Mindful Masturbation - Why Developing Your Own Erotic Practice is Important

Photo by johannes86/iStock / Getty Images

by Tanya Koens

Lets talk about our erotic relationship with ourselves.  Ohhh I see people shifting in their seats and starting to fee uncomfortable.  If I had a dollar for every time somebody squirmed when I mentioned Masturbation, I would be a wealthy woman.  Don’t let feeling uncomfortable deter you, read on to see how developing an erotic practice with yourself could be of benefit to you.

Why is masturbation important?

To begin with, it is the first way we experience erotic pleasure.  For most people it is not a taught thing but rather something we worked out for ourselves.  We stumbled on a way to touch our own bodies and experience pleasure.  That’s a beautiful thing … until the world starts to tell us how to think, behave and feel about that. 

If you look at small children you will notice that they often touch their bodies and feel no shame.  They do it because it feels nice.  Good for them!   Yes, it is important to teach children when and where it is suitable to touch their bodies.  No, it is not appropriate to shame them for doing something that feels nice.  What kind of message does this send? It implies touching your body is wrong and that you shouldn’t do it.  An interruption to the joy and excitement experienced from such touch can create shame around sexual pleasure and can inhibit people exploring their own bodies and in being sexual with others.

Often when working with people who are experiencing sexual issues, I find that they have shame around masturbation or any form of self-pleasure.  As a result they are not very familiar with their own body and its wiring and capacity for pleasure.  When people don’t really know how their own bodies work, they often follow social tropes about sex blithely or do things that worked with a previous partner - and this can lead to dissatisfaction for the person AND their partner.

What happens if we are disconnected from our bodies?  Parts of our body may become unresponsive to stimulation (sensory-motor amnesia).  For example people may pay attention to stimulating one part of their body or genitals and deem that other parts do not feel good or there is no sensation at all.  People with penises may become accustomed to stimulating the shaft and forget the balls, perineum and anus.  People with vulvas may be focused on the clitoris bulb and forget their breasts, labia, inside their vagina, the clitoral system, perineum and anus.  Not to forget other parts of the body!  Remember it is not only genitals that can be arousing to be touched.  If we do not explore our bodies with an open mind, how can we know what feels good for us?  We don’t really!  It’s kind of like fumbling around in the dark and hoping your sex partner can find exactly the right places on your body to make you sing. 

Taking time for self-discovery has many benefits:

-       Self-care: spending time with yourself, to relax, explore and give yourself loving touch;

-       Experiencing pleasure;

-       Learning what feels nice;

-       Learning what doesn’t feel nice;

-       Information to give your partner about your body and how it experiences pleasure.

Masturbation Coaching

Spending some time developing your own erotic practice has many benefits.  Many people feel frozen or just plain weird when it comes to spending time with their own body.  Many folks resist trying anything outside of the superhighway of arousal they already know.  Initially it can be difficult to take different journeys and to not be goal oriented but rather to listen to your body and follow where it wants to take you.  The payoffs though, are immense.  An expanded pleasure base, better intimate connection with yourself and your partner and less chance of boredom!

Spending time on your own erotic practice can incorporate things like:

Breathing to calm and come into your body
(fill up your lungs and breathe into your belly, exhale slowly)

Breathing to up regulate and feel excitement
(take sharp intakes of breath for a few minutes and let the exhale fall out)

Breathing to down regulate and draw out pleasure
(slowing breathing down when you are feeling highly aroused, tense or have been doing some up regulation breaths)

Experimenting with touch:

o   To different parts of your body

o   Different types of touch:

-   stroking

-   tapping

-   pushing

-   flicking

-   tickling

-   slapping

-   dancing

Experimenting with sensations:

o   sun on skin

o   being in water

o   using a feather or a flogger or any object that takes your fancy.

May is Masturbation Month; why not take up a challenge to spend time with yourself every day in May?  The potential benefits are endless!