Why is it that public opinion says it’s OK for a man to masturbate, that it’s an expression of masculinity and pride. But at the same time, it’s considered inappropriate for a female?

The Kiwanis Club in my hometown doesn’t sponsor Male Masturbation Tournaments. Does yours? I think the onus on masturbation is equally shared — and equally ridiculous.

Masturbation by members of either gender is a perfectly normal form of sexual expression. It eases stress, reduces tension, gives the complexion a rosy glow and is just a great way of getting to know your own body. A wonderful guide to female masturbation — if you’re interested in boning up on techniques.

My own bourgeois, soccer-mom biases are such that I consider masturbation to be a private matter. But hey! Opinions on that differ widely. Just avoid masturbating while parked in the vicinity of a police car.

Now I may be venturing forth into shaky territory here, but I’d hazard a guess from the tone of your letter that it is not men as a general category but one man in particular who’s making you feel anxious about this. If this carping is a new behavior for him, I’d give some thought to events in his life that might be causing it. Male sexuality changes over time even as desire or the need to perform well remain; and after the age of 40, the flag may need extra help to raise to full mast.

Perhaps this trend is causing your guy some anxiety. But if this behavior has been there all along, I’d give some serious consideration to why you feel the need to stay in a relationship with someone who is so unsupportive of the natural expression of your own sexuality.

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