Birth Control

Struggling with masturbation? Try this.

You may already be a master of masturbation, and if so, we love that for you. But know that feeling awkward or unsure about masturbation is completely normal. It’s often talked about (especially when we’re younger) as if it’s something to be ashamed of, but the truth is that masturbating is completely normal and healthy. And there are so many benefits of masturbation. It can reduce your stress, help you sleep, improve sex with your partner, and even help you be more present.

But how do you get to a place where you can experience those benefits if you’re shy, embarrassed, or just not sure where to start? We have ideas.

1. Get up to speed on the basics

If masturbation is new to you (or even not!), you may benefit from learning more about your body parts before you get down to business. Understanding your body can increase your confidence and your curiosity. Bonus: it’s also a great way to avoid freaking out about completely normal things, like having an odor and having a discharge!

2. Remember that this is a process

This is not a race to the finish line. Explore different ways to touch yourself and the objects you touch—you can use your palm instead of your fingers or a vibrator, for example. You can add lube for a different sensation (which we highly recommend everyone do). Try different pressures and rhythms. Remember, it’s about enjoying the process.

3. Be careful

Pay attention to how your body feels, in detail. If you notice any judgments or criticism coming your way, try to refocus on the physical sensations you’re experiencing. And listen to your body’s signals—if something doesn’t feel right, even if you think it “should,” that’s okay—you don’t have to do it!

4. Bring reinforcements

There’s a whole world of toys and techniques out there, and experimenting can be both fun and enlightening. Check out your local sex toy shop (or hardware store!) or watch some ethical porn to get ideas of new things to try. Remember, what works for others may not work for you, and that’s okay!

5. Be the best you’ve ever been

While a favorite sex toy can do the trick in just a few minutes, bringing your mind into alignment with your body can make the experience more pleasurable. After all, powering through is not the same as treating yourself. You can do things for yourself that you want a partner to do (whether or not you have a partner who also does these things for you)—go ahead, touch your own skin! Grab some massage oil and rub your muscles. Wear underwear and gas in the mirror. Who said the best sex you ever had had to be with someone else?

6. Know that it’s okay to have complicated feelings

It’s okay to have mixed feelings or face challenges. If you struggle emotionally or psychologically with the idea of ​​(or attempts at) masturbation, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist to unpack any past trauma or shame-based beliefs that may be holding you back. Talking to a partner or trusted friend is another option, if that’s more comfortable for you.

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