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When Two’s a Crowd

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I have a friend who has spent a lot of time recently reflecting on the value of masturbation. For her it was something of a revelation – “masturbation is good for you!” It was a reminder for me that not everyone has the same experience with their sexuality: our learning curves don’t progress all at the same pace.

For many guys and girls, self-pleasure is our first introduction to our sexuality; we don’t always realise its full value until later on in life. I find that it’s hard for people to tell me what they like unless they have experimented on themselves. Conversely, people who are curious and adventurous when it comes to self-love tend to be better informed and more confident in the sack.

As I’m fairly introverted, having a sexual relationship with myself has always come first. I need to know and be comfortable with my own body before I connect with others. And frankly sometimes I don’t feel like any company other than my own thoughts (I’m never going to sleep with Ryan Gosling in real life, so my imagination is the next best option.) We don’t need other people around to be sexual and when we feel sexual in ourselves, we come across as being sexy to others.

Persistent cultural sex-negativity often leads to us feeling that our bodies are shameful. We feel that we need to be validated by others (does my butt look big in this? Am I fuckable?) It’s hard to accept I’m not perfect. I need to remind myself that I’m still attracted to myself.  Often this takes the form of very brief interludes at 7am in the morning (I’m a busy gal) but I’m also not unknown to put on some porn or flip through my vintage issues of Hustler.

There are many ways to go about it – fast or slow, horizontal or standing up, in the shower or in your back yard (sorry neighbours). Modern technology has given us tons of options too; not just the girls but also the guys. I think I’m fairly straightforward in my solo sexual desires, but it’s always worth giving the latest brightly-coloured sex gadget a try! Historically people have been known to use incredibly elaborate props and tools in their quest for self-pleasure. The Kinsey Report is testament to this, as is a friend of mine who works in a hospital emergency department (don’t ever put anything in your butt that might get stuck there!) Assuming you have a bit of common sense, masturbating is one of the safest ways to have fun with your clothes off.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on the topic, ‘Sex for One’ by Betty Dodson is fantastic. I’m also a big fan of Jay Wiseman’s ‘SM 101’ – it’s mostly about kink but it has a fantastic chapter on masturbation techniques. Get out there, get educated, have some fun! I’m always here for advice if you need a, ahem, hand.

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