My partner doesn’t masturbate and he gets very frustrated and difficult to live with when we don’t have sex. I feel it’s unfair for all the responsibility to fall on me to relieve him of his sexual tension. It just ends up becoming a chore I have to do on top of the parenting, housework, etc. I want to get another opinion on whether this is fair, plus advice on how to manage a man’s expectations about how much sex couples with kids have in long-term relationships.
I suspect this is not really about masturbation, or even sex. There is underlying resentment between you, and it needs to be addressed before everything becomes worse. You believe there is an unfair arrangement – and this can only be resolved by you asking him for more help. Be specific, and approach him calmly – expressing your feelings without starting a fight. You deserve to be less stressed.
Without better equality within your partnership it is unlikely that your sexual interest in him will ever be restored – and your lives together may become even more difficult. For his part, he is most likely feeling marginalised and needs your attention. This is common when one partner is – even for good reason – strongly focused on children, health, finances, pregnancy and so on.
Even if he did masturbate, for him, that is not the point; he is not just seeking sexual gratification – he may want to be close to you. Start by getting your day-to-day needs met; that will produce some immediate positive results.
• Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.
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