Self-pleasure is an important part of overall health and well-being. It can help with stress relief, improve sleep, and you’re in charge of your orgasms — what’s there not to like. But engaging in self-pleasure often raises questions, especially considering our society’s perception of it. 

For men’s health awareness month, I spoke with seven married men who get candid about how it has impacted their sexual health and relationships.

Image by Freepik

Hakeem*, 39

I didn’t like masturbating before I got married. It never felt like the real thing and cleaning up after grossed me out. After my wife welcomed our first child, we couldn’t have sex for sometime because she had complications during childbirth. So, she suggested handjobs. Something about the suggestion coming from her made me willing to try it out. Initially, she helped, and then, it graduated to me doing it myself. Only thing is, I like when we are together when I go about it. It has helped our sexual relationship a lot. She doesn’t feel the pressure to give in all the time. 

Chibuzor*, 41

As a devout Christian, it’s not something I’m comfortable with. I do it, but only when necessary and there’s no other option. For instance, when we were trying for our first child, I ran a series of tests that needed my semen. I had to pleasure myself to do this, and it was uncomfortable. I also tried it when she was away receiving care at her mum’s place after childbirth, but I’ve realised I just don’t like it. Something about it feels sinful, and I’d rather have my desires in check.

John*, 32

I’ve been an advocate of self-pleasure for men for the longest time. There’s something about self exploration that makes it easier to communicate your desires with your partner. If you’ve explored yourself enough, you can guide your partner towards the things that’ll give you maximum pleasure. Sex is beyond foreplay and penetration, and more men need to understand this for a healthy sex life. Some men have frequent sex and are still sexually frustrated. It’s because they’ve not discovered what truly excites them.

Jinad*, 35

Since I turned 35, I’ve realised masturbation helps me sleep better. Sometimes, I’m too tired for all the foreplay and pre-stimulation that goes into sex after a long day at work. Relieving myself is easier. My wife didn’t like this at first, but she stopped bothering when she realised it took pressure off her. Now, she even suggests “beating it” when I’m having trouble falling asleep.

Jason*, 38

I read somewhere that expelling semen as frequently as you can may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. I’m not sure if it’s true or not but I’m getting closer to my 40s and I’ve been committed to taking my health seriously. This is one aspect of it.

Ben*, 29

I don’t understand when people say masturbation affects sexual performance. I can’t remember ever taking any sexual stimulant before sex. I only need to pleasure myself a few hours before sex, and it helps me go longer during sex with my wife. Personally, I think more men should do this, especially men who have performance issues. A lot of the aphrodisiacs and sexual enhancement drugs aren’t healthy. This is a natural way to boost your performance.

Adekunle*, 35

I think it’s important to address the shame around self-pleasure. Our society presents it as something sinful or telling on a man’s ability to perform his manly duties. I don’t think it’s any of these. A lot of sexual frustrations in marriages can be solved if men embrace self-pleasure. As long as it’s done in moderation, I don’t think self-pleasure is bad. 

Read this next: “I Lost My Rock-Hard Erection” — Navigating Sex as a Man Living With Hypertension



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