Masturbation 101:

Self-Touch for More Than Pleasure

by E. White

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Over the past year, COVID-19 created a sudden and unexpected distance between ourselves and our loved ones. Family, friends, partners, and community were suddenly separated from us. Which means that for many people, touch has become a privilege that can be rare and far between. But we humans and our physical bodies are hardwired to crave touch and intimacy; which is why this lack has forced many to turn inwards to their own bodies for pleasure. And as we begin to once again safely touch, hold, and embrace one another, we hope that you do not neglect self-pleasure. It is good to remember that your beautiful body is capable of experiencing pleasure entirely on its own, and does not require participation from a partner.

Masturbation is as old as humanity itself, and it’s easy to see why we as a species have always engaged in self-touch. First of all, it feels good! But it is also good for you, physically as well as mentally. In fact, there is concrete scientific evidence that shows a broad variety of health benefits in masturbation. Masturbation can:

  • Bring pleasure
  • Release physical or mental tension
  • Reduce overall stress levels
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve self-esteem and body image
  • Greater awareness of your personal likes and dislikes
  • Relieve pain, especially when associated with menstruation
  • Strengthen muscle tone in pelvic and anal regions
  • Improve the body’s physical functionality after surgeries or life changes

Even putting the health benefits aside, masturbation can be just plain fun! And the more you practice, the better you become. But when we get to know ourselves particularly well, we can get into set routines. Once we know what works for us, we might find that we stop exploring new pleasures and instead return to “old faithful,” whatever that may look like for us.

The good news? We here at As You Like It have lots of experience in the wide world of masturbation, and we know that there are infinite ways to touch yourself. So if you’re feeling bored with your usual self-pleasure routine, we have some tips and tricks to shake up your sessions.

Sucker for Suction

If you haven’t already, try using a suction cup on a dildo! A suction cup allows for penetration without having to hold the toy, and allows you to explore with different positions and angles. To get the best results, find a smooth, non-porous surface to attach the dildo to — like the floor, the wall, a mirror, or the bathtub — and get grinding! This not only encourages creative positioning, but can also take your solo session to new locations! Using a suction-cup to hold your dildo in place also frees up your hands for other toys, like your favorite external vibe!

If you already have a dildo that you know and love, pair it with a Double Sided Suction Cup to elevate your play. Any dildo with a flat base will work with the Double Sided Suction Cup, so you can keep your favorite penetrative toy fun for a long time!

Hands Free Vibes

If vibration is more your style, there is a huge range of vibrators — internal, external, and anal — that can be controlled by remote or app! Simply position the toy where you want and use the remote to adjust the intensity as needed.

Niki by veDo is an especially great option! A magnet holds the flexible clitoral vibe in place by affixing to the wearer’s underwear, while the remote controls the vibration. If you want something that can nestle right in, the Eva by Dame has two flexible wings that tuck under the tissue of the labia to hold the toy in place. The hands free design means that Eva rests against the clitoris conveniently and comfortably; the one button control makes it easy to adjust the settings, and offers a mostly hands-free experience! If you’re looking for dual-stimulation, the Chorus by We-Vibe perfectly positions two powerful motors against the g-spot and clitoris, allowing you to blend sensations as you like. Best of all, the versatile c-shaped vibe is extra-adjustable, allowing you to bend it to your body and keep it neatly in place all on its own.

The Vick by Svakom has two motors, one internal and one external, and can be used either anally or vaginally for a remote-controlled, rumbly good time. Classic body-massager vibrators can be positioned between your thighs or against a pillow to ride and grind on for intense pleasure! The Magic Wand Plus is a crowd-favorite, or choose one with bluetooth app control like the We-Vibe Wand.

Solo Kink

Many folks equate kink exclusively with partnered scenarios. But as long as the proper safety measures are taken, incorporating kink into solo play can be a fun, exciting way to heighten your session!

One way to pick up a new craft and practice your knots is by learning self-ties with rope. There are different lengths and materials to choose from, and we offer a variety of styles! Try starting with ties that focus on the leg or chest, so that you can easily work with the full range of the tie without getting too tangled up.

We suggest picking up a how-to book to guide you, like Shibari You Can Use or Naughty Knots. When you are learning a new skill that can be potentially dangerous, like rope tying, it’s important to have a guide to reference. Always listen to your body, and if you are feeling any numbness or pain in your limbs, loosen the ties to allow for proper circulation. Remember, never tie rope around the throat. We also highly recommend that you keep a pair of Rope Safety Scissors nearby while you’re tying, just in case you need to make a quick escape!

If rope isn’t your style, other kink gear can be used solo when used safely! For example, using a gag can be enticing; however, you should ensure there is a way to take it off quickly! Avoid laying on your back, and always have a way to contact someone if needed. Try the Silicone O-Ring Gag by Spartacus!

If you find sensation play appealing, or you’re looking for ways to try self-teasing, we love these Vampire Gloves! Wearing the Vampire Gloves allows you to run their spiky, sensational surface all over your body and awaken your nerves in entirely new ways. But even if you get turned on by your new touch, the gloves will force you to delay direct genital stimulation. At least, until you remove them.

Other ideas for simple kink gear to use include a simple blindfold or flogger! Sensory deprivation heightens other senses and therefore heightens pleasure, and adding impact play to your solo scene can add another element of sensation. Or, if you enjoy nipple stimulation, try wearing these Adjustable Nipple Clamps while you masturbate!

Back to the Basics

Remember, masturbation doesn’t have to be a red carpet event. Sex toys can create new avenues for pleasure, but are not a necessary part of self touch. Using your most affordable toy — your own hand — can help reconnect your brain to your body and remind you of what you actually enjoy. We recommend exploring not only genital areas, but other potential erogenous zones! Everyone likes different touches; try the neck, lips, thighs, hips, and chest. All parts of our bodies can all provide delightful sensation! Devote some time to re-acquainting yourself with your body and letting it respond.

The biggest sex organ is the brain, so get your brain on board by setting the scene! Create a comfortable, pleasant space for yourself to lounge, lie, or spread out. Put on some of your favorite music and nibble on something sweet to engage all of your senses. Massage oils, candles, comfortable lingerie, and a good lubricant can all help you get mentally prepared for a session of serious self-loving.

It’s important to self-pleasure without expectations. During solo play, many people find themselves very focused on achieving orgasm. There is a common assumption that an orgasm is the end-all, must-have attribute that defines sex. But while an orgasm can feel amazing, it is not a requirement. If you are able to shift your focus from achieving orgasm to experiencing pleasure, then you will be able to truly appreciate the sensations you are feeling! Removing the expectation of orgasm allows your body to experience pleasure simply for the sake of feeling good. In fact, some find that not specifically looking for that peak moment can make the rest of your session even more enjoyable!

A Final Note

The truth is that masturbation is a totally normal part of human sexuality. It is common, healthy, and — when done right — can be extremely empowering. Whether you're single or dating or partnered, masturbation can be both relaxing and liberating.

This may be new to you, or you may find yourself struggling to really connect with your body. That's ok! We all get inundated with shame-based rhetoric about our bodies and our pleasure, either from individuals or organizations around us, or from cultural messaging at large. This is a truth of life. You may be fighting against years of conditioning that makes you feel ashamed or uncomfortable about exploring your pleasure. But don't give up! Keep practicing, keep exploring your unique brand of pleasure any way you can.

And if you need a little more help, try one of the books linked below to help guide you in your pursuit of pleasure!

Our longest relationship any of us will have is the relationship with ourselves. And we will feel more comfortable within our relationship with ourselves if we commit to prioritizing our wants, wellbeing, and pleasure. Because the more self-aware and at peace we are within our own bodies, the better-off we will be when (and if) we choose to share our bodies with others.

Always remember, you deserve to feel empowered and comfortable in your skin. You deserve to feel pleasure. Pleasure is a central component of human life, and it is your right as a human with a unique body to experience it.

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