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Presented by LELO
Unfortunately, high school sex education classes don’t teach you how to masturbate or offer any masturbation tips. While many see this as no big deal because “different strokes for different folks,” the lack of conversation around the topic has bred a culture of not-so-sexy stigmas.
The most infamous of these suggests that the sole purpose of masturbating is reaching orgasm—which is beyond incorrect. As with all other sexual acts, the only purpose of masturbation is to create pleasure. And if that results in a mind-blowing orgasm, phenomenal! But it shouldn’t be your only objective.
Mindful masturbation is the meditative practice of pleasuring yourself while actively listening to your body and its responses to eroticism without using any external material. If you think that sounds a little too New Age, we ask you to hold all judgments until the end of this feature.
How to masturbate mindfully
The practice of mindful masturbation is similar to how you already feel pleasure. It just requires that you tune into your body more and remove any focus on the outside world. If you rely heavily on porn to masturbate, this may take some getting used to.
Instead of relying on visual stimuli to be your source of pleasure or help you climax, mindful masturbation is about breaking these patterns and requires you to look inward for satisfaction. So instead of ripping your pants off and heading straight to work, take your time to get there. This is meant to be a full-body experience, so let your mind drift and take you out to sea and notice the change in your breath, and how your body reacts to touch.
Some people find “rewiring” their solo sex drive to be easier said than done, and while that’s not totally false, it’s not impossible, either. It just takes some conscious effort–mindfulness, if you will. To get you going in the right direction, it might be helpful to try one of the exercises recommended by sex educators and therapists, which we’ve broken down for you below. And just for clarity’s sake, since the main focus of the exercise is mindfulness, it doesn’t matter how you identify–as a male, a female, or neither, these tips work across all genders.
1) Develop a sense of body awareness
This step is easiest when performed in the shower or bath, but before you begin, the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) also suggests you take a minute to stare at your naked self in the mirror–what do you see? What do you like? What do you find sexy? Then you can start by putting your phone away, turning your music off, and focusing on your breath. Then once you’re in the shower, turn your focus onto the sensation of the water running down your body. Notice how the temperature and velocity of the water feel different depending on where the stream is flowing. Then, as you lather up your body wash, notice how the texture and pressure of your hand/loofah/washcloth also change depending on where you use it. And when it comes time to dry off, do the same thing–stay in the present moment and really think about your movement, how it feels, and how your body responds to it. It may seem silly, but this is the simplest way to reset your sensory map.
2) Focus on your sense of touch
After completing the first exercise, grab a bottle of lotion or body oil and slather it all over yourself. Start with your face and slowly make your way to your toes, notice the different sensations you feel as you trace your skin with your fingers. Also, pay attention to how different the skin on your neck feels and how the temperature varies from your breast to your arm, to your genitals, etc. After completing these two exercises you should be more in tune with your body’s response to touch. Check in: how do you feel? Are you relaxed? Can you feel where your body stores tension? Do you feel more at ease than when you began the exercise? Are you slightly aroused? There are no “right” answers to any of these questions, but over time as you repeat these exercises, you should be able to pick up on sensations that make your body feel good or provide you with a sense of ease and pleasure. Once you’re confident in your receptivity to touch, it’s time to move on to the last step.
3) Intentionally arouse yourself
After finishing the first two exercises, don’t get dressed. Instead, carve out some time for yourself and let your body release the tension it’s been holding onto. Like you found with the first two exercises, some parts of your body are more sensitive to the touch than other areas, so start your journey there. Maybe that means playing around with nipple stimulation, re-discovering your clit, or just stroking the head of your penis. The goal of the previous steps was to get you to actively listen to your body so you can give it what it wants in this final step. And as you feel yourself becoming aroused, it’s important to stay in the present, so if you feel your mind drifting off into imaginative porn scenarios, reel it back in. Focus on your touch and how good it feels, and then let your body do the rest.
If you end up orgasming–awesome! But if not, this shouldn’t be considered a failed attempt. These exercises need practice in order to really rewire your masturbation practices, so instead of reacting in an unproductive manner (like beating yourself up for not being able to cum or hold an erection), focus on the relationship you’re building with your body. You’ve already begun to realize what your body interprets as feeling good, which makes repeating the process easier than when you began. And as I mentioned earlier, the only purpose of any sex act should be to derive pleasure–nothing more, nothing less. So at the end of this exercise, the only thing you should be asking yourself is “Am I satisfied?”
Recommended sex toys for mindful masturbation
Although sex toys aren’t required, they can make masturbation easier and allow you to focus on practicing mindfulness without so much manual effort. The toys listed below cater to different types of stimulation. We recommend choosing one that meets your personal pleasure needs.
Best for: Clitoral stimulation
LELO’s SONA Cruise uses sonic waves and pulses to stimulate the entire clitoris, not just the external part you can see and touch. So you can begin to understand your anatomy on a deeper, more intimate level. Additional perks: It’s waterproof, features eight vibration settings, and recharges via USB.
Price: $99 (regularly $179)
Best for: Prostate stimulation
Designed with dual motors, the HUGO provides both internal and external stimulation–which is a great asset for those just beginning to consciously explore their P-spot and all other genital-based nerve endings. The toy is available in three colors, waterproof, and is controlled by a remote so you can enjoy hands-free orgasms time after time. The HUGO is capable of switching between six different vibration modes, including constant vibration, pulse, and wave modes. We recommend testing out some of the slower, softer settings when exploring mindful masturbation.
Best for: G-spot stimulation
Unlike many other personal massagers, the GIGI 2 features a flattened tip. But the unusual design is what makes it one of the world’s bestselling vibrators. It’s like the ultimate two-for-one sex toy. In addition to being able to use it internally (and really reach your uterine wall), the flat tip makes for an ideal clit vibe. This allows users to fully explore their bodies with the sensations they love. The GIGI 2 is also 100% waterproof and rechargeable via USB.
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Marisa Losciale specializes in NSFW culture, audio gear, and photography. A former editorial and photo director for Spoon University at SUNY New Paltz, her work has been featured in the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, Post-Trash, the New Paltz Oracle, and the Legislative Gazette.