porn heals
porn heals

You’re Masturbating Wrong: Mindful Masturbation and Why Method Matters

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We develop masturbation habits that are pleasurable but also hardwired. Masturbation and self-pleasure enter our lives from the time we’re in utero and extend well into our elder years. And its traumatic legacy rarely gets challenged. Our masturbation habits rarely mature beyond what they were as kids: quick, quiet, alone and focused on genitals only and getting off as soon as possible in a hurried fashion.

Masturbation can be devalued, but it’s one of the most important developmental experiences. It sets an imprint for how we see our bodies — what parts are treated as sexual and pleasurable, what feels arousing and safe, what is left ignored.

Our entire body is our sexual anatomy, yet most of us (due to sex and body shame, gender roles, toxic masculinity, respectability politics and sexism) reduce our sexual body down to our genitals. This neurologically wires our body and arousal in a limited and reduced way. How we treat our body and sexuality when solo deeply impacts how available we are to partners and pleasure, and how much we limit our full body’s involvement.

masturbating wrong masturbation habits 2

While supporting porn fully, I’ve discussed before the impact of the porn you choose on your sexual and body esteem. So choose wisely, as porn isn’t neutral, and choose body-positive porn that features diverse body and genital shapes, sizes, gender expressions and races (generally found only in “queer,” feminist or amateur porn) and not only shot from the “male gaze” or focused on penetration only. Make your orgasms ethical!

RELATED | ‘I Masturbate to Online Porn Multiple Times Per Day. Am I Addicted?’

If you only masturbate with porn, take a porn break. Porn distracts you from being fully embodied, mindful and explorative of your whole body. You must be fully in your body to experience all the possible pleasure from masturbation.

Porn often trains you to see sex as fast and without kissing, holding, touching or eye contact, and with the only goal being getting to an orgasm. Try using fantasy, which is where we learn about our deepest core eroticism.

Masturbation begins to be formulaic, and we depend on certain masturbation habits, techniques and stimulations, without which we have trouble reaching orgasm. For some, this involves the kind of porn they need to view in order to get off. For others it depends on a certain level of intense physical stimulation being reached, like with a vibrator or no lube.

Do you always sit? Make noise? Vocalize and talk? Touch only genitals? Use toys? Never penetrate yourself? Try it all. Explore anatomy that sex-phobic culture would tell you to avoid. Engage in standardly opposite gendered play. Allow all sounds, body movements and body fluids.

And for those with a penis, this play can be done with or without an erection. Orgasm and pleasure do not require an erection. Whaaaat?! Yup, you can orgasm without an erection and without ejaculating. All can be achieved with a soft penis.

RELATED | No More Penis Shame: How to Be Proud of Your Penis, Whatever Its Size and Shape

Our entire body is neurally wired for pleasure if we engage it, and we are all born sexually fluid. Not engaging ourselves fully limits the ways we are sexual with a partner, and how and where we let them touch or penetrate us.

Masturbation habits can constrict our pleasure and keep us locked into arousal patterns that disallow new sexual experiences. Or they can evolve and expand us and make us all tops and bottoms, enjoying making out and fucking, orgasming from oral and getting finger-banged.

Orgasm is great, but every time we get aroused we do not need to get off! Again, whaaaat?! Yup, that’s right. Holding and keeping erotic energy is a powerful force to carry with us throughout our day. We need to learn to work with our arousal and not be controlled by it. (Look to the #MeToo movement to understand why.)

We are what we practice. We can become someone sexually and relationally different if we practice being sexually different. Better sex requires new practices and ways of being.

Dr. Chris Donaghue is a lecturer, therapist and host of the LoveLine podcast, a weekly expert on The Amber Rose Show, and a frequent co-host on TV series The Doctors. He previously hosted WE tv’s Sex Box and Logo’s Bad Sex. He authored the book Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture and has been published in various professional journals and top magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Cosmo and National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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