Yes, quarantine is hard. We’ve all been there. Days spent perfecting your banana bread. Pajamas on repeat, makeup gathering dust in the bathroom. The perma-bun on top of your head, your roots looking more and more like one of Carol Baskin’s sweaters. But somewhere around mid-April, many of us began to see the benefits of all this alone time. Finally, time to tackle those big projects, and invest in some major self-care! For true self care, one must address all parts of the body and mind. Sure, you sheet masked, hair masked, dry brushed, self-tanned, green juiced, and did an insane spin class in your basement. But have you taken advantage of these solitary days for a little solitary love? As May rolls in and the weeks of social distancing seem to pile up faster than your laundry, let’s not forget that May is also national masturbation month! That’s right, it’s Maysturbation! (see what I did there?). There’s never been a better time to celebrate solo play than now, while many of us find ourselves solo!
Masturbation has historically been cloaked in the taboos of yesteryear. But women of today know that masturbation is essential to our well-being, right? Unfortunately, many of us are still weary of getting down with our (bad) selves.
So why masturbate? Why not? Masturbation has been shown to have positive effects on many aspects of wellness. Physically, masturbation is great exercise. It works the pelvic floor muscles, responsible for strengthening orgasms and helping with incontinence. It also has long term effects on the body such as lowering heart rate and blood pleasure. Masturbation boosts circulation, giving you that healthy glow that’s hard to find whilst cooped up in one’s home! And most importantly in today’s climate, it boosts the immune system!
Mentally, masturbation helps us calm down and feel happy. It works wonders on self-esteem. It helps us sleep and lowers overall stress levels. Masturbation and orgasm trigger the release of oxytocin and dopamine, which help decrease anxiety and depression. It is self-care and self-love in its purest form.
But most importantly, masturbation helps you have a better sex life! Primarily by helping you learn your body and how you experience pleasure, but also by increasing your orgasmic potential as you discover and perfect all the ways that you want to be pleasured. As such, masturbation can be a big boost to overall sexual desire, and help with other sexual dysfunctions. By being a strong solo practitioner, masturbation can help you achieve a deeper, more enriching sex life in the context of a relationship as well.
Here’s what it’s not. Masturbation is not bad for your health (as you just saw above). Masturbation is not something that makes you slutty, prude, or any other “type”. You are not “too fat”, “too ugly”, or “too out of shape” to masturbate. Anyone, of any age, can masturbate like a pro. Masturbation will absolutely not lower sexual desire, or “waste” any last strand of desire you may have (again, please see above). Masturbation won’t kill your sex life with a partner. It does not make you want a penis less (or more), it won’t “turn you into a lesbian”, “turn you straight”, or make you “become addicted to a vibrator”. These are all simply untrue. Masturbation really is good, clean fun.
So, where to start? If you’re new to masturbation, I recommend taking a little time to explore your vulva (yes, that’s the proper name for it. The vagina is what’s inside, and the vajayjay/hoo hah/veegee are what you call it while drinking a cosmo with your girlfriend’s in the early 2000’s). Locate your clitoris, as well as the labia around and below it. Begin with soft, gentle strokes and get a sense of how these areas respond to touch. Do they have a different response? Similar? What about different types of touch? If you feel comfortable, explore the inside of the vagina (clean hands of course!). The basic idea is to find pleasurable ways of touching yourself, with the possibility of having an orgasm. If direct touch is too sensitive or stimulating for you, you can try keeping underwear or pants on, using pressure rather than touch (pressing against a mattress or pillow). You can also try different positions. Lying down on your back or your stomach, standing up, sitting down.
If you’re a masturbation veteran, take this time to deepen your practice. Sometimes, we hit a wall whether it be physical or mental. You may have been masturbating the exact same way for 25 years, always finding that you “don’t have the time to start learning something new”, or feeling like “if it’s not broke, why fix it?” Have you ever taken a day to see how many orgasms you can achieve? Have you ever attempted a no-touch orgasm? Have you been wanting to try a vibrator but are usually too tired after work to dig it out of the closet? The time is now girl!
Here are a few ideas to get you started-
- Find the right spot. Many of us have heard of the g-spot, right? That super sensitive area at the front of the vagina (imagine inserting a finger and making the “come here” motion at your belly button). But what about the A-spot (the anterior fornix)? Follow the same instructions for finding the G-spot, but go another inch or two deeper. Or try stimulating the tip of your cervix. And what if you can’t seem to find anything? Who cares? Everyone has many different areas that feel good to them. Hopefully your journey led you to discovering some of your own.
- Use some new toys. Using new sex toys sometimes requires a few attempts to figure out how the toy works best for you, if at all. Now is a great time to give those toys a test run! It’s also a good time to try other toys that you may have been wanting to try. A glass dildo? A clitoral stimulator? An anal plug? Take those babies for a spin!
- Find some new inspiration. In my opinion, fantasy is probably the most important component to good masturbation. The thing is, most of us become pretty committed to a handful of fantasies, or a primary way of obtaining them. If you find yourself alone and looking to widen your fantasy base, why not try something new? Discover that porn scene that you’ve been too embarrassed to search. Or take a break from that same old porn site and try reading some erotic fiction. An app like Dipsea will stream erotic stories tailored to your liking, right to your phone.
- Take it virtual. Are you in quarantine without your partner and suddenly find yourself in a long-distance relationship? Or is being single feeling a little harder these days not being able to go out and meet someone? There are so many virtual options available right now to make you feel less alone. The Ferly app markets itself as “an audio guide to mindful sex”, providing the user with a sex positive community where she can learn more about herself and her sexuality. For those in a relationship, find some steamy scenes to send each other, knowing that your partner picked it out especially for you will likely enhance the solo experience. App-controlled toys such as those made by WeVibe and OhMiBod make masturbation a mutual experience.
So, this Maysturbation, under the solitude of self-isolation, let’s put those sourdough starters, those herb gardens, and that Netflix watchlist to the side and let’s use our time wisely. You may come out of this with a newfound sense of self, an increased ability to access your pleasure, and a better way to fall asleep. Now really, can your banana bread do all that?