Masturbation is something that carries a lot of stigma and shame. And for that reason, it is not something openly discussed. However, there is nothing wrong or bad about masturbating, so I'm not afraid to talk about it and I'm happy to share about it with you.
But since it is such a loaded word, I'm curious...
What thoughts come to mind when you hear or read the word masturbation? What feelings come up for you? What memories?
Most of us probably have a childhood memory of being scolded, reprimanded, or talked to about touching ourself from some adult or parent. At best, if our caregivers had a healthy and positive perspective on sexuality, we may have been told it is normal to want to explore our sexuality, but that we shouldn’t do it in public. At worst, we were scolded, made wrong, embarrassed or humiliated, or even punished for doing whatever innocent behavior we were "caught" doing.
For most of us, there is some shame or quilt we carry with us around masturbation from our early childhood experiences. Being aware of those negative thoughts or feelings and looking at what happened in our childhood can help us let go of some of those negative feelings and replace them with something more positive and serving.
It can also be helpful to identify what negative messages we may have inherited from our family, community, media and culture about masturbation. For example, "Masturbation is bad or wrong."
How have you carried these messages and beliefs with you? Are they beliefs that you want to keep? Or beliefs that you would like to change and replace with something more positive and freeing?
Masturbation is a healthy (and safe) expression of our sexuality that almost everyone does.
It brings pleasure, reduces stress, relieves tension, and can improve our mood, self-esteem and body image. It also helps us to know ourself better- what we like and what feels good. It is also a very powerful way to connect with the self, to give yourself some loving attention, touch and care.
As an adult, you have the choice to decide what best serves you and to live your life accordingly. If you have trouble doing this on your own, seek out support from trusted friends or professionals. You deserve to feel empowered and healthy about your sexuality!
If if you want more tips about self-pleasuring check out my free download “The 4 Keys to Become More Erotically Embodied and Sexually Empowered” at www.usharose.com/freegift.
(Spoiler alert: one of these keys has to do with self-pleasuring.)
Here is a simple reparenting exercise you can try at home to help reduce any shame or negativity you might have acquired in your childhood around masturbation and sexual exploration.
(Note: Pick a memory that is not-to-traumatic for this exercise to do on your own. If you want to work with a traumatic experience it is best to do so with the support and supervision of a skilled guide.)
Take a moment to sit quietly, deepen your breath, close your eyes, relax the body and quiet the mind. Let your mind travel back in time until you land on an early childhood memory related to you touching yourself and/or exploring your sexuality.
Once you’ve landed on a memory, take some time to recall as many details as possible: colors, sounds, environment, feelings, etc. Remember who else was there and what words were spoken. Let yourself really be in that moment as if it were present time.
Next, connect with your current, wise adult self and bring your adult self into this memory. What words can you say to your child self to comfort her/him? What does s/he need to hear from you? Something like, “Don’t worry. You didn’t do anything wrong. It is perfectly normal to explore your sexuality and touch yourself. I am right here with you. It’s ok. What you did is ok.”
Say these words out loud to your inner child. If it seems desired and helpful, you can also visualize your adult self hugging or holding your child self, offering comfort and reassurance.
When you feel complete, slowly bring yourself back into the present moment, wiggling your fingers and toes, feeling your body, and slowly open your eyes.
Notice how you feel now. Take a moment to journal some thoughts, or share with me about your experience. I’d love to hear from you.