I’m not afraid to admit I masturbate or talk about what turns me on sexually, whether it’s porn, sex toys or dirty talk. It’s perfectly normal to engage in all-about-me time as often — or as little — as you’d like. The most important thing is that you’re taking time to prioritize your pleasure. Above all, it feels pretty damn good.
When I first became sexually active, I quickly realized that the only person responsible for my pleasure was me. Sure, I enjoyed partner participation and communicating what did and didn’t feel good, but the onus of my orgasm fell on me. Knowing I could give myself such pleasure without the risk of STIs, pregnancy or pressure from another person was a powerful tool.
How I do it
Everyone does things a little differently down there. I tend to start with slow, intentional touch. Sometimes I’ll turn to my mental queue of hot sex fantasies; usually, I’ll watch porn. (I’m a very visual person.) Tumblr is great for targeted keyword searches (mmm, slow finger fucking!).
Porn can be a controversial topic, but there are a handful of kick-ass women making ethically produced porn at the moment. Among my favs are Bree Mills of Girlsway (100 percent girl-on-girl-only pornography), Erika Lust of XConfessions (she turns crowdsourced fantasies into erotic films), Tristan Taormino and Joanna Angel.
Why I do it
No matter how I wander down my path of pleasure, it makes me feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings. I’m by no means a medical professional, but I believe regular orgasms do wonders for my health and well-being.
Here are a few of the positive effects I get from getting off:
Releases sexual tension. I have partner sex — regularly. But I also have a high sex drive and always want more. Masturbation allows me to release any pent-up sexual tension I may have. It makes me feel powerful to be able to harness that energy into a positive release — on my own terms.
Reduces anxiety. I’ve suffered from anxiety issues in the past. Doctors have prescribed Valium and Xanax, but nothing has calmed me down faster than getting horizontal and getting off.
Helps with insomnia. I used to be a serious insomniac. If I logged six hours of sleep at night, I was lucky. If I can bring myself to orgasm before my head hits the pillow, I can count on eight solid hours of z’s. Go figure.
Helps with menstrual cramps. I tend to have horrendous menstrual cramps. I also get super-horny during that time of the month. I find if I masturbate during my cycle, it’s a much less painful experience all around. I don’t know if it’s the release of muscle tension or a total redirect of pain, but it’s a win-win scenario that helps.
Tightens pubococcygeal muscles. I may be 45 years old, but every single penis-haver who has had sex with me comments on my tight vagina. Sure, I use Kegel balls and take Pilates (where the mantra is: strong core, strong pelvic floor), but I credit my super-grippy inner muscles to my frequent vaginal contractions and release of the pubococcygeal muscles.
And if you don’t have a regular hands-on habit, there can be a learning curve. Embrace your curiosities and explore. If masturbation isn’t your thing, that’s a-OK too. When it comes to sex, you should never ever do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable (or unsafe for that matter). Self-love is not just for so-called bad girls. Everyone deserves a happy ending — whatever that looks like to you.
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Before you go, check out 100 vibrators we’d recommend to kick start your masturbation self-care: