Masturbation means exploring your body on your own terms, becoming an expert in your own pleasure, and enjoying the deep feeling of sexual confidence that comes with knowing that you can meet your own needs.
Since we can fully attend to our own experiences and needs when masturbating, masturbation can also offer a safe environment in which to experiment with new sensations, explore our desires and boundaries, and heal from sexual trauma. Equally, inviting another person to watch you get yourself off can be extremely intimate, super hot, and a great way for them to learn about what you like.
Sadly, masturbation gets a bad rap in sex-negative cultures. It is variously viewed as a lonely, second-best substitute for “real sex”, ridiculed as a compulsive habit of teenage boys, or condemned as an outright sin. As a result, ambivalence or shame about masturbation are common. People who have been socialised as female, in particular, may feel that it's wrong or unnatural to touch oneself purely for pleasure.
But masturbation is a perfectly normal, healthy and common expression of sexuality. Research suggests that people who masturbate are more likely to have more frequent and more fulfilling sex with others than those who don't. But regardless of how it might influence partner-sex, masturbation is a joyful pursuit in its own right! In fact, masturbation is so natural that infants have been observed soothing themselves through genital stimulation.
While some people masturbate with their hands, others rub their genitals against something, like a pillow, or use toys such as vibrators and dildos. Sex toys or aids can also be useful for people who, for physical reasons, can't reach their genitals or aren't otherwise able to touch themselves in the ways that they enjoy. No matter how you masturbate, using lubricant can feel really good too. Masturbation might be accompanied by sexual fantasies, watching porn or reading erotica – or it might simply be about tuning in to the sensations. One possibility is to include pleasurable touch of your whole body when you masturbate; another is to work with your breath, and learn how to have hands-free orgasms!
If you want to incorporate sex toys into your masturbatorial repertoire, we've got plenty of them at Other Nature. Vibrators, dildos, and butt toys as far as the eye can see! You'll also find some great books about masturbation. And in case you didn't know, May is Masturbation Month!! So be sure to check out our specials and workshops.