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My Boyfriend Caught Me Masturbating 

Dear Athena,

My boyfriend caught me masturbating. I was in our bed, and he was staying up late to work. Then he came in, and I was masturbating. We've never talked about masturbation before. He didn't say anything and just walked out of the room, and then I was so embarrassed, humiliated and silly. I don't know what to do or how to say anything about it. I'm stressed out. What would you do?

Signed,

M

Dear M,

This incident sounds fresh, and I get it: Right now, you're feeling all flushed and self-conscious. You're worried that your boyfriend might be judging you. But the worst part — and the best part — is that you don't know what he's thinking. Maybe he's embarrassed to have interrupted you. Maybe he's upset that you left him out of the fun. You don't know, and that's what's really causing your stress.

You certainly can't go on pretending like nothing happened, so the only solution is to jump right in and talk to him. Tell him you feel weird about what happened and you want to check in. View it as an opportunity to get closer. And I don't mean that he needs to get in on your solo sessions (though that could also be cool), but that if you can both let your guards down and confront your discomfort, there's nowhere to go but up. Sharing your vulnerability can actually strengthen your intimacy — and more intimacy equals a better bond and, often, even better sex. Nice bonus, eh?

Worst-case scenario: He's not into masturbation for some reason. (Which, by the way, would be a red flag, because who doesn't enjoy a little solo diddle?) If that's the case, just remind him that he doesn't have to be involved. Also, what does he expect? You're a human being with sexual needs. Pleasuring yourself doesn't mean you're not into him pleasuring you — it just means you like to feel good.

What would I do? If it ever happens again, ask him to get involved — or get out!

Yours,

Athena

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