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“My husband prefers his hand over me” – 12 tips if this is you

“Your husband has a serious problem. He needs help… Really.”

I still remember my friend Emily saying that to me last summer.

I laughed.

It felt like she was being over-dramatic, but thinking more about it she’s right.

My husband’s problem is that he can’t stop touching himself. My husband’s problem is that he’s a pornography and webcam addict.

Here’s the brutal truth:

My husband prefers his hand over me.

My husband prefers his hand over me – 12 tips if this is you

1) Don’t panic

If you’ve found out your husband prefers porn and masturbation to sex with you it’s a horrific feeling.

You might have the impression the rug has been ripped out from under you and the foundation of your marriage is invalid.

But it’s crucial that you don’t panic.

Because in reality masturbation is fairly common even in marriage and it’s not always the end of the world.

There are various ways to interpret what’s going on.

And it all depends on three main factors:

  • Why is your husband masturbating instead of making love?
  • How often is your husband masturbating vs. making love?
  • Has your husband expressed a willingness to address the issues and change?

The answers to these three questions will help you chart a course forward.

Your husband’s self-loving could be only a small hiccup on the road to a better union or it could indicate deeper trouble and the end of your marriage.

It all depends on finding out what’s really going on and why.

2) Understanding the issue

Like I said, masturbation in marriage is common.

In fact, a landmark 2011 study found that 87% of the married men who were polled admitted to pleasuring themselves within the past 90 days of the survey.

Of these 87% of masturbating married men, some were open with their wives about their habits, others hid it and others basically avoided the subject.

The point here is that masturbating and even occasional use of porn by your husband is not uncommon and does not mean he’s no longer attracted to you.

But when it becomes a habit and he actually prefers his hand over you, then the issue becomes far more serious.

For one thing, the emotional damage to you as a woman is significant.

Feeling unwanted and unattractive is devastating, and no amount of excuses can make up for that.

For another thing, no woman wants to be in a marriage where she’s competing with strangers in a webcam studio or porn stars who are professionals at turning on men.

It’s a losing battle. But it’s also up to your husband. Which is what can make it so extra disappointing when he chooses the pixels and his rosy palm over you.

3) Find out why he’s doing it

Finding out why your husband prefers his hand over you can hurt.

He may no longer find you attractive, for example. Or he may be dealing with serious depression and using porn and masturbation as a coping mechanism.

Or he may be thinking he’s doing you a favor by not being sexually needy.

There isn’t always a deep, profound reason why a married man chooses to masturbate instead of having sex.

Sometimes it’s just because he’s lazy and wants a quick and over-and-done orgasm.

Masturbating is like the fast food of the sex world. You don’t even need a partner and you just go straight for the handoff after specifying all the tasty meal deals you want.

As someone who’s done so, I do recommend averting your eyes if you look at his search history on porn sites.

Some of those categories are just … wow.

The point is, you need to ask your husband if he’s still into you and why he jerks off so much and doesn’t want sex very often.

He may actually think he’s helping you out.

It’s what coach Lorin Harrott talks about in her article when some men think they’re actually being considerate by masturbating.

“If your husband masturbates regularly, he may very well think that he’s doing you a favor by not bothering you.

“And if you’ve given him reason to think that you’re not interested in him sexually he may also believe it’s a better solution than cheating for sex or having an affair.”

While masturbating, a man wouldn’t have to think about pleasuring his wife as he has only his pleasure to think about. He wouldn’t have to ask whether she is in the mood, and within a few minutes, it will be over.

4) Check up on his porn use

Your husband may not be using much porn and webcams, or he may be overdosing on it.

Here’s the thing:

If your husband has had a hankering for porn for many years then he probably knows what he’s doing.

If he’s an old hand at this – pun intended – then he may be good at covering up his tracks.

Try to get him to be honest. If he’s lying about using porn or sexting and visiting cam sites then it’s definitely not a great sign.

Tell him you won’t be angry but just genuinely want to know what he gets out of using porn and websites.

Watching porn now and then isn’t necessarily a problem. It can even boost a marriage when you watch together and let it feed your fantasy life.

But if he’s using porn as a substitute for sex then it’s definitely not OK.

It can be the signs of porn addiction, intimacy issues, an escape from mental health struggles and more.

Porn itself isn’t really the problem: how you use it is what can become the problem.

If he’s escalated to sexting and webcamming then it’s also reached the level of cheating which is serious for a bunch of other reasons as well.

5) Get him a physical check-up

It sounds like an excuse, but in some situations, married men use their hand because they can’t get it up anymore for sex.

Erectile dysfunction can be psychological – and it usually is in younger men.

But if your husband is over 40 there can often be physical reasons as well.

When a man can’t perform in bed he will often get serious insecurity over it and believe it makes him “less of a man.”

Then he might seek coping mechanisms like masturbation and porn.

Part of the reason is that he may still be turned on and able to ejaculate but have problems with keeping erect.

Therefore he gets terrified he won’t actually be able to stand up to the test in bed and takes care of things behind the scenes in the shower or for a few minutes before you come home hunched over his laptop.

Not exactly romantic, I know. But it could be actual physical issues causing him to wonder if he’ll be able to please you in bed and therefore resorting to masturbation.

Go get him checked out at a doctor. If you don’t want to bring it up as worrying about sexual issues, phrase it as an overall physical.

6) Do an emotional check-up on yourself

When your marriage is having a breakdown around your husband it can be easy to ignore yourself.

You may feel pressure to be the strong, unaffected woman who can handle anything.

But it’s very important to do an emotional check-up on yourself.

It may be a cliche but it’s true:

It’s OK to not be OK.

It’s also OK to feel basically like this is all stupid and more annoyed than hurt.

You don’t have to feel anything. I’m just urging you to be honest about how you do or don’t feel that your husband has become overly fond of masturbation.

It’s completely understandable if you’re quite angry and sad about what’s going on.

An article from Fight the New Drug talks about how much it hurts when your husband prefers porn and jerking off to being with you.

“He fantasized, was mesmerized, and was ultimately completely desensitized…to me.

“Here I was—his girlfriend, then fiancée, then wife—a woman who did still have the tight body and perky breasts of her 20s in all her pre-nursing, pre-gravity splendor.

“And it was as if he saw right through me…

“I see a future filled with the same loneliness and rejection I’ve felt for the better part of the last 16 years.”

This is awful stuff.

Men need to understand how much damage this does to their partner.

Your job is to be honest with yourself about which boundaries of yours have been crossed and how much more of this you can take.

7) Is he sexting and camming with other women?

There’s quite a big difference in whether your husband is masturbating a lot to mental fantasies or just alone, versus whether he’s been doing it to porn, cam sites and sexting conversations.

Porn is somewhere in the middle, since it’s a recorded product not him communicating one on one with a woman.

But once your husband has crossed the line into fantasizing and hitting on other women, it’s basically crossed the line into cheating.

I would still say it’s better than him actually having sex with those women, but mentally and in terms of desire it’s the same principle.

He desires and wants to have sex with those other women more than you.

At least in his imagination.

This is a problem.

If your husband is sexting and camming it can be a marriage-ender, unfortunately.

Dr. Harris O’Malley writes about this in his column responding to readers.

One woman (“Lonely Wife”) whose husband prefers masturbation, webcamming, and porn over sex asked Dr. O’Malley what to do.

O’Malley responded that even though it can include deeper issues it usually means the relationship is done.

“Now I want to be abundantly clear: the fact that he doesn’t seem to be attracted to you does not mean that you’ve done something wrong or that this is in any way your fault.

“He may be someone who needs novelty and new stimulation to maintain interest. It could be that this is his pattern in relationships and this happens every time.

“Or it could be that his attraction simply faded on its own, through no fault of yours or his.

“And while the lack of sex doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the relationship — there’re plenty of folks in companionate marriages, whose connection is about things other than sex — it’s pretty clear that your relationship has reached its end.”

8) Communicate one-on-one

There’s no substitute for a one-on-one conversation.

You may consider therapy and counselling or asking a friend’s advice, still keep in mind the necessity of trying to communicate with your man at some level about what’s going on.

If the subject is something you don’t feel comfortable tackling, then go at it from a general angle.

Discuss your marriage and ask your husband if he can open up a little about how he’s been feeling.

Be honest about what you’re feeling. Try to avoid blame, but don’t skirt around harsh subjects too much.

Ripping the band-aid off can hurt badly but it’s necessary to move on.

Marriage psychologist Charles Daniel talks about this in his article, writing:

“Tell him what you are going through when he ignores you sexually.

“Be careful how you approach the issue because you don’t want to sound disrespectful or needy.

“He will be willing to listen to you when there are gently spoken words, gracious looks and gestures, understanding, tenderness and kindness.”

9) Crank up your sex life

If your husband is having erectile issues then this tip doesn’t apply.

You’ll need to work on solving those first.

But if his wandering hand is caused by something else that’s going on with him then one of the best things you can try to do is crank up your sex life.

Finding ways to spice up your sex life can seem daunting at first, but really all it takes is one or two game-changing factors.

These could be roleplay, learning about a kink your husband has, learning to read each other’s sexual moods better, or becoming more dominant or submissive in the bedroom.

It all depends on what you both like and what lights your fire.

I recommend teasing and seducing your husband rather than pouncing on him.

If he still doesn’t respond after multiple times trying then the situation may be somewhat more serious.

But if you feel him starting to warm up then you’re on the road to a revitalized sex life and marriage and he’s going to have a much longer-lasting supply of socks.

10) Don’t downplay how much this hurts

Like I was saying on the emotional self check-up tip, you need to really be honest with yourself.

For many women, finding out their husband prefers to touch himself than to touch them is a huge blow to their self-esteem and trust.

You can feel very rejected and unwanted.

Whatever the reason your husband may be turning to masturbation instead of you, it’s hard not to take it personally.

Especially looking back at the love story that undergirds your marriage, this new development can feel like a straight-up betrayal.

Maybe you did something that hurt your husband and this is his payback or avoidance of confronting you.

But even then this kind of situation can really hurt like an open wound. It’s the kind of thing you need to bring out in the open and talk about or it will just get worse.

Author Sheila Gregoire talks about this topic here, where she says that:

“Solo masturbation is selfish and steals intimacy.

“If someone chooses masturbation over sex consistently, they likely have withdrawn in other ways and have stunted their emotional development, because they’re becoming self focused rather than relationship focused.”

11) Rekindle the romance of your early marriage

Getting your sex life back on its feet is one excellent idea, like I wrote earlier.

But you also can do some things to try to rekindle the romance of your early marriage.

Think of that first honeymoon week and try to recapture the energy that you felt during that time.

Think of your husband at his best and then invite him to step into that positive and proactive role that you envision him in.

Trigger his hero instinct.

This little-known concept from relationship psychologist James Bauer is a game-changer that will help your man emerge from his masturbatory shell and embrace being a man again.

He’ll also embrace you again once he feels that need and instinct of being a protector and provider emerge.

Your job is just to help coax him back into his natural masculinity.

Rekindling the romance of your early marriage can seem kind of vague at first, but all it takes is a few small things that can help bring back some of the magic.

Maybe things will never go back to the same as how they were, but even a special night out or a long weekend away at a special place that has memories for the two of you, can work wonders.

Try it out.

12) Do activities together that bring you closer

When I realized my husband prefers his hand over me I was mostly angry.

What did I not have that he could get from self-pleasuring? It was frankly insulting.

But as we started to work through it – which is in progress – I also found a number of ways to lessen the anger and pain.

One of the best things that started was doing things together outside of home.

We both started getting into golf and went to the driving range together, and my husband told me he’s always wanted to ride horses.

So we went to a stable and started doing trail rides sometimes on the weekend.

It may be small steps forward, but these things have made a difference.

I’m not trying to pressure my husband to stop masturbating altogether, instead, I’ve chosen to focus on increasing the quality of our time together.

Then I figure we can go from there, or else ditch things altogether.

Some of the best activities to do as a married couple include:

  • Cooking together
  • Massaging each other
  • Going to dance class
  • Listening to an audiobook together
  • Going on a camping or RV trip
  • Starting up a new hobby like gardening or crafting

Doing activities like this together can be a wonderful way to start healing the rift that’s been opened up.

Let the sexual and romantic chemistry come back naturally, and focus on actually spending time together and doing things.

It really works.

More thoughts

Like I wrote at the beginning, there are three crucial questions to ask if your husband has started to prefer his hand over you.

  • Why is your husband masturbating instead of making love?
  • How often is your husband masturbating vs. making love?
  • Has your husband expressed a willingness to address the issues and change?

If your husband is masturbating because he’s worried about performing, wants to give you a break in bed or feels lazy, it’s something that can often be overcome through communication and counselling.

If your husband is masturbating more than sex because he’s not attracted to you anymore, has a sex addiction, or has serious mental health struggles and insecurities he’s dealing with it can be a lot more serious.

If your husband still makes love to you a lot and gets very turned on by you and porn is just an occasional supplement it can generally be worked out with small adjustments.

However, if he’s been sexting and camming frequently and lying to you then it’s a much bigger issue. Especially if he’s no longer into sex with you or only very rarely.

Lastly, if your husband says he wants to change and deal with this then there’s always hope.

If he lies and avoids any discussion or help with it then your options begin to quickly run out, unless you are OK with a sexless marriage.

Is there still hope?

My husband prefers his hand over me.

I’m just hoping that our communication and the therapy we’re doing can work through this.

I want my husband back.

But now I also understand this issue goes deeper than just laziness or selfishness.

Getting to the root of it is key in healing the broken trust and bad habits.

I believe it’s possible to heal from this, however, I am also still waiting to see if my husband really wants to change and really wants me or is just going through the motions.

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Written by Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey.

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