Have Better Sex—With Yourself
You do you, babe.
It’s Masturbation Month. Masturbation May. 31 days dedicated to having sex with the most important person in your life...you!
Since 1995, this month has been celebrated as a time to evolve conversations around not only the act of getting yourself off but turning yourself on.
If you’ve never really considered spending time on the latter, are you just using masturbation as a means to an end?
Yes, duh. But think about that again.
I’m willing to bet that many people have gotten stuck in a routine of giving themselves sex that would be considered pretty lacklustre if experienced with another person.
Imagine having your newest lover come over and the cumming is over before the song can even change on your “silk sheets” playlist. Where’s the fun in that?
One night stands and long term relationships alike, no one wants to feel like they’re being used for a quick dopamine hit.
So why do we treat sex with ourselves this way? Why is this kind of transactional exchange acceptable when it comes to having sex with yourself?
We’ve built up a cultural narrative of “self-care” that promotes bath bombs, sheet masks and pastel-coloured lattes but somehow, sexual self-care is still taboo. Because the topic has been kept under wraps for so long, we have much work to do as a culture to transform the internalized negativity that causes us to “check out” during intimate moments with ourselves.
Cutting edge sex-tech companies like Lora DiCarlo and Dame are doing their part to shift the narrative away from shame and into empowerment. By inventing toys that seem more like sexual wellness tools when placed in a sophisticated, educational context, these brands are showing just how necessary masturbation is to our overall well-being.
As many of us have been locked up in quarantine, away from physical intimacy and forced to dig deeper within ourselves (pun intended), we need to consider all the forms of self-care at our disposal.
Whether masturbating has become boringly routine or you rarely dabble, here are four things you can try to give yourself the sex you deserve.
Self-proclaimed Professional Masturbator Betty Dodson stresses the importance of accessing our own sexuality. This means playing with it, developing it and enjoying it so we have something to share with another person. To Dodson, the first step on this journey of self-discovery is getting a mirror and checking out the “parts”. While she may be more specifically referring to vulvas, developing a positive body image is the crux of this exercise.
Have you seen yourself naked lately? You’re hot stuff. What a shame it is that you so rarely get to see yourself in action. Instead of feeling a shameful sense of voyeurism for watching yourself, be fully present. and respond to the body in the mirror. Or the camera. Whatever your thing is.
Just touch yourself (nope, not there)
I dare you to set a timer for 20 minutes, close your bedroom door, put on some mood music and let your hands go places they haven’t gone before. The genitals get a lot of air time, but have you ever hung out with just your nipples for a while? Your shoulders? Your stomach? Get naked and pick a body part that needs some extra TLC.
If you’d prefer to follow a road map, take yourself through all the erogenous zones from your head to your toes. You may find a new favourite spot to camp out for a while.
Find different porn
If someone were to open your internet history for the past month, would they see the same site over and over again? You know which site I’m talking about.
If you have the financial capacity, try purchasing high quality, ethically made porn. If your logic for not doing so goes along the lines of, “why would I pay for something I can get for free?”, my response to you would be, “because you get what you pay for”.
A great place to start would be a visit to the work of Erika Lust. Her work is cinematic, thought-provoking and her films often feature bodies and identities that aren’t typical of free, mainstream adult films.
For the same reasons outlined above, I’m a fan of Four Chambers. The project is “deliberately ambiguous, rejecting labels for both their films and performers, existing in-between genres of both art and pornography and dismissing the need for a definition of either.”
Write your own Erotica
You don’t have to consider yourself a writer for it to be fun. If this seems too advanced and the word “erotica” feels intimidating, jot down a quick “who, what, when, where, why” of your ideal porn video. Let the 5 W’s show you the way.
Whatever you do, don’t censor yourself. If you can, I’d recommend ditching a digital notepad entirely and writing in pen. The purpose of this exercise is not to make it onto the bestsellers list, but to externalize your desires so you can become aware of them. In putting these desires to words, you will also develop your own personal language around your specific wants and needs.
There should be more importance placed on having quality, mindful sex with ourselves. I can’t think of anything healthier than strengthening this internal bond. Not only will this change the way you share intimacy with others, but it will empower you to value your sexuality in a world that wants to erase it and sell it back to you. Be conscious of the media you consume and re-establish a relationship with sensuality.
Maybe you’ll never try one of the suggestions above. But I do hope that the next time you reach into your pants, you'll consider spending a bit more time getting to know the person you’re having sex with.