Masturbation: A Pleasure Lab
How do you touch yourself?
Do you treat yourself the way you treat your lover? Do you bring the same kind of enthusiasm and exploration to your self-touch as you do to touching your partner? Most of us do not.
Masturbation is often used as a utilitarian act, a release valve for excess sexual pressure. Many people masturbate in the same way every time, repeating the same strokes and playing out the same fantasies that bring them to climax quickly and reliably. This can be useful – again, knowing how to get off is not a bad thing – but masturbation can also serve as a powerful laboratory to try new things and learn more about your body, arousal patterns and erotic potential.
As you learn what kinds of touch your body responds to, or what fantasies really turn you on, you can bring this knowledge to your partnered sex life and have more variety to play with, more self-knowledge to guide your partner.
Most of us love a confident, self-aware lover who can give us guidance towards pleasuring and satisfying them. So why not also cultivate this self-awareness in ourselves, so we can be the kind of lover we want to have?
Essential Speaking of Sex Podcast Episodes On Masturbation
- Episode 362: Savoring: A Foundational Pleasure Practice
- Episode #334: Mindful Masturbation
- Episode 357: Recalibrate Towards Pleasure
- Episode 364: Finding New Pleasure Pathways
- Episode #020: Female Masturbation Techniques
- Episode #095: Is Masturbation Healthy?
- Episode #248: Kinky Masturbation
Even More Speaking Of Sex Episodes About Masturbation, Solo Sex & Self Loving!
- Episode #065: When Is Masturbation Cheating?
- Episode #092: Just The Tip: Masturbation Is Natural
- Episode #111: Mutual Masturbation
- Episode #196: Slow Masturbation from The Joy of Sex
- Episode #194: Female Masturbation with Jenny Block
Here are a few questions to help you explore your relationship to masturbation, and to reflect on what you might want to explore!
- Why do you masturbate?
- What did you learn about masturbation growing up?
- Did you have to hide it? Where you ashamed about it?
- Now as an adult, do you often rush through masturbation?
- How do you feel before, during and after?
- How many different ways do you masturbate?
- How often do you try something new?
- Do you make noise when you masturbate?
- How frequently do you usually masturbate? How does it feel when you masturbate more frequently? less frequently? not at all for awhile?
- When did you buy your first sex toy or pleasure tool? When was the last time?
- How much pleasure can you allow yourself to feel in your body?
- What are you seeking? Is there a feeling you are going for? Do you reach it?
- What do you think about?
- How do you (if at all) prepare your body for masturbation?
- How do you (if at all) prepare your space?
- Do you feel more or less energized after masturbating?
Discovering New Sensations
Masturbation can be a realm of pure exploration. You can try new things and see how you respond. This can include trying new strokes on your genitals, adding in more full body touch, moving your body in new ways, or making a range of sounds. This is all about forging new pleasure pathways.
You can also experiment with accessorizing your sex life – there is a wide range of vibrators, insertables, anal toys, balls and barbells for you to enjoy. Some people love sex toys – other people find them a distraction. Here’s our guide on sex toys to help you find the best toys out there.
We receive email every day asking us if masturbation is healthy. This question stems from hundreds of years of anti-masturbation crusading.
Masturbation can be great for your health, your relationship to yourself and everyone else in your life. It can be a primary pleasure practice where you release tension, flood your body with pleasure and experience joyful orgasms and climaxes. Your solo sex life can be a rich erotic terrain full of fantasy, exploration and peak pleasures.
But for many of us, we still masturbate with some level of secrecy, shame or hurry. Here is a provocative podcast episode that explores how the legacy of sexual repression and violence may be impacting how you masturbate!
The real question is this: how is YOUR relationship to masturbation?
Frequency of Masturbation:
There is no one right number of times per day, week or year to masturbate. Some people masturbate a few times a day, some a few times a week, others a few times a month or year.
Only you can know what is best for you. Becoming aware of your patterns and more deliberate in your choices around masturbation will make it more satisfying and a more energizing part of your life.
If you feel stuck in a masturbation rut, or feel like you masturbate compulsively – that is, without choice and/or against your better judgement – it may be time to change up your patterns and bring more awareness to your self-touch.
Quality of Masturbation:
Many people masturbate and still have a feeling of sexual longing – there is a feeling or experience we have powerful desire for but are not achieving.
If this is the case, check in with that longing and see if there are elements of that fantasy or desire you can bring into your sex life, solo or partnered. See if you can create the feeling state you are looking for.
What questions do you have about masturbation? Do you want more resources and suggestions for how to masturbate with more variety? Use the comments of this thread to share your thoughts!