Practicing Pleasure— Masturbation and Beyond

Photo by Sunsetoned

Written by Caitlin Chow-Ise (she/they), Creator of @thes3xtalk

No doubt, you are here on the Sedure site because you want to feel good. I’m really glad you’re here, because 1) Sedure is really cool, and 2) you deserve to feel good! Since you’re here, I think you know that sex toys can help you feel good. Whether you’re using them partnered or solo, sex toys can increase your pleasure. Today, I want to focus on solo pleasure experiences, specifically. What do they look like? How do they serve us?

In this article, I want to give space for a discussion of pleasure, and the ways in which we can practice it for ourselves. First, I will go over the what, how, who, and why of masturbation. I will then list other ways to practice self-pleasure. Lastly, I’ll discuss my pleasure ideology, and why I feel pleasure is so important. Read on for more!

As a sex educator, the first thing that pops into my head when I think of self-pleasure is masturbation. Oftentimes, that term and everything we associate with it is taboo. However, we don’t ever really get to talk about what masturbation is. By definition, masturbation is the act of touching yourself for sexual stimulation. This definition is broad on purpose, to allow space for all that masturbation can be. That helps us answer the question of how one should masturbate. There isn’t a right answer here, except to do whatever feels good. There is no one way to masturbate! Humping, fingering, grinding, using toys… anything goes, as long as you are not violating others in the process.

Next, you might be wondering, who can masturbate? The answer is… anyone and everyone who wants to! Typically, we are taught that the only people who masturbate are hormonal, cisgender, heterosexual teenage boys. But that’s just not true. Studies have shown that humans masturbate as early as in utero. And masturbation does not have an age cap. Everybody deserves to feel pleasure.

Why do people masturbate? What are the benefits? Well, there’s a whole laundry list of reasons to self-pleasure in this way. Masturbation helps you… explore likes/dislikes, self-soothe, relieve stress, sleep better, get in touch with your body, relieve pain, and have fun. There are a million reasons to masturbate. Most importantly to me, though, is that the longest sexual relationship we’ll ever have is with ourselves. So, it’s important for us to cultivate that relationship, and to treat ourselves well.

Now that we’ve covered masturbation, I want to dive into some other ways in which you can practice self-pleasure. I’m sure some of this is already incorporated into your routine, but here are some great ways to give yourself the pleasure you deserve:

-Watch a movie

-Give yourself a hug 

-Gaze at yourself in the mirror

-Have a solo dance party

-Bake a cake for yourself

-Buy yourself flowers 

-Put on clothes that make you feel good 

-Take a hot shower 

-Sing a song

-Massage yourself

Bottom line, you deserve to feel pleasure! And masturbation is not the only way to experience self-pleasure. Maybe you don’t enjoy masturbating, maybe you’re sick of doing it, maybe you’re somewhere in between. Whatever the case, there are alternative or conjunctive pleasure options for you. I promise, doing things that feel good will help you feel good, too.

Writing this, I had to ask myself why I advocate for pleasure so heavily. I believe that pleasure is powerful. Living in a sex negative world, we have been told that our pleasure is shameful and unimportant. Because of that, pleasure has never been a priority for many of us. However, I want to challenge that prioritization. I think pleasure should come first. When contemplating whether or not to allow myself to experience pleasure, I always think of the incomparable Black feminist Audre Lorde, who said “caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Self-preservation is what allows us to survive, thrive, and care for others. And as Lorde says, caring for ourselves is integral to our survival. For me, this care looks like self-pleasure, whether through masturbation or otherwise.

One of my main goals as a sex positive creator is to spread the message that pleasure is powerful. There are so many ways to practice self-pleasure. Just know, you deserve to feel good. You deserve to give yourself pleasure.

Follow Caitlin on Instagram for more

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