“Is This Normal?” Crying and Masturbation

I have read a lot of wonderfully informative and understanding articles about crying during or after sex1, and it gives me all the feel goods to see such supportive discussions about the many emotional responses that can accompany sex. However, a topic I have yet to see any resources on, outside of forums and Yahoo Ask posts, is crying during or after masturbation.

Most of those posts start with questions like, “is this normal” and “what’s wrong with me,” and they elicit a range of responses from support to psychoanalysis to people like PartyGalAnne bestowing the wisdom, “lol you need to get a life” [well, some people’s party includes crying, ANNE]. It’s due to hours of reading and dissatisfaction with these responses that I wanted to share my experience and resulting insight.

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Sometimes, I cry when I masturbate.

It’s tough to type that without feeling a pathetic twinge (especially in bold pink type). But, fuuuHHHHHUUUUck that! Crying and weakness are not exclusive. Yes, I’m pulling the “it’s okay to cry” line. It may seem redundant and cheesy, but sometimes we need a reminder that people cry for lots of different reasons: joy, grief, distress, frustration, comfort, cute dog commercials, but no matter the reason, it’s not wrong or shameful.

It is absolutely okay to let yourself cry and to give yourself the care you need; however, it’s important to question the trigger of this urge, especially in confusing situations like during masturbation, because understanding can help you better care for yourself.

I don’t usually cry when I masturbate, and I never did until the end of a 4+ year relationship. During the final months of that time, my partner and I didn’t have sex. In the months preceding those, it was infrequent and often shaded with feelings of distance and insecurity. So, I became that self conscious image in my head of the lonely, sad, individual who is often comically placed in movies and sitcoms, masturbating and crying while thinking about the person they want to be with. And the person I wanted to be with was my partner, so when I had an orgasm alone, it reminded me of the insurmountable and expanding distance between us.

After I had an orgasm, my muscles would relax and with that would come unstoppable tears. This response was a warning, telling me that I was not okay, a warning I’m thankful for. My body could sense the distance between us even as I told my brain to ignore it, but I eventually had to listen.

Since then, crying during masturbation has had another source for me: release. With pleasure and especially orgasm, comes a physical letting-go. That letting-go can be refreshing and awakening and scary, which is plenty of emotion to cry from, and therein find a new level of vulnerability with myself.

It still catches me off guard, and I always question “WHY!?” and every time, I find a slightly different explanation. The important thing is to not invalidate yourself with generalized ideas of normalcy, and instead allow yourself the empathy and understanding you’d afford anyone else crying in front of you.

My experiences can only inform my responses, so there are millions of other perspectives on this. I believe that help comes from sharing our own educational experiences though, so I hope this help or makes you think, and you can always comment with thoughts and experiences below.

1. Sex and crying info and perspectives: The CSPH, BuzzFeed Sex Q&A, and The Frisky

11 thoughts on ““Is This Normal?” Crying and Masturbation

  1. I love this post, thank you. Crying while masturbating reminds me of my coming out experience. I started watching lesbian porn and masturbating, and I would cry over a mixture of shame, fear and relief – shame that I had repressed myself, fear that I was queer, and relief because it felt so good! I hadn’t cried while masturbating since then (5 years ago), but I found myself crying the other day doing it while missing my long distance girlfriend.

  2. Thank you for creating this post! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s done this. I cried during my first solo session that followed my breakup with my first partner. At that point I was kind-of at a loss as to who/what I should think about while masturbating since we’d split up. I ended up thinking about my ex, which created a complex mixture of grief, pleasure and nostalgia, and brought me to tears. More recently, I’ve cried out of frustration after having two equally weak and unsatisfying orgasms.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, I love hearing about how other people relate to this experience. The same thing happened when my partner and I broke up, I had so many conflicting emotions that it was hard to get back into masturbating.

    • I just went through that. Came here, trying to Google it. I felt pleasure, and then just gut wrenching grief. I feel my heart being ripped out and I am still shaking with uncontrollable tears. I love him still, and I know he still loves me. That makes it worse. He’s so gorgeous that I’ve only had eyes for him for a long time. Now what do I even think of?

      • I just experienced the same. I’m day 29 of no contact from a break up that he initiated. Like so many, I felt it coming, the impending breakup. Feeling like I “needed” something… I turned to self love with the help of some online pornography.
        However, as my orgasm started waves of pleasure washing over me, I began calling out his name and saying I love you… which ended in tears and the deep deep missing of him.
        I still love and adore that man. I can’t stop and I have to consistently remind myself that he loves me no more and that there is nothing to be done but allow time and tears to steam by.

        • I am so glad I’m not the only one. even reading this made me realise why it happens and has me tearing up! I not long ago split up with my boyfriend and it was hard to see him move on so quick, even when I was still thinking about him in that way. But it seems like the thought of him has gone out of my head. But I’m still crying though it’s never about sexual things, it’s more about how hard life is and how I don’t know where to start!

  3. Pingback: I Love Faking It: A Personal History of Performed Orgasms | AFemmeCock

  4. I started doing this because I had a lonely one sided relationship with my second and third ex boyfriend. Added to the fact, of never having the sex I wanted because they couldn’t initiate the whole Bdsm and Dom stuff along with a couple of things which the main was sexual frustration from no orgasm at all from the sex and being left unsatisfied made the crying worse.

  5. Thank you! I had it happen to me today for the first time. It was a short cry with one tear that fell from my right eye. I recently started learning to love myself and forgive my past mistakes… I also never used to self pleasure until a couple months ago and only ever climaxed a few times since my first one at age 21 (I am 33 now). Just was curious what other women said about their experiences.

  6. Thank you… this has been my 5th time uncontrollably crying for like 30 seconds right as I orgasmed. I am seeing someine 5hr away, it’s been a month since I’ve seen him and I miss him so much. I feel broken, like I should stop solo sessions. I don’t want to cry anymore.

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