My Partner Walked In On Me Masturbating and I Want To Die, but Sexologists Have Other Tips for Moving Forward

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Getty Images/ Anastasiya Piven / EyeEm

Okay, no beating around the bush on this one: You got caught masturbating after your partner walked in on you, and now you feel all sorts of red-faced about it. Before delving into any kind of analysis here, it’s important to be very clear from the outset that you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Masturbation, self-pleasure, solo sex—whatever you want to call it—is a hugely important part of being a sexual being, and don’t you forget it.

“You are your first and best sexual partner, so it’s a good idea to maintain a healthy and satisfying relationship with yourself, no matter what your relationship status is,” says clinical sexologist Caitlin V, MPH. That said, “solo sex is vital for partnered sex because exploring by yourself is how you figure out the way that you like to be touched and what works best for you.”

So if you got caught masturbating, think of it as more of a learning experience than an embarrassing one (and also, one that’s basically bound to happen since many quarantine dynamics don’t particularly allow for a whole lot of Me Time). If after getting caught, you feel any sort of shame, introspect as to why that is, because what you learn might allow for growth in your relationship with yourself and any sexual partners you have.

“Unpack why masturbating feels shameful, where you learned that you ‘shouldn’t’ masturbate in a relationship, and where the myth comes from that only a partner can provide you sexual gratification, but not yourself,” says Jill McDevitt, PhD, resident sexologist for pleasure product emporium CalExotics. “That can be just as toxic as believing only a partner can provide love, and you shouldn’t see your friends anymore.”

To wit, masturbation is wonderful, natural, and important for sexual wellness and not only should you feel allowed to have solo sex within a healthy relationship relationship dynamic, but you should also feel encouraged. So, for quick and dirty solutions on what to do immediately after you got caught masturbating, here are three routes the sexologists suggest.

1. Request some privacy and finish up on your own

If you’re feeling embarrassed that your partner caught you self-pleasuring…well, actually, it helps to stop looking it as getting “caught” in the first place. “It implies something shameful or clandestine, as in ‘if your partner catches you cheating,'” Dr. McDevitt says. “I think of it more like an activity that everyone does, usually in private, but that might be walked in on unintentionally, like using the toilet.”

She even recommends that you use the “Excuse me, I’m in here!” script for the next time your S.O. opens the door on you.

2. Invite them to get involved

And feel free to get creative about how you do so! The first inclination might be dive into sex play together, but getting walked in on can also serve as an opportunity to be both independent and intimate at the same time. For example, V suggests that they watch you without touching, touch other parts of your body while you touch yourself, or you both engage in mutual masturbation.

“[Mutual masturbation] the safest form of [partnered] sex, meaning there’s minimal risk of transmission of infection or disease, both partners are more likely to experience satisfaction and orgasm, and it’s a great way to learn about your own and your partner’s body,” V says.

3. If you need to, reassure your partner that masturbating doesn’t mean you’re sexually unsatisfied

This might be important if your S.O. seems to harbor negative feelings about you going off on your own pleasure voyage. Try not to take it personally, initially. “If your partner is hurt about you masturbating, it probably comes from a place of insecurity,” V says. “Perhaps they’re afraid that they don’t satisfy you sexually, or they feel that your sexuality is dependent on them while you’re in a relationship.”

And, I bet you can guess what the suggested solution is here. That’s right, it’s communication! No matter what your partner’s specific insecurity is, she recommends you address it by first communicating to them why having a sexual relationship with yourself is important to you and then how it can help to foster a more satisfying relationship for you both.

Oh hi! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for cult-fave wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.

Loading More Posts...