Reader Question: Is My Masturbation Healthy?*


// photo : DPN via Tumblr

*Trigger warning: Rape

Occasionally, I get a question from a reader that is compelling enough to become its own article. This is one of those questions.


I have been touching myself and masturbating since I was at an early age, and even then when I used my Barbies as foreplay with myself, abduction and rape scenes were what made me aroused.

Now when I masturbate, I can only come when I imagine myself in an abduction scenario, and I worry it may be affecting my ability to come with a partner. If this is what I’ve trained myself to find orgasmic, how can I expect to enjoy when a partner is loving and giving and attentive to me?

I truly get turned on by bondage and domination in bed, but is this healthy? It would seem that it is healthy to acknowledge whatever kinks you may have, but whenever you write about sex, it is all about intimacy and sensuality. What are your opinions on BDSM and a healthy relationship with sex?



First off, I want to tell you that, yes—your masturbation & rape fantasies are healthy. And not just healthy, they’re totally normal.

Nancy Friday wrote a book called My Secret Garden which is a lush, extensive compilation of women’s sexual fantasies told to her from all over the world. And one of the main themes of women’s fantasies centered around rape, abduction, being forcefully ravaged & dominated—things like that.

At first glance, it can be easy to think that there’s a hidden meaning to these fantasies, that perhaps they’re coming from a place of “suppressed wish-fulfillment.” But that’s usually not the case.

Sexual fantasies of the rape variety have nothing to do with reality.

Which is to day—People who have rape fantasies don’t actually want to be raped, just as people who have abduction fantasies don’t usually want to be kidnapped. I’m willing to bet that you feel the same; that if you were in danger of either, you’d run for your life (& that’s a good thing!).

That’s the great thing about fantasies: They don’t necessarily mean you must do in real life that which you find hot in your erotic imagination.

That said, there often is underlying messages behind fantasies, particularly those with themes of brutality, violation, loss of power, & aggression. And as Nancy Friday says, “The message isn’t in the plot. . . but in the emotions that story releases.”

So, what emotions are behind your rape & abduction fantasies? What feelings do they release in you? 

Maybe it’s. . .

  • to surrender fully & be in a state of receptivity;
  • to explore your dark side with your partner;
  • to eroticize what you fear most;
  • to experience pleasure within pain;
  • to play in a different realm than what is your normal (e.g., the CEO who’s a headmaster of her business & loves being a submissive in bed because it’s there she can finally & safely relinquish all control).

I encourage you to do some self-inquiry & see if you can pinpoint the emotions that are behind your sexy fantasy. Knowing this, I think, will help you to feel a sense of ease & understanding about your fantasies, which will inherently give you permission to explore & take pleasure in them.

Because that’s the hard part about fantasies: there can be guilt attached with them, a question mark above what you find erotic, as though there is something “wrong” with you.

Doing this inner discovery will help you to accept & embrace (as best you can) your kink, seeing it for what it is—as a fun, safe, powerful way to get off.

And do your best, when you’re in the realm of fantasy, to leave notions of what is “appropriate” at the door. Sheri Winston encourages people in fantasy land to “adopt a no mind-crime policy”—that this, give your fantasies permission to be as they are, allowing them to go wherever they need to go without policing them.

So, if you’re at total peace with your kinks & fantasies, the question remains. . .

How can you bridge the gap between your inner fantasies & your outer sexual experiences with your partner?

Fantasies are amazingly powerful. They’re great ways to explore the landscapes of your lavish, erotic imagination & they’re incredible vehicles of pleasure.

Fantasies can also be distracting.

It’s inevitable: If most of your attention is focused on the sexy movie playing in your head rather than the person you’re with, it’s impossible to be fully engaged & connected to your sexual experiences.

There are many ways you can go about bringing awareness to this tendency of tuning in to your fantasy & out of the present moment. Things like slowing down the pace a bit, being mindful of your breath, & simply changing your mind when you catch it trailing off.

Easier said that done, I know, but it’s definitely possible to drop in to your body & be in the here & now with your sexual partner.

It’s all about being mindful, about putting your attention where your intentions are (as Barbara Carrellas says). I definitely recommend you read Chapter 2 of the book Urban Tantra for more about breathing techniques & creating intentions around your sexual experiences.

Another thought I had while reading your letter was this:

Is there a way where you can incorporate pieces of your sexual fantasies within your sexual relationship?

If you’re open to it, the possibilities of playing (with safe boundaries & open communication) with your fantasy with your partner are endless! Especially if you can pinpoint the emotions & feelings behind your fantasies.

For example, let’s say active surrender is one element you discover you’re chasing within your rape fantasy. You can incorporate this into your sexual relationship by practicing total receptivity when you’re with your partner, really opening to them & the pleasure you’re receiving.

You could also voice your desires to your partner by telling them that you want them to take you. (I personally love to say those words to my partner, as it feels like a direct invitation for him to take control.)

Or. . . maybe you can experiment with D/s (Dominance/Submission), giving your partner permission to do light power-play with you via spanking, certain sexual positions, dirty talk, or even role-playing (if they’re / you’re comfortable with it).

It’s also totally OK if acting out your fantasy (or exploring acting out pieces of it) is not what you want, be it now or ever. Sometimes speaking aloud your fantasy takes the electric charge out of it, & if you’re worried that your fantasy will not be as hot when it’s spoken, you’re absolutely free to keep it to yourself.

In that case, I definitely suggest going back to mindfulness via breathing, awareness,

What’s most important is that your sexual fantasies feel valid & worthy of being explored—with both yourself & your partner if you choose.

You’re absolutely right: It is healthy to acknowledge your kinks, & I encourage you to approach them with curiosity rather than judgment.

Good luck! This is only the beginning.


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May is National Masturbation Month, & for the next several weeks, I’d like to explore this intimate sexual relationship, the one that exists when no one is looking—the one that is the foundation for our erotic expressions, the one that helps us come home to our sexual bodies.

I’ll be telling some of my stories, sharing some of my thoughts, & featuring some of yours.

If you’d like to share your experiences about your solo sexual relationship, click here for more info on how to be featured.

© 2018 Ev'Yan Whitney. All rights reserved.