The legacy of masturbation
Self-pleasure, or masturbation, is usually thought of as the act of stimulating the genitals, often with one, or both hands for sexual pleasure. Masturbation has a somewhat shameful legacy in our culture. Not so long ago, it was believed that masturbation caused blindness and insanity, and could even make the sexual organs fall off! In fact, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was invented by John Harvey Kellogg in the late 19th century as a cure for masturbation. The now popular breakfast cereal was originally meant to help prevent the practice from happening, as the inventor thought of it as an ‘abominable crime’.
In fact, masturbation is natural and healthy, and something that babies and children naturally do as part of their sexual development, out of both curiosity and pleasure. There is to date no evidence to show that the practice impairs physical or mental health. Nevertheless, because of the stigma that touching one’s own genitals often carries, many people learn to masturbate quietly, quickly and secretly. This is because we often develop fears around being heard, caught or seen, and so develop the practice in private and in secret. Another common side effect of rushing to finish is that self-pleasuring can become both genital and orgasm focused, yet it can be so much more.
Simple tips to enhance your self-pleasure practice:
- Take more time. It is a good idea to set aside some time when you will not be disturbed. Try starting by self-pleasuring for half an hour to an hour, or whatever length of time feels good to you
- Create a pleasant atmosphere. Light some candles, put on some music you like, light some incense – anything to please your senses
- Involve the whole body. As you touch and explore the whole body, notice which parts you like to touch and which less so. Locate any areas of tension, pleasure, or pain, and be curious to feel if these change over time
- Try varying the touch you give yourself by exploring using different speeds, pressures, and strokes. Find some materials or household objects to touch the skin with and notice the sensations
- Bring attention to your breath, flowing in and out of your nose or mouth. This can help you to be more present in the moment, and more aware of your body. Conscious breathing can help you to expand the amount of sensation you are able to feel. Read more about the power of breath.
- Make sounds. Do you masturbate quietly? Try adding some sounds, whether moans, sighs, panting, screaming, laughing, using words… be creative!
- Move the whole body – this can help to release tension, bring awareness, and spread the energy through the body
- Feel everything. Notice what you meet in your own body. As you explore some of the above, you may find that you are able to expand to feeling more pleasure. You may also notice that other sensations come up. For example, guilt and shame often surface for many when self-pleasuring, due to being told by others at some point in the past that it was wrong. If this happens, keep feeling the sensations as you breathe, and they will likely soon shift. Read more about how tantric therapy can help with emotional repression.
As you self-pleasure, learn to love and enjoy your body as it is – free from shame, judgment and unresolved emotions.
I offer online and face to face sessions to individuals and couples in Teesside/ North Yorkshire and London. Read more about tantric therapy sessions.