I remember the early days of my masturbation discovery.
Although I had discovered masturbation somewhere around 6-7, I don't think I was fully aware of what I was doing until about age 13. Sex and sexuality were super open topics in my household, but I was very aware of the social taboo masturbation carried. When I was that young, I don't know what actually got me off: The touching myself, or the thrill of doing the taboo. Fortunately, this translated into my adulthood by becoming a kinky brat and making me like some taboo stuff. Thank you, societal shame!
Being well versed in masturbation, I still recall the day my best friend at around 14-15 asked me if I had ever touched myself. I told her yes, and I loved seeing her open up to me about her experience. It's as if she felt relief that she could share this part of herself with someone and not be looked at in a different light. We talked about our touching techniques, how many orgasms we could have, what turned us on, and if we ever used any tools. Our dynamic was so open, we would get bored after school, lay in the same bed, pop a film on Pornhub, and masturbate by each other. It was fucking awesome.
Now, this definitely wasn't the easy case for most folks. I had a very privileged experience of feeling little to no shame with my vulva, masturbation, and being able to share it openly with my social circle. Those around me? Well, in Salt Lake City, most my Mormon peers didn't even know where their vaginas were (forget the clitoris). Even in my senior year of high school I recall explaining to a peer that you do not pee out of your vagina, that you have two separate holes (vagina and urethral opening). Masturbation was seen as something super dirty, especially if you were someone with a vulva.
That's not an exclusively Utah experience. Almost everyone I know has dealt or is dealing with some form of shame around masturbation- and we are here to undo this shit.
While masturbation can feel shameful for many, there are a multitude of other reasons one may feel uncomfortable with masturbation. Some may have experienced trauma around their genitals and not wish to touch or interact with them. Some folks may have gender dysphoria and not feel comfortable with their birth organs. Some folks may be disabled and not be able to access or comfortably explore their pleasure. These are all valid and must be taken into account in the spectrum of sexuality and self pleasure. If you are one of these folks, I would love to redirect you to sources that may be more educated and helpful for you on your journey to pleasure. Please feel free to send me an email!
Where You May Have Learned Shame
We hear the question all over the place.. What made you shameful of your sexuality? Of masturbation? Your genitals? I think the better question is, what didn't make you shameful?
One of my youngest memories of shame around masturbation came from a friends religious family. When teaching the youngsters about their body, they referred to masturbation as "raping yourself". In what fucking world does the term "raping yourself" not cause trauma and fear of your body? You're so young, impressionable, and touching yourself is an act of rape? This is the fucking problem.
In between the culture you grew up in, the religion you may have been a part of, the society that framed you, your family, your peers, experiences you had... the culprits are absolutely everywhere. It's never just one reason that made you feel insecure with yourself. It's a multiple factors that all fall together into a massive mess that is inferiority of the self. As sex bloggers, educators, writers, or speakers: this is often what our work is based around. How can we be leaders or provide the tools needed for folks to undo the multifaceted avenues of shame?
For me, that comes in form of normalization. To be open, honest, and give others the courage to think clearer without shame. To provide a safe place where there is no judgement, surprises, or problems: just guidance, celebration, and education where it's merited. The shame we speak of is collectively felt in many ways- you're not a random anomaly: You're human, and doing the best you can.
The Double Standard
It's important to note that even though masturbation is seen as a huge taboo, it's way more accepted if you have a penis. The whole "boys will be boys", "hormonal highs", "using the sock", as if it's a right of passage into manhood. Touching yourself with a vulva? Morally wrong. Tainted. Dirty. Disgusting. Slutty. Maybe even selfish.
Even within the realm of taboo, those with vulvas still seem to have no fucking right to their bodies: shocker. This is what fucking fueled me to do what I do. No one can tell me who I am, what my values are, or put me down simply because I masturbate to experience pleasure. In many ways, we were born to do this, and we aren't apologizing for it.
Taking the Power Back
The good news is, I can safely assure you that a your god probably doesn't give two shits if you touch yourself. A lightning bolt is not going to come out of the sky and kill you the minute you touch your clitoris for fun. Your neighbors are not going to secretly plant a hidden camera in your bedroom to see if you masturbate.
Masturbation is completely normal, and it's your business. No one has a say in your masturbation practices, urges, and rights: if they think they do, you should consider tossing them to the curb. We have dealt with forms of sexual oppression for almost all of humanity, so the biggest fuck you is taking our power back: Masturbation is a great start.
Masturbation is indeed, natural. Many animal species alongside humans do it, we do it as children, we even do it in the womb. I'm a firm believer we wouldn't have the urge to do these things unless our evolutionary nature intended it. Why would be born with sexual desire and pleasure if we weren't meant to enjoy it? It's a loaded question, and I will verbally debate anyone who disagrees. We were meant to enjoy, and connect with ourselves: It's the human experience.
The Secret Sauce
I won't sit here and bullshit you- this blog alone won't undo your sexual shame around masturbation. Things like this take time, and you shouldn't give yourself even more shame for having spurts of shame on your journey. Shaming yourself about shame? The irony!
Everyone is so different, and we all move at our own subjective pace. Some of us may need more guidance, help, and professional resources. What I can tell you is these few, simple tips have made a world of difference to my audience, peers, and even myself. Truly, it's not my fault if you start masturbating all the time.
Get familiar with your goodies
In my years of work in this field, I have found that one of the most helpful tools to undo sexual or bodily shame is masturbation. Just the simple act of touching your genitals, even if it's without sexual intent, really helps us get past the hump that genitals are gross or bad. There is nothing wrong with your genitals, we all look different: You are absolutely great as you are.
You will find that through touch, you'll notice what parts of yourself are the most sensational. I recommend doing this in front of a mirror! It's a safe space to point out your own anatomy, see what touching techniques feel nice, and my favorite part is arousal. When touching yourself, you will clearly see your body's arousal response. If you have a vulva, you'll see the swelling and deep color flush of the labia minora and majora. You may notice your clitoris start to engorge, and be more prominent. Maybe you see your natural lubrication start to coat your vaginal opening: how exciting!
If you have a penis, you may also notice the changes in skin tone around your testicles and shaft. Your penis may grow with erection, or you'll feel that sensation is heightened. You may notice a trickle of pre-cum come out of your urethra- the human body is truly a wonder.
You are your safest sex partner
Masturbation in my eyes is synonymous with safe spaces. It's an event where no one is there to judge you, no one can hurt you, no pressure to perform- just you, your own touch, and it's your body. You play by your own rules!
I have found that most importantly, masturbation is the gateway to knowing what pleasures us. We can translate this pleasure into pleasuring ourselves... but also teaching our partners what we like. If we don't know what we like, how can we expect our partners to know?
While our partners may have some magic touch we have yet to discover, masturbation can give you at the very least the baseline of what you enjoy. What touch feels good? Is there a certain rhythm you like? Does pressure feel good? Light touch? Masturbation gives you the freedom to explore all this, and more.
Make time for it.
It takes time. Undoing shame around masturbation isn't an overnight fix. For this, I always recommend you carve out dedicated time in your week for self pleasure. Even if your intent isn't sexual satisfaction, there is something to be said about holding space for your body and getting comfortable with it.
It can really be as simple as 20 minutes every other day. For example, I usually take 30 minutes post lunch break with a sex toy, pop on a film, and let myself enjoy as many orgasms that may come up. Even if orgasms don't happen, I still did something that was just for me, and for my enjoyment.
One of my favorite parts of masturbation is safely exploring my fantasies. We can remove shame about our bodies and sexual desires when we are able to safely experience them. Ask yourself? What turns you on? If you aren't exactly sure, masturbation is here for you. In your own privacy you can have any thoughts you want, watch what you want, and listen to what you want.
The Power of Thought
I recommend fantasizing in your thoughts first: Can you think of something that has turned you on before? Do you have an ideal scenario you would want to play out? Had some fun thoughts about your friends? Have a taboo thought? Explore it all, because you can. Absolutely non of this is shameful, and it's the most secure way to enjoy yourself.
If you're like me, you may be a more visual person. I am a regular consumer of porn because it lets me see and live scenarios that turn me on. I love scrolling through categories and being open to watching new scenes, or things I haven't considered liking. Through my exploration, I found my love for BDSM. I also safely explored my heteroflexibility, loving scenes with just women. I found my absolute passion for group sex, bisexual play, and sharing: the more the merrier! I would have never known any of these were of my interest without porn.
Would I want to do some of these things in real life? I'm not sure, some things are better in fantasy- we will cross that bridge when we get there. I've definitely lived out a fair amount of them, and getting familiar with these settings in masturbation helped me get there.
*Not all porn is quality porn. You must do research to see what platform fits your standards, ethics, and needs*
Erotica and Audio
Yes, reading can totally turn you on and be a great asset to masturbation. I didn't really know this until recently, when my client Lexi Sylver released her series of erotic short stories, Mating Season. Just reading the stories had me so mentally turned on, I had to touch myself! What was supposed to be a quiet, before bed read turned into a 2 hour masturbation marathon- whoops!
You can also listen to audio clips, stories, or readings or erotic scenes- I haven't dived too deeply into this sector. If you have recommendations, let us know!
Using Pleasure Products
I always recommend that when you begin your pleasure journey, you try using your hands first to see the basics of your pleasure. If you're like me, you will find that using your hands can actually be difficult for stimulation: I almost always prefer using a pleasure product. There are many folks that cannot reach sexual stimulation without a toy, and that's okay!
Sex toys have been very empowering in my experience because I go the extra mile in tending to my sexual needs.
There are three million pleasure products to choose from, and I probably own all of them. I have a multitude of toy reviews, which may be helpful in seeing what toy may work for your body. The best way to approach buying a pleasure product is having a general knowledge of what feels good, and asking for advice. If you need help picking out something, shoot me an email! There is a lot to explore.
Give Yourself Aftercare
In BDSM, aftercare can be described as tending to your partners needs (emotional or physical) after playing out a scene, session, attending event, etc. It's essential to help all parties included analyze their feelings, get back in their bodies, and take steps to feel empowered in their experience.
Why not use this with masturbation?
If you experience shame around masturbation, giving yourself aftercare could really make a difference in processing your feelings. Ask yourself, how do I feel after touching myself? Did any blocks come up? What was great? What would you do again or change? What felt absolutely wrong? If you feel inclined, I recommend you journal these questions.
If you feel emotionally or physically drained/ energized after masturbating, how can you tend to yourself? Rehydrate with water? Eat a meal to replenish? Take a relaxing bath? Calm down with some music? Dance around your home because you are happy? So many emotions and reactions can come up with masturbation, and honoring them is solid aftercare.
Touch Yourself, My Loves
One cannot simply encompass everything that is masturbation and undoing its shame in one blog post. This will take practice, over and over again- for good reason. You will experience breakthroughs, face hard or amazing feelings, and truly take a deep dive into yourself and who you are. What we can do is support each other, and start off with these simple steps. I am so grateful for you!