Struggling with masturbation? Try this.

6 steps to a better solo sex life

You might already be a masturbation master, and if that’s the case, we love that for you. But know that feeling awkward or unsure about masturbation is totally normal. It’s often talked about (especially when we’re younger) as if it’s something to be ashamed of, but the fact is that it’s completely normal and healthy to masturbate. And there are SO MANY benefits to masturbation. It can reduce your stress, it can help you sleep, it can make partnered sex better, and it can even help you be more present.

But how do you get to a place where you can experience those benefits if you’re feeling embarrassed, ashamed, or just plain unsure where to start? We have ideas.

1. Get up to speed on the basics

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

2. Remember that it’s a process

It’s not a race to the finish line. Explore different ways to touch yourself and things to touch yourself with—you could use your palm instead of a finger or vibrator, for instance. You could add lube for a different sensation (which we highly, highly recommend everyone do). Try different pressures and rhythms. Remember, this is about enjoying the process.

3. Be mindful

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

4. Bring in 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 had

While a favorite sex toy may be able to do the trick in just a couple of minutes, bringing your mind into alignment with your body can make the experience much more satisfying. Powering through isn’t exactly the same as treating yourself, after all. You can do the things for yourself that you’d like a partner to do (whether or not you have a partner who does these things for you too)—go ahead, caress your own skin! Get out some massage oil and give your muscles a rub. Put on some lingerie and gas yourself up in the mirror. Who says the best sex you’ve ever had needs 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’re struggling emotionally or psychologically with the idea of (or with attempts at) masturbation, it may be useful 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 feels more comfortable for you.

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