Don’t be shy about self-love masturbation is a great way to learn about your own body, boost your emotional and physical health, and improve your sex life. Here are a few tips to get you started.
When I was around 10, I heard the word “masturbation” and didn’t know what it meant. I went to my trusty source, our aging dictionary (no Google back then), and read something that was equally puzzling. I remember standing at the top of the stairs and screaming down to my mother, “Mom? What’s self-pollution?”
(For the record, the real definition of masturbation is touching and stroking your own sex organs for pleasure.)
Women and Masturbating: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby
Fortunately, women have come a long way from those days of shame and guilt about masturbating to today, when the lead characters on the Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie create a thriving business selling a vibrator designed for women of a certain age. Or when teen Aimee on Sex Education (another Netflix hit) learns a variety of ways to pleasure herself, thus empowering her to tell her boyfriend exactly what she wants. Far from being furtive and dirty, having a ménage à moi actually frees these women to embrace and claim their sexuality.
Men, in general, don’t get as much negative feedback about masturbating as women do. Historically, women’s sexuality has been defined by two purposes: to reproduce and to provide pleasure for men. Plus, since women are still socialized to put everyone’s needs before their own and to be caretakers, many feel that to do something that is solely for their own pleasure is the height of selfishness hence the guilt.
“It’s complicated because we have defined women’s lives as well as sexuality
5 Reasons Why Women Masturbate
In her studies, Dr. Bowman found five reasons why women masturbate:
- For sexual pleasure
- To learn about or better understand their bodies
- As a release
- As a substitute for partner sex
- Due to general sexual dissatisfaction
Women were most likely to enjoy the act without guilt or shame if they felt positive about their genitals and if they reported that they masturbate for sexual pleasure and to learn about their bodies. “There is a connection between the two, but we don’t know which causes which: Does sexual empowerment cause masturbation or does masturbation cause sexual empowerment?” says Bowman.
terms of what women can do for others” explains Christin Bowman, PhD, a critical social psychologist who did her master’s and doctorate theses on women and masturbation. “Masturbation as a solitary act is really just self-pleasuring, so there can be some emotion about you doing something that is all about you and your pleasure. It’s not productive; it’s just fun for you. That women’s own sexual pleasure also matters becomes a radical notion when you consider this long, long history of our attitude toward women’s sexuality.”
4 Health Benefits of Masturbation
According to Lou Paget, a certified sex educator and the author of Orgasms: How to Have Them, Give Them, and Keep Them Coming, getting lost in the deep end can boost your health profile for the following reasons:
- The pleasure quotient increases the release of the “feel good” hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin, the latter of which calms and reduces stress.
- You increase blood flow to the genital area, which keeps tissue stronger and healthier.
- Orgasmic contractions strengthen the pelvic floor.
- It is a means of “safe sex,” without the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Masturbation Will Improve Your Partnered Sexual Activity
Your partner isn’t a mind reader. If you don’t speak up that you like this but not that, they’ll never know and will keep on doing what they are doing. The more aware you are of what works for your body, the more you can communicate that to your partner in gentle, specific ways: “I like it better when you touch me there gently, not hard over there,” instead of “Ow, for the love of all that is holy, stop that!” The first approach shows that you are into it and willing to experiment; the second is just going to turn off your partner. Even better, you could masturbate with your partner. “Any time someone is able to gently guide someone, people will listen. Guiding each other to your respective sensitive spots can be really hot and intimate. You can use their hands on you to show the motion and pressure you like, and they can do the same with you,” says Paget.
If a woman is uncomfortable masturbating, she may have trouble with partnered sex as well. If you think you need to see a sex therapist, check out the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists to find a certified professional near you.
Masturbation 101: Tips for Beginners
If you still can’t get past the notion that masturbation is dirty and obscene if every time you go there, your mother pops into your head, screaming at you that you’re disgusting you can learn to quell the noise. Paget says, “Your body is your body. No one else should control your sexuality. Tell yourself that this is healthy for you, and your body is a thing of beauty, not shame.”
Start off slowly if you have to; you don’t have to do everything at once. If you’re shy, cover yourself with a blanket. Get comfortable just touching yourself lightly and follow a sexy fantasy. Or just squeeze your thighs together in a rhythmic motion. Give yourself a chance to explore what works for you. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Stimulate your clitoris using a finger or an object to gently stroke the clitoris.
- Insert your fingers or sex toys into your vagina.
- Accept your fantasies. They’re yours; you don’t have to tell anyone.
- Whatever type of erotica works for you, go for it. As Paget says, your largest sexual organ is your brain, so get it involved.
- Get some of the mother’s little helpers: a vibrator, lubricant, ben wa balls, whatever knocks your socks off. (There are discreet online and brick-and-mortar shops for women. If you don’t want to leave a computer history, change your browser setting to private.)
- Take a shower. “It’s where most people find out what they like. They are alone, naked, and touching their body. And for women with children, it is sometimes the only place they can be alone without being interrupted,” says Paget.
- Avoid getting urinary tract infections. Anytime you are doing anything to your genitals, wash your hands before and afterward. Clean sex toys after using them, and this is one time when you should never share your toys. Anything that goes anally never goes vaginally.
Ready to go check your undercarriage now? Go ahead, you’ll feel better if you do!
Content courtesy of Everyday Health