When I talk about masturbation as healing, people often look at me with a certain kind of flat expression that can only convey: “does not compute.”
Our society has made sexuality very confusing, to say the least.
We don’t have models for healthy sexuality. Healthy sexuality looks vibrant, alive. It looks integrated and free-flowing. Healthy sexuality is a deep felt-sense of the erotic in every moment, from licking dark chocolate from your fingers, to twirling in a field of tall grasses, to tasting the salt on your lover’s skin.
There are doorways to our sexuality and sensuality, everywhere.
One of them, of course, is masturbation, or self-pleasure.
Most of us arrive at self-pleasure with a goal in mind. We are here to have an orgasm, usually as fast as possible. We want what we want, and we want it now. I get it.
And there are other ways to self-pleasure.
You know how meditation takes a while? Unless you’re a seasoned practitioner, you can’t just get there. There are cobwebs to shake off, thoughts that have a will of their own. In meditation, you focus on your breath and you come back to it over and over, each time you stray.
Self-pleasure and meditation are very similar. For the most fulfilling self-pleasure, sensation becomes your focus.
Not the images on your screen. Not the fantasies in your mind. Not the well-worn pathway to climax.
Oh, how our brains love to follow that same old pathway. it’s the easiest way there. For many of us, the only way.
For me, having only one path, even to climax, sounds excruciatingly boring. The bigger problem with that same old path: it always leads to the same place.
That same old orgasm.
Maybe you’re happy with your reliable orgasm. And that’s great. Even that orgasm should be celebrated.
However, when you practice shifting your path toward climax, you open up the pleasure possibilities. You begin to feel different sensations in your body. You breathe into them. You follow them. You make this your goal, rather than the climax itself.
It changes everything.
The paradox is: when your self-pleasure is in-the-moment sensation-focused, rather than climax-focused, you experience more pleasure, and open yourself up to expansive orgasmic states.
From this space, you can begin to experience all self-pleasure has to offer as a healing crucible.
Because we haven’t healed around sexuality as a culture and as individuals, we have a hard time accessing our pure, potent, raw sexuality.
To heal around sexuality, we must:
know deeply that our sexuality belongs to us, and only us.
do the work to process trauma and the shame that’s been passed down to us.
feel sexiness AND safety in our systems.
know that our unique version of sexuality is beautiful, that it belongs here
open up to self-pleasure as a space to cultivate our sexual energy and heal from within
When we haven’t done this work, we tend to think of sexuality as a Pandora’s Box. What if we open it and find terrible things inside? What if we’re perverted, or completely broken?
It’s natural to have this fear around sexuality. We have a culture of control and mixed messaging around sex. We’re only shown the male arousal arch, and in mainstream porn, usually the toxic masculine version of that. Where do women fit in? Where do those of us, regardless of gender, who prefer something different … how do we find our true pleasure?
You can start by shifting your own self-pleasure practice.
Treat it like an experiment. What if this time with your body could be healing, nourishing, and lovely? How might that change things?
If you use porn or a well-worn fantasy, approach 25% of your self-pleasure sessions without porn or the fantasy. If you generally come in two minutes with your vibrator, toss your vibrator aside and see what sensations you can create with your hand.
Slowing down is key in feeling what’s here.
The emotions and sensations that arise? Those are your guideposts.
To be honest, some of them won’t feel that great. There might be numbness. Frustration. Sorrow. All the things you usually don’t let yourself feel.
I promise that if you feel them, perhaps even by opening your mouth and letting them make a sound, or moving your body the way they would move … that there will be an opening, a softening on the other side. A softening that leads to a relaxation into pleasure.
Stay with your sensation. Breathe deep. Keep touching yourself.
Know that pausing and stopping are 100% okay. Be here for what your physical and emotional bodies truly need in this moment.
Almost as if by magic, pleasure will grow—when it’s ready, on its timetable.
You can choose to run this pleasure through your body, up your back, looping around your head, and down your front.
Imagine the nourishing power of pleasure infusing your body. Let your cells drink this elixir.
As you continue to build your pleasure, don’t climax yet. Instead, imagine the sexual pleasure as a glowing white ball of light. Move it through your body, to a body part that needs this healing energy.
Maybe your womb needs it, maybe that spot on your back that always gets tight. Perhaps you could swirl it in your mind to keep your intuition clean and clear.
When this feels complete, climax if you wish.
Either way, store the beautiful sexual energy you’ve created in your lower belly. Imagine it condensing here, available for you to use to birth creative projects, or for you to feel even more immense sexual pleasure the next time you self-pleasure.
To go deep into personal sexual healing, check out my online course Deep Pleasure: Reclaiming Your Erotic Essence.
It’s a deep-dive into excavating and shifting the beliefs that are holding you back, with a healthy dose of pleasure to keep you feeling resilient and strong. In the course, we use meditations, worksheets, deep processes, breathwork, and self-pleasure practices so that you can upgrade your relationship with sexuality, and experience more vibrant pleasure.