As many of us know, masturbation is a normal and healthy sexual activity laden with numerous physical, emotional and mental benefits. Not only does invoke those feel-good hormones, but it can also improve your health, sleep, and sex life. May is National Masturbation Month, an excellent opportunity to prioritize your self-pleasure and self-love, while indulging in much-needed me time.
Masturbation is a great way to learn about your sexual likes and dislikes (without putting yourself at risk for pregnancy and STDs), as well as helping to relieve quarantine tension and social distancing stress. As a matter of fact, with many of us still staying at home, with or without a quarantine bae, now is the perfect time to get more in touch with yourself (pun intended)!
However, as sex positive as our generation has become, there are still masturbation misconceptions that need to be put to bed. To help debunk some of the stigma and shame about this sensual form of self-care, we've enlisted the help of Dr. Donna Oriowo, (LICSW, CST) licensed clinical social worker, certified sex therapist and owner of AnnodRight.
Myth: Too much masturbation can ruin partnered sex.
Fact: "It is false that masturbation will ruin sex with a partner -- the opposite is actually true," Dr. Oriowo said. "Knowing your body and what brings you pleasure, gives you the ability to speak to your partner about what you like, which in turn increases pleasure in partnered sex."
"We can debunk this myth by trying it out! Mutual masturbation, or masturbating with your partner, allows you and your partner to learn more about each other's body, while getting a better hold on what brings each other pleasure," Dr. Oriowo said. "You can masturbate each other, or masturbate in front of one another, which brings a new whole level of erotic play!"
Myth: Vibrators can numb your lady parts.
Fact: "It is true that vibrators can temporarily numb genitals. The key words here are 'can' and 'temporarily'. Everyone is not necessarily going to experience this," Dr. Oriowo said. "There are a couple of factors to consider, including the strength of the vibrator, the length of use, how flush the vibrator is against the skin, and how often the vibrator is being used. If you find that you're feeling a little numb, you can cut back for about an hour, and then you should return back to full sensation."
Myth: You shouldn’t masturbate every day.
Fact: "I personally don't believe it's possible to masturbate too much, unless your 'too much' means that it gets in the way of your everyday life, including your ability to work," Dr. Oriowo advised. "It is definitely OK to masturbate every day – in fact, I personally challenge people to pleasure themselves every day during National Masturbation Month. Seeking pleasure on a daily basis is not going to ruin things. Do what you like!"
Myth: Women in relationships don’t masturbate.
Fact: "I believe that even within the context of a relationship, masturbation should continue. Being able to bring yourself pleasure can actually serve as a moment of mindfulness and reconnection," Dr. Oriowo explained. "Additionally, our likes and dislikes will continue to grow and change as we move through each stage of life. Continuing to masturbate gives us a leg up on our new sexual interests, which in turn can help us inform our partners about our new desires and fantasies."
Myth: Masturbation reduces sex drive.
Fact: "Masturbation does not decrease your sex drive," Dr. Oriowo said. "It may offer temporary satisfaction, but it's like having a snack or a meal. Just because you ate breakfast doesn't mean that you won't be interested in lunch or dinner. As a matter of fact, similar to how breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, masturbation can jumpstart you sex drive! You can actually find yourself in a sexy mood more often, which could lead to more masturbation and more partnered sex!"
As you become more acquainted with the magical gift that is masturbation, here are three expert-approved tips and tricks to help you take your solo sex session to the next level:
Set the Scene: If you are feeling extra romantic, try lighting candles or incense to engage your sense of smell. Playing music in the background is also a great way to get in a sexy mindset.
DIY Date Night: We could all use a little bit more love! Don't be afraid to treat yourself to a solo Netflix and Chill date. Pamper yourself with a nice meal, a glass (or two) of wine, and then get lucky halfway through your movie!
Switch It Up: Changing up your masturbation routine can help keep things spicy and exciting. If you only masturbate in certain positions, try out a new technique! Add new sex toys, try manual manipulation, or feel free to move from one typically-used room to another. Variety is the spice of life!
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Featured image by Gif/Beyonce