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As a sex and dating coach, I see clients who want to improve their sex lives in meaningful ways. Many of them struggle with communicating their sexual needs during partnered sex or they just don’t know what they like sexually. Like Keisha, a client of mine who was all about tending to her partners’ needs, but clammed up any time they asked her what she liked. Another common concern I see is a lack of orgasm during partnered sex, even though there are no problems experiencing this on their own. I’ve worked with dozens of women who know themselves intimately but who feel anxious or stressed when they have to translate what works for them solo into a partnered context.
Though it may come as a surprise, I recommend starting a masturbation practice to almost all of my clients who present these concerns.
Masturbation is a building block to having a better, more well-rounded sex life but most of us grew up with negative associations with it. Remember all the myths about what would happen if you masturbate too much? Or think about when you were a kid and someone saw you casually touching your genitals just for fun. This very common behavior is often met with condemnation and linked with feelings of guilt and shame. Even if this never happened to you, you may have internalized that masturbation is okay now and then, but once you’re partnered it shouldn’t be something you do regularly.
I am here to tell you that not only is masturbation something you should embrace for your own health and wellbeing as a sexual person,. It’s a great way to learn what you like and better articulate that to partners when you need to give sexual feedback.
What You Can Do to Embrace Masturbation
If you get a pang of guilt when you think about masturbating, it might be helpful to think about it as a practice similar to meditation, yoga or other wellness activities that you may already do. You can think of it as a ritual, routine or self-care practice that allows you to focus on your body and how it experiences pleasure.
Start Small, Stay Curious
You don’t have to set aside a whole day to learn how to masturbate. You may want to take a class and just watch or use a tutorial to follow along. If you have a way that you masturbate already, get curious about what works for you. What kinds of touch and stimulation do you respond well to?
Try A Toy
When you’re first exploring masturbation, the easiest way to start is by using your hand. But for those who find manual stimulation tedious or not leading to the results they’re looking for, sex toys can be a great addition to masturbation. Find a local sex shop where someone can talk you through your options, or if there isn’t one near you, try an online retailer and search their top sellers. Go with your gut about what you think you’d like to try!
While you’re learning about what works for your body during masturbation, take notes after each session detailing what went well for you and what didn’t. This is crucial information to have about how you experience sexual pleasure. Note techniques or toys you used, areas of your body you stimulated, and even time of day or where you are in your cycle. These can be helpful notes to reflect on.
Using Your Masturbation Techniques to Help Partners Learn Your Body
It’s amazing what a little self-knowledge can do during partnered sex. When you have a good idea of the types of stimulation you like, where and how, you can better express this to a partner. For instance, if a partner is heavy-handed and you know through your masturbation practice that you need a gentle touch at first to get you aroused, you can confidently say “softer” or “I like it slow and light at first”. And if you know that pressure or a faster pace is needed to take you over the edge into orgasmic territory, you can signal to them that you’re ready for more!
Take The Pressure Off of Your Partner(s)
Sometimes we are out of sync with our partner’s sexual rhythms. It’s only natural that two people won’t always want sex at exactly the same time. That’s when masturbation can come in handy. Having a healthy masturbation practice means you can manage your own sexual energy and alleviate the pressure that partners sometimes feel when they don’t want sex when you do.
So make masturbation a self-pleasure practice that benefits your partners and empowers you.
This article provides information about sexual health, healthcare and/or related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of TBD Health Inc.