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Issues of masturbatory privacy: Dorms and other shared living arrangements

Being in college often means living in much closer quarters than one is accustomed to in the parents' home. Many students have never shared a room at all before coming to college and being more or less randomly assigned to spend the school year with another freshman in a room which is often smaller than the bedroom at the parents' home. While this means adjusting to another person's lifestyle in many ways, the loss of privacy for masturbation is an especially jarring fact of collegiate life for many and something that more than a few think about daily.

While issues of privacy at the parental home (see the page about getting "caught") usually mean a parent or sibling didn't respect the sanctity of a closed door to one's private space, the issue of privacy in the dorm setting is tied to a lack of communication among roommates about something all of them are aware that they all practice.

Thus, the easiest solution to the problem of masturbating in the dorm is to discuss it with roommates and lay out ground rules. Unfortunately, many 18-year-olds find it hard to acknowledge out loud that they masturbate. This page discusses some approaches that people have used to bridge this communication gap, often without referring to masturbation by name.

Here are some actual questions from readers of this site and the author's replies.

Iím still in high school, but I'm going to college next year. Iím not worried about not being able to, because I know there will be times when I will have the room to myself. My problem is cleanup. At home, I use toilet paper because itís easy for cleanup and disposal. Whatís another good option? (age 18)

I think you should be worried. The first thing to worry about is that you never used the word for what you're asking about in your message. And I'm thinking if you can't use the word MASTURBATE in an anonymous e-mail, you're not going to find it easy to do when your roommate might open the door any second. The second thing is that you don't even know what your campus living situation will be like. If you read this page, you'll find some people have roommates who never leave the dorm room. So don't go off to college expecting you'll always be able to have your way in your dorm room. If you can use toilet paper at home, why couldn't you use it in your dorm room? Other good options are keeping old shirts handy for cleanup or simply rubbing it on your legs or abdomen.

I'm going to college next year, and I'm wondering what guys do in dorms to masturbate. Do they jack off quietly in bed or do they do it together at the same time? I know it probably varies from dorm to dorm, but what do most guys do? I'm going to be sharing a bathroom with several other people. Masturbating quietly in bed is hard because I'm sort of vocal when I masturbate. Thanks for your time. I appreciate your site. (age 17)

Congratulations on getting admitted to college! First the easy part: Not many do it together. Most guys in dorms and roommate situations never say a word about masturbation and have to do it surreptitiously when their roommates aren't around or learn to do it in the shower or toilet. This means they have to stop when someone comes back to the room and can't do it during sleeping hours, which is most people's favorite time to masturbate. I suspect they are less satisfied than guys who discuss the situation and lay out ground rules. Everyone would be greatly relieved if someone would say, "I propose that it be OK to masturbate whenever it is dark in this room." But these discussions need not mention masturbation specifically, and can instead refer to one roomie "wanting to be alone in the room." As Homer Simpson's college roommates advised him, hang a necktie over the doorknob if he's with a girl, or a sock if he's with a picture of a girl.

Just a comment on the college dorm thing. I went to a small religious college and there was an unwritten rule that when your roommate came back from a date, he got the room to himself for half an hour. Nobody ever said it was because of masturbation, but everyone knew it was. The girls at this college were way too straight and guys would usually be completely turned on with no relief after dates. (age 26)

Interesting concept. It sounds like the dorm administration was in on this plan at your school? I think it's universal for males to masturbate after unsatisfying dates.

My roommate and I used to never speak a word about masturbation. Recently though, we have tried doing it at the same time a couple of times - each person on his own bed concentrating on himself. The only problem so far is it seems to make going to sleep really hard now that we have it in the open. It doesn't seem to affect our friendship. Do you think this is still fairly healthy? We're both straight, of course. (age 20)

I think the only thing roommates have to acknowledge is that they all masturbate and/or "need to be alone in the room" sometimes. Doing it together or simultaneously is a level above that. I don't think it's unhealthy, however, and I think going to sleep will be the same as usual once the novelty of your joint masturbation wears off.

During freshman year, my roommate and I each walked in on the other masturbating at least once. We were both cool about it, and left each other to finish in privacy. Many other times, I heard him masturbating when he thought I was asleep. Usually, I'd wait until he was finished and went to sleep before I starting masturbating. If I had a particularly urgent need to make myself come, I just did it, and he never got uptight about it, and I'm not even sure he was aware of what I was doing. (age 23)

Obviously, it would have put no strain on your relationship if you had recognized aloud what you were doing.

As a rule, guys just wait to masturbate until their roomie is asleep. Every guy knows that they both masturbate in the room quite a bit. And unfortunately, neither of them ever says anything about it. One day I was just in utter need of relief, and I asked my roommate if he would leave me alone so I could masturbate. I was quite shocked that I had said it. I thought we both were, but he told me no problem, and even offered me one of his magazines. It was the first time I had ever used a naked picture, and I still remember it as one of my greatest orgasms ever. He always let me use his collection after that, and I bought a few that I shared with him too. I wouldn't have gotten to experience that at that point if I hadn't said anything. (age 27)

Another triumph of communication, but I don't think you needed to ask him to leave you alone so you could masturbate. As you state, everyone knows that both he and his roommate masturbate in the dorm room, so all you really had to do was ask to be alone and he would have understood what you were going to do.

Hi, great site, and what a great question. I just have a confession to make. I was never in a dorm in college, but I've occasionally stayed in them for retreats, conferences, youth hostels, etc. I would make a practice of never talking with the guys in my room or even make eye contact because I knew I was going to masturbate and I didn't want any of them confronting me about it if they heard anything. I just figured it would be harder for them to say anything if that was the first thing they had ever said to me. I also chose the bed (whenever I had a choice) based on which one had the most privacy to masturbate. (age 32)

OK, I can understand all that. Most guys don't say anything about masturbating to the one guy they live with for a whole school year in a tiny room. I think a lot of guys would think it was strange if you brought that up when it was going to be just one night. I've heard of guys enduring that kind of accomodation for weeks at a time and then masturbating often and furiously when they finally had a bedroom to themselves again.

I'm 18, and just finished my first year in college. My problem during the past year has been that I do not have the privacy I need to masturbate as often as I need, and as a result I have often felt edgy and not able to focus. I share a dorm room with another girl and can only do it in the shower or very carefully in bed at night. When living at home with my parents, I was able to do it much more freely and without concerns, as I had my own bedroom and was often home alone. During the past year, I have been waiting eagerly for the weekends that my roommate is away. I'm then often so starved that I spend most of the weekend pleasuring myself. The good thing about this is that it really feels great when I have waited so long and it is really intense.

But I really need this freedom more often, "going wild" with myself for several hours a couple of times a week in addition to more calm every-night masturbation. I have told my parents I want my own room next year but they insist, because of the additional cost, that I stay in a dorm with shared room one more year. Now during the summer, I masturbate very frequently and feel relaxed. I really think I will go crazy next year unless I can have my own room. I cannot tell my parents the reason I need my own room, and I don't know what to do.

I'm also worried that my sex drive is too strong since I like to do it so much and my vagina is often squirting when I come. This started during the past year during times when I was very excited and now the first and second orgasms almost always come with squirts. I like the feeling very much but worry that it is a sign of something being not quite normal.

Your first problem is one I have often dealt with in men. This is what I tell guys:

Most guys in dorms and roommate situations never say a word about masturbation and have to do it surreptitiously when their roommates aren't around or learn to do it in the shower or toilet. This means they have to stop when someone comes back to the room and can't do it during sleeping hours, which is most people's favorite time to masturbate. I suspect they are less satisfied than guys who discuss the situation and lay out ground rules. Everyone would be greatly relieved if someone would say, "I propose that it be OK to masturbate whenever it is dark in this room." But these discussions need not mention masturbation specifically, and can instead refer to one roomie "wanting to be alone in the room." As Homer Simpson's college roommates advised him, hang a necktie over the doorknob if he's with a girl, or a sock if he's with a picture of a girl.

There's a good chance your roommate masturbates too, and she is apt to be relieved and understanding. However, I think you have a more serious problem with your need for frequent extended masturbation sessions. No one would deny you your "every-night masturbation," something practiced by the majority of males your age and more than a few females. But "going wild" for hours several times a week points toward compulsion; it suggests that you're doing it for more than pleasure and stress relief, that you're masturbating excessively to replace something that's missing in your life. You're building your life around masturbation, and you admit that it's not good. It might be a good idea to cut back those extended sessions to fortnightly (once every two weeks). You also ought to try to get involved in more activities.

The squirting is probably nothing unhealthy. It might be the rumored female ejaculation. Most women who have this regard it as a positive thing.

Follow-up: I suppose my roommate does masturbate as well, but maybe not as much as I do. I can do it at night in the dark even when she is there, but there is no way I could do my long sessions with someone in the room, as it is just too intense, with a lot of different things I do to vary my pleasure, that I would not want anybody to see or know about. I don't know what to do now but I really look forward to the day when I can have my own room. I realize that I masturbate more than most girls and I am a little worried. However, I'm not building my life around it as I'm very active on campus, have a lot of friends (boyfriends too), and do very well in my classes. I just feel very horny every 3-4 days and need to come many times.

When I have the chance, I do it in the evening, from 10-1 or so, until I feel completely exhausted and satisfied. I'm only a little tired in the morning and it is no big deal. So when I have the chance to do it when I need to, everything is fine. It's when I have to wait a couple of weeks or so between these intense times that I start to feel edgy and then really indulge when I finally have a chance. I can then have several 2-3 hour sessions throughout the weekend, after which I can be very tired and also feel that my privates have become too swollen and sensitive. I feel very good while I'm going wild like this, but I'm worried that it is too much, and I would like to go back to my more natural pattern.

I still think you're putting much more emphasis on masturbation than you ought to. It seems to be something you spend a lot of time thinking about and wondering when you can indulge in it next. Even people who are sexually active don't have "several 2-3 hour sessions" in a single weekend. Your newest comments still lead me to believe you're being compulsive. Talking to someone at the campus mental health center might help.

I used to only masturbate when my roommate was out, and I put a chair in front of the door, not to block it, but so that when it opens, I will hear a loud bang. One time I was so caught up in what I was doing that I didn't hear her open the door or hit the chair, and I masturbate with my eyes shut so I didn't see anything either. When I finally heard her rustling in the closet, I asked how long she'd been in the room. She said, "it's OK, I do it too." I was kind of shocked but then was grateful that it was only her and she didn't have other people with her. Since that time, I've been able to do it with her in the room when we're both in bed. We've both agreed that the chair in back of the door means not to come in. (age 20)

I think your roommate handled it with grace and some maturity, but it would have been better for her to simply leave rather than get stuff from her closet while you were masturbating and thought you were alone.

I used to take trips in college with an athletic group, and we picked the room we slept in either as "wankers" or "non-wankers." It was OK to masturbate in a "wankers" room but not in a "non-wankers" room. Dividing up like that might help people who live in dorms too.

No, it wouldn't. What you're talking about is a group of people who know each other spending a night or two on the road. You couldn't divide college students that way for permanent living arrangements because all of the men and a healthy majority of the women masturbate frequently.

There was one occasion when I used the dorm bathroom early one morning and I caught a dorm mate masturbating in the urinal. I didn't say anything, but it was obvious I knew what was happening. We both laughed nervously and went about our business. I always wake up with a very full erection and there are some mornings I need to relieve the build-up of seminal fluids before I urinate, so I do understand. However, I masturbate in private, which can obviously be a touch-and-go situation in a dorm setting. (age 18)

Why would someone masturbate in a urinal when there is a stall nearby? He might have been looking for a sex partner. That would be kind of unusual in the dorm where he lives, though. Always be careful when you see men wasting time in a public bathroom. They might not be there for the same reason you are.

Here's my idea of a solution. (age 20)

Interesting! Very interesting!

Until recently everything was fine with my roommate. We never said anything, but I made a point for him to know my schedule and for me to know his. That way I masturbated when he had class, and I just assumed he did the same. Lately, he has been going through a depressive period and barely leaves the room at all, even to go to class. I'm at a loss for what to do here. Obviously I need my release but I can't just ask him to leave in his state. I can't even do it when he's sleeping because I'm loud and we're bunked, so I might wake him up. Do you have any ideas? Thanks for the site by the way! (age 18)

Point out that lately he has been getting plenty of privacy in the room while you have none. Ask him if he would mind going to the TV lounge or dining hall or someplace so you can have the room to yourself for an hour. You need not mention masturbating specifically, but it is also OK if you do.

I circumvented the whole year-long awkwardness phase by just coming out and saying something. A few hours after my roommate and I had moved into our room, as we were unboxing our stuff and getting ready to sleep, I tacked my calendar and schedule to the wall. Pointing to them I said, "If you want to masturbate in here, please do it while I'm not here." He didn't say anything, but the next day his schedule was up on the wall opposite mine. (age 23)

It doesn't need to be a whole year of awkwardness, and someone doesn't need to broach the subject as abruptly as you did either. But I'm glad it worked for you.

I think this site is great. It's amazing how many people have positive stories of being able to work out masturbating while their roommate is in the room, and even doing it at the same time, and even sometimes getting turned on by it. I only ever shared apartments during university, not rooms, but definitely masturbated to the point of being heard by apartment-mates, I'm sure. But nobody ever said anything. I also have a friend who, during college and after, would sometimes be in a situation in which he was just wearing underwear or shorts around me (after sports or when it's really hot), and would play with himself a little. I actually wish I had asked him if it was OK if I did it too. I think a fair number of people are curious about this sort of thing. I'm glad to see the Internet is finally helping roommates be relaxed about. (age 39)

I think you might have embarrassed your friend by asking. He was probably not masturbating (trying to increase his sexual arousal) but merely touching his penis and scrotum through his underwear. A lot of males do that non-sexually.

When I was in college I had a very open relationship with my freshman/sophomore roommate. We were really good friends with a lot in common. Masturbation really never came up. I knew that he would do it when he thought that I was asleep; he wasn't quiet. One night I was lying in bed waiting for signs of my roomie to be asleep. The coast seemed clear so I started and got a little noisy. The next thing I know he's awake and he asked if I mind if he masturbated too. Of course I didn't. (age 41)

Sometimes when I masturbate it's really intense, and I get to breathing really hard and moan and whine. Do the others here who've said they masturbate with roommates present have the same experience? (age 39)

When people are trying to surreptitiously masturbate, they try to be much quieter than they would be if they were alone. I suspect that those who masturbate with their roommate's permission are also quieter than they would be alone.

I'm in my second year at university. The first night my roommate moved in, I told him I did it, and I knew he did. We have a rule that if one needs to do it to ask the other if they need to use the bathroom first because "I need alone time" and then just go in there alone knowing that is our time. It started that way but like most guys, we like to do it at bedtime and in bed so we just have the lights off or just TV on and are in our given beds and under at least a sheet and it's sort of obvious if one or the other is doing it but not a problem really. It's actually kind of funny because one night I knew he was really horny coming back from a party and when he did it he couldn't help it but moaned at at climax time. We laughed about it the next day. (age 19)

That's a good job of communicating with your roommate, but I can't help but think you have some kind of issue because you never said what you were talking about in your message. The word you left out is not a dirty word.

When I was in Iraq we had a big open barracks room. I spread out the porn I had collected (videos and movie files) and we'd all gather around to watch it. We had porta johns that were the only source of privacy and I'd go in there with my GameBoy (it had a movie player attachment) and pleasure myself to my heart's content. The porta johns were really clean, and I found some that were hardly ever used right behind where we slept, so it worked out perfectly. Toward the end of the deployment, I just took my laptop in there. I had to use headphones, but videos are the best! (It's been a while since I've masturbated to stills.) Almost nobody cared and I'm sure other people did it too, but I was still discreet. (age 22)

Thanks for your service!

I never masturbated that much until I got to college, probably only once or twice a week. When I moved into the dorm after about a week, my roommate woke me up one night while he was masturbating, and I said, "dude, can't you be quieter?" He finished and asked me if I ever did it and I told him not that much. He asked if I minded that he did it and I told him I didn't. When I lived at home, I shared a room with my younger brother, who masturbated frequently. My roommate started masturbating every night the second he got in bed so he wouldn't wake me up. I got in the habit of masturbating when he did so now I do it daily. (age 20, Eastern Michigan University)

Your message shows that good results can be obtained for both roommates even when the discussion starts with a complaint.

Tomorrow is going to be my first day in college in 33 years! I am excited but I still masturbate. You say to tell my roommate that I masturbate but should I? At my age is it normal to say that? Will they be offended or even appalled by that? (age 54)

I don't know your roommate, so I don't know what will offend or appall him. I have never told anyone to tell their roommate that they masturbate. I encourage roommates to work out schedules so that everyone in the room can have private time in the room. Discussing privacy in the room need not mention masturbation, but I suspect a roommate would be more relieved than offended if you brought it up. Good luck in school!

When living in the dorm, it is only possible to masturbate when both my roommates are away. However, I can only masturbate with my clothes on, in case someone suddenly comes in. At home, I always strip naked before I masturbate. Is it OK? (age 21)

It doesn't sound OK to me. No guy wants to masturbate with his clothes on, terrified that someone will come in. You would enjoy it a lot more if you three roommates all agreed that each of you could have private time in the room or at least a way to signal that you don't want to be disturbed. Like Homer Simpson's roommates told him, put a tie on the doorknob if you want to be alone with a girl, or a sock if you want to be alone with a picture of a girl.

I start college in the fall and will have a roommate I have never met. I sleep in my underwear (tighty whities) and every morning I wake up with an erection that sometimes doesn't go away until after I get up. I'm worried that my roommate will make fun of me. Is there a way to make this stop? (age 18, future Grinnell College alumnus)

Erections are good! They are to be celebrated and enjoyed. They are not to be wished away. Your roommate will be having erections too, and he will not make fun of you for having them. To ease your immediate anticipated discomfort, I suggest keeping a pair of heavy shorts handy to your bed so you can slip them on before getting up in the morning.

I'm living in a dorm at a university in California, two to a room. It's an all-male floor because I barely got in (lottery) and it was either that or nothing at all. There's joking about masturbating but it's frowned upon to be too obvious about it. I either wait until my roomie's asleep or I masturbate in the showers (our side of the hall has open gang type showers like locker rooms but the other wing has individual stalls with walls so you either take your chances like a daredevil or you walk clear across the dorm while the other guys snicker if they see you going to their showers because they know why you are). My roomie thought I was asleep when I wasn't but I ignored him.

College is actually more conservative than high school. During middle and high school it was not uncommon all to have wank contests or races or how-fars or just doing it in front of each other. It wasn't that big of a deal. But maybe it's because everyone is from everywhere around here, so different cultural standards, etc.

I really like your site. I wish I'd found it years ago when I thought wanking was twisted, perverted and unhealthy. Good job! (age 18)

Thanks for sharing your dorm culture. You're a masturbatory ethnographer!

I am starting my senior year this week and it will be my fourth year in the same dorm room with the same roommate. Our college is Christian and very conservative and guys just don't talk about things like masturbating or sex but I guess I lucked out with my roommate because both of us come from families in the medical profession. His dad is a doctor and my mom is a nurse. We both were taught about sex at a young age and were taught that masturbating is perfectly normal. We never talked about masturbating in our room until last year after he found and we had a good laugh reading some of the stories about masturbating in dorm rooms. I knew that he masturbated at night in bed and he knew that I did too. We joked about each other masturbating but that was it. A couple of nights after we talked about masturbating and read the stories on your site, we each masturbated for the first time with the lights on. Later, we both decided that was awkward but fun. Now we are a little more open about talking about masturbating and aren't so secretive about doing it in bed after the lights go out. I just wanted to thank you for your great site. It should be a required course to graduate college! (age 21, Hope College)

I think you'll do well after you graduate!

I didn't live in a dorm when I was in college but my best friend did. I lived at home with my family. My friend told me how there was tension in the dorm about guys masturbating. I said, "Dude, that's so cool. You've gone on to another dimension and I'm still living like it's high school." He kind of chuckled but said, yeah, part of becoming an adult is negotiating with roommates about stuff like this. I think he was cool for talking to his roommates about it and you're cool for having a site about it. (age 23)

Why thank you!

I'm in a Christian sorority and at home I masturbate 2-6 times a day. I know it's a lot, and it's a problem, but I just get really horny. While I'm living with my sorority sisters, I dont know what to do. (age 18)

I really don't think you can expect to masturbate that often in a shared living situation. But I think you could wangle one session per day at least if you negotiated with your roommates about having privacy in the room. I agree that your frequency is extreme and it's something you should work on. Now that school is starting is a good time to make other changes in your life.

I live in a dorm and I do it at night after my roommate sleeps. I know he doesn't do it since I always sleep after and wake up before him. Masturbation is taboo here in Singapore. There is one incident where someone walked in when this guy did it and it became a bad rumor in the dorm. I'm amazed that other guys' dorms are more open about this issue (probably because we Asians are less liberal about this kind of thing?) That's cool. I don't know what to do if I ever get caught. (age 18)

I have no doubt that your roommate masturbates. He's just pretty good at keeping it from you. Why don't you read my page about being caught masturbating now so you'll be prepared if it happens?

My first year in the dorms was both scary and exciting. My roommate and I got along really well, mainly because we could talk about anything and we felt comfortable about it. The first time masturbation came up was when we were both watching a movie that showed a sexual scene. To be silly I began innocently touching myself trying to copy what was happening in the movie. She also began to touch herself and one thing led to another. We got into our separate beds and each masturbated for real. The next day we talked about it and we agreed it was OK to masturbate while the other was in the room. After we masturbated several different times in the same room, we began to masturbate without the sheets covering us so we could see each other masturbate. The first few times we masturbated we could only hear the other, but actually seeing her masturbate was a whole new turn-on. We do it about once a week. We are both straight but feel a whole new sensation when we masturbate together. (age 19, University of Wisconsin)

Wow, and except for once, I never even watched a movie with my roommates!

I stay with a friend of mine in his dorm on occasion and after he and I and his roommate all lie down for the night, the roommate often starts masturbating. Sometimes right after going to bed, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, and sometimes in the morning. He's done it sometimes after I use the bathroom in the early morning hours, knowing I'm awake as I'll get up a couple times, lie back down, and he immediately starts. It makes me sick because he obviously does this all the time and seemingly does it especially when my friend and I are both there rather than when we're out. It seems like he gets something from doing it while we're present, and he does it more and more frequently and openly when we're there. How can he be approached by my friend who's nervous to bring it up? (age 23)

You can speak up too, even though you're only a guest in the room. Your friend would probably be grateful if you did. You have nothing to risk, since the roommate is obviously aware that you both know that he masturbates. He and your friend will have to agree to what the policy is for the room, and you will have to live with that policy.

I don't masturbate frequently but sometimes I feel the urge. I've just started college and now live in a dorm. A roommate and I share a bedroom. I'm wondering how can I masturbate safely. It would be easier to solve the problem if we were guys because masturbation is very normal among guys and very well accepted by other guys. But I don't think it's that acceptable among girls. I'm not even sure if my roommate knows about masturbation. She (and other friends) show absolutely no sign that they masturbate. What can I do when I feel an urge next time? (age 18)

Just arrange with your roommate so that you can each have private time in the room. You need not mention masturbation specifically. There's a very good chance that your roommate masturbates herself, and even if she doesn't, she certainly knows what masturbation is.

I've just started Uni (in Australia) and am loving it! Initially the nights were a problem as I share with another guy. I told him the other day that I was going out for a bit and left. After I'd gotten down the street I realized I'd left my wallet back in the room. Not thinking, I walked straight in and found my roomie sprawled on the couch well into a masturbation session! I froze at first, then just walked into the bedroom chuckling. It was awkward at first but I waited till he cleaned up and then went back out and chatted a bit. It really pays to be honest and get to know that side of your roomies! As we found out we are both exhibitionists and now have no problem sitting in the living room watching porn together while stroking. Best advice: be honest, try and find out commonalities and be comfortable with your roomie. Discussing things are much better and working out a plan is the best way to go! Thanks for the site; it's very helpful. (age 18)

I have bad ADHD and live with two other girls in a special unit. I can't get to sleep without tiring myself out. We live in a small room so I can't run and jump around like I normally do. I asked my roomies what they do if they have lots of energy and they said they masturbate so I did. It helped me get to sleep. (age 16)


I live in a dorm and masturbate in the bathroom. On one occasion my friends were home so I locked myself in and masturbated in front of the PC. Some girls living next door came in from the balcony (this was a common practice)and saw me and were shocked. I decided to break the silence so I acted cool, continued doing it, and said "like you don't do it?" They looked at each other and started laughing. There were no tense situations after that. They were surprised to see I'm not ashamed of masturbating (I was but I didn`t let them know) and I marked them that they were childishly ashamed of something that is perfectly normal. (age 22)

I agree that you are very cool. I would not want to live in a dorm where girls or anyone else could let themselves in via the balcony.

When I began college, I had been masturbating for six years, since I was 12. I knew my high school friends were also masturbating. My roommate was a stranger. In time we grew to be great friends. We each masturbated when the other was in class. After the first semester we began talking more openly about sex. I admitted to him that I masturbated and he admitted that he did too. We discussed masturbation at length. We both agreed that it was normal, natural, and enjoyable and everybody does it. After that, my roommate and I had masturbation sessions together. We didn't touch the other, we each took care of our own body. We were roommates for three years. We are still good friends to this day. Many of our friends also masturbated in college and freely admitted it. When I finished my junior year, my roommate graduated and I moved in with my best friend. I knew he masturbated and he knew I did. We were cool about it. We masturbated in private but also together. No problem ever arose. He is my still best friend now. We shared an apartment for six years until he got married, and I was best man at his wedding. After you get to know your roommate, bring up the subject and discuss it and if need be set some ground rules. It will solve problems before they happen and clear the air between you. College should be an enjoyable and fun experience and masturbation is part of it. (age 40)

I started visiting your site before I got to college. My friends and I realized that wanking in dorms could be an issue, because of the loss of privacy. Reading some of the questions of guys (and girls) here, I learned that this subject is a real issue.

When I was freshman and lived in a dorm, I shared the room with a sophomore guy. This guy was so cool that he almost gave me his schedule so I knew exactly when I was going to be alone in the room, so I could wank or whatever, and most weekends he traveled to his girlfriend's house, so I had a lot of privacy and did not have to struggle with being caught.

However, this year, I was caught in a very embarassing way. The bath here is like those in gyms, a bathroom with two shower rooms (four showers each) and a large dressing room. One morning I woke up late, so when I went to shower I noticed I was the last guy. I decided to masturbate in the shower. Another guy came in and saw me wanking. I blurted out, "hey, dude, I'm not wanking," but the guy said, "hey, easy, man, I'll just go to the other shower." I stopped wanking and finished the shower. Then I was drying in the dressing room, thinking about going away as fast as I can, still totally ashamed. The other guy also came out to get dressed. I didn't said a word. He felt the tension and he said, "hey dude, don't worry, I will not say a word." So we had a little chat and then departed.

One day in a barbecue that we did with all the guys in the dorm, one guy started making a joke about wanking in the shower and being caught, then most of the guys admitted that at least once, others on a regular basis, had wanked in the showers. I felt confident enough to tell my story about having been caught and the guy who caught me made a joke about me being frozen in the dressing room. So masturbating was really not an issue. (age 21, Universidad de Playa Ancha)

As a guy, I know it will sound weird, but I enjoy masturbating while I sit on a dildo. It is so hard to do while living in a dorm. With the guys I live with, regular masturbating is acceptable, but I don't think they would go for a guy masturbating using a dildo. I fear getting walked in on so I go to my car (windows very tinted) and do it with the dildo there. I hate it but I can't think of any other place to do it. Is this common or am I an unusual type guy?

I have never heard of that, so I don't think it is very common. However, many males use sex toys when they masturbate, and it would certainly compound the embarrassment of being caught masturbating if one were using one. Basically, the point of discussing it with roommates is so you can arrange for private time in your room to masturbate. Masturbating in your car is very dangerous, especially on a college campus. And you hate it anyway, so why not arrange with your roommates a way to get privacy in your dorm room to have some alone time with your dildo?

I think your site gives good advice and I'd just like to share my experience. I went on vacation in Europe with my friend and we shared a bedroom to save money. One night I woke up to the sound of my friend masturbating in the bed beside me. He stopped once he heard me waking up though. It made me feel uncomfortable and then after a week of neither of us masturbating, I was getting desperate. We are good friends and since I knew he masturbated too, I decided to say something. I just joked about really needing to rub one off and he said the same. We ended up agreeing that it was OK to masturbate in bed when the lights were off. The next night we both masturbated as soon as we got into bed. It worked well as we both got to masturbate without having to worry about the other person and we carried on for the rest of the holiday with this arrangement. We are still good friends so it just proves that using a joke to introduce something really does work. (age 21)

Ah, but would you have made that joke if you had not woken up and caught him masturbating?

Thanks a lot for this site. I'm 18, almost 19. I go to college. has opened my eyes to a lot of things. I tried masturbating prone but I didn't like it. As a teen, it is a comfort to know that a lot of other guys masturbate and the net makes it easier for embarrassed guys and girls to find answers to questions.

When I masturbate to pictures, I would rather see one girl masturbating or two girls going at it, kissing and touching kinda thing. Is it wrong for me to want to see two girls together rather then a guy and a girl?

I also find myself working really late in a studio getting projects done. Sometimes I take a break and go to the bathroom and while I'm in there I will masturbate but I feel guilty afterward. I have started to wait until I get back to the dorm and masturbate in the shower but I want your take on it.

Finally, I have a friend who is a girl and she doesn't live in a dorm. She shares an apartment with her brother. She asked him where guys masturbate in the dorm, and he told her in the room or in the bathroom or in the shower. She told me this and I was wondering if girls do it in the same places and why she told me she had asked her brother that.

Many, many males are aroused by pictures of females masturbating solo or engaging in sex play with another female. It is not at all wrong for you to be aroused by that. I would urge caution when it comes to masturbating in the bathroom at work. Is it a private bathroom with a lock? If the only privacy is a bathroom stall, then you don't know how quickly someone could burst in and what they could see. For best results, wait until you get back to the dorm. The places your friend's brother said that men masturbate are the same places that women masturbate. Maybe she wants to be more than just a friend and she brought up masturbating as a way of getting you turned on to her.

Your site is named which is good, yet many of your replies carry a distinct air of shame about masturbation, advising correspondents that they should close the doors or make certain that their roommate is not present. If people don't develop shame in the first place or get over their shame about this extremely common practice, these steps are not necessary. Shame should be used by a society to discourage bad behavior, but masturbating is not bad behavior.

I used to share an apartment with a guy who would watch gay porn on his big screen TV in the living room, and he would sometimes go at it for a few hours as a form of recreation and ultimately release. Since we had a clothing-optional apartment, I never wore clothes and whenever I was masturbating in my room, I'd leave the door open. We both knew it and had each seen the other. In one case I went out in the living room to enjoy what was playing on the screen with him.

It is contradictory for you to encourage people to masturbate because it is healthy and then turn around and suggest that they adopt behaviors that project a shameful feeling about it. Things that viscerally drive us to seek out privacy have arisen out of self-protection. American society is so uptight about things that should be celebrated and make us more open individuals while it promotes behaviors that tear us down.

I have no shame about masturbation, and I don't want anyone else to have it either. I frequently declare that masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun. Masturbation is also a very private thing. Nearly everyone wants to have their orgasms in private. Not only because they don't want to be seen, but because they strategically don't want others to know of their sexual habits. According to evolutionary theorists Bellis & Baker, when a male masturbates, he is not planning to have sex with a female in the next few days. Therefore, if a competing male sees him masturbate or knows he is masturbating, he will think "Aha! That guy is not having sex with the girl I've seen him with lately. I will get her to have sex with me."

Even if you disbelieve the Bellis/Baker theory of sperm competition, you should have no trouble understanding that 99 1/2 percent of college students want privacy for masturbating, and of them, 90 percent will abstain from masturbating rather than do so without suitable privacy. That you used to live in a clothing-optional apartment where group masturbation took place in public areas of the apartment tells us more about you than my urging people to seek privacy for masturbation tells about me.

I took your advice and found out my roommate's schedule and made time to masturbate when he was away. Then earlier this semester, he got an infection (not a contagious or STD kind) and had to spend most of a week resting in our room. I didn't have the room to myself for very long, and even when I did (his meals & bathroom visits), I didn't know when he was going to be back. So I went without masturbating for the first part of the week. Then I think it was Thursday I was just in agony for not having masturbated since the weekend, so I went and did it in the shower. I was wound up and had an especially nice orgasm and I involuntarily kind of shrieked. I had never masturbated in a shower before, and it felt kind of different standing and everything. Just as I came (and shrieked) another guy came into the bathroom. He couldn't see me but I was terrified because I knew he heard. I exited the shower and said, "The water just went cold." He kind of lamely nodded like he didn't know what to say. (age 19)

I think you thought fast on your feet. But even if your roommate is spending almost all his time in the room, you could still ask how long he's going to be out.

I live with a girl that I don't think ever masturbates. I asked her about getting private time in the room and she didn't even look up from her phone to tell me she doesn't care about private time in the room. I said that I do and she says to just let her know when I want privacy and she'll go elsewhere. Now I feel guilty if I ask her to leave because I'm not doing the same for her, and I also feel resentful because I have to ask her when I want privacy every time instead of just having it at some certain time. What should I do? (age 18)

Now that you've said you don't think your roommate masturbates, you'll probably walk in on her tomorrow sprawled out naked with a vibrator, flavored lube, and naked images glowing on her phone! There is no reason to be guilty, because she already said she doesn't need private time. If you would rather have scheduled private time (Monday & Wednesday 8-9 PM or something like that), then arrange it with her. From what you say, she doesn't seem so tough to deal with.

It is now holiday break at my school and I want to thank you for helping me get through my first semester of dorm living. I would have had a tougher time without your advice. Merry Christmas! (age 18)

And Merry Christmas to you too! I hope you will continue to read in the new year.

I enjoyed masturbating regularly through high school. I had to cut back when I went to college - a lot. My preference was to take my time and masturbate slowly. All of this enjoyment was suddenly limited at school. I also enjoyed sleeping nude but slept in my underwear at school. I had very few wet dreams before college because I was masturbating regularly. Then I had a wet dream about a month after going off to college and having gone the whole month without enjoying an orgasm. I ejaculated inside my underwear and waited for my roommate to leave before getting up to change.

Some of the guys in our dorm would comment about masturbation but my roommate declared that he did not masturbate. My roommate and I had gone to the same high school and had agreed to live as roommates in college. I knew him well but I was not sure why he would be anti-masturbation. We sometimes double dated together in high school. I would always masturbate at home after a date and I thought he was doing the same thing. Also, we were used to being in the shower room after gym class, and the dorm shower was just a large shower room where we bathed in front of one another. He did not have anything to be ashamed of; his penis was bigger than mine when soft. I always wondered why he found masturbation unpleasant.

One afternoon it had been warm outside. My roommate took a shower and was lying on his bed in only a towel studying when I left to go to the library. I came back a few hours later and he was still on the bed wearing only a towel and reading. He felt embarrassed and had to explain that he had not gotten dressed yet. I did not care. I pointed out that there was nothing wrong with being nude when it was just the two roommates in the room. He agreed. As a sort of joke, I suggested that late in the evening we undress and talk naked with the light off. To my surprise, we ended up talking naked, me sitting in the chair at my desk and him sitting on his bed. We found out that we both preferred sleeping nude and agreed to sleep like this from now on. I brought up the next question - what do we do if we wake up with an erection? We agreed that it would not be a problem if it happened. Finally, I brought up the topic of masturbation and admitted that I enjoyed it regularly. To my surprise, he was not put off. I suggested that we give each other two hours to have the room for our private use. I did not ask what his aversion was to masturbation. He agreed to the arrangement.

After this talk, we each slept nude and were completely comfortable reserving the room for our private use. When one of us would wake up with a morning erection, the other was ready to go down the hall and take a shower while the other could have privacy to enjoy himself. (Illinois State University)

I'm not sure I believe all of your story, and I really doubt your roommate didn't masturbate. If true, your story illustrates how you can gain privacy for masturbating (or anything else) by discussing it with your roommate.

Just before Christmas break, I was masturbating in my room for the thousandth time worried my roommate was going to walk in. (OK, so I'm only a sophomore so I exaggerate. I can't have masturbated more than 500 times since I've been at college.) Suddenly I decided I enjoy masturbating more than I fear my roommate knowing I do. In the first place, if he doesn't actually know that I masturbate, he can guess. In the second place, if he knows, how is that any different than if he doesn't know? It's not like he is going to tell anyone. So by worrying constantly about my roommate, I'm only reducing my own pleasure and not making a difference to anyone else. So as soon as he came back, I told him that I was going to start putting a hair tie on the doorknob when I didn't want to disturbed and I hoped he would respect that and I would do the same for him. He said, "yeah, that would be great." I'm hoping to have more and better masturbating sessions in the spring semester. (age 19, University of Guelph)

Good going. I like the way you succinctly formed that argument. I am going to remember your words and share them with others.

I was reading your dorm page before going to college; however, communicating with a roommate isn't always as easy as it looks here. My roommate was sort of depressive. He didn't go out much, and we didn't talk much. At night he stayed up much later than I did and sometimes he would masturbate and I was OK with it. I would wake up a lot earlier than him and I'm almost certain he saw me masturbating some mornings but he never mentioned it. Now that I live alone, it doesn't seem like a big deal anymore. I wish one of us would have brought up the privacy issue, but having a complicated roommate can complicate even the simplest discussions. (age 20, American University)

I think you reached an unspoken agreement that you would masturbate in the morning and he would masturbate at night. Your different sleep schedules worked out for you.

I am not cool talking to my roommate about masturbation or even privacy. I just want to masturbate often and not have anyone know I am doing it. My roommate and I don't squabble often but we are not exactly friends. Nobody knows I masturbate and I don't know why he should be the first one who knows. So my question for you is how can I get some privacy for masturbating without having to talk to my roommate about it? (age 18)

What you wrote does not seem rational to me. Here are some facts: 1) All males are masturbating by age 18. 2) Adult males know this. 3) You are age 18. 4) Therefore, everyone in your dorm knows that you masturbate. 5) You and your roommate (who already knows that you masturbate) are the only ones who can establish times of privacy in the room. 6) Therefore, refusing to talk to your roommate about privacy issues (which need not mention masturbation specifically) does nothing to keep him from knowing that you masturbate but keeps you from enjoying it fully.

College is a good time for growing up. Pretending that you don't masturbate is not even a little bit grown up.

I usually masturbate with a sex toy. I'm at the point where I'm sure my roommate knows I masturbate, and I honestly don't care that much if he walks in on me. But I don't want him to see me masturbating with a toy. What should I do? (age 19)

I don't think your situation is much different from most of the others who've written to me. If you're going to masturbate with the toy (which you usually do), you have the same anxiety about being caught by your roommate as those who merely want to masturbate and not be caught. Arranging to have privacy in the room is key. Otherwise, you're going to have to decide if the additional pleasure you get from the toy is worth the additional anxiety you have about being seen using the toy.

I often spend the night sleeping with my girlfriend in her dorm bed even though we're not having sex. I greatly enjoy being with her and making out with her for hours. We have a rule that we don't do anything involving our genitals. So we spend hours kissing and fondling above the waist. Usually after we go to sleep, her roommate comes back to the room and goes to bed. After our long makeout sessions, I always wake up extremely hard and in need of relief. I have gotten in the habit of masturbating in my girlfriend's bed while she goes down the hall for her morning shower. Sometimes her roommate is asleep while this happens and other times she is out too. I worry that she will wake up or come back to the room while I am masturbating and I will be discovered. What should I do? (age 19)

You should masturbate in the men's bathroom or better yet wait until you are back home. You are a guest in that room and probably have no right to be there when your girlfriend is not in the room. You and your girlfriend could each wind up in a lot of trouble if the roommate decided to make a complaint. You have no way of knowing if she's actually sleeping. Please fix this problem before it becomes a serious one.

I live in a 735-bed all-male dorm and I'm just wondering how much masturbating there is here every day. (age 18)

I think men who live in single-sex dorms are less likely to be sexually active than men who live in co-ed dorms, who are less likely to be sexually active than men who live off campus. I'm going to estimate that 20 percent of the men in your dorm are sexually active. Based on survey research I've done, college-age men who are sexually active masturbate about four times a week, while the ones who are not sexually active masturbate about seven times a week. Given the size of your dorm, that translates to 147 sexually active men masturbating 588 times a week and 588 men who aren't sexually active masturbating 4116 times a week. That's a grand total of 4704 masturbation sessions per week in your dorm, or 672 per day. If they were spaced evenly throughout the day and night, that would mean that in your dorm, every other minute, someone starts masturbating.

My roommate walked in on me masturbating today. I know why it happened. I was masturbating without taking as much care as I usually do because it's finals week and I just really needed to masturbate. I wanted relief from all the stress and I wanted it more than I cared about privacy. So he came in and said "sorry" and left, and I just didn't care. I just finished and enjoyed it tremendously. A few minutes later he knocked and I said to come in. I said I apologize for making him uncomfortable, but we didn't talk about it more than that. And I'm really not embarrassed about it at all. I feel like I've been acting secretly all year for nothing. (age 18)

Good for you. You learned an important lesson with a week to go in the school year and then three more years.

I wish this web site had been around when I was in college. I went through four years of college petrified of being discovered masturbating by my roommate. I only masturbated twice in my dorm in four years. I went home every weekend and made up for lost time there, masturbating 5-7 times every weekend before I had to go back to college. There was like no way to masturbate in the bathroom or shower. The shower stalls were completely open. I was always afraid my roommate would walk in unexpectedly to our dorm room. Now that I've found your site, I realize what I should have done. I should have masturbated standing up with my back to the door into our room. Then if he had come back, he would not have seen me and I could have blocked him from coming in. (age 32)

That would not be very comfortable over the long term. Since you've read my site, and wish you had had it in college, then you know that in order to maximize your comfort and orgasms, you need to arrange for privacy with your roommate. You need not specifically tell the roommate you're going to use the private time for masturbating.

I am going to college this fall and am worried about my masturbating. I have developed the habit of masturbating every night before bed. I know that in college a lot of nights girls stay up studying and I wonder if I'm going to be able to put myself to sleep in college like I do at home. I don't leave for college for over a month but I'm worrying about this every day. (age 18)

You refer to masturbating as a habit as if it's a bad thing. Masturbating is normal, healthy, and fun. It's a good habit. You will have to work out with your roommate what the schedule will be for your room and when you can each have privacy. You need not specifically discuss masturbating. Also, even if you can't always have privacy in your room, maybe you can learn to masturbate in the bathroom.

I'm going to be a freshman this fall and will live in a double dorm. I found this page really helpful but I feel my situation is unique. My roommate is one of my close friends from high school and I don't think she masturbates. I masturbate frequently and am fairly sexually active. I have a vibrator that I'm obsessed with and a long-term boyfriend that is also going to the same school. I don't want to sexile her so my boyfriend and I will probably have most of our sex in his room. But I am used to masturbating (with vibrator) at least once a day, especially in the morning. I don't know how to bring this up to her but I know she would not be OK with me doing it while she's in the room, even if she is asleep. Any advice? (age 18)

I would hardly call your situation unique. You're making a lot of assumptions here. You're assuming your friend/future roommate doesn't masturbate. How do you know? You're assuming that you and your boyfriend will be able to have most of your sex in his room. How do you know? What if his roommate situation is worse than yours? You're assuming your roommate won't be OK with you masturbating when she's in the room, even asleep. How do you know? Being friends with your roommate ought to make it easier rather than tougher to ask for private time. If you're determined to masturbate in the morning, perhaps you could arrange for her to shower or go to breakfast at that time, in exchange for your being out of the room at some other time, perhaps late at night. Or maybe you don't need to be tied down by a crack-of-dawn masturbating session and could instead figure out times in your schedule when it would make more sense.

My problem is a little different from what most people here have. My dorm has two autonomous rooms that are joined together by a common door. I share my room with one other guy; there are two guys in the other room. It is essential that we walk through each other's rooms because the front room has the only door to the outside and our room (the back room) has the only door to the bathroom. It's kind of like a dorm suite, except instead of sharing a living room, we share this walking path. In the middle of the building is a large common bathroom and the only way to and from it is through the doors that lead into each of the suites.

I get along OK with my roommate and we understand each other's needs for privacy. The thing is we don't have that much to do with the guys in the front room except we each have to walk through the others' space. It's trouble enough finding private time in the room dealing with only my roommate; it's a nightmare trying to get private time from the guys in the front room too. I can come home and find the front room empty and feel like I'm the only one in the suite, and then one of the guys will burst through the door from the bathroom.

I feel like my roommate and I have it worse than the guys in the front room since he and I only need to enter through the door to the outside through their room at fairly predictible times, whereas they are passing through our room to the bathroom at all hours of the day and night. What can I do to get more privacy for this necessary act? (age 18)

That sounds like a remarkably lousy dorm design. The architect needs to be found and fired. I think the starting point is to decide you really are a suite and that the guys in the front room are roommates too. You should all agree to knock before opening the door between the two rooms. You should also knock before coming back from the bathroom, and before coming in from the outside. The guys in the front room are in the same predicament as you are. No doubt everyone in that ill-constructed dorm is. Have you considered discussing this with others in other dorm suites? I'll bet there's a disproportionate amount of masturbating happening in the bathroom.

I am new to living in college and I am already worried about masturbating in my dorm room. I am not as worried about my roommate seeing me as I am about people walking by in the hall. When our dorm room door is open, my bed is visible from the hall. It makes me worried when I'm trying to masturbate. What can I do? (age 18)

I'm pretty sure the only person who would ever open your door without knocking first is your roommate. Right? So she is the one who can put an end to your worries about that situation. You might make an agreement that you will each knock when you come back to your room. That way the other will have a minute to change or get decent in case she's not properly clothed or doing something she doesn't want people in the hallway to see.

I'm in college now and I'm finding I still masturbate as often as I did in high school. I imagined that I'd be having lots of sex in college. Am I in a rut? How can I get out of it? (age 18)

You're being pretty pessimistic for being in college less than a month. Give college a chance. I hope you won't be having a bunch of random sex and will instead try to get in a relationship. Meet lots of people and get to know some that you might someday be sexual with. And don't think you're getting out of masturbating that way; college men who have sex the most also masturbate the most.

I masturbate with an electric vibrator (that plugs into the wall) and I worry about the amount of noise I'm making. I have an idea that girls on the other side of the wall can hear me. What can I do to quell the noise of my very special toy? (age 20)

The problem isn't the noise of the toy but the anxiety you're feeling. All kinds of electrical appliances make noise. Even if someone in the next room can hear, how do they know it's a vibrator and not a shaver? Or a window fan? Or a fish tank? More than likely, your dorm neighbors masturbate too and would understand. And if they don't, it's their problem. Finally, I suspect you don't want to hear this, but females who masturbate with their hands are more likely to have orgasms in intercourse than those who masturbate with vibrators. Maybe this is a good time to give up the vibrator habit.

I read about the girl with the noisy vibrator, and I can relate. I don't use a vibrator (I'm a man) but I worry about the noise my bed makes when I masturbate. Every little squeak and creak bothers me. I live in a single so don't have to worry about a roommate, but I wonder what people in adjacent rooms and above me and below me can hear. It's so bad that I've thought of dismantling the bed and just putting the mattress and box spring on the floor. (age 19)

It's probably not as loud as it seems to you. Remember, you're right on the bed. Everyone else is on the other side of a wall or an even-thicker floor. With the sounds that people have going in their own rooms, it's unlikely anyone can hear. And if they can, they would not necessarily assume you're masturbating. Sometimes stretching yourself out a little differently can make a big difference in how much noise the bed makes. If putting the mattress on the floor means giving up storage space, that could be a drag in a tiny single room. Even so, I'm glad I had a waterbed when I was in college.

I shared a room with my brother's 19-year-old girlfriend while visiting him recently. Where he lives, girls aren't allowed in his room. His girlfriend walked naked in front of me at bedtime. I was wearing a shirt and panties. I woke up to the sound of moaning and I could see her bed shaking. She was naked on top of the bed and was masturbating with one hand and feeling her breasts with the other. I didn't want to watch but found I just couldn't look away. She finished and went to sleep and didn't even know I was watching. I don't know if I should say anything to her or my brother or keep quiet. I just feel like it wasn't right for her to masturbate with me in the room. (age 14)

I don't think she did anything wrong, and there's no need for you to say anything. I wouldn't have masturbated with a 14 year old in the room, but what she did is kind of typical for women her age, even when sharing a room with someone else, like a college dorm room. If it had really bothered you, you could have said something and even offered to leave the room for a few minutes. But instead of being bothered, you watched. I hope you will be more comfortable the next time it happens.

Why are all of these guys are upset about having to figure out how to masturbate in their dorm rooms? If they are worried about their roommate seeing, why don't they just go beat off in the bathroom? (age 17)

Most people, both males and females, find bed the most comfortable and enjoyable place to masturbate. For someone who is accustomed to masturbating in bed, regularly having to do so in a bathroom stall would be unenjoyable. But it might do in an emergency.

When I was a freshman, I would masturbate furtively while my roommate was out. I didn't always know exactly how long she was going to be out, and one day when we had been rooming for about six weeks, she suddenly came back in while I had my vibrator going. I was extremely surprised -- we both were -- and she quickly went back out. After that, she acted nervously around me and started telling me when she was going and for how long. After about a week of this, I just told her, "It's OK. You don't have to still be upset about that." She got a worried look and started to cry. She said that what I was doing (she never said the word) was a big mystery to her and that she had never figured it out. I told her it was OK and offered her some pointers and even said she could use my vibrator if she wanted. I don't know if she took up masturbating because she never said anything about it again but I always had all the privacy I wanted after that. (age 20)

It seems that she was more embarrassed at interrupting you than you were at being interrupted. Hooray for you, and hooray also for offering her advice.

I am currently on holiday break at my parents' house where I can masturbate whenever I want. I am dreading going back to school in January where I will have to work around my roommate's schedule to masturbate surreptitiously. I never realized how good I had it at home with a private bedroom! What can I do to enjoy masturbating at college the way I do at home? (age 18)

You can either figure out how to masturbate quietly with her in the room, or you can arrange with her for private time in the room; or you can masturbate in a different place, like the bathroom. The page you are reading has many stories and strategies for gaining the privacy you desire. I hope there are many things you enjoy about college that you are eager to go back for. You seem to be putting undue importance on the inability to masturbate as freely as you would like.

When I went to university I shared a room with another guy. I used to get aroused quickly and masturbate a lot so it was a really difficult change living with someone else. On Wednesday evenings, he usually went to play sports so it was safe to masturbate then. One day, however, he suddenly came back after 10 minutes and walked in on me masturbating. I immediately covered up and he left the room after apologizing. He came back half an hour later but didn't say anything about the incident and we did barely talk before going to sleep.

The next day he approached me and asked if I would mind to be more open about sexuality related things, so we wouldn't find it awkward to see the other masturbating. I was surprised but relieved that he was so open about it and agreed to it. We became really open about it but we still did it in private, by that I mean while the other isn't watching.

One evening we were lying in bed but because we weren't tired yet and it was still too early we would talk about various things and eventually started talking about women, sex and also masturbating. While talking I then jokingly said "We should stop this talk or I will get the urge to jerk off," and he surprisingly answered quite honest with "I don't mind if you do it, I'm getting the urge too." We then went at it on our beds with the lights on and since we had separate beds, we could see each other doing it too. I'm not gay but that was a huge turn on to do it with someone else. After that we used to do it together quite a lot of times and it was really a great time. I think we had a really unique realtionship which not many people can say about their roommates. (age 26, Germany)

Thanks for the excellent advice you provide on I had the talk with the roommate about privacy. We never mentioned masturbating, but I have to believe he knew what I meant. It is great to be able to ask for privacy in the room. The first time is the hardest and then it's just like asking for anything else. But here's the thing. I know he knows that I masturbate, but I don't want him knowing every time when I do it. So it's still this uneasy feeling that, yes, I can ask him for privacy if I really want to, but I don't want to keep sending the message, yeah, I'm gonna masturbate again. So what to do? (age 19)

You really hit the nail on the head when you said "it's just like asking for anything else." Most people don't like to constantly ask for things. Also, even though your roommate knows that you masturbate, you don't always want him to know when you're doing it at a particular time. That is perfectly understandable. So I think you would do better to arrange for private time in the room. He has his private time in the room a bunch of 30-minute blocks during the week, and you have a bunch of other 30-minute blocks. No one needs to know what the other is doing during these private times. It is simply your private time in the room to do whatever you want. So your roommate will not know if you're masturbating as often as he would think if you had to ask in advance every time. And vice versa.

I walked in on my sophomore year roommate masturbating one day about a month into school. He was sitting with his back turned in a big chair and I didn't even realize he was masturbating until I walked right to him. I freaked out a little until he told me he had heard me doing it night when I thought he was asleep. This led to a long conversation about masturbating. We both did it a lot and it was difficult to find alone time. We agreed from then on that masturbation could be done at any time whether the other person was in the room or not. Mostly, it was done when we were in bed with the lights out, but there were times that one or the other of us would need to do it during the time when the other person was in the room with the lights on or during the day. We became quite good friends and continue to talk to this day. We are both married and get together when we can with our spouses. (age 37, University of Oregon)

Most of the time I masturbate in the bathroom where there's more privacy. I've only done it in my room once, when I was especially aroused after class. All I had to do was undo the button on my pants and place my comforter over myself. I feel this is the most effective way of doing it, so if someone comes in, they won't know what's going on. Does this make sense to you? (female, age 19)

No, that doesn't make sense at all. For really effective masturbating you want to (1) have your pants and underwear all the way off; (2) not have a comforter or anything else over you; (3) not be in a public bathroom where anyone can walk in and spend as much time as they want. I doubt you're enjoying masturbation much; for you, it's probably more like scratching an itch. Take some time to relax, get naked, and explore your body. Then you'll understand why most college students are upset that they can't have privacy to masturbate as often as they like.

I live in a dorm and have a girls' floor below me. I am sure the girls in the room below me can hear my bed creak when I masturbate at night. I haven't met the girls in that room yet but I am worried in case I ever do. I think they will just be able to look at my face and know it's me masturbating. (age 18)

The women who live below you can't hear you masturbating and perhaps don't even hear your bed creaking. They know that you masturbate because all adult males do and don't think any less of you for it. You really ought to read more of and learn to accept masturbation as normal, healthy, and fun.

I love masturbating and do it all the time. I'm gonna do it in my college dorm and not care what my roommate thinks. I'm gonna have sex in the dorm too. (age 18)

Nice to hear you enjoy masturbating, but remember it's your roommate's room too. Figuring out solutions to privacy issues mean not only making it easier for you each to masturbate there but for you also to respect each other's space. Try to work harder at that last part.

When I'm lying on my bunk with my knees up, sometimes I clap my legs together. It's just a kind of fidgeting I do that has nothing to do with sex. This morning I was doing it and my roommate accused me of masturbating. He heard the sound of my flabby thighs knocking together. I said I wasn't. He insisted he heard me. I said I didn't and he could get up and see I have my shorts on. As soon as I said that, he got up, and I could feel my face getting red. There was nothing to see, but I was embarrassed by him looking and embarrassed by being accused of masturbating when I wasn't. What should I do? (University of St. Thomas, age 18)

Perhaps the noise was bothering him; in which case you could avoid that habit. If you don't feel like accomodating him, then don't expect him to make it easier for you when you want to make that sound, and not with your thighs.

In my first year here, I lived in a room of 6. Three bunk beds. I was startled the first time I realized one of my roommates was masturbating. The first few times, really. Then I got used to it and realized that every night, at least one girl in the room was masturbating. So I decided to do it too. I've never regretted it, and no one ever said anything. It made it easier for me to masturbate when I moved to a double room. I came right out and asked my roommate if it bothered her. She said no, she was used to her roommates masturbating too. (age 20)

It's masturbatory desensitization training!

I'm a freshman in college and so far I've figured out my roommate's class/sleep schedule and talked about having private time and he's had no problem with giving me the room to myself.

I enjoy masturbating in bed before going to sleep, but I don't feel comfortable doing it if I know my roommate is in the room because I usually make a lot of noise and it'd be weird. I've tried masturbating under the covers when the lights are off lying on my back but I don't know how to not make a mess that way. At home I would just use a tissue and lie naked on the bed but it's hard to do without being able to see what you're doing.

I don't want to just keep doing it carefree and get cum all over my sheets so I've started to just do it during the day when he's out. In an emergency I tried doing it in the private locked bathroom but it felt weird standing up. I suppose I could just get my underwear dirty and contain it that way but it would feel gross wearing it all night and changing in the morning. I think I prefer to sleep nude but even though I usually get up before him I feel like it would be really weird to do. Should I just sack up and bring it up in conversation with him and accept that there isn't going to be much privacy before bed unless he's home for the weekend? (age 19)

You're pretty new to college, and I think you have to keep experimenting to figure out (1) what you absolutely need and (2) what you would like and (3) what things are just extras. It seems pretty important to you to have privacy. If so, then masturbate when you have privacy and just go to sleep at bedtime. If you decide that masturbating at bedtime is more important than having privacy, then learn how you can masturbate at bedtime with your roommate in the room. Once you've decided to accept that, then I think these cleanup issues will go away. Keep a cleanup cloth handy and then just go to sleep. Your roommate is probably doing something similar.

I'm in college and I masturbate. (age 19, University of Texas)

Tell me something I didn't already know.

I read a book that says if you discover your roommate masturbating surreptitiously, it is about the worst sign and you should tell him or her to stop it when you're in the room or things will only get worse. What do you think? (age 18)

Are you sure that wasn't a humor book? I don't think you've read much of this page. Masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun, and usually done surreptitiously. It is not a bad sign if your roommate masturbates; it is a good sign. If he or she does it when you're in the room and possibly asleep, it means it's OK if you do it under those circumstances too. If you're not cool with him or her doing that, you'll have to discuss it and make a plan for when masturbating is and isn't OK. Overwhelming majorities of dorm residents want to masturbate often and in private.

A few months back I got caught by my roommate. He hasn't directly said anything to me, but it's clear that he has spead the story around to other people in the dorms in a negative light. It's gotten me dirty glares and disturbing jokes by his friends, making the problem worse. Needless to say, this has frozen my relationship with my roommate, so I'm at a loss. Any advice? (age 19)

Yes. Be a grownup. Your roommate, his friends, and the other guys in your dorm all masturbate themselves. I find it very unlikely he said anything to them about you masturbating. If he did, they would think him juvenile, not you.

Those guys you think are giving you dirty looks don't care a whit that you masturbate, but they might be reacting to your behavior, which they might think is you avoiding them. Instead of looking downward when you see other guys in the hall, say hi to them, and ask how they're doing.

I still live with my parents because I'm finishing up college. I share a room with TWO of my sisters. With everyone coming and going, I never get time alone to masturbate. And the bathroom is close to all the bedrooms so there's no real sense of privacy. I prefer to masturbate in my bed covered by my blankets and surrounded by my pillow. Now my older sister is coming back home and is sharing with us. It sucks because there are times when I'm really horny and I'm basically walking around wet and frustrated all day. I masturbate in the bathroom when it becomes unbearable but it just relieves the pressure. I don't get any satisfaction out of it. It's not like I can even bring up needing privacy because apparently everyone thinks only guys jacking off is normal. Like you say anything hinting at female masturbation and everyone is like "ew." Weird, right? This just feels like an impossible situation. I just wanted an opinion as to how screwed up this situation is. (age 22)

A lot of people have it worse than you do. Have you even tried talking to your three sisters? Presumably all of you masturbate and are in the same situation. You need not mention masturbation in having a discussion of privacy in your shared bedroom. All of your sisters would be relieved if you brought up the issue.

I masturbate once a day when my roommate is out. I'm fine with that. But he masturbates a lot more than I do, and he'll start doing it when I'm in the room, like he doesn't even care that I'm there. It bothers me, and I think he's masturbating too much. (age 19)

How often he masturbates is not for you to decide. Tell him you would prefer for him to not masturbate when you're in the room, or at least not when you're awake. If you don't mind telling him, you could point out that you only masturbate when he's out of the room and would like him to show you the same courtesy.

I live in an all-male dorm at boarding school and everyone in my room masturbates. I don't have a problem with that at all. The thing is, a couple of guys in my room are always talking about girls masturbating and arguing about which of the girls at our school do it. It makes me extremely embarrassed to be in the room when they start talking like that. I get embarrassed later when I see the girls they talk about and it makes me mad. (age 13)

Then tell those boys that you don't want talk like that in the room. Are there others in the room that you could get on your side? If you think it's bad now, it will get worse when they start speculating about which girls are engaging in sex with partners.

I heard that boys who get sent to juvenile detention centers don't have privacy. How do they masturbate? I worry that it will happen to me. (age 13)

Try to be a good boy and not get sent to juvie. Don't commit crimes. Respect other people and their property. Don't steal. Part of your punishment is the lack of privacy. You have to use the toilet and shower and masturbate in front of other boys and the guards. But that is the least you have to be ashamed of.

I am new at college and I wonder if my roommate knows that I masturbate. I try to keep it as quiet as I can but I don't know for sure when he's sleeping and when he's not. (age 18)

Your roommate knows that all men your age masturbate, so he knows that you masturbate too. I think you're asking if he's noticed you masturbating in the room. Only he can answer that. Of course, if he hasn't noticed you already, the more times you do it, the more likely it is that he will. I think you would enjoy your sessions more if you agreed with your roommate that you could each have private time in the room.

I stayed in a college dorm room as part of summer camp. Two shared a room, and we had no privacy. There was a common bathroom that the whole floor of guys shared.

After not masturbating for most of a week, I was so horny that I couldn't keep my hands off my erection while trying to go to sleep. When finally my roommate went to sleep, I masturbated to orgasm very easily and quickly.

I think my roommate did his masturbating in the morning while I went to the shower. (age 17)

You would have had a better time if you had suggested a private time for yourself, just as your roommate had privacy in the morning.

I have a roommate and we share a shower. We have decided that I would take the first turn taking a shower. That means I have time to masturbate during his turn to take a shower. But I often feel dirty after I masturbate. On top of that, I often ejaculate onto my stomach. How do I overcome this stigma about masturbation, and how do I do it in a more hygienic way? (age 19, Ohio State University)

You need to start by accepting masturbation as normal, healthy, and fun, and even necessary for male sexual health. It should be relaxing and fun for you. You should not feel dirty afterward. If it really bothers you, you could masturbate using a condom, which would contain your ejaculate; or you could negotiate with your roommate to take the second shower. Then you could shower immediately after masturbating.

I have bipolar disorder and part of that is getting hyper-sexual when I get ramped up/manic. I have an awesome roommate and we get along great. We roomed together last year and this year.

Last year at the end of the year I was getting really ramped up. I told her that I was going to be masturbating a lot and asked that she knock before coming in the room. This was about two weeks before the end of the school year and she didn't really comment on it; it made her uncomfortable.

Today she said she doesn't want me masturbating in the room at all. That it makes her uncomfortable and that's all she thinks about. I told her I can't just stop- I go crazy if I don't do it enough (typically I do it 5-7 times a week 1-3 times a day). She said she doesn't want to walk in on me. I asked her if she could just knock before coming in again or shoot me a text before she comes back. She told me she doesn't want to do that. She said if I need to do it that badly that I should just go home periodically to do it. I told her I can't go home that often and she basically told me to deal with it and to "think about it."

I feel like we need to compromise on something. I don't want to switch roommates and I'm not really sure how to handle this. (age 20)

She absolutely doesn't have the right to tell you that you can't masturbate in the room at all. That's nonsense. It's your room too. Obviously she was made uncomfortable by your telling her how often you needed privacy to masturbate and then doing so. If you're looking for a compromise, I would suggest doing it in the room at most once a day. Tell her you'll cut back to once a day in the room. If you really need to do it more than that, then use a bathroom or other suitable space.

I am new at college and I am not enjoying my dorm experience one bit! The worst is that my roommate is here like always. I can't ever find a private moment in the room. She's always around. I've only been able to masturbate twice since I got here Labor Day weekend and both times were when I knew she had class. I can't always hang around the room until she goes to class because I have my own classes and activity. And I'd rather masturbate when I want to instead of when she has class. I'm not comfortable with the idea of doing it when she's in the room, do please don't suggest that. (age 18)

Welcome to college! It may be painful, but you're going to have to tell her that you want privacy in the room sometimes. She's the only one who can give you privacy. You need not tell her you're going to masturbate. You and I will be the only ones who know.

Both my roommate and I knew, as does everybody, that we enjoy masturbating. Both of us masturbate frequently and do it whenever we felt like it. We would just say, "I'm going on my phone," which was code for "I need to masturbate." We could still carry out full conversations in the meantime. (age 20, University of Alberta)

I'm glad that worked for you and your roommate, but most of the people who write to me for this page want more privacy than that.

My problem is different from what most of the people who write you ask. I don't have a problem masturbating at college. It's fine. My problem is that my roommate masturbates constantly and doesn't even care that I'm there. More than once I've come to the room and knocked -- I always knock -- and he tells me to come in, and then I see him masturbating on his bed. I don't know how many times I've woken up to find him masturbating. It's embarrassing to me. I manage to masturbate discreetly when he's away. I am constantly being exposed to his masturbating and I don't like it. I don't know what to do. (age 19)

Privacy is a two-way street. If you needed privacy to masturbate, I would suggest obtaining privacy from him. But your need is for privacy from his masturbating. Since masturbation is obviously not a secret for him, you ought to be able to raise the issue. I think you should tell him that you would prefer he only masturbate when he has privacy. Then ask what you could do to help him have more privacy.

I want to share with you the unjust design of the dorm I live in. See the attached snippet of the floor plan. The beds are colored blue. When I moved in, I thought that everyone in the dorm had it as bad as I did, being side by side with my roommate with nothing but air between us. Then I learned that the guys on the other side of our suite, that we share a bathroom with, have a lot more privacy than we do. Their beds are not side by side but are along the same wall so it's hard to look from one bed to the other even if you want to. Notice on the floor plan that the bedrooms with "A" (1A,2A, etc.) have more privacy than the bedrooms with "B" (1B, etc.) and it really makes me mad! (age 18)

Life is full of unfair things. Notice also that two of the residents in 2B and 4B have another resident right on the other side of the wall but no one else does. And the residents in the A rooms with the most privacy also have most access to the window.

I lived in a dorm with one other roommate. This year we didn't get a room in a dorm so we were forced to rent an apartment. Since the apartment is much more expensive than the dorm, we agreed to let her boyfriend live with us. However, they don't want have sex before marriage so we all sleep in the same room. We use the other room as a storage and we agreed to use that room also for masturbation. Everyone is free to close the door and to use a mobile device to watch porn. Is that OK? (age 21, University of Alabama)

It is OK with me if it is OK with everyone who lives there. Congratulations on coming up with a workable solution and sharing it with my readers.

I masturbate pretty frequently but recently I've moved into an apartment with my cousin. He and his family are Mormon and I doubt he even knows what masturbation is. He was home schooled so he probably didn't have sex ed.

He found some of my toys and thought when we had some people over to mention it and ask what it was. I was pretty embarrassed about it and he thinks they are some kind of vibrating stress thing. What is the best way to explain this sort of thing if he continues to ask about them? (female, age 24)

No matter what religion your cousin is, if he is old enough to be living on his own (in this case, with you), then he has been masturbating for a long time. According to a survey of over 10,000 males by in the second half of 2007, unmarried male Mormons masturbate on average 6.74 times per week, which is not much different from the average of 6.78 times per week in the overall male population.

He might not know about sex toys, however, especially the kind used by females. I think it would be best if you told him you use them for sexual purposes and would appreciate if he'd not mention them in front of other people.

Iím in a dorm room with three other girls. Itís not a big room but quite open with each of our own areas in the four corners so there really isnít any privacy at all. Last week we were all changing for bed as normal and all noticed that Bridget had no panties on and was shaven! All of us had been natural until this point. She has always been ahead of the rest of us. She was the first to have a boyfriend and the first to admit she masturbates. I blurted out ďlucky, wish I could do that!Ē

Bridget showed me how her shaver worked and said I could go to the restroom and use it. So I did. When I came back, Bridget started laughing and said, ďI can see it was good!Ē To my horror, I saw I had a big wet patch on my panties. She assured me that she has gotten turned on by shaving too. They wanted to see the results! I didnít feel confident pulling my panties down but in the end I did so they could all look. "Pink and up" should be my description.

Iím lucky to have such close roomies. (age 19)

Lots of people didn't realize how lucky they were until they read this page and discovered that not everyone had it so well.

Follow-up: I need to trim it again. Last time it was really difficult as you really need three hands to do it, and the vibration also arouses me. Bridget has offered to help. Iím defiantly straight but the thought of Bridget helping me is a turn on and would really help. What should I do?

If you told Bridget it turns you on, would she still offer to help? You shouldn't need any help. You will get used to the vibration with practice.

I am new at college. I envy my roommate because I'm aware he's masturbating in our room at night but I know I could never do that with him in the room. It's frustrating because I never know when I'll be able to have the room to myself. (age 18)

You will have to arrange with him when you can each have time in the room by yourselves. No one else can do that for you. You don't have to masturbate with him in the room, so don't worry that that needs to be your goal.

I go to a really strict Catholic all girls boarding school where everything to do with masturbating is wrong. We are all horny. Iím in a dorm of four and one of my roomies' sister smuggled her a vibrator when she visited. We are each borrowing it for one night a week. Itís a small dorm so you can hear everything which just makes your day more exciting. Is it OK to be sharing the toy? We are all virgins and have never had any sexual contact with anyone. (age 17)

I recommend cleaning it before and after each use.

I live in a shared apartment of 6 at uni where there's not always enough privacy in the bedrooms for masturbating. Not so long ago, I woke up horny and went through my usual routine of doing warm-up masturbation in my bedroom before going to the bathroom with my trusty dildo and masturbating to orgasm in the shower. After finishing, for some reason, I forgot my toy in the bathroom and went to class.

When I came home, my housemates explained that the cleaner had found my dildo, thrown it out and left a nasty note. I was ready to die of embarrassment. They all said that they masturbate too and they understood.

Masturbation is natural, normal and healthy. Celebrate it and discuss it with your friends. Donít hide it away. (age 23)

I'm not sure I believe that, but I agree with your final message.

Thanks for showing me the hazards of prone masturbation. I am OK with both the prone and supine techniques, but I prefer prone when my roommate is in the room. I use the traditional way to masturbate when I am alone. (age 19)

What you said makes no sense. You now know that prone masturbation is a cause of sexual dysfunctions in males like yourself. You should have decided to never do prone again. Your roommate already knows that you masturbate. Doing it prone does not keep him from knowing and only makes you sexually dysfunctional.

My roommate is too difficult to be told about masturbation as he acts like a pastor. I love to masturbate. What is the way out? (age 18)

You don't need to tell your roommate anything about masturbation. You only need to arrange for private time in the room for each of you. If he acts like a pastor, remind him he's your roommate and fellow student and not your pastor. If you really love to masturbate, then you'll find a way to get the private time or decide you don't mind if he's in the room when you're masturbating.

Iím a crew member on a ship and I share a cabin with another girl. The heads (bathroom) are very cramped and I really canít masturbate in there. Our bunks are top and bottom so you canít see the other person when both are in bed. We often have either overlapping watches or the same watch and after interrupting or nearly catching each other masturbating in the cabin, we decided to come up with a plan of only masturbating when the other person has come off watch. Now we just say we are ďgoing on a date.Ē This lets the other girl just stay on her bed for a bit and it means you can relax on the bed without fear of being caught.

We normally put the TV on to help mask any wet noises though you can still hear them some. This plan has worked well. Once my roommate dropped her running vibe from the top bunk and I passed it back up while holding the dry end. But this was just funny and weíve laughed a lot about it. (age 22)

I wish everyone in a shared living situation were as easygoing about it as you and your roommate.

I'm a pansexual female and I'm going off to college in less than a year. I'm open about my sexuality, but I've always been worried that girls in places like locker rooms or dorm rooms are uncomfortable with me being there because of it. Do you have any advice about how to broach the topic of masturbation with that in mind? I don't want to make any future roommate uncomfortable. (age 17)

Colleges are more willing to match up potential roommates who identify as particular sexual types than they used to be. That might be one way to assure you get a roommate who is OK with your pansexuality. Once you are in a roommate situation, no matter who it is with, it is up to you as a pair or group of roommates to decide what the rules are for privacy and masturbation in your room.

What do I do about my ejaculate? I can find times when my roommate is away and I have time to jerk it in peace. After I do, then what? I have this blob on a paper towel; if I throw it in the waste bin, the room will smell like semen, so the only alternative is to immediately take it out, which means I'm either taking a semen-soaked paper towel through the halls and into the bathroom, or I'm conspicuously carrying a trash bag with one paper towel in it into the trash room. What do I do about this? (age 20)

I think you are greatly exaggerating the power of a semen-soaked paper towel to stink up the room. If it really bothers you, you can put the towel in a baggie and then throw the baggie away; or keep a large baggie of the used towels and throw them away once a week or whatever. If it really, really bothers you, you might try masturbating with a condom. You can then tie a knot in the common and not even a dog could smell it. Never flush a condom down the drain.

Due to my dad's new job, I am going to have to start boarding school. Among my many worries is masturbating. I know almost all the girls do it, but I masturbate at least once a day when I get home. I have a realistic dildo that I use and want to take it with me but Iím not sure if I would get away with it. I can successfully orgasm with just my hands but the fullness feeling is much better. Do other girls have toys? (age 16)

I don't know any of the girls at your boarding school. You probably won't be the only one who's masturbated with toys. I think whether you will be comfortable using your dildo at school will depend on your sleeping arrangements. If you're in a room with only one other girl, then you can arrange with her so you can each have privacy in the room. If you're in a barracks with a large number of girls, then I think everyone will be masturbating furtively and without toys.

Follow-up from another reader: Congratulations on your 17th anniversary. It's weird to think you were giving great advice out on here before I was born.

I too have a dildo and have been boarding for 3 years. We have big dorms of about 18 beds with girls from two classes. Nightly masturbation noises are extremely common but most girls try to keep theirs muffled. My first tip would be to keep your toy hidden even from your friends. I know of at least 4 girls who have toys, but I've only seen one. Friends often joke about using toys but not showing saves anyone being weird.

My second tip is donít use anything with batteries. They all make too much noise. One girl last year got a nickname from a vibe.

Thirdly, my secret tip is that loads of girls masturbate under the covers. Our dorm is pitch dark and you canít just quickly turn on a light. With the covers to your side, you can spread your legs without creating a massive noisy tent.

Finally, if you are on a top bunk, the person on the bottom can feel any fast movement you make. Last year I was on the top, so I saved my dildo for special days. The act of discreetely getting it from my cupboard and hiding it before bed was enough to get everything ready (cough). Then rather than thrusting, I had the toy well inside and masturbated on the outside. That way I still get the full feeling with none of the squelching. (age 16)

What a helpful post! Thank you for sharing.

One night, I thought my roommate was asleep so I masturbated to orgasm. The next day, she said she wanted to talk to me that night. She texted me that she saw what I was doing the previous night and would appreciate if I didnít do it anymore. And I was honestly fine with that. But a few days later, she texted me saying that she shouldnít have just shrugged it off and that she needs to live in a space where she feels safe and comfortable. She also made a comment about what my intentions were which confused me. Anyway, she is now not sleeping in our dorm room but staying with a friend. Another thing to mention: Her dad died the morning she dropped this piece of news on me so I canít even talk to her about it. And Iím honestly not sure what to do or how to feel. (female, age 20)

Masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun, and is practiced by all males and nearly all females in college. It is something you have a right to do in your dorm room. Your roommate doesn't want you to do it when she's in the room. Then you negotiate for private time in the room. You come up with a solution that works for both people who live in the room. If your roommate is saying she doesn't want to live with someone who masturbates, then it is probably best that she's leaving. If she's not willing to discuss the situation, then you don't have to say anything.

My housemate and I were shopping last week and found a new lingerie store that also sells sex toys. After much laughter, we were convinced by the store assistant to buy a pair of dildos from a new range the store was promoting. They were the same style just mine was a flesh color whereas my friend's was green and blue.

We got home and I didnít think further about it until the following morning. When in the shower, I noticed her dildo sat on an alcove shelf at the foot of the bath. It was out of the way but clearly on show. When I asked her about it, she laughed and said ďyou saw me buy it, you know I masturbate, and itís designed to be used on a smooth surface. The bathroom is really the only place to use it so I thought I might as well keep it in there.Ē I couldnít fault the logic and just laughed.

Over the next few days, the toy moved a few times, so I know sheís using it and thought how brave she was having it in show. On the third day, I realized she was right, I did know all those things and she knew them too, so why shouldnít I do the same. So I fetched my toy and stuck it on the shelf too.

The following day a pump bottle of lube appeared with a note on it saying ďTo share, it helps!Ē It really did.

We had friends over last night and had already decided to not hide our sexuality. We are all grownups, but I did polish suction cup marks off the shiny tiles at two distinct heights. (age 20, Caltech)

That's quite a story. I'm glad you and your housemate are good friends and can talk about masturbating and sex toys together. But keep in mind most visitors to your home would be horribly embarrassed to see something as personal as dildos out in the open. You would be showing greater respect for them by stashing your dildos and lube someplace where visitors won't see.

Now here is my idea of an ideal dorm room design for maximizing privacy for occupants:

Ever since I stared masturbating, Iíve always washed my hands well with soap and water. Iím not OCD but I am conscious of germs so I wash my hands a lot. When I orgasm I usually make sure I only get semen on one of my hands and even if I used a tissue or towel to wipe it off my hand, Iím very conscious in using the cleaner hand (the one I didnít use to masturbate) to open door knobs, switch the lights on and off, turn on the faucets, lift up toilet seats and the flusher. Is this normal?

I know semen is not germs but itís a body fluid. I always felt this was the considerate thing to do. The reason Iím questioning this is because the girls that Iíve been with sexually have all been nonchalant about touching their belongings, furniture, and fixtures after wiping semen, spit, vaginal juices and lube off their hands with tissues and/or towel. Iíve never brought this up to anyone but it makes me wonder if most people have a lot of semen and vaginal fluid residue throughout their homes.

Iím also bringing this up here because I recently started college and I am living in the dorms and I have a roommate. Iíve heard my roommate masturbating around a half dozen times and then go to sleep. Iíve also masturbated when heís asleep. He snores and is a heavy sleeper so when Iím done I get out bed and go down the hall to wash up. I usually have to urinate afterward anyway. My roommate hasnít gotten up after masturbating to wash up. Iíve also seen his crusty, slightly yellow-tinted clean-up rag. Iím straight so I really donít know how I feel about my roommate getting his semen on all the surfaces of our room.

I was also playing video games the other day and I'm certain there was silicone lube on the PlayStation controller. I mentioned it to my friend and he said it was probably lube because his roommate masturbates a lot. I wiped the controller on my shirt hoping it wouldnít have that slippery feel but silicon lube isnít easy to get completely off plastic. When I got back to my dorm, I made sure to change clothes and use a Clorox wipe on my door handle. I suspect that there are a lot of molecules that originated from ejaculation everywhere in this whole dormitory. I know I need to find away to get over the fact that Iím in contact with residual dried semen from my roommate when Iím switching on the lights, turning the door handles and using our desk but itís hard not to think about. Iíve been diligent about cleaning up after myself for the past 6 years. (age 18, UCLA)

I have to believe you do have OCD. I think you're going to need professional help to get through this. Can you talk to someone in mental health at your campus health service? There are worse body fluids than semen on all of the surfaces of your dorm. I don't think you can do anything about it except with your own roommate, and even asking him to be more clean is apt to cause problems between the two of you. However, I do think you would be justified asking him to keep his "clean-up rag" in some kind of container or a zipper bag. Get into the habit of washing hands before eating and avoiding touching door handles if possible. Avoid touching your face.

My roommate used my laptop yesterday. I saw in the browsing history that he watched porn. He studies theology. How can I look at him the same way as before? How can he talk about honesty and purity? (age 20)

Men who study theology masturbate the same as men who don't study theology. Masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun, and even necessary for male sexual health. It is not dishonesty or impurity. It is ordinary body maintenance.

I live in a dorm with another girl, and we are just not cool together. I am friends with most of the girls in my wing, but not her. We all do stuff together, but not her. I go to my friends' rooms and we have good times together and go out and then I come back to my room and my roommate is always there just moping or something. She seems resentful of my being friends with the other girls. I like to masturbate in the room but often it seems like sleep and masturbation are the only things I do there. I suspect my roommate has noticed me masturbating but has never said anything about it. Is this making our relationship worse? (Syracuse University, age 18)

Have you tried inviting your roommate along to the other women's rooms and including her in whatever you're doing? Inviting her to come along on your outings? She really has nothing to say about whether you're friends with other women. If your masturbating bothered her, she could say something, but so far she hasn't. I think your issues with her are deeper and masturbating probably has little or nothing to do with it. Be glad you've found many friends in your dorm. Some people never do.

Iíve been boarding for four years, and changing in dorms, for sports and communal showers seeing other girls naked is the norm and until recently didnít think about it. About six months ago, I started hoping to see labia. At first I told myself it was just curiosity but I canít ignore when I feel turned on. I constantly try not to look but slip when Iím tired, relaxed or havenít masturbated in a while. At night I find it really frustrating as I can hear girls masturbating in the dorm.

A few days ago I was having a shower, and a girl (who is really nice) came in, having recently gone bare down there. I tried not to look but failed and glanced down. Her labia were really pink and on show. I could feel myself flushing with arousal but then looked up and to my horror saw she was looking at me. I apologized but she laughed and said ďI donít mind, what do you think?Ē turning straight in to face me. I just mumbled. She said, ďyou should do it too.Ē By this time, I was so flustered I just blurted, ďsureĒ then escaped back to my room.

Some of the other girls have boyfriends and I feel Iím ready for my first sexual experience. Do you think she was coming on to me, and if so, what should I do. (age 17)

I honestly don't think she was coming on to you. I think she was showing off her new hairstyle (bald) and wanted your opinion. It is dangerous to be eyeballing people and their privates in the locker room. From my perspective as a man, let me tell you the rule practiced by most men: We either look at faces in the locker room or we look at the floor. We don't move our eyes up and down. I think you'll be more comfortable if you follow that rule.

Follow-up: Thank you for your advice about changing room etiquette, but my real problem is wanting sexual contact. Iíve pushed myself and talked to the girl I like quite a bit, and we have loads in common, but I donít know how to test the sexual side. We discussed her shaving and she said it felt amazing and if I did it, I must let her see. Iím tempted to do just that and see what happens next. What do you think?

The shaving should only happen if it's what you want. You seem like you want to trick her into being sexual with you. It would be better if you stated up front that you'd like to try experimenting sexually if she'd be interested.

I live in a dorm. Above my room is a room where three male freshmen live. I can hear when they watch porn. That arouses me so much that I need to masturbate. Is that normal? I don't find any of them attractive. (female, age 21)

There is nothing at all wrong with being aroused by knowing someone else is masturbating near you. It is likely that at any given moment, someone in your dorm is masturbating.

I just got a new roommate. Last night he asked if I was spanking my monkey. He saw me on my bed with my hand in my shorts. I was not ashamed or upset but I think he was uncomfortable. I said I was. He said to do it in the bathroom. Any suggestions? (age 20)

It is your room and you get to masturbate in it at least sometimes. He cannot banish you to the bathroom. Most roommates in your situation work around each other's schedule. Let him know that sometimes he will have to leave the room when you want privacy and sometimes you will leave the room when he wants privacy.

I have a 2 bedroom suite on campus and my roommate is upset that he caught me masturbating on my bed as opposed to in the bathroom. The bathroom is too small and I need more space, so I masturbate in bed. (age 20, Western Connecticut State University)

I'm not sure what the problem is. If you have two bedrooms, why did your roommate come into yours while you were masturbating? Even if you share the bedroom together (and two more guys in the other bedroom?), he doesn't get to dictate that you can't masturbate there. Have a system where if the door to the bedroom is closed, the other guy has to knock before he can come in.

I'm new to college and I've read your page about masturbating in college. My roommate is masturbating daily, if not constantly. I hear her going at it in her bunk every night and sometimes in the morning too, and that isn't all. I also masturbate, but it's two or three times a month. I don't understand why I have to put up with it from her every night and many other times. What can I do? (age 18)

There is variety among people when it comes to masturbation frequency. You could tell her that you're aware of her making noise when you're trying to sleep and could she be quiet when you're trying to sleep. Then be willing to provide a window of time (daily, if necessary) when you're able to be out of the room so she can have privacy.

I got tired of having to masturbate furtively to keep my roommate from seeing so I decided the next time I heard him approaching, I would keep going so that he would see me and be more respectful of my privacy in the future. It worked. He walked in and was quite surprised but left quickly and now he knocks before he comes in. (age 19)

I'm glad it worked out for you, but I'm thinking the way you did that was not respectful of your roommate.

I am relatively new to boarding school and my sex drive is driving me insane. At home, I prefer to masturbate in bed, but our dorm is hot, so we usually only have sheets for bedding. It is also not very dark in the dorm, so there is really no privacy, and it's easy to see what people are doing in their beds. Sometimes I masturbate in the bathroom before bed but it's not very comfortable and I don't always reach orgasm so I go to bed very horny and can't sleep. Last night was one of those nights and I really needed an orgasm so I masturbated in my bed not caring who could see or hear. It was only after I finished that I became aware that I had pulled my sheet completely down and the girl in the bunk next to mine saw everything. Now I feel very guilty about this. What do I say to her, and what do I do about my need for orgasm? (age 16)

It would be a good idea if you could do your masturbating in the privacy of the bathroom. As you point out, it is not only your own privacy at stake but that of the girls around you. With practice and the imperative of necessity, you can learn to have satisfying orgasms there. I suggest telling your bed neighbor that you didn't mean to disturb her last night. Perhaps she will say she didn't mind. In any event, if you are to continue masturbating in bed, work at being more discreet. Some people in that situation make a tent out of their bedding by bringing their knees up.

I am in boarding school and like practically every girl I know my age, I masturbate regularly. As mentioned by many of your other readers, it's difficult to do it in the dorm. No one masturbates openly in our dorm, but masturbation is often talked about. In our dorm, the laundry room has washing machines that are by themselves. I and some other girls are known to press against them and masturbate while they are running. The vibration feels nice. Is this dangerous? (age 17)

That doesn't sound like a satisfactory solution. I can't imagine anyone feels comfortable masturbating like that, because anyone could burst into the laundry room and see at any moment. Also, it is better for you to get habituated to the gentle touch of your hand than the force of the washing machine.

Do you have a story to tell about masturbating in a dorm room or other shared living situation?

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