Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

Let’s talk turkey. Sometimes we have an itch and we’d like someone else to scratch it but we’re flying solo. Or, it’s been a while since we’ve spiced things up and we are going for a different sexy time narrative. Or, we are new to this whole sex thing and feel safer being alone for now. No matter the driving force, solo play can be rewarding and stimulating. It gets a bad rap due to stigma but rest assured, masturbation is natural, healthy and has tons of benefits. It’s portable, free, and you’re in charge.

The toughest thing about starting a masturbation practice is probably committing the time. It sounds counterintuitive because who doesn’t have time for pleasure? All of us, it seems, until we make it a priority.

An actual masturbation practice involves dedicating time, intentionality, and consistency. Done right, it can enhance your partnered sex life and get you some good sleep to boot! We create a practice in order to learn our bodies, unlearn bad habits, and find balance. First, what’s your motivation? Are you bored? Unsure of what you respond to? Gotten stuck in a routine and crave change? Never really achieved a level of pleasure you’d heard about? Any of these reasons and more are good starts.

Intentions: is it orgasm? Is it to aid sleep? Is it to reduce shame? Figure out what your practice is meant to accomplish. This way, you can focus and develop some mind-body connection. Decide what you are trying to accomplish and ask yourself if this is how to get there.

Timing: if we make it indefinite, we’ll likely crap out after a day or two. Pick a length and set an alarm. Whatever you get done in that time is just fine. If you feel like you need to adjust the time for the next day, so be it. You’re in charge.

Mood: set yourself up. Turn off the cell, make sure kids are away or asleep or otherwise accounted for. Put on whatever music or ambient noise works, but nothing you’re going to be distracted by. Maybe light a scented candle, get the lights just right. Check to see about the temperature. Chilly sexy time probably won’t work well.

Aspirations: maybe don’t try for the 10” monster dong your first time around the block. There’s time for that. In the beginning, it can be as simple as a hand, finger or even just the pressure of your own body. Let’s leave technology for the 201 class. If you are a seasoned pro, then grab whatever favorite toy you like, but make sure it’s handy, clean and safe.

Relax: most of the time, orgasm is elusive because of faulty brains, not genitals. Breathe slowly, and have a one beat differential on the exhale, with it longer. Like breathe in for 4, out for 5, and so on. Do a body scan, check for areas of tension, pain, discomfort. Alternate tensing and relaxing any specific muscle in tandem with your rhythmic breathing practice. Breathe in, tense; breathe out relax the muscle. Give yourself a good 5-10 minutes for this relaxation piece. You’ll thank me for that.

Explore: don’t just head straight to the good bits. Explore your body, whether it’s nipples, inner thigh, lesser genitalia (labia, scrotum, perineum), neck. Run hands or fingers or water over different body parts and focus on the sensation. Narrate to yourself if your mind wanders. “I’m lightly stroking my left inner forearm and it feels nice. I like it. I like it less when I use nails.”

The idea here is to set the stage, set a tone, create space for the sensation, and relax. Focus on pleasure and touch and other senses and enjoy. Try setting up a practice for 5-6 days a week for a month or so and see what you notice. Reflect on what messages you hear and how they compare to what you heard before you started your practice. Then take what works, keep going, and add to it. You’re worth it!

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