Pleasure is a human right; sexual pleasure is natural, not nasty; and self-pleasure (through masturbation) is a radical act, especially for women. Because I so deeply believe in these ideals, I spend as much time as I can advocating for women to experience the kinds of pleasure they deserve. Too often, women are fed scripts that tell them orgasms are some kind of arbitrary thrill that must be delivered by someone else. Rarely are women told that orgasms can be like happy pills—releasing endorphins into the brain that can better our mood—or can help our bodies relax enough to fall asleep. Self-pleasure can help relieve stress, and it can create pathways toward other kinds of pleasure. And since it’s National Masturbation Month, I decided to speak with one of my favorite sexuality educators, Goody Howard of Ask Goody, about why masturbation is so important—whether solo or coupled—and what the best tools are for the trade.

“My favorite benefit of masturbation is that it helps connect us to our pleasure,” says Howard, who has been teaching sex education and sexual health and helping women learn how to cum for more than 12 years. “When you know what feels good to you and communicate it to your partner, it makes you a better lover and makes the sex you have with others even more satisfying.” Self-pleasure is radical for women because, as Goody mentioned, it helps us understand how our own bodies work and what makes them feel their sexual best. The more we know about what brings our bodies pleasure, the more we’re able to center our pleasure when we share our bodies with others. It puts us in the driver’s seat. It teaches us that our pleasure deserves priority.

Get Started with Solo Play

In Howard’s view, it’s never too late to begin practicing masturbation. “The best way to ease into solo play is to indulge in something arousing (a book, song, memory, or good ole porn), put some lube on your hands and vulva, and explore,” she says. My own suggestion to beginners is to get more comfortable with their bodies. Sometimes the greatest masturbation sessions begin with self-touch and mirror time—concentrating not only on the parts of your body that tingle from touch, but also on the parts that make you feel beautiful and sexy. Not only can this kind of play lead us toward pleasure and orgasm, but it can also remind us that our bodies, no matter how they are formed, are beautiful and worthy of passion and praise.

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Love No Limit, Masturbation Opens Women up to Power, Play, and Pleasure by Josie Pickens

May 28, 2020