As Mistress M I used to sign off with ‘Love yourself, touch yourself and be good to each other’. I did this because it was an excellent piece of advice. To be a good lover and to enjoy sex, you really need to start with an appreciation of yourself, your body and what turns you on. The old adage—‘How can anyone love you if you can’t love yourself?’—is especially true when it comes to sex and masturbation.
Unfortunately, masturbation starts getting weird for most of us at some point or another. We can start as early as infants (there are even reports that say we start in the womb) and most young children will explore their bodies. So we are all good with it until our parents notice and freak out or get embarrassed. Most new parents don’t get told that their precious, innocent child will play with their genitals. They’re also not told that this is a pleasurable act, rather than a particularly sexual one. So they freak out and tell you to stop, and you—being the perceptive little thing that you are—pick up on their embarrassment and learn to be ashamed of touching your genitals. Of course, as a teenager you will probably get over that and start touching them again, but for a lot of us there is still an element of shame, fear (if your parents reacted angrily) or just a vague feeling that your genitals are “dirty”.
Your parents aren’t at fault. No one warned them that you might touch yourself; no one told them that they shouldn’t feel weird when you do. If they were better prepared, they could comfortably and calmly tell you, ‘Touching your genitals is fine, but it’s best reserved for when you’re alone,’ whilst saying to themselves, ‘Please don’t do it in front of me again because it makes me feel weird and icky.’
This scenario may be why you feel like masturbation is a naughty indulgence. Alternatively, it may just be society’s fault or your religions’. I want you to try and allow yourself to be okay with it. Stop making it a furtive secret to be done efficiently and quickly. Start treating yourself as someone who deserves to experience the full gamut of being a sexual being. Begin exploring your body and take your time with it. Stop thinking that you should be striving for an orgasm. Instead, strive to discover new sensations, new erogenous zones, new methods, techniques, and fantasies. By using the same technique or the same stimulation each time, you are training your brain to only respond to one thing. If you do that for too long it can lead to less fun when you are ready to explore new things sexually. For instance, if you only ever use Johnny Depp or Ruby Rose as a ‘lock in’, you need to expand your wank bank. Try someone new (or many new ‘someones’). If you only ever use Tony Abbott, get some professional help. Even if you identify as straight and vanilla, this is a time when you can safely explore new territory. There are plenty of websites that can give you some pointers about new ways to masturbate if you are having trouble thinking of any on your own. Enjoy yourself. Trust yourself. Love yourself.
The other way masturbation can be fun is when you do it in front of or with someone else. Not only is it incredibly sexy, but by showing your partner what turns you on, you can teach them how to touch you and vice versa. You can also try slowing down and touching one another. If you take away any pressures to have sex or orgasm you can learn so much more about each other.
For those of you still uncomfortable with masturbation, at least take the time to get to know yourself—if not in a sexual way, then sensually. Appreciate yourself; discover your body through sight and touch. You are stuck with this body for quite a while so try and get comfortable with it. A lot of us (I am guessing about half) haven’t really had a good look at our genitals and some of us don’t even know what they feel like. Check them out, get comfortable with how they look, feel and react. You explore your ears and nose; why not your genitals?
And yes, when I am imploring you to explore I admit I am mainly talking to women. Lets face it, you men seem to be pretty familiar with your equipment, but I am sure you too could benefit (and enjoy) from some more prolonged, detailed investigation.
Whatever you choose to do; love yourself, touch yourself and be good to yourself—then you can work on being good to others!
Suggestions for a get to know me/you session:
- Massage oil
- Hand mirror
- Feathers or silk
- Flattering light
Suggestions for a masturbation/exploration of self/each other:
- ‘Lovers Guide’ DVD’s (can be sexy and educational or hilarious— especially the really old ones)
- Ben Wa balls
- Detachable shower head
- Different strokes and pressures
Words by Emma Sachsse
Artwork by Amber Hall