caught?

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein48 Comments

This didn’t happen, but I’ve imagined it.  How I’d react if I walked in while he was masturbating.  I was very careful with that last sentence, careful not to say, "what I’d do if I ever caught him masturbating," because "caught" implies it’s something he shouldn’t be doing.  It implies it’s something we should keep from each other.  The way we wait until they’ve left the room.  The way I can hear him on our hardwood floors downstairs, when he might be approaching the stairs, when I should cover up, when I should stop.  For fear of being caught.  Living in our separate lives together.

I always imagined if I were "caught" that he’d dig right in, wouldn’t take it personally, but would instead see it as an opportunity.  I’m not sure I’d feel this way.  It might be a man thing.  I think my inclination is to be insecure, to wonder, "what were you thinking about?"  But I wouldn’t so much give a shit what the answer was unless I could be a part of it somewhere in the future trying to recreate it.  The younger me would have been jealous.  The me now would probably just be annoyed.  If I walked in, honestly, I might laugh.  Inside, I might want to punish him for it.  It’s where guilt must come from.

I’ve found evidence, not that I ever needed any.  I could talk my way around a textbook, tell you how normal and natural something is, how "healthy," how "good" it is for a relationship and a body.  Like milk and it’s clever advertisements and commercials.  How great it is because it means he’s healthy; it means he’s not out doing it with other people.  It means she’s exploring her fantasies in a safe environment, not acting on them and threatening everything else.  Which is a good thing.  But it doesn’t feel good when your other chooses other ways of getting off, without you, quicker ways, ways without hassle or too much emotion.  It can feel like cheating, and thus, there’s that fear on both sides, of catching or being caught, despite intellectualizing it all as "healthy."  What used to feel healthy was so much sex you didn’t have time or cause to masturbate.  You kissed on the street, on the mouth, and couldn’t keep your hands off each other.  And then it became–not.  Not that way, anymore, which of course, given time and circumstances, bills, marriage, children, forever, was normal and healthy and "natural" too.  And then you think, I used to say, "I never want to be that couple.  That couple who becomes resigned, who pass each other tissues in the middle of the night.  I don’t want to be old."   And then you catch yourself not just wishing for a different life, but for a time when youth didn’t feel young; it felt right. 

Comments

  1. The "can't keep your hands off each other" sounds like romantic love to me, not real love. And marriage, children, long term committment, etc. is REAL love, not fantasy. Doesn't mean the sex can't be hot and heavy, but it's not "intellectualizing" to say that sometimes you just want to take care of yourself, and that's okay. It's not a threat to the relationship, or a measure of how intimate two people are. Like Woody Allen says about masturbating, "Don't knock it. It's sex with someone I love."

    From what you wrote, sounds like the insecurity, guilt, jealousy, anxiety — all those feelings about it, while valid of course, are not really about masturbation at all. What about yourself and/or your relationship are you so insecure about, and how is that playing out here? What do you feel empty about, and how is the masturbation issue triggering that for you? Those are the questions I would ask myself.

  2. Just for me personally it wouldn't be 'caught'. I know my guy does sometimes but rarely and it doesn't bother me. I just think it is a bit much if I expect that he is only to think of me and never think of another woman – especially as the years go on. He even has some magazines and a dvd but rarely ever looks at them. I've seen him looking at other women – but not leering inappropriately. I sometimes ask if that person is his type etc just out of interest. I know he loves me and am pretty sure he wouldn't go with anyone else but if he ever did I would reassess our situation and find out what it meant to him and why etc. I wouldn't necessarily leave him – but that is just me. I also could, if I thought I should, leave him too – it just all depends upon the scenario.

  3. I often travel in long stretches for my job so my sex life with my boyfriend is largely defined by mutual masterbation, sadly. This seems to make self-sex (when we're together) even more taboo. He is never jealous of other men, but you should hear him go on about the handheld shower head!

  4. Robyn – love the Woody Allen quotes. He also says regarding masturbation, "Hey, don't knock my hobbies". Once again Stephanie comes up with another hot topic!!

  5. Hoorah. This was an excellent piece, Stephanie.

    At first I started reading it and thought, oh god, she's one of THOSE females? The kind of girl to get pissy after discovering sticky Playboys in his bathroom, or crunchy socks in the dirty laundry, and I gotta admit I rolled my eyes.
    Then I read further and I identified with what you were saying. I used to get PISSED at BD when I'd find he was jacking off yet withholding sex from me, or rather not withholding as much as turning it down if I made advances.
    That does feel like cheating, or at least for me it only signified we had some problems (namely, we werent communicating but how do you make a man talk when he's "sick of talking").

    And doesnt every person say they dont want to become that couple? I think it's inevitable though. I have yet to meet the exception, even the happiest and healthiest couple has dry spells.

    For the record, if I were to walk in on him jacking off, I'd probably laugh too but then I'd drop to my knees and finish him off in my mouth. :D

  6. Hoorah. This was an excellent piece, Stephanie.

    At first I started reading it and thought, oh god, she's one of THOSE females? The kind of girl to get pissy after discovering sticky Playboys in his bathroom, or crunchy socks in the dirty laundry, and I gotta admit I rolled my eyes.
    Then I read further and I identified with what you were saying. I used to get PISSED at BD when I'd find he was jacking off yet withholding sex from me, or rather not withholding as much as turning it down if I made advances.
    That does feel like cheating, or at least for me it only signified we had some problems (namely, we werent communicating but how do you make a man talk when he's "sick of talking").

    And doesnt every person say they dont want to become that couple? I think it's inevitable though. I have yet to meet the exception, even the happiest and healthiest couple has dry spells.

    For the record, if I were to walk in on him jacking off, I'd probably laugh too but then I'd drop to my knees and finish him off in my mouth. :D

  7. Great Post..
    Have you been watching "tell me you love me" on HBO?

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, that is what inspired this post.

  8. Stephanie: I haven't read your posts in quite awhile, but I got caught up today. Based on your description and his age, I believe I know the cause of Luca's "jerks" (Aug. 3rd post) that he has while awake. The diagnosis, I suspect, may be Infantile Spasms/ West Syndrome. My 3 yr. old son, Spencer, had these at 8 1/2 months. Have you noticed the jerks happen especially before drifting off and then upon waking & reentry? This is because the brain activity is changing so much at those times. They are very hard to detect in the beginning by medical people because they are so infrequent & don't look like typical seizures. The frequency increases if left untreated, and he may begin to lose skills temporarily as they increase. The preferred treatment is ACTH (injected steroid). I will tell you that time is of the essence; if indeed this is what Lucas has, your goal is to have him spasm/jerk free in 3 months time or less to prevent any permanent neurological damage. My son was in Children's Hospital in Milwaukee, WI for 17 days on their very specialized epilepsy unit. This is one of the top 3 seizure units in the nation, & there were families there from all over the country. Please contact me with any questions, concerns, Dr. names, our outcome, etc. God-speed fro Lucas' healing.

  9. I disagree with Robyn. There's no reason REAL LOVE can't involve PDA anymore. I think initially feelings come before actions. You feel in love and crazy about someone, so you're all over them, do sweet things for them, etc. But after a period of time, actions have to come before feelings. Kisses and consideration before feelings of love and desire. Love is a choice after all. It just takes more effort when life gets fuller and more comfortable.

    Unlike many people, I don't think masturbation is ok. I see it as a form of cheating. If you're not being pleasured by your spouse, yet you're being pleasured, it's cheating. I think people want to say things are ok, have excuses for acting on our desires. But it's not anything goes. Some things hurt others and hurt us.

  10. I don't know if, as Jaime said, you've been watching Tell Me You Love Me, but I have and ever since that first episode all I've been doing is having these introspective monologues running through my head. But I will say this, for some reason the show has most definitely helped my marriage. My husband doesn't watch it – doesn't even know about the show, I think – but I do and its changed how I look at our relationship and how to make it better, I suppose.

  11. That Tell Me You Love Me is somewhere between fascinating and gut-wrenchingly depressing for me. It's like watching a train wreck and I hate myself for looking, yet it's oddly enticing too. I miss the simple days of "Sex and the City", "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under". Ah well.

  12. to be fair, you've been through a hell of a lot this year with lucas, or having twins, period. the "normal" you have now may not be the "normal" you find when things settle down.

  13. my husband and i have been married almost ten years (in may, to be exact) with a healthy sex life, and he still masturbates. mostly i just shrug and figure it's better than him cheating on me.

  14. I can relate on all fronts. I got out of a sexless, horrible marriage just a couple of years back and right now I am in a new romance where we kiss for hours without any regard for anyone around us, except our pile of kids, of course. They stay protected. God, there is nothing like a young romance, especially at age 40. I am not looking forward to the change of dynamics or the passing of tissues. Been there, done that.

  15. I knew it, I just knew you wrote this piece because of "Tell Me You Love Me"!!! I found that show this past weekend and quickly called my husband up to the bedroom so we could rewatch the sexy scenes togehter. No need for masterbation for either one of us after that!! But seriously the first scene got me thinking too. And, I would definitely use that scenario as an opportunity and never as a rejection. I am a drop to my knees kind of gal!

  16. Funny…before reading your post today, this morning, a male friend of mine told me about watching "Tell me you love Me" with his wife (I haven't seen it yet), and that set off a very detailed conversation b/w us today about sex, blow-jobs, frequency of sex, with our sign. others… it was a very enlightening conversation for me; He, being the man that he is, well, I don't think he so much. Yet, it’s always nice to hear the other side's perspective. …it's all so different b/w each and every one of us. I, on the one hand (pun really not intended…) enjoy masturbation…always have (if you can't love yourself, who can you love?) And I've always been absolutely cool with the men I’ve been with doing so as well. I actually get off on watching them…plus, the ones who were cool with me watching realized that it was also a teaching experience for me…AND, mutual masturbation is hot as well. Yet, I am also cool with their need for privacy/dirty vids., pix, toys, etc. I guess i just don't understand why ppl get so hung up on the idea of masturbation. I mean, yeah, are times when i want "quality time" with myself…and would probably feel "caught". I don't know. I've been walked on before…once it turned out to be a niiiiiiiiicccceeeee long night after that; and the other time it turned into a "why do it yourself when I’m here" type conversation. Ugh. I think it’s just the mood I’m in…etc., plus, why do I need to defend my sexual feelings/longings? If nothing else, those are so natural as to not need explanation (well, aside from s&m, type stuff…) I mean, sexual impulses are not on a schedule. They just happen…and if my sign. other is there to be a part of it, well, hot damn. If not, well….

    Now, all of this is a little “off” these days, per my preg. I’m all over the place, but I’m totally uncomfie, so it’s all very frustrating for me, and for my sign. other. Right now, it’s just so much easier to take care of myself….but I miss the touch of another…and vice versa. I also know that in a few months all will be back to normal (I hope!!!) so I just take it all in stride. (Yeah, right….)

  17. The only way I would be concerned about my partner masturbating was if he was doing that to avoid intimacy in the relationship. I've heard people say the same thing about porn (that as long as it's not being used as a way to avoid, it's not harmful; I still struggle with porn though for various reasons). But, I can see what mean. In a sense, seeing someone masturbating or finding evidence of it is a reminder that we all have individual selves, separate from our partners.

    Laura, I think you need to loosen up if you actually think masturbating is equivalent to cheating on your partner. Why aren't we allowed to experience pleasure separate from our partners? Also, I don't understand who, exactly, is being hurt in your scenario.

  18. I thought so…it's a pretty good show..a little slow at times.

    This has actually happened to me. I walked in on my loser ex-husband (we were dating at the time) getting himself off in front of the TV in the livingroom…as soon as i walked in he ran to the bathroom and locked himself in there for 2 hours.

  19. I dunno-I really don't see the big deal about it. I personally don't do it on my own-meaning the BOB is used to "put on a show" so my husband can watch-which is even more of a turn on for me than the act itself. Needless to say, I don't care that he does it either. I think it's just something people do and I'm completely secure enough to know, even if it's not me on his mind, he's never gonna be with Eva Longoria, so I don't sweat it. =).

  20. my idealist eyes should be blindfolded before reading posts like this. i'm still a lightyear away from the other side of the commited fence, and i am a frequent basher of "that" couple. are you unhappy, stephanie? you have the beans and new venues of expression and success at this point in your life, but are you totally unhappy? i'm afraid that this will happen to me someday. that the chips are going to pile up and i'm going to have a life of love and leisure replaced by duty and work. i hope your future holds a different story than you are telling now – once those beans have their little acts together and your hands will be more free, i bet your passionate self will be back in the action.

    and on the masturbation – if my someone was in the middle of it, i would see it as an opportunity, but i understand your feeling about it seeming to be a scheme or a quick fix to avoid interaction. i would rather share at this point than miss.

    thanks for the posts. i'm sending all my energy boosts to you during your last leg of the moose race.

  21. I must be living under a stone. It surprised me to read that anyone would consider their partner's masturbation as something about which to be jealous, angry, uncomfortable. Everyone does it whether they're in a fulfilling sexual relationship or not. Pass the tissues, I say.

  22. happened with my ex. he was supposed to work the early shift on ourder to pick our daughter from daycare. I worked the late shift & dropped her off in the morning. I decided to take off early one day to come home & be with them. I walked in on him doing his thing in front of the TV, and our daughter still at daycare. I was really not a great moment in our relationship.

    (I'll be anonymous for this one)

  23. Reminds me of the book/movie Little Children. Though that scenario was a little different, especially in the book. That one was a little bizarre in fact.

    I am really not concerned with issues of masturbation, but I do really like the final line about youth. Though I don't wish for my younger days, I do look back now and then, and can recall that youthful feeling so perfectly.

    It really did feel so right then, didn't it? I think it had to do with the newness of everything, at least for me. Every now and then, I still experience that feeling. (This is not in reference to any relationship by the way, just to my overall remembrance of my youth in general).

  24. I hate to rain on your collective parades, but just because your guy has "one dvd" or "a couple of magazines" doesn't mean he isn't into porn. You know that computer screen you're looking at? Bottomless pit of porn. I've never even HEARD of a man who isn't into porn (except from naive women). To me, there's no difference between watching a video or looking at pictures and fantasizing about something in your own head.

    My husband and I have very different work schedules and I'm sure that some afternoons he finds himself feeling frisky while I'm away. I can't see why anybody would have a problem a guy acting on that urge. The reason people in relationships masturbate is no different from the reason single people do. It has nothing to do with intimacy and everything to do with the fact that human beings have urges. Sex is an intimate experience, orgasms are not.

  25. i was so going to ask you if you've been watching that HBO show, but see that yes you have. what do you think of the show?

  26. I'm not sure how I feel about "Tell Me You Love Me". I want to love it, but I feel the two blonde women look too much alike, there are some characters I just can't stand, and the dialogue feels stilted.

    Yet at the same exact time I couldn't believe how right on it nailed how tough and heartwrenching relationships are, in general, in cycles, all of them, seriously, and I remember turning it off after watching it with my roommates, feeling a little depressed and worse for the wear, but so freaking elated that I no longer was in a relationship.

    And then I got really excited for the next time I can't stop kissing someone. Of course, with no release, no known time frame when that will happen and that it will be reciprocated with timing and loving and everything else…that leaves us all right where we started…

  27. Hehehe, Penny. That's exactly why! Or his t-shirts…

    Im surprised more women arent posting with suggestions of masturbating together. I think it's h-h-hot. Ive watched porn with bfs before, well, okay one…but still. And even then I put it on when he was in the shower, took off all my clothes, laid on the bed and spread my legs so he had a nice view when he walked into the room. Between my spread legs and the porn playing on the tv he about shot his load right there in the doorway.

    It can be hot.

  28. Great post! Never walked in on anyone in the act but certainly would laugh if I did (after I let out a big "GASP!").

    Not to be pushy but would you please post new photos of the twins… the old ones are still wonderful but I keep thinking there will be something new to see when all of the photos load…. sigh.

  29. The only thing we should consider is what he/she/we dream about when we masturbate. And now that I thing of it, most times IS cheating. Some fantasize everyone else but their partners. Otherwise they shouldn't be doing it behind their back.

  30. The only thing we should consider is what he/she/we dream about when we masturbate. And now that I thing of it, most times IS cheating. Some fantasize everyone else but their partners. Otherwise they shouldn't be doing it behind their back.

  31. The only thing we should consider is what he/she/we dream about when we masturbate. And now that I thing of it, most times IS cheating. Some fantasize everyone else but their partners. Otherwise they shouldn't be doing it behind their back.

  32. Not all men are porn or sex obsessed. Some men just aren't, in my opinion it's either deeply held values or testosterone levels. Or both.

    My ex was obsessed, and I learned a valuable lesson. Men eat, drink, shit, piss and fuck. It's all essentially bodily functions to them. The lesson is, "do it twice a week whether you need it or not." At minimum.

  33. Oh, come on now. In the words of Dave Matthews, "masturbation is always great and often is exceptional."

    That's all there is to say about that.

  34. What makes you think he's not thinking of you when he masturbates? My DH would love sex every day and I'm just too tired for more than a few times a week. I'm all for him having some innocent pleasure without me on the off days.

  35. Just because people get married dosn't mean they stop masturbating! Would I get upset if I caught my husband? Hell no – not as long as our sex life is good. I don't know if it's because I've been married for 15 years or what – but as long as the masturbation isn't putting a dent in your sex life, then who cares? We all need it sometimes…

  36. Huh? So that's all men are about? I do it twice a week and I'm a chick! And I have a fulfilling sex life and relationship with my partner, too.

    I agree with the poster who said that the real issue is whether one feels a sense of intimacy and fulfillment with his/her partner, not whether one masturbates too much or at all.

    And just think, many state-approved sex ed curriculums are now including masturbation as a healthy, natural activity — a perfectly acceptable sexual practice. Oy vey, I need to rephrase, but you know what I mean! Anyway, it's a good thing kids in these classes won't be bombarded with messages of guilt, confusion, and naysaying when it comes to exploring their own sexuality.

  37. I just don't understand why some people consider masturbating cheating. How?
    That's just plain ridiculous, just because a man is in a committed relationship doesn't mean he stops being a man. He's going to fantizies, but that's all it is fantasy.
    Maybe is just me and my view on man and relationships is different. Or maybe I'm just secure in myself and my relationship.

  38. I feel bad for anyone that thinks/feels like masturbation is "cheating". It may be lazy but it isn't cheating. If your partner only wants to masturbate exclusively, that's a PROBLEM, and it can be selfish…AND lazy…but it still isn't CHEATING.

    That sounds so insane to me.

  39. Regarding from Ray: "Oh, come on now. In the words of Dave Matthews, "masturbation is always great and often is exceptional."

    On the other hand, sex is sometimes great and often unexceptional… (-;

  40. while i often read SK's posts, the comments annoy the hell out of me. sorry. no offense to anyone.

    it isn't normal to seek to dominate ALL the thoughts of your spouse's or boyfriend's heads, ladies. holy cow, it's ridiculous.

    and many women often let their minds wander or at least mentally undress, beautiful men in public, strangers, etc?

    sweet jesus, marriage carries a finality with it. sharing your life with someone else is a glorious thing, but it doesn't mean that they have to occupy every little thought in your mind!

    laura, you're a little nuts. sorry. :)

  41. The hangups about porn and masturbation are always bizarre to me. I know my husband must look at porn and occasionally get his jollies when I'm not around, and I'm very whatever about it. As long as its not cheating or child porn I'm totally fine with it. Everyone has needs – and sometimes getting yourself off in 2 minutes is a lot easier than having sex. I don't expect to be the sole subject of my husband's sexual fantasies, and he doesn't expect to be mine.

    The only time there should be a problem is if you don't have a good sex life, and the issues there usually run a lot deeper than someone jerking off to porn. But its really silly that this day in age, masturbation is viewed as a source of embarrassment or shame and as a symptom that someone doesn't desire you. Quite the opposite. And whoever said you should do it in front of your partner occasionally is spot on – sometimes we all feel too tired to have sex but are still wanting an orgasm – why not have fun together? Sexual expression is a good thing, and no wife should dictate to their husband when they can and cannot masturbate, and vice versa. As long as your sex life is good and your marriage is strong, I really don't see the issue.

  42. OH! And I forgot to reference this post.

    "Unlike many people, I don't think masturbation is ok. I see it as a form of cheating. If you're not being pleasured by your spouse, yet you're being pleasured, it's cheating. I think people want to say things are ok, have excuses for acting on our desires. But it's not anything goes. Some things hurt others and hurt us." – posted by Laura

    So if you masturbate, you're cheating? You're cheating on your partner with YOURSELF? That makes zero sense. If you think Brad Pitt is sexy, is your MIND cheating? Are you mentally cheating on your husband? Weird.

    Its this kind of thought process that breaks a marriage down. It's not about sex- its about control. Controlling another person based on some skewed morality is a huge error. And ladies – if you think he's not masturbating – you're deluded.

  43. I wish I had time to read all the comments. My husband and I are very happy. He does it. I know he does it. He tells me he's going to do it. Hey, it makes him feel good, is quick and easy, and there's three kids around so us sneaking away together doesn't happen all that much.

    And for me. I do it too. In fact, today. Why not make yourself feel good when the opportunity "arises"…

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