I constantly hear debates about whether masturbation is good for us or not. Every group or individual has their own motivations for saying the practice is unhealthy, to the point where people have actually participated in a challenge where they give it up for 30 days and report back on the results. I realise that for many, it is an unhealthy obsession that often goes hand in hand with an addiction to pornography. I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of pornography because we will be here all day… Rather, I’ll just offer a perspective I’ve been mulling over for a few months now.
A little while ago, I did an online course called Ecstatic Sex & Deep Intimacy by a wonderfully blunt sexologist, Juliet Allen. It was a real eye opener for me because of the heavy focus on self love and masturbation. She emphasised how we should create a personal practice when it comes to masturbation that moves beyond just flicking the bean and racing to the finish line that really harvests a good relationship with ourselves.
This whole theme had never been more applicable in my life. I had been incredibly sexually frustrated and unsatisfied for a few months. When I had a minute alone and I would give it a bash with very little joy. I began to resent myself for either being so dissatisfied or not being able to please myself. This carried out into my daily life in the form of tense interactions with people and road rage. I constantly asked myself: what is wrong with me? I thought I loved sex, and suddenly it also seemed like I had been feigning my longhand appreciation for masturbation too.
I must admit, it was hard for me to portion an hour of my day to administering self love. Starting from just saying some kind of affirmation, I realised how much I truly needed to remember how to love myself because it was hard to come up with something nice to say to my own reflection in the mirror. It was a bit of an identity crisis to be honest. I had always believed myself to be a particularly sexually oriented person. My sexuality has been a very significantly dominant part of who I am, shaping me and guiding me as I’ve grown into the woman I am today. Some have called me obsessed, but I’ve never minded too much because I have always found it beautiful and sacred.
Yet here I was, immobilised by own mind after months of sexual repression. I was angry with my partner because he was sexually rejecting me, but I have to admit that I took that upon myself at some point and began to repress myself without his help. Suddenly I found myself alone with nobody to blame it on but myself, but also a new task to return to my old sex-adoring self.
Inspired by Juliet Allen’s wisdom on coming back to yourself to achieve ecstatic sex and deep intimacy, I undertook a strict programme of self loving goodness every damn day! I constantly reminded myself not to get frustrated when I felt numb to my own touch and I genuinely found that each evening became gradually more explorative in touch and experience. I let my fingers trace outlines of my upper body and focus on areas I thought weren’t my erogenous zones. I payed extra attention to goosebumps and smiled when they happened to perk up all over my skin.
My body’s responses to my love grew intensely, and rather than being a thin, one dimensional experience that left me panting in frustration, I was exasperated by the pure visceral multilayered encounters I was having with myself.
It is interesting because I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a love addict, in and out of long term relationships for most of my adult life. I ascribed the most intoxicating pleasure to the partners I’ve had, thinking of myself and my hands as paling in comparison to theirs and their ability to know my body. But what developed was an intense knowledge of my own body, and an appreciation for my own wonderful talent at making myself literally quake with pleasure.
I am absolutely sure this is because of the lethal combination of psychological self love and masturbation. It cultivated a sensual nurturing inside and outside me. It made me crave myself more and my craving for others all but stopped completely. I would wake up feeling invigorated, satisfied and loved without the hand and mind of another human. It was liberating!
Thinking about it in this way makes me wonder why sometimes we are so shy about loving ourselves when it can do so much good. It brings electricity back into your mind, heart and body. It makes you sing in the shower and greet strangers. It just makes you feel like you have an abundance of everything that’s important- all of the intangible stuff we can’t quantify like happiness, gratitude, self-acceptance and awe for life.
Sex positivity, masturbation positivity, self love positivity- its the stuff of wonders. If I can pass any joy around, it would be for those carrying these mental blockages about their sexual, sensual bodies and personalities. They are so often neglected because of life’s stressors and aggressors, but if nurtured they can produce a happy, healthy, self-sufficient, and self-adoring human that thrives.