Article originally posted on The Love Life Blog
Today I’m going to talk about solo sex. That’s right, masturbation, wanking, self-pleasuring, or as they refer to it in the ancient Taoist sexual tracts, self-cultivation.
I gave the final talk at a singles expo in Sydney, and then I ran a Luscious Woman 1 workshop a week later. Solo sex was a prominent topic in both the presentation and the seminar. And as ever, it has been a common topic in work with private clients too.
Why is this? Because the ability to self-pleasure is an important aspect of sexual empowerment and of sexual development.
Unfortunately it has had a bad rap over recent centuries, seen as something unpleasant, even sinful, and done furtively and secretly. How many of you have had in-depth conversations with your friends on your favourite masturbatory techniques? Or as adolescents did your mothers encourage you to self-pleasure to explore your budding sexuality? I doubt it. Shame, because it would have made a positive difference to your experience of sex.
It’s never too late, and I encourage everyone to enjoy the pleasures of solo sex. It’s a healthy part of everyone’s sex life, whether you’re single or partnered. People often think it’s secondary to partnered sex, and only something you’d do if you weren’t getting ‘the real thing’. But solo sex is fabulous in its own right, and when done well can enhance your ability to have better partnered sex.
For men, through masturbation you can learn to manage your level of arousal and control your ejaculation. For men who want to learn the skill of having orgasm without ejaculation, self-cultivation is an essential part of the practice.
It’s unfortunate that adolescent boys tend to masturbate so furtively and quickly; no wonder so many adult men have problems with premature ejaculation – they’ve trained themselves to come quickly! If this is your problem, or your partner’s, you can retrain yourself through solo practice. And if you have sons, tell them to take it slowly! I told my own 12 year-old this the other day, his response was a disgusted: “Aw, Mum, do you have to talk about that….(thoughtful pause)… really?!” (It must be hard at times having a sex therapist as a mother. Although he did top the year in sex ed – I was so proud!)
Ladies, solo sex is essential to your sexual confidence and heightened sexual response. Too often we only experience ourselves as sexual beings in relation to a man. That is, we need a man involved to feel sexual. The first step in sexual empowerment is to feel sexual just as ourselves. Once you have this feeling you can take it into partnered sex for a far more satisfying experience.
So ladies, make love to yourselves regularly. Set the scene with music and light, enjoy the feel of your body with creams or oils. Then take your time to arouse yourself. You can do it on the bed, in the bath, or as one previously anorgasmic client of mine did, on the shag pile in her walk-in robe surrounded by all her favourite clothes!
The goal is not just orgasm, but also the sensations en route to orgasm. As with the men, you can learn to manage your arousal and your orgasms (although in contrast to the men, who in general will be learning to delay orgasm, you’ll generally be learning to bring on orgasm and to expand and multiply orgasms, lucky women that we are!).
And while you’re enjoying your self-pleasuring, let your mind roam free. You don’t have to fantasize, but it can be a great way to bring on and enhance orgasm. Hey, it’s just you and Brad Pitt (or in my case, Johnny Depp – there’s no Keira Knightley in my swash-buckling fantasies…)
If your reaction to this post is one of aversion, or ‘I couldn’t possibly’, I wish you could see the radiant beams of clients who couldn’t orgasm until they learnt to self-pleasure (and the radiant beams of their partners!). As one of the participants boldly stated in the closing activity of a recent Luscious Woman workshop, as we all danced around in a circle and took turns to make our statements: “I dare to expand my sexuality through embracing self-pleasure!”