We talk a lot about the importance of having sex with other people, but rarely do we speak enough about the importance of sex on your own. Whether you’re single, dating, or partnered, making self-pleasure a regular part of your life comes with many benefits. Like what? Well, did you know orgasms stimulate the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone with many health benefits. So masturbation is literally good for you! Masturbation also gives you the opportunity to figure out how you like to be touched, which can help you communicate to your partner(s) later on what you like in bed & what you don’t. (An added bonus? You can’t transmit an STI or get pregnant from masturbating!)
Whether you’re already all about self pleasure, just starting to unlearn negative narratives about your body or self-pleasure, or avoid self-pleasure out of fear, masturbation can be very important and impact your life for the better!
Here are some tips on how to start or step up your masturbation game.
Masturbation helps you learn your anatomy.
Along with feeling good, masturbation is exceptionally safe. If masturbation was something that was celebrated, instead of something we mocked, shamed or feared, , groups such as high schoolers (who may not currently have information or access to safer sex resources) could experience sexual pleasure and learn about their own anatomy & pleasure in a safe & controlled environment. Many adults, often due to our inadequate sex education system, don’t have a relationship and understanding of their bodies and pleasure. If self pleasure was talked about openly, and encouraged, many of us would have been able to figure out what it is we like & what it is we don’t long before experimenting with a partner. If you feel extra daring, masturbate in front of a mirror to learn how your anatomy looks along with how you like to be touched! It’s never too late to learn!
Touching yourself is safe and healthy.
Along with not having to worry about pregnancy or STIs, masturbation is also emotionally safe. Maybe relationships, partners or casual hookups aren’t what you’re looking for right now. Sometimes, we just need to be single and on our own. But that doesn’t mean we have to be without pleasure!
So, when you feel like you need alone time, whether it’s just a night in or a much longer period of your life where you take a break from dating & partners, self pleasure can be a great addition. Orgasms release the “feel-good hormone” oxytocin. While oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” can facilitate bonding between people, it also works well on yourself. Oxytocin helps us relax, sleep well, relieve pain, and could even be good for your skin.
Try adding sex toys to your masturbation routine.
Switching it up can help keep things fun & exciting. Maybe you’re curious about anal pleasure, but are nervous about trying it with another person. Start on yourself!
If this is the case, remember that the anus isn’t self-lubricating, so you’ll need lots of lube. While water based lubricants are often recommended, a silicone-based lube, such as Uberlube, can be great for anal penetration, as it can be thicker and last longer than water-based. However, if you’re using a silicone toy, such as a butt plug (the Snug Plug is great for people of all experience levels), opt for water-based, such as Sustain Naturals water-based lube. Silicone lube can break down silicone toys, and you don’t want that.
If you’re new to sex toys, and anal stimulation, you might be looking for someplace a little milder to start. You don’t need to jump straight to butt plugs or anal beads. People of all bodies and genders can enjoy the stimulation of adding a vibrator to their masturbation routine. While handheld vibrators, such as the Unbound Squish, certainly can make people with clitorises come, they feel lovely on all erogenous zones. Try using a vibrator on the shaft of a penis, the perineum, nipples, or even on sore back muscles. (While the Hitachi Magic Wand may be able to get you off, it actually does work wonders as a back massager!)
Mutual masturbation is a safe way to learn how your partner likes to be touched.
While part of what makes self-pleasure so enjoyable is that it only requires yourself, if you are seeing someone, mutual masturbation is a safe way to explore how you & your partner(s) like to be touched. Instead of having penetrative or oral sex (or even touching one another) take a night for mutual masturbation & watch each other self pleasure.
“Mutual masturbation” may sound like a term straight out of health class, but it’s an intimate and sexy activity. Set the mood by adjusting music and lighting to whatever turns you on. Lie on the bed next to your partner (keep the lube nearby) and watch one another masturbate. Watch porn if you want to! Notice how your partner strokes their body. And likewise, allow your partner to watch you. We’re often the best at getting ourselves off and knowing what we like, so why not teach your partner to touch you exactly how you like?
At G&STC we’ve seen how meaningful self pleasure and unlearning shameful narratives about sexuality and self pleasure can be for our clients. Regardless of your current or future relationship to self pleasure, we believe everyone is entitled to have the sex life of their dreams. If your dream sex life involves self pleasure, we’re here to help you unlearn the shame & stigma and explore what brings you pleasure!