May is Masturbation Month!
I don’t know who designated it and frankly I don’t care…I just know that in sexological circles and in the sex positive community, May has been recognized as the month to focus on our self-pleasure practice. That’s because we all deserve pleasure. It’s our birthright! Somehow we lose sight of the importance of pleasure while on our way to adulthood, in large part thanks to the negative reinforcement we get from culture and religion that tells us that our cocks are meant for only two things: urination and procreation within marriage. In every other instance, they’re meant to be hidden, not to be spoken of, covered and left completely and utterly untouched.
Well, fuck that! Self-pleasure should be cultivated and celebrated. Solo sex as a practice is chock full of things that are good for us, even healthy for us. Proven benefits include lowering the risk of prostate cancer, improvement of pelvic muscle tone, helps you train to last longer in bed, boosts immunity, releases oxytocin and dopamine for that heightened feel-good state of mind, and we now know that regular orgasms can actually help improve heart health. Wow!
Thing is, most of us guys grew up with no instruction book about how to enjoy our own bodies. If we learned anything about masturbation from another person, it was most likely from a guy in our peer group who was as clueless as we were. Typically, guys masturbate quickly and silently, and we repeat patterns that we learned when we first started jerkin’ it. Think about it: you’re 12 or 13, you share a room with your brother or your parents’ bedroom is across the hall, you get an erection and it’s all about, ‘let’s get this done as quickly and as quietly as possible!’ What that means in practical terms is that you put your cock in a death grip (creating wrist, arm and shoulder tension), you go at it with the singular goal of finishing, you make no noise and you hold your breath when the big moment finally comes. Those are all practices perfectly designed to make the LEAST out of your experience of sex, and you carry those practices into your sexual experiences with others!
Let’s reverse all those sex-negative behaviors. Start your masturbation practice by setting aside a special time for it, a time when you know you’ll be alone and uninterrupted (turn off the fucking phone!) Set aside a sacred place for it: your bed, on the floor with a yoga mat and a beach towel, perhaps surrounded by music and candles. Breathe…use deep belly breaths to relax and be mindful, to bring oxygen to your body, especially to your pelvic region. Begin by waking up your body with light feather touches or gentle massage. Use a favorite lube: try coconut oil and warm it up before you begin. When stroking, try changing it up a little. Forget the death grip! Relax into it and try different strokes: use the ‘other’ hand, concentrate on different areas of your genitals like the head, the frenulum (that area just underneath the head and at the top of the shaft) the balls, the perineum or ‘taint’, maybe even some external anal play. Let go of any goals or objectives: not every act of self-pleasure must end in an ejaculation. (Where’s the rulebook that says that?) And be in the moment, be focused and present with your body sensations…that’s what it’s all about. Above all, take your time! It’s a celebration of you, after all…your feelings, your fantasies and your pleasure!
In the somatic sex education modality, as practitioners we are
encouraged to have a daily mindful erotic practice. I can’t honestly say that every time I approach solo sex I do all the things that I describe in the above paragraph. In fact, sometimes I just want to jerk off…there will probably never be a substitute for that! But I do approach my body with intention when I practice masturbation (yes, it is a practice) and that intention is always to treat myself with reverence and care while seeking pleasure and celebrating myself. Those are all good things to cultivate, aren’t they? And those are all the things that I wish to bring to my relationships and ultimately to my world: reverence, care, pleasure and the celebration of my community! In my mind, this is all to the good. Yes, masturbation is good. And healthy. So Happy Masturbation Month, guys! Get to it!