The word word masturbation often carries a lot of shame and stigma. For that reason, I prefer to use the expression self-pleasure, instead of masturbate.
I often associate masturbation as an activity that is genitally focused and has a goal in mind: orgasm. In fact, that is pretty much how it is defined, which to me, is pretty limiting, when it comes to exploring our sexuality.
Self-pleasuring is much more expansive and inclusive term, with a much broader range of possibilities.
Self-pleasuring isn’t specifically genitally focused, and in fact doesn’t have to include the genitals at all. It is completely possible to explore our sexual energy and experience arousal without even touching the genitals. Which isn’t to say we shouldn’t include them, but I want to point out that self-pleasuring is much more than genital stimulation.
Furthermore, the intention and goal of self-pleasuring, as the name would imply, is to experience pleasure. Specifically, erotic pleasure. This might lead to an orgasm, but it doesn’t have to. And in fact, when we take the pressure off of orgasming being the goal, it actually frees us up to be more present to whatever pleasure is happening in the moment. (Which, I might add, is just as true in sex with another as it is in sex with the self!)
Self-pleasuring can include dancing, self-massage, erotic breathing, visualizations, use of toys, genital stimulation, etc.
How do you connect with your body sensually? What feels good and arousing? What feels pleasurable?
Here are some ideas to inspire you:
Move your body, your hips, your pelvis in ways that feel good. Touch all over your body, experimenting with different types of touch, pressure and pace. Give attention to your breasts, your face and neck, your inner thighs. Explore what areas of your body ignite more erotic energy than others, and what different types of touch effect these different areas. Make long sighs, deep moans and other sounds to enhance your experience and move more energy. Watch yourself in a mirror. Put on clothes or lingerie that make you feel sexy.
There are so many things to do and explore when it comes to self-pleasuring.
You and your body are unique and no one knows it better that yourself. The more you know and understand yourself, the more you can ask for what you want when connecting with another. (Having the confidence and courage to ask for it might be another matter, but knowing it is a good start to getting it!)
I encourage you to make a practice of self-pleasuring, as described in these broader terms compared to masturbation, for as little as five minutes every day, to an hour once a week, or anything beyond or in between. Decide how and what feels exciting to you to bring self-pleasuring more into your life and make a commitment to yourself to practice this safe and healthy expression of self love, sensuality and sexuality in your life.
I’d love to hear from you! What obstacles get in the way of your self-pleasure practice? Or share any other experiences you’ve had, good or bad, when it comes to self-pleasuring.