I hope this is of interest to others and maybe even of help. I'll be looking out for any comments.
My wife and I both love sex but I think it's fair to say that she is somewhat less enthusiastic than me. It is very similar with masturbation, she masturbates avidly as part of sex (our normal foreplay is for her to mastubate while I suck her tits) but much less often by herself, whereas like many hot-blooded males I normally like to masturbate at least once a day if we don't have sex.
The problem comes when I don't have an opportunity to masturbate during the day which is not at all uncommon given work pressures, much as I am sure it is for others. On occasions I have waited until she has gone to sleep to masturbate in bed next to her but I am always very careful not to wake her up, and if she stirs I have to stop my stroking very quickly as she understandably hates being woken when she has recently got to sleep.
As an aside she generally masturbates when she is feeling horny in the early morning when she has woken up for some reason and occasionally I wake up just as she comes, which always gets me very turned on.
So the other day I initiated a conversation about masturbation and what would be acceptable practice between us, our masturbation protocol.
I talked about how we both like to masturbate, but the problems I currently have with how to do it without waking her up. I suggested that there might be four options as follows:
1. We keep our bed for just sex, with no masturbation, and I would find ways of masturbating at other times when she was not present. She was very unhappy about that as she is quite happy for me to masturbate and likes to be with me when I do, added to which she loves being able to masturbate as well on the occasions that she feels like it.
2. I would wait to masturbate until she has fallen asleep as I do currently, and she would masturbate when I was asleep. The problem with this, as I mentioned before, is that it often wakes her up if I masturbate when she has just got to sleep.
3. Either of us could freely masturbate without constraint immediately before we both go to sleep when we feel like it.
4. I could ask her whether it is OK to masturbate. She was unhappy about this as she feels it is natural and healthy to masturbate and it shouldn't be subject to her 'approval'.
We talked about it for a while, discussing the pros and cons of the different options, and finally she concluded that we should go for the third option, although I have said that she is free to carry on masturbating in the early morning as well when she wants to. Along with this there is the total understanding that if the other one wants to join in and initiate something else when we are masturbating that is always welcome.
Having come to that agreement I have followed through and now masturbate most evenings just as we are settling down to go to sleep. It has led to a number of different experiences, sometimes she will just roll over and start to go to sleep while I take care of things, sometimes she will roll over and hug me and maybe play with my balls or the like while I stroke myself to an orgasm, sometimes she will lie next to me and masturbate along with me until we both come, and finally sometimes my masturbation leads to activities I can't discuss further here but which I am sure don't need much imagination!
This has definitely led to a heightening of the sexual atmosphere between us and brought us much closer together in other ways as well. I can thoroughly recommend such a discussion to others faced with a similar dilemma over masturbation and when to do it. Previously it was a bit awkward because we hadn't properly discussed it and like so many things that are not in the open it was an unvoiced issue.