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Love Thyself

on Jun 3, 2013 | Sex ed Sexual Health General | 0 comments

Despite the fact that we’re 13 years into a new millennium, when it comes to self-pleasuring – otherwise known as masturbation - we seem to still be in the Dark Ages. 

Many women I counsel about sex feel and believe that masturbation is only for men or people without a sex partner. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, research about self-pleasuring habits has revealed that men and women in couples are more likely to masturbate than single people. So why the blushing and nervous giggles whenever someone mentions it? Because few people find it easy to talk about sex openly and this is what causes the red-face and reticence when conversation turns to sex on our own steam.

Masturbation can be a powerful tool for sexual satisfaction and developing a positive body image. This is especially true for women. Touching ourselves in an intimate way gives us lots of information about what we like, what we don’t like, and ideas about how to expand our experiences of sexual pleasure - with or without a partner. This contributes to a strong and empowered sexual identity which can mean the difference between enjoying ourselves just a little bit with our partners or more than we ever imagined possible.  It also gives us all the opportunity in the world to enjoy our bodies - and even be orgasmic - whether we have a partner present or not.  And, many couples find mutual and simultaneous masturbation or watching one another self-pleasure an erotic practice that can add to their experiences of emotional and physical intimacy and satisfying sex.

Any discussion about women self-pleasuring wouldn’t be complete if vibrators weren’t mentioned. This is sometimes a touchy subject for some women. They worry that they’ll become dependent on a vibrator to come or that using one at all will be hurtful to their partner and seen as some-sort of substitute for the “real” thing.  There’s no such thing as a substitute for the real thing - really.  And rest assured no one ends up in vibrator rehab! The value of a vibrator is simply this: a different sensation than a finger or a tongue. Vibrators can expand our choices, add to our pleasure, and be especially helpful to women on anti-depressants and after menopause. In both those cases, having an orgasm can be more difficult due to hormonal changes. What we lack in hormones we can compensate for with more intense stimulation. Better living through technology!

Women and their male and female partners alike need to rethink the value of self-pleasuring – for many reasons. Whether in a relationship or not, masturbation is a normal part of human sexual expression. The benefits are many and the pleasures? Well, see for yourself.

© E. Resh 2013 Reprinted with permission

Evelyn Resh is a certified sexuality counselor and a certified nurse-midwife with over 20 years of experience as an integrative health and sexuality practitioner. She has also written for many websites including and The Huffington Post. Her second book: Women, Sex, Power, and Pleasure: Getting the life (and Sex) You Want will be released in Spring 2013. Her previous book: The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk About but Your Daughter Needs to Know takes a distinctly sex-positive spin on the topic of sexually active teen girls. 



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