Masturbation and solo sex

Caught Masturbating? Here’s What You Should Do

Published: JULY 5, 2022 | Updated: APRIL 30, 2024
Masturbation is normal and healthy, but that doesn't make getting caught in the act any less embarrassing. However, there are ways to navigate the situation with grace and dignity—and while it might seem mortifying now, this too shall pass.

"Masturbation is a normal and healthy part of your sex life."

Advertisement

If you're like most people, you've probably heard masturbation is normal and pleasurable—and that it can even help you decide if/when you want to engage in sexual pleasure with another person.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean you want other people to know about this particular "normal and healthy part of your sex life." It's totally fine if you prefer to keep how you masturbate, how often you masturbate, what sex toys you use, what erotica you read, and even how you look masturbating to yourself!

When you're caught masturbating, it can sometimes feel like the straight-up end of the world. Whether it was a roommate, a family member or even your own partner, being caught masturbating can feel like a vulnerable wall has been smashed through—and it can feel almost impossible to go back to the way things were before.

Advertisement

So, let's delve into it: Here's what to do if you're caught masturbating.

Stop and Cover Up

Again, masturbation is totally healthy and normal—but that doesn't mean you should keep doing it if someone unexpectedly walks in on you! As soon as you're caught, step one is to stop what you're doing and cover up as best as possible.

Think about what you'd do if someone walked in on you in a public restroom—that's the same plan here.

Advertisement

At this point, most people who accidentally catch you will have excused themselves and left the area. For some, though, the unexpected shock might have left their brains on mute. If you need to, you're well-within your rights to ask to be left alone for a few minutes.

Don't Mention It (Unless You Want/Need To)

Let's be real: This is probably the path most of us will take—and that's OK. Just like how you probably wouldn't need to discuss walking in on someone while they were on the toilet, you may not need to discuss being caught in the act.

So, if someone caught you, feel free to follow their lead and see where it goes. Do they bring up what happened? No? Then let some time pass and pretend it never happened. In most cases, while there will be an awkward few weeks, things will likely start to go back to normal, and you can both move on and forget it happened.

Advertisement

If it's been awhile, though, and things still seem awkward, you might need to....

Apologize for What Happened

As mentioned, there's nothing unnatural or "wrong" about masturbating—but that doesn't mean that other people want to happen across you doing it either. Don't apologize for masturbating, but you may want to apologize you happened to meet "during the act."

READ: The Shy Person’s Guide to Talking About Sex.

Advertisement

It doesn't have to be explicit; something as simple as "I'm sorry we crossed paths in the living room the other day" can go a long way towards acknowledging that you both recognize the awkwardness—and allow you both to move on.

Then....

Discuss a System

Why were you caught in the first place? If someone walked into your private space (like your bedroom!) without knocking, that's one thing. But if you were masturbating in common areas like the living room, you might consider discussing a system to help prevent this from happening in the future.

Advertisement

Some various systems can look like:

  • Agreeing to text one another if you'll be arriving back home earlier than expected.
  • Placing something on the doorknob if you're requesting privacy (the age-old agreement!).
  • Knocking on the door and waiting for a response before entering.
  • Locking the door when you'll be enjoying something sexual.
  • Agreeing to keep any sexual or nude activities out of the common, shared areas

So, now, the conversation can look like this:

"I'm sorry we crossed paths in the living room the other day. In the future, I'll go to my bedroom and lock the door when I want privacy. If you need me, can you please knock on the door and wait for a response before coming in? If I'm not responding, feel free to text me. I might be listening to music."

What isn't acceptable is any system that prohibits masturbation or sexual pleasure. While people in close proximity to you are within their rights to expect not to have to come across unwanted sexual activities, they do not have any right to tell you what you can or can not do with your adult body. Don't feel like your "system" should include the inability to touch your own body.

READ: 10 Ways Sex Toys Can Help You Drop Guilt and Sexual Shame.

What If It's Your Partner?

All of the aforementioned tips have been about being caught masturbating by non-intimate partners—but it's very possible (and even likely!) that you might be caught masturbating by someone you're sexually active with.

And that can feel very different than being caught by a roommate or family member.

There are a lot of feelings that can get mixed in when you "discover" a romantic/sexual partner masturbating.

So, in most cases, the first thing you'll want to do is invite your lover into the experience. Not only can this reduce any awkwardness, but it also can make your partner feel welcomed into the experience instead of left out.

READ: 4 Awesome Reasons to Try Mutual Masturbation.

Even if your lover chose to participate in the experience, they may be feeling a bit confused, hurt and left out after you're done. Some people view masturbation as something that ceases when a relationship forms—and this can bring up a lot of complicated feelings. Your partner may feel jealous or upset that you chose to enjoy yourself without them present.

In that case, it's time to have an open conversation about your masturbation and why you were doing it. Masturbation while in a relationship is healthy, but explaining why you were masturbating may help your partner feel less confused about it. Were you simply trying to get the horniness to go away so you could better focus? Did you not want to disturb them? Did you simply want something to distract you?

You may also want to include reassurances about your sexual relationship with your partner. What's your favorite part about it? What parts of their body turn you on? What fantasies have you had about them while masturbating?

By explaining your reasoning—and reassuring them that they're still an amazing sexual partner that you enjoy being with—you can help stave off some of the insecurities that might pop up.

What If It's Just a Sex Toy?

Maybe you weren't caught masturbating but your masturbation was implied. What if you forgot to pick up your favorite vibrator or penis stroker from the bathroom cabinet after your shower? What if you left your favorite sex furniture out in plain sight while you were at work for the day? What if your electrosex toy was still charging when they walked into your room?

The same steps still apply: Feel free to pretend nothing happened and follow your discoverer's lead. And consider coming up with a different routine to ensure your gear escapes discovery in the future.

Remember: Masturbation is Normal

It can be tempting to freak about this experience and swear off all masturbation—but remember: Masturbation is totally normal.

Being caught sucks (does it ever), but it doesn't mean that you were necessarily doing anything wrong. Sometimes others don't respect boundaries and, sometimes, a simple misunderstanding about boundaries can lead to a mix-up. And yet, other times, it can simply be "wrong place; wrong time."

No matter what the case, while it might seem mortifying now, remember that this, too, shall pass. (More slowly than you'd ever imagine possible, but it will.)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Mistress Kay

Mistress Kay has a fondness for all things sexual. With a house that's quickly running out of room for all of her reading and vibrating pleasures, she spends her free time reading, writing, and learning about the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World.

Latest Sex Positions