This column was originally published in AUT University’s Debate magazine (issue 3, 27 March 2017) and is the first of a bi-weekly sex column written by me.
“Sex positivity is an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation.” (Cheers, Wikipedia).
I strongly believe that we can all benefit from having more sex-positive information and education in our lives. We build our own personal sexuality encyclopaedias through a combination of our experiences, education, families, culture and media. Let this be another source for your encyclopaedia.
I’m taking it right back to the bedroom with some thoughts on masturbation. Knowing how to pleasurably fuck yourself (whatever that means to you) is a great way to get to know your sexual self. If you’re interested in the myriad sexy things you can do with other people, knowing what turns you on, how you like to be touched and what you fantasize about is pretty crucial. So, lock the door, get cosy and have the “me-time” that you deserve.
If You Find Orgasms Hard To Come By (heh):
Often, we believe that orgasm is the end goal of arousal. You masturbate, you climax, you’re done. This works for some people, and it doesn’t work for others. Let’s rethink this sexual script by changing orgasm into a possibility, rather than a must-have.
When you start to masturbate, explore what happens if you tell yourself: “maybe I’ll come, maybe I won’t?” See how present you can be in your body from moment to moment. If this feels too vague for you, I suggest setting a boundary, like: “for the next five minutes, I’m going to see if I can make each touch more pleasurable than the last.” Set a timer, cut yourself some slack, take it slow. Starting with just three minutes of play, whatever that might look like to you, is awesome.
You’ll probably already know this, but nothing kills orgasms quicker than pressure to orgasm. Be with your body, explore what feels good, pay attention how you get turned on. I encourage you to read Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski. This exceptional book explains the science of arousal: how your central nervous system directly affects your ability to get turned on, and that arousal non-concordance is surprisingly common (your brain is saying one thing, your genitals another).
You do you. You get to write your own sexual script. You can still be a sexual person, and experience a TON of pleasure without ever orgasming, or orgasming infrequently.
If You Climax Early, or Want To Prolong Your Pleasure:
Try edging yourself. This technique requires awareness of your breath and entire body. As you get close to orgasm/ejaculation, quickly scan your body and see how many muscles you can relax, slowly inhale and exhale, and you might find that the urge to orgasm will subside. But here’s the delicious part…it likely won’t subside to nothing.
As you resume you might find your level of arousal is at a slow simmer, rather than a full boil. Turn up the heat, but before you boil over, breathe, relax and go back down to the simmer. You can “edge” yourself this way as long as you want to (or as long as your body will let you!).
When you do orgasm, you’re likely be rewarded with one that is long and powerful. Sometimes the opposite can occur: you turn the heat down too low and lose the simmer altogether. Yes, it’s frustrating! Pat yourself on the back and return when you’re feeling refreshed and ready to try again.
For master masturbators, see if you can keep your breath slow and muscles relaxed as you tip over the edge. This requires a lot of focus and can feel pretty counter-intuitive: as we climax we often tense up. Experiment with relaxing into orgasm and see if it prolongs and heightens your sense of pleasure. For more, check out Urban Tantra, by Barbara Carrellas. She writes about being present in your body, tapping into your sexual energy and orgasming with intention.
I’ll leave you with two things:
- Masturbation is so normal.
- Shame about masturbating is also very normal.
Shame = the antithesis of sex positivity! I’ll be exploring this in the next blog post.