Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Sexual show-and-tells are vital to a fantastic sex life

Catherine Townsend - Sleeping Around

After a make-out session on my first date with James, a very fit internet entrepreneur, I was congratulating myself on finding someone relatively normal. Until he told me that he never masturbates. "Never? You must be joking." "Seriously, I don't do that when I'm seeing someone," he said, proudly. "Now that I have you, I don't need to."

It seems that James isn't alone in regarding self-love as taboo while in a relationship. A distraught friend recently told me that she was sure she wasn't "satisfying" her boyfriend because she'd caught him masturbating in the shower. I'd grab the body oil and jump in. I've loved to watch men masturbate ever since I saw a soft-core porn movie in my formative years that featured a hot gardener pleasuring himself while spying on a topless sunbather.



Sexual show-and-tells are vital to a fantastic sex life. Mutual masturbation is fun and fairly low-risk, and sleeping together without knowing how a partner likes to be touched can be as frustrating as assembling an Ikea wardrobe without the instructions. As around 80 per cent of my orgasms involve my hand as, if not the main character, at least a supporting role, for me a man not being comfortable with masturbation is a dealbreaker. Anyway, I'm all for equality in bed. It's widely assumed that men love to see women touch themselves, so why not the other way round?



And things may finally be changing for the girls. A new generation of porn directors have begun to cash in on the trend of women who like to watch. I especially like Handyman, a series that features men of all body types talking to the camera while masturbating.



We've clearly come a long way since 1712, when an anonymous doctor published a text entitled Onania: or, The Heinous Sin of Self Pollution, and all its Frightful Consequences in Both Sexes, Considered. These days, men who masturbate aren't seen as desperate, just normal. And women who partake aren't dismissed as sad singletons humping a pillow. In fact, several studies reveal a positive correlation between the frequency of masturbation and the frequency of intercourse.



Some guys still aren't convinced. "The truth is, for most men it's just a release. Something to do before bed," says one male friend.



Of course, there are limits. I once had a man whip out his member in a wine bar, before our first kiss. Another responded to my "baby why don't you touch yourself" request by flipping through a magazine. And I can't even talk about the flasher on the Paris Metro at 2am. He was scary, not sexy.



As for James, it seemed I was going to have to take matters into my own handsto get him to do the same. After stripping off, I told him we were going to play a game; everything I did to myself, he had to do to himself. Half an hour into our hands-on demonstration, I got so turned on that I leapt on him. For now, we both got a happy ending.



c.townsend@ independent.co.uk

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