Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “My Husband Pays The Piper”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years and have two beautiful young boys. We connected online through a relationship website and didn’t meet in person until nine months later. We fell in love with each other before meeting in person and when we did meet, everything came together. We got engaged a few months later and then married about nine months after that. Because we met later in life (mid-30s), we had our first son immediately and then waited three years and had our second. I must disclose that I am overweight. I was when we met and have gained some more weight since then.

We have always had a good sex life. I know my husband used to masturbate before we met, and after we got married, he pretty much gave it up. He told me he really didn’t need to do it anymore and would rather have sex than masturbate. I found out recently he has begun to masturbate again. He told me himself when I jokingly asked if he did. I admit we don’t have as much sex as we used to but I’ve been tired, sick and also aunt flow came around. We have ramped it up here and there when we are both not tired and have the time, but with two little ones, there is no time in the morning or day and well, at night, my husband works an early shift (sometimes 1:30, 2 or 3 in the morning), so he goes to bed early.

I know everyone is going to say it’s normal, but he never did this regularly and then all of a sudden he is. It also makes him less in the mood if I’m trying to put the moves on him since he’s had his release recently. I feel like I am so totally unattractive that he’s rather do that than be with me. I would love to lose weight but it’s hard because I am a little depressed and have no motivation. My husband has no weight issues and has no desire to workout even when I’ve suggested it. During his days off, he rather do things like stay home, shop, go out to eat, etc. He is not an outdoors person but neither am I.

The last two days I have been numb after discovering what he has been doing. I want to say something but fear that I make him feel guilty. I admit that I do masturbate myself once in awhile but never let on that I do. Yes, I know: double standards, but I just feel sick that I’ve now found out that my husband has done this at least three times in the last week when he never used to do it at all!

How do I talk to him about this? Am I just overreacting? Help me be rational please! — Practicing Self-Love

55 comments… add one
  • avatar

    ChemE February 29, 2012, 9:17 am

    He’s been jerking off the entire time you’ve been together. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true. He may have said that he didn’t because he knew how you feel about it. Maybe the reason he told you was sort of his way of saying “Hey things aren’t great, we don’t have sex enough”
    That being said, you really shouldn’t be upset that he does it. Now, if it is happening so that you can’t have sex, that’s a huge problem. However I wonder if he’s the one saying no thanks I just rubbed one out or you’re saying no thanks because you’re turned off he did it earlier in the day. If he’s saying no, then you need to start talking about why he does it instead of being open to having sex. Now if it’s you saying no, then you need to rethink your strategy.

    To me, he’s probably thinking along the lines “I haven’t been having sex with my wife… I’ll just jerk off. Ok, maybe today we’ll have sex… nope, ok, better jerk off now. Am I going to have sex today.. probably not, so better jerk off.”
    The less sex you have, the more reason he has to do it, the longer things go without sex, the more he’s going to do it because he expects that you won’t have sex.

    You admit you masturbate, and you even acknowledge the double standard. You should try doing it in front of each other, or at least talk about it in a more serious manner. You need to understand he’s a guy, guys do that. My husband and I have sex pretty frequently, and then we have times we don’t, and I don’t for one second doubt that he isn’t masturbating the whole time, even if he says he doesn’t. No husband wants to make his wife feel inadequate because he’s doing it, even if it’s not the reason. But they’re still doing it. You have your reasons for doing it, and they may or may not be related to how much sex you’re having.

    And for what it’s worth, you don’t need him to start working out. You can do it on your own. In the last few months I started working out alone with almost no interest from my husband. But now he joins in occasionally. You shouldn’t wait around for him to make these changes.

    If it’s important to you both, you need to talk about it and make time to not only have sex, but spend quality time together. Get a babysitter or send the kids for play-dates at friends houses, but you need to put in work to get work done.

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  • avatar

    Amanda February 29, 2012, 9:18 am

    LW, I hate to break it to you, but your husband has always masturbated, even if you think that he stopped for a period of time. It is completely normal for adult humans to masturbate. Your husband’s masturbation does not necessarily mean that he doesn’t find you attractive or that he doesn’t want to have sex with you.

    It sounds like you and your husband may have developed incompatible sex drives after having children, which is also normal. If this is the case, this is what you should discuss with your husband, not masturbation. Discuss what you both can do to spend more time together where you are both not exhausted/not working/not distracted. These times will naturally lead to more sex, but you both have to put in the effort. LW, you have some work to do and I wish you good luck.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey February 29, 2012, 9:27 am

    Bottom line — I don’t think this would be hurting you so badly if you weren’t already feeling incredibly vulnerable. The most significant thing you said was “I feel like I am so totally unattractive that he’s rather do that than be with me. I would love to lose weight but it’s hard because I am a little depressed and have no motivation.”

    If you think that you might be depressed, heck even if you aren’t depressed but just can’t seem to work up motivation, please go see someone about it. Talk things out, get tested for certain disorders (there are so many physical ailments that can lead to depression, and vice versa!), and figure out how YOU can start feeling happy and energetic again.

    I’m all for open communication, of course, but know this — no amount of reassurance from your husband is going to assuage the feelings you’re having right now. The insecurity you’re feeling is really only something that YOU can tackle and get under control.

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  • avatar

    *HmC* February 29, 2012, 9:29 am

    “Pays the Piper”? ha!

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    • avatar

      ChemE February 29, 2012, 9:34 am

      I, too, was wondering what that meant before I read the letter!

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    • Lili

      Lili February 29, 2012, 1:03 pm

      Am I the only one a little disappointed this letter doesn’t have anything to do with blackmailing?!

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  • avatar

    MissDre February 29, 2012, 9:37 am

    I think the bigger issue here is not that your husband masturbates (that’s totally normal, everybody does) but your own self confidence. You admit that you’re overweight and would like to drop a few pounds. You also admit that you’re a little depressed. I think these two issues are causing you to over analyze everything and you’re finding reasons to put blame on yourself.

    First things first, get yourself to a doctor and ask what you can do about your depression. There’s nothing wrong with taking a low dose antidepressant if it’s going to help you in the long run.

    Second, get yourself involved in Weight Watchers or a similar program. I found the WW program really manageable and actual realistic… as in the things they teach you actually prepare you for a normal life after the diet. The weekly meetings are also really great for finding support and motivation.

    Third, you need to find ways to boost your own self confidence, without needing constant reassurance from your husband (it’s important to get it from him, but you need to be able to reassure your self first.)

    Check out some of these articles which may help you:
    http://zenhabits.net/25-killer-actions-to-boost-your-self-confidence/
    http://www.abundancetapestry.com/how-to-love-yourself-in-17-ways/

    Fourth, grab a girlfriend, get to the salon and get yourself a sexy new hair do, go shopping and pick out one full outfit that makes you feel amazing (I don’t care if you’re overweight, you can still look damn sexy in the right clothes… look at Melissa Mccarthy? She’s a big woman but she’s gorgeous! Same goes for Adele, and Monique, and Octavia Spencer…) then get a babysitter and get yourself out on a date with your husband.

    It’s a continuous process, but once you really become confident in yourself (not just your looks, but also your abilities… I’m sure you’re a wonderful mother, an intelligent person, a good friend, etc) the thing about your husband jerking off won’t bother you. And with your new radiant confident self, your husband won’t be able to keep his hands off you!

    Also, if you’re really struggling, there’s no shame in seeing a counselor to talk about your insecurities and to ask for help.

    Good luck 🙂

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    • avatar

      Callifax February 29, 2012, 9:40 am

      Great advice, and I love WeightWatchers! I just wanted to say that I can’t recommend it enough – both my boyfriend and I lost a bunch of weight and I feel so much more confident for it.

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      • avatar

        Ktfran February 29, 2012, 9:56 am

        I second the WeightWatchers plan.

        I’m pretty slim, eat well and according to my doctor, I’m in good health. I read a lot about how to lead a healthy lifestyle and I also read a lot about different diets. I have to say, WeightWatchers is the only one that closely mirrors all the health articles I read. The only thing I really do differently is try to stay away from processed foods, but the new WW point system takes those types of foods into account too. I think it’s a great way to learn to eat healthier. Oh, and my sister lost quite a bit of weight using WW and even kept it off during the holidays. Now . . . as MissDre mentioned, I need to get her to dress for her body type. It really does make a world of difference.

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      • call-me-hobo

        call-me-hobo February 29, 2012, 10:42 am

        WeightWatchers FTW!

        I gained 25lbs in the middle of college, and through the weight watchers program I lost all of it! I’ve kept it off for a year now, and I’m still at my lowest weight.

        The best part about it is that you don’t feel like you have to stop living when you are on it! I mean, I love nachos and all sorts terrible foods, and WW didn’t restrict me from eating them, it just showed me how to manage my diet so I COULD treat myself to those kinds of food. I was never the girl who went out with friends and only ordered a glass of water- you can literally eat anything you want, as long as you are cognizant of your portions and your points.

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      • avatar

        Rosie February 29, 2012, 11:43 am

        Another WW fan here. Seriously it is the best thing ever. I still have my wine and can still eat out. It’s amazing.

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      • leilani

        leilani February 29, 2012, 11:43 am

        Also down with Weight Watchers. I’ve always been thin, but gained 30 pounds over the first two years of college. Went on Weight Watchers, lost all of it. It was super effective and wasn’t really difficult for me, and having the weekly weigh-ins was a fun goal for me. That was 3 years ago, and I haven’t gained it back.

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    • avatar

      Ktfran February 29, 2012, 9:47 am

      Like 1,001 times. Great advice MissDre.

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    • avatar

      Jillie z February 29, 2012, 10:19 am

      That was awesome MissDre! Gave me a confidence boost this morning too 🙂

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger February 29, 2012, 9:37 am

    I used to have that mindset about my boyfriend giving himself a hand. I would say “hey, if you ever feel like jerking it, please just come find me instead.” Now we’ve got 2 hours between us so I have accepted that he’s going to do it when we’re apart. We still have sex every day/every other day when we are together, so if he were to indulge during that time I would be concerned.

    You, however, don’t really need to be concerned (at least not about his self love habits). Your husband is doing what men do. Like you said, he needs the release, and if you’re not providing it because you’re too tired or too busy, it’s a lot easier for him to just take a few minutes to himself than for you two to plan an hour of alone time where you won’t be walked in on by two young boys. It makes sense that he’s doing it. He works different hours than you, you’ve got kids to take care of… It seems like all the reasons you guys aren’t having sex are pretty legitimate and unavoidable. You can’t be mad at him for giving himself a hand and you shouldn’t be concerned.

    About that, anyway.

    The thing that most concerned me in your letter, LW, is that you say you are overweight. You are overweight and “would love to lose weight but it’s hard because I am a little depressed and have no motivation.” Everyone would “love to lose weight” if they didn’t have to work for it. You’d love to lose weight if it just came off with no effort. Well that’s not going to happen.

    If looking in the mirror and not liking how your body looks or how it makes you feel is not enough motivation to cut out the bad-for-you foods and hit the gym, then you’re going to have a tough time getting there. You need motivation? There should be a huge list of reasons why you’re going to start losing weight: To look better and feel better, to be healthier, to make your husband say ‘damn!’, to be able to run around and keep up with your boys, to be able to say “I put my mind to something and I accomplished it”, to get those “you look so good!” compliments from friends and family and coworkers… The list goes on.

    If you’re feeling a little depressed, the first thing to try doing is making yourself work out. Go for a short jog. Like half a mile. Get your heart pumping a little bit. When your body feels that, it actually helps with the mild blues. And that will make you want to feel it again. [If you’re legitimately depressed, you should see someone about it, but based on your letter I don’t think that’s what this is.] It may take some effort at first, but if you truly want to lose weight, you know you’re going to have to work at it.

    The only way to get what you want is to do it. It’s on YOU. If you think losing a little weight will make your relationship with your husband better, that should be reason enough. He’s the reason you wrote in!!!! If you feel sexy, he’ll sense that. He’ll stop with the self love and turn it toward the new, confident, healthy, happier you. But the first step is wanting it.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl February 29, 2012, 9:40 am

    The thing about exercise is that it actually helps fight depression. I KNOW it’s hard to get yourself up and outside to do it, but trust me, it does help. And the more you do it, the easier it is to make yourself do it the next time. LW, it sounds like you’re kind of all-around “in the dumps” about your life right now, and the thing that sticks out to me the most is that you’re unhappy with the way you look and you feel like your husband isn’t attracted to you. Well, guess what? You can change the way you look! And as soon as you start to feel better about yourself, that positivity will extend to everything else in your life, it really will. Who cares if your husband doesn’t exercise? Do it for you, not him. Do it to feel good about yourself.

    As for the masturbation, I’m with everyone else…he’s been doing it the whole time. And really, it shouldn’t be a big problem unless it’s affecting your sex life, which it sounds like it sort of is. But he probably got used to not having sex very often and maybe started masturbating more…how are you an initiating sex? Do you usually just wait for him? If he’s used to initiating and you saying no, he may have increased masturbation and decreased his initiation of sex. If it’s usually about even, or more with you initiating, and that has decreased, well, he might be waiting on you to start that up again.

    I think you should sit down and have a frank, but non-accusatory discussion about your sex life. There are about a zillion books, articles, TV shows, websites, etc. that talk about getting the “spark” back in a marriage after time and kids have taken their toll. Check some of them out and see if you can’t find something that works for you 🙂

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki February 29, 2012, 9:50 am

      I completely agree with you – exercise is one of the things doctors recommend you do to help with depression. Yes, its hard to get started but once you “force” yourself into a routine, you will feel lost without that routine. You may have to make yourself get up and go for a walk/to the gym/etc for the first few weeks but you will start feeling better. I know its easier said than done, but sometimes you have to push yourself.

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      • avatar

        Ktfran February 29, 2012, 10:02 am

        There’s also ways to get a little exercise in without going to the gym. Don’t take the closest parking spot you can find. Or park farther away from the cart drop off. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. If there’s a store you frequent that’s only a few blocks away, walk instead of take the car. Those extra little steps add up.

        I love food and eating. But I don’t like going to a gym. I try to walk a lot more because of this. It really helps!

        Also, I have a whole bunch of friends who LOVE Zumba. LW – see if there is a place with these classes close to you. It’s fun, it’s a good work out, and with dancing, you might feel a little sexier.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 29, 2012, 10:14 am

        Yeah, I hate the gym too. And I can’t really afford it, even the YMCA is too expensive for me right now. So I’ve started walking for half an hour every evening. It’s a good way to clear your head and get fresh air. I’ve surprised myself, because I HATE winter and yet I’m bundling up and getting out there…. this better pay off! LoL

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      • Brad

        Brad February 29, 2012, 12:16 pm

        Make it an hour and you’ll thank me later.

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      • avatar

        MissDre February 29, 2012, 1:02 pm

        Working my way up to that.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki February 29, 2012, 10:34 am

        I try to park far away and take the stairs too. I don’t like going to the gym because the most convenient time for me is right during the gym rush hours (plus I can’t afford a membership). When I had a membership, I went after working 2nd shift and was there from about 1am to 2 or 3am and had the place to myself, which was nice. Now I walk, take stairs, when I’m out smoking (I know, I know) I sometimes walk around the building (which takes up a full block) instead of standing still, and even have a nordic track at home now. When we get our new place, I plan to have a small area in the basement for a treadmill and the nordic track.

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    • avatar

      bethany February 29, 2012, 10:06 am

      One thing about exercise- Don’t think about it. Just DO IT (Nike was onto something!). Think of it the same way you think about brushing your teeth or going to work. They’re things you have to do every single day. Get into a routine and just do it. For me, Tuesday is yoga day. Sometimes I’m not feeling it (like yesterday, because I have a sinus infection), but Tuesday is yoga day, so I went.

      Don’t think about it. Just walk out the door and take a walk around the block or something. Anything to get yourself moving.

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  • avatar

    Francine February 29, 2012, 9:49 am

    I can’t express this emphatically enough…Seek out some help for your depression. It may not seem overwhelming at the moment but the chance of it dissipating on its own are slim and it’s likely to progress.

    You feel unattractive, depressed and unmotivated and you’re looking for a reason. Hearing that your husband masterbates probably seems like the obvious answer. But Your his masterbation didn’t bother you before and since you do it yourself you know perfectly well that it doesn’t relate in any way to attraction to ones partner.

    Please, find a professional to talk to about this. If they recommend meds, consider that too. You can be happy again and you owe it to your family to try your hardest to get there.

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    • avatar

      Francine February 29, 2012, 9:53 am

      That should’ve said “But his masterbation didn’t bother you before”

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  • leilani

    leilani February 29, 2012, 9:52 am

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with him masturbating. I understand that the reason it bothers you is because he claims that he didn’t at the beginning of your relationship, but presumably, you guys had more time and energy to have sex then. You say that you ramp up the sex when you have the time and energy now, so it really doesn’t seem to be an issue of how attractive he finds you. It seems like you guys aren’t having as much sex because of outside factors, so he uses masturbation as a sexual release. He isn’t masturbating in favor of having sex with you, he’s masturbating because sex with you isn’t really on the table, because you guys are tired and busy and whatnot. I think both of you really need to work on making your sex life a priority, and make sure that both of your needs are being met. It isn’t clear from your letter if you want to have more sex or you just want to be reassured that he still wants you, but either way, I would sit him down and ask him how he’s feeling about your sex life. Instead of assuming that he isn’t satisfied, ask him if he is, and if there is anything that he feels like your sex life is missing. I would also express what YOU feel like you need, whether it be greater frequency, or just feeling desired. Then, I would actually work on those things. You can’t except him to be fully satisfied when you aren’t willing to go outside of your current comfort zone to satisfy him.

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  • avatar

    bethany February 29, 2012, 9:59 am

    Your problem isn’t what your husband does. Your problem is that you’re depressed and you don’t have a good body image. You’re letting his mastrubation be a reason for your depression. It’s not.

    Get up and start moving- Be active, play with your kids. East lots of green vegetables. They’re full of nutrients, which can help to make you feel better (in addition to helping you lose weight). And put out, even if you don’t feel like it- the extra effort will go far in your relationship.

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  • Budj

    Budj February 29, 2012, 10:01 am

    Do not use other people to find the motivation to make the changes you want in yourself. You need to motivate yourself to make those changes.

    I agree with the others that his increase in masterbation probably correlated to your decrease in sex – if you were bigger when you guys met…he is likely into bigger women so you may be unjustifiably worried about his attraction to you. If you aren’t happy with your weight then change it…he may even be able to sense your lack of confidence and that may be contributing to his lack of interest as well.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 February 29, 2012, 10:07 am

    Your husband has definitely been masturbating the whole time, he just didn’t want to tell you, because things were going good in the sex department, but since things have slowed down, he figured if he told you, it would be a way to maybe get you back in the mood, or at least pity you into having sex with him again. I can tell that your husband is probably feeling like you aren’t attracted to him as much either, and is probably wondering why this is happening all of the sudden after 7 years. I honestly think guys have trouble sometimes realizing that stress of everyday life generally affects women more than men in the sack, and that usually causes the decrease in your sex life.

    I agree with the above posters, that it cant hurt to see your doctor, and just explain what’s going on, people get depressed, and there is no shame at all in that, and the best thing to do is talk about it with a professional, and they can help you talk about it with you husband so he knows what’s going on.

    Also I think there is always time to have sex, the problem is being in the mood during that time, and I think that is the problem you’re having. When you have free time that isn’t what you want to do, or what you are thinking of doing so it gets overlooked. Maybe you can try to find ways to get yourself in the mood, like instead of masturbating, maybe you could wait until your husband gets home, and have sex instead, or at least masturbate for each other.

    Also you said that you have gained some weight, but it’s hard to get motivated, because of the depression. What you need to do is make that first step, and go for a walk or get to the gym, because once you get your foot in the door, it really does change your mood, and you start to feel good about yourself, especially after that first 5lbs comes off!

    First things first, talk to you husband, and maybe a doctor, and I think things will get better for you.

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  • Jess

    Jess of CGW February 29, 2012, 10:09 am

    Everyone else covered it. Just wanted to say that in the stream of letters that come in here, and the articles I read around the web about problems in marriage –its a relief to read about yours 🙂 Because, by and large, I think you guys are JUST FINE (at least based on your letter!).

    Not only is it normal that he masturbates, it’s desirable. It means he’s healthy and sexually balanced. In no way does it have to be a substitute, replacement, or preferred activity to having sex wit you. Consider them as separate activities.

    Aside from the self-esteem and weight loss suggestions that others mentioned, I would just add that if you want more sex with your husband –focus on that. Just be sure that you WANT more sex and don’t want it just because you are worried that his attraction is waning. If you want more (or more enthusiastic) sex, find ways to make that happen. Lingerie, candles, weekend getaway, toys –whatever floats your boat and makes YOU feel sexy. I feel sure that your husband will be on board with it and consider any fun bedroom activities to be an added bonus in what is otherwise a pretty balanced sexual well-being.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife February 29, 2012, 10:27 am

    You shouldn’t worry about your husband masturbating–it IS normal and it’s healthy. I have a healthy sex life with my husband and both of us still masturbate. The bigger issue here is your self esteem. You should not correlate your self esteem with your husband’s masturbation–it’s not healthy.

    You need to find some ways to boost self esteem and above all: STOP ASKING YOUR HUSA+BAND IF HE’S MASTURBATING! You don’t need to know; don’t measure your sex life against his other activities and don’t blame yourself. It’s natural. It’s fine and your husband loves you. I am guessing this insecurity is deeper than the situation gives it credit for, so examine and discuss this with your husband to see what you guys can do to make it better together.

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    • Leroy

      Leroy February 29, 2012, 11:16 am

      +1 on not asking. She’s likely to do more damage by fixating on this than ignoring it.

      What’s funny is that she’s masturbating as well, but that’s fine – it’s his masturbating that has her upset because it somehow changes everything.

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  • avatar

    Flake February 29, 2012, 10:27 am

    I completely agree with what everyone has been saying, and I would like to add one thing. I know that it is hard to find time to exercise when you have a family. Young kids require an enormous amount of attention. I would like to suggest finding a gym nearby like Curves or Swann (not sure if the second one exists in US). It only takes half an hour. And, no, it will probably not make a huge difference in your appearance, but it will make you feel so much better!!! Talk to your husband. Find a way to take that 45-60 minutes for yourself. Your body and your husband will thank you. You don’t say how old your kids are, but if they are under 5, check to see if there are daycare services in your area where you can drop them off for as little as one hour, when you need to do something. Become an outdoors person, your kids will love it.
    My main point is, you do not have to change your life overnight. You do not have to run a marathon tomorrow. Every day, make a conscious effort to take as little as 15 minutes for a physical activity, whatever that may be. Leave the dishes in the sink after supper, take your kids and your husband and go for a walk. Do it as often as you can. It will get better.

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  • avatar

    Jubietta February 29, 2012, 10:37 am

    I’m in the camp of “get a handle on yourself and the rest will follow.”

    I have gotten active/healthier in the last few years and I found the following helpful:

    -a personal trainer was the best investment I’ve ever made in myself, better even than my bachelor’s degree. She helped me learn to LOVE to move my body and really enjoy getting a good sweat on. I was a lump on the couch, and now I can do 5 miles in less than an hour.

    -diets don’t work, unless you make changes you can implement for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. I think that’s why WW works. As we age our metabolisms usually slow down, so it becomes more and more important to choose our intake calories wisely. If you’re not a teenager, have the discipline not to eat like one.

    -I am the architect of my body. Every choice I make goes into what shape I’m in. The little choices add up over the years, and the impact of good choices is also subtle. Pyramids weren’t built in a day. Reshaping my body takes time and patience.

    I hope the LW gains enough control over herself to feel safe and comfortable in her life, her skin, and her marriage.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay February 29, 2012, 10:52 am

    I don’t think that masturbation is going to make him less likely to want to have sex, unless he masturbated like 10 minutes before you initiate something. I think all these feelings you are having would be good to talk to him about. Maybe not harping on how much masturbation makes you feel bad, but that you’ve been a little depressed and are wanting to ramp up your sex life. He IS your husband, so you should be able to communicate these things with him.

    As for your exercise, you’re not going to just suddenly not feel depressed. So, if it’s just being a little under the weather, then getting yourself up and moving will get the ball rolling, even if you don’t feel like it. If you think it’s something more, then by all means talk to a doctor or someone about it. Otherwise, nothing is going to improve in your own life or in your relationship. Also, they say nutrition makes the most impact on weight, so maybe before you get moving, work on eating better? It might also give you the energy boost you need.

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  • avatar

    Renee February 29, 2012, 10:54 am

    If he has time to shop/go out to eat/masturbate, then he has time to something is enjoyable and cooperative with you. It has to be something you both have to work together on.

    If doesn’t have to be special, we have four children and most of the time out couple time is remodeling the house we live in (bit by bit) or sometimes yard work together and yes without disposable income we actually play board games.

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  • avatar

    Francine February 29, 2012, 11:00 am

    While I can’t disagree with all of the great advice about exercising and eating right and all of the great tips to help accomplish that, I hope the LW really works on that depressed feeling.

    To me it seemed like she knew that she should lose weight and even though she wanted to, she was unmotivated. Although heavier now, she was overweight prior to this and her husband’s masterbation also predates the feeling of numbness she says she’s had for the past 2 days. My point is that the weight and masterbation aren’t new, the feelings are.

    Losing weight would probably do wonders for her confidence, self esteem etc. but that’s easier said than done when you’re depressed, unmotivated and numb.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant February 29, 2012, 11:33 am

    Sometimes sex is stressful. Maybe the other person isn’t so into it, so you have to concentrate on getting them excited. Maybe you aren’t that into it, so it takes a lot of your concentration to get going. Maybe they aren’t “hitting the right” spots, and you can’t get off. Sometimes there our logistics to work out (I’m sure two kids provides plenty of obstacles in getting the two of you alone). Sometimes you just want to get off quickly, and getting the other person in the mood and going through foreplay can take time . It doesn’t necessarily mean your partner doesn’t find you attractive, or doesn’t enjoy sex with you. Sometimes we just need a quick, uncomplicated orgasm.

    Now, if you find he’s picking jerking off over having sex with you, or if you yourself are unsatisfied with your sex live together, than get to work on that. But don’t feel bad, and definitely don’t make him feel bad, because he wants a solo session here and there. If it bothers you to know about it, don’t ask him about it and ask him to be discrete.

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  • avatar

    Anna February 29, 2012, 11:55 am

    Yeah, everyone here just about covered it. All guys masturbate. Most women do too. If he told you he stopped, he wasn’t being truthful. That shouldn’t make him not want to have sex though. Is he really turning you down for sex or are you the one stopping the action? I understand you don’t feel sexy right now, so that’s all the reason in the world to change that. I’ve done it and you can too.

    A couple years ago, I had ballooned to size 18, my biggest ever. I was devastated. My boyfriend still told me I was sexy and we still did it but I was self-conscious about my body. I took the initiative to start exercising and eating smaller portions and dropped 2 pants sizes to a 14. I also toned every part of my body. I’m still not skinny but I feel 1000x better about myself and I tend to walk around the house in just my skimpy undies quite a bit when it’s warm…the man loves it. He’s turned on by not only my body improvement but my self esteem improvement. You don’t need him to work out, you can do it all by yourself. And for God’s sakes, lay off him about jerking it.

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  • avatar

    Sarah February 29, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Everybody else already said it better, but yeah, you’re just fixating on your husband’s junkxperimentation because you’re looking to project your feelings of inadequacy on your husband and not deal with the fact that this is your issue. If your husband is only playing his meat trombone 3x a week then I don’t think that’s a sign that he wants you less. What is a sign of your depression is that you’re fixating on him er..boxing the skin kangaroo? instead of the real issues.

    I felt like that whole letter was like “Oh, just in passing I feel depressed and unattractive but MY HUSBAND MASTURBATES SOMETIMES HE’S THE PROBLEM RIGHT?” Your husband can’t make you feel attractive for you. Attractiveness comes within. You can use the excuses of being “tired, sick, and aunt flo” but the fact is that every woman has these issues, and they shouldn’t be considered barriers to having a healthy sex life. Being depressed about feeling unattractive is a sex killer, not because your husband wants you less, but because you want yourself less.

    So, please do what everybody is suggesting. Find some time to get to the gym (bonus: get some alone time) and focus on yourself. Tell your husband that he doesn’t have to come with you, but that you hope he supports you. Start eating healthier. Tell your husband that you want him to start hitting on you more and flirting with you. The sex will come when you start feeling sexy. And please, for the love of god, stop getting details about his masturbating.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 29, 2012, 12:32 pm

    LW– you’re demonstrating enough self-awareness in this letter to be able to recognize the logical fallacies with you being upset that your husband is masturbating. You know why he’s doing it, first of all– you’re not having as much sex. You admit that you’re masturbating too! So please, instead of justifying why this “should” upset you (“it makes him less in the mood!” “would he rather do that than me?”) just tell yourself you’re being ridiculous. You are.

    Along those lines, you also need to stop giving yourself excuses as to why you’re not getting into the shape that would make you happier. I know, it sucks exercising alone, it sucks finding the motivation, but one morning just wake up and tell yourself that you’re going to go running later (or whatever). Psych yourself up for it all day, tell people you’re starting an exercise regime. That way, it will be harder to forgo it.

    As a general comment… I saw a few people saying that every guy masturbates. Personally, every guy I KNOW masturbates, and I couldn’t imagine myself (a woman) only doing it when sex was scarce– but we don’t know how old this guy is, and plus, everyone is different. Some people never think to pleasure themselves if they’re getting regular sex. An old boyfriend I had would go a few days/sometimes a whole week without getting off, and it frankly horrified me (like, aren’t your balls going to explode?) But that’s just how he was! So the advice I’m giving this LW is based on the assumption that yeah, her husband just recently started, um, “paying the piper” again.

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  • avatar

    whodat February 29, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Anyone who tells you that having kids hasn’t had a negative effect on their sex life is lying. Combine stress, exhaustion and the constant desire to cater to your kids’ needs instead of your own and you end up with nature’s most effective form of birth control.

    I know it’s not what you want to hear, but give your husband some space. It sounds like if you hadn’t asked, or if he had simply deferred to give you a straight answer, you wouldn’t be in the place you are now. Keep in mind that the act of physical pleasure rings different kinds of bells in the male brain than it does in the female brain. For men, it’s like a clock that has to be rung with some regularity, whereas for women, it’s more like a door bell – less predictable – but always signifying something more than just the passage of time.

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  • Brad

    Brad February 29, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Dear LW, I’m going to give you a little dose of tough love. Stop. Making. Excuses. You say that you’re a little depressed about how you look and because you want to lose weight but you “have no motivation.” Umm what? Reread your own letter! How about losing weight so you’ll feel better about yourself and less depressed? How about losing weight to look more attractive to the man that’s pledged to be with you for the rest of his life? How about losing weight so you’ll have more energy for sex and playing with your kids? How about losing weight so you’ll spend less money at the grocery store? How about losing weight so you’ll have an excuse to go shopping for clothes, which will be a smaller size after you’ve made a little progress? Heelllllooooo? Do I need to continue? I trust I’ve made my point OK? You have plenty of motivation to exercise but you’re letting your excuses (and who cares how justified) stop you. Well, tell your excuses to go f*** off. Seriously. Get mad at that little f***er inside your head that whines about not wanting to start.

    As for how to start?
    1. Well you can start by going walking after dinner or in the afternoon. Do it every day for a week—no excuses, no bull****, no buts (except yours outside). Then do it next week, and the one after that. Just go out and make it happen. Increase the distance each time or every few times you do it. It gets easier each time you do it.
    2. Do you have large dinner plates? You know, the kind that’s roughly 12 inches or so across. Yeah throw those away, pack them into the attic, or donate them to good will. From now on you’re using lunch plates only. You can’t eat as much stuff if you have less plate to put it on. And no cheating by going verticle or getting seconds (nice try though). You keep that plate as flat as Kansas, ya hear?
    3. Find an accountability partner. This could be a personal trainer or a friend that also wants to lose weight—doesn’t matter. Just make sure this person will irritate the absolute s*** out of you everytime you don’t stick to the plan (we’re talking angry mother-in-law level of irritating). Hint, this person should not be someone that’s generally negative because they will infect you and sabotage your efforts.
    4. Don’t expect huge gains in a small amount of time. Pretty obvious but worth stating. And for the first month don’t even worry about your weight. The first 3 weeks is about establishing a routine and telling your couch that you just want to go back to being friends, not weight loss. Only start tracking your weight loss once you’ve established a consistent routine.
    5. You MUST also do some sort of strength training if you want to lose weight. Studies have shown you lose weight a lot faster when your lifting compared with just cardio. It gets your metabolism going more efficiently (building muscle takes more energy than storing fat) and will help give you energy.
    6. Break away from that boring old model of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s better to eat smaller meals more often compared to just a few big meals. It also gives you a more stable blood sugar level (read: more energy). Think of eating like watering a plant, if you give it too much water at once you’re going to drown the poor little basterd. Don’t drown him.

    Now if you want to take the suggestion of the other commentators about using a program like Weight Watchers to help you eat better than by all means go for it. But you don’t need Weight Watchers or a gym to get started. All you need is to stop allowing yourself to except the excuses you make for not doing it. Again, tell that little negative voice in your head to shove it.

    And if it makes you feel any better I personally HATE working out. I hate giving up 2 hours after I’ve been stuck at work all day to work out. I’d rather be at home watching TV or playing videogames. But having a badass mage in world of warcraft (seriously my mage was awesome) didn’t give me a 6 pack of abs. It’s taken me roughly 4 years to stop with the BS excuses and to just do it. I started working out, not to lose weight, but because I wanted to build muscle. The first few weeks after I joined a gym were the hardest. It took serious will power to get myself to go and keep going. My insecurities bugged me at first too. I just “knew” all those other guys in there were laughing at me inside their heads because I wasn’t lifting much and almost all of them are bigger than me and can lift way more than me. Now here I am 3-4 months later and it’s not something I really think about anymore because it doesn’t matter. So what if they’re judging me in their head or laughing? It’s not like I can hear it. Truth is that most people in the gym aren’t watching you or judging you anyway. They’re counting their reps, thinking about their next exercise, or thinking about where else they’d rather be than sweating their ass away. And after the first 2-3 weeks I didn’t have to force myself to go anymore. I drive to the gym everyday after work on auto pilot now. The hardest part for me is remembering to swap out fresh gym clothes after I get home so I don’t run late in the morning.

    Will power is a muscle just like everything else, to make it stronger you have to work it. Which is why I suggested you start with baby steps like walking and using a smaller plate. They’re pretty small changes and if you can get yourself out of the house to go walking every day then that’s all the proof you need to prove it to yourself that you can lose all the weight you want. Willpower is the most important tool when giving up bad habbits—period. All the other stuff is just details.

    As for the whole sex issue, the guy is your husband afterall so if you want to play then just do it. If you’re horny then just stick your hand down his pants and grab his junk and start playing with it. If he starts fussing about being tired or whatever then just smile at him and say that’s nice, but keep going. Our junk doesn’t listen to our brain most of the time anyway so once the blood starts rushing to his member he’ll quit fussing. And I’m being serious. Getting attacked for sex by a determined woman is not something most guys experience often, or ever, so odds are when it’s all said an done he’ll be greatful. I wouldn’t stop unless you can tell he’s starting to get legitimately mad.

    No more excuses OK? Good luck.

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    • avatar

      MissDre February 29, 2012, 1:42 pm

      I just want to say that if she’s depressed, none of this will help. I struggled with my weight and my eating habits for years. I knew everything there was to know about working out, counting calories, etc. I’d get on track, then fall off the wagon. Repeat the cycle x1000. But I was extremely depressed and had extremely low self worth. Getting into counseling to work on my issues and getting on the right medication thankfully helped my eating issues in turn.

      I don’t know what’s going on this woman’s mind and heart, or if she’s dealing with issues as serious as mine were. But if she really is depressed, no amount of “tough love” or “motivational advice” will help. It will just make her feel worse about herself.

      She should address her issues with depression and low self worth first, and then address her weight second.

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      • Brad

        Brad February 29, 2012, 2:03 pm

        Which why I suggested she set small goals and slowly build them up. Achieving a goal is rewarding and confidence boosting. And when it happens every day it’s going to have a cumulative effect after a while. Losing some weight should do wonders for her confidence and energy level to have sex with her husband. If she starts having sex more and loses a little weight and still feels down in the dumps then she probably should seek out professional help, but I don’t think it’s where she should start. If she get’s used to working out she might start having more energy and with more energy she might be able to get the chores done faster and have more time with hubby.

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        jlyfsh February 29, 2012, 2:17 pm

        I think your advice is great and I think small steps would be perfect for her. But, rather than waiting to get help if she still feels down in the dumps I would say she probably should do both at the same time. Get help for her feelings of depression while making those small changes you listed. I think if you’re truly depressed and you don’t deal with it, you’re not going to be able to commit to those kinds of changes. I think if she did both at the same time she would see more of a benefit.

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        Flake February 29, 2012, 4:14 pm

        Yep.. That’s the trick with depression. Usually, you know perfectly well what you should be doing…It’s the actual “doing” part that is extremely hard. I never thought that my own brain would play such horrible tricks on me…

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    acastil5 February 29, 2012, 2:11 pm

    This isn’t about your husband masturbating. I think this is really about you know not feeling good about yourself right now, and its easier to focus on this “failing” of his rather than on yourself. I think if you talked with your husband, or really any man, you’d realize that his masturbating has nothing to do with his desire for you, or you not satisfying him. Sometimes our hands know best, and there is nothing wrong with indulging in that.

    Focus on yourself. Think about makes you feel good. If you spent half the time focusing on what makes you happy than worrying about whether your husband is playing with himself, you’d be in better shape. I’m not saying you should throw yourself into a new workout or something, but you need to take control of your own happiness and pursue it. If you don’t think you have the motivation for this, then you need outside help.

    I know it can be hard sometimes thinking about our SO’s whacking off to something on the internet, but I find that if I know just a percentage of the time he’s doing it to a pic of myself, it makes me feel better.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 29, 2012, 4:01 pm

    LW I hope you know that it is normal for small children to take a toll on marriage but your marriage can come through this and be strong again. The great thing about small children is that they do grow up and take less of your time which will give you and your husband more quality time together.

    Your question is how to talk to your husband about this. First things first, you need to identify for yourself what your greatest, rock bottom issue is. It seems to me that your biggest issue is that you think your husband no longer finds you desirable and so is taking care of things on his own. Once you’ve identified your issue you need to talk to your husband about it. I don’t think that you can ask your husband point blank if he finds you less desirable because that puts him in a terrible bind if it is true and if it isn’t true I’m not sure that you’d believe him. You could tell him that you feel less desirable now that you’ve had two children and see where the conversation goes. You could ask him what he’d like you to do to turn him on or you could tell him what you’d like him to do to turn you on. I know that in practical terms it is difficult to have sex when you have two small children in the home and schedules that conflict. You can’t have sex when you have young children awake and roaming the house and you can’t have sex unless both of you are there and awake. One solution to him going to be earlier than you would be to have you wake him when you go to bed. Would he mind that? Most men like the idea of being woken in the night by a woman wanting sex but in reality would he like that. You will only find out if you ask him or if you try it. The advantage of this is that it gives you time after the kids are asleep to make yourself feel sexy. It gives you a chance to put on perfume or lingerie or to take a bath or whatever it is that would boost your confidence.

    Another thing you can do to boost intimacy is to stop and hug him when you pass by him in your home. Caress is arm, stroke his leg, compliment him for things he does. The little things add up to say I love you and appreciate you and know you’re still here even if we’re both busy with jobs and kids. The great thing about doing this is that usually your partner will be surprised at first and then at some point they begin to do the same with you and you both feel valued and cherished and wanted and loved and even sexy and you can do all these things with little kids watching it all.

    I found that the easiest way to exercise with small children in the home is to exercise at home. Then it doesn’t matter what happens you can get your exercise done. If you have to go out then it becomes dependant on the kids being healthy, a sitter being available and healthy, the weather cooperating, etc. If you exercise at home you can do so even if the kids are sleeping, even if they’re sick, even if there is a blizzard blowing outside your window. When you exercise at home you’re in control which is a nice feeling. You can buy exercise equipment but you don’t need it. We used to have an exercise bike but I prefer to walk so I walk in our house. I have a circuit I walk, across the living room and down a hallway, turn a small circle and then back up the hallway and across the living room. I prefer to walk for real than to walk on a treadmill staring at the same spot on the wall for an hour. It just depends on you and what you prefer. If you’re really out of shape you can start with just five minutes of walking or cycling or whatever you choose. If you start with five minutes try to do so several times during the day so that you are getting in at least ten minutes and then work the length of your exercise up. You might be able to get in five minutes before the kids get up and another five minutes once they go to bed or when they nap or when they’re busy playing. Just find what works for you. You could also try a workout video or yoga video. If you do don’t feel like a failure if you can’t keep up at first or can’t do the entire video at first. Accept that you are where you are and you will improve as you get in shape. It’s okay to begin where you are, okay to not be able to do everything at the beginning.

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    • avatar

      Flake February 29, 2012, 4:18 pm

      Personally, I find that getting out of the house helps a lot. And gym is a perfect excuse.

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  • avatar

    Zepp February 29, 2012, 6:24 pm

    I think people go through phases of masturbating more than other times. Sometimes its just a matter of free time/bordem.

    When I was reading this letter, I was thinking “this is about her insecurities about her weight.” Look, if you feel bad about being over weight, use THAT as your motivation to lose weight. There’s your motivation; not feeling bad anymore. Isn’t that enough?

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  • avatar

    Herself February 29, 2012, 7:30 pm

    All married couples go through patches – having no kids I have no idea what that is like, but everyone says it makes having quality time with your spouse even more difficult. You have to MAKE the time – no excuses. My husband and I make time for each other every week.

    Most importantly though, as others have echoed here, you need to seek out a professional to talk to about the depression. Anytime of therapist to talk to will help you out – find one you are comfortable with. You may have to try several, but you will find one that feels right for you.

    Second to seeking a therapist is working out. I HATE all physical activity – HATE IT! In fact I was just telling my husband how much I hate it. That being said though I bust my ass in the gym at least twice a week time permitting – and when time doesn’t permit I CLOSELY watch what I eat and make sure to keep moving and stay active. That means walking around and working on projects. Working out though, as much as I hate it (are you seeing the trend here) also makes me feel great though! It makes me feel happier, sexier, more confidant, and healthier – all of which are wonderful feelings it sounds like you need. Don’t make anymore excuses for yourself – think of the outcome and rewards when you take that first step.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie February 29, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Masturbation is really hard to talk about with a spouse. He or she is the one you most want approval from and as children it’s often instilled as shameful. No easy answer for it and (speaking for myself) sex with a partner is soooo much better. You might try a date night once a week. Dinner out if the budget allows or make a special dinner at home. We all need attention and to feel special. Build on that and do what you can. Guys need encouragement as much as women do. A LITTLE too much to drink might do the trick but be careful not to overdo that or it’ll take the lead out of his pencil.

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  • avatar

    wendyblueeyes March 1, 2012, 11:16 am

    When asked by a reader why men who are in committed relationships still masturbate, the famous columnist Dan Savage explained that if all you will get is one partner for the rest of your life, you will die of boredom. Masturbation allows your husband to indulge his fantasies, and he comes back to you with renewed vigor. My advice to you: write out your daily schedules; find a half hour where you are both in the same place at the same time; and make a date for that time. For my husband and I, it is at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and anytime a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. If you have a schedule and a firm date, your husband will always be “up” to meeting your needs.

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  • avatar

    Babydoll1961 March 12, 2017, 2:02 pm

    Have you ever heard of JJ Smith? You can lose weight without exercising! If you are real heavy & have no motivation, I strongly suggest getting her book “10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse”! I lost 20 lbs in 10 days BUT I also worked out on a treadmill. I pushed myself & worked hard. It was amazing to feel so incredible! I felt sexy, had more energy, & more SEX! My husband noticed a difference. He also masturbates. It makes me sick because I am very hot blooded! I don’t feel he has the excuse of me NOT wanting it. He hardly ever initiates it.

    I googled “Why men masturbate”. Sometimes, it’s their own insecurities about satisfying their mate! Sometimes, it’s education. Sometimes, it’s just plain simpler, easier, & a lot less effort! Sometimes, it’s just plain addiction! Men are going to do it unless he is truly committed to giving you 100%! Those are far & few between! You MIGHT find a Christian man that is willing to give 100% but other than that, he’s going to masturbate!

    I feel for you because I know you want that intimacy. You WANT to feel WANTED! I wish I had the answers. I’m still searching myself! Men don’t understand how it makes us women feel to know that they are taking care of themselves but NOT us! They really don’t give a damn as long as you do ALL the household stuff!

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