Updated: May 2
"Let's talk about sex, baby! Let's talk about you and me." – Salt – N – Pepa.
Well, not so much about you and me, but more about me and me. Let's talk about the Female Orgasm! In 2011, women worldwide began buzzing about an erotic story that left them all hot and bothered. Ten years, three books, and three movies later, the Fifty Shades phenomenon is still on fire. And while the erotic franchise has stirred up controversy, the series makes me happy for two reasons: It helped women explore their sexuality and shed light on the importance of self-love and care.
What does self-care look like to you? Is it full of sheet masks and bubble baths? Less screen time and lots of sleep? Those are all great options, but to me, self-care is all about a sheet-grabbing orgasm with myself. Whether you're partnered up or single, the most important relationship you can have is with yourself. And while relaxing activities and nourishing foods are essential to a healthy you, proper self-care includes sexual satisfaction – and sometimes that means masturbation.
Five years ago, that word alone would have made me cringe; however, after years of delivering mind-blowing orgasms to my male counterparts, I found it was time to check my attitude and educate myself in self-stimulation and the positive possibilities the practice holds for my overall well-being. After all, ancient Greek poetry described women pleasuring themselves, so if the Greek goddesses could divulge in self-pleasure, why couldn't I?
According to Relationship Expert and CEO of Ella Paradis, Tino Dietrich, the cringe-worthy episode that I would have had five years ago was normal. Tino states that from childhood, it's clear that the value of a woman's pleasure is less than that of men. "When a young man starts to masturbate, it's seen as a coming of age inevitability, while for women, it's shameful. Masturbation is a gendered issue. People justify a woman's pleasure and a man's function by the biological aspect of it. Men must have an orgasm to reproduce; women don't." However, the fact that our sexual needs have been the subject of so much debate, anguish, and even persecution in itself is shameful. Thankfully, a lot has been achieved since then, and the benefits of orgasm, and thus masturbation, are firmly established – even scientifically. Many have begun to stray from this concept, and female masturbation has become more accepted. For many women, it's now an integral step in their self-care routines. And for me, it will always be a way to reconnect with my body. When I'm feeling stressed or loving how my body looks, I find the urge to masturbate intensifies. And when I lose my desire to masturbate, it's a reminder to check in with myself to see what could be causing the disruption.
This self-care check-in system has proven effective in being able to spot nutrition gaps, body-image informalities, and hormonal changes (birth control article). Masturbation is much more personal to me; it's a form of self-healing. Don't believe me? Research shows that orgasms are as good for your mind as they are for your vagina because having an orgasm is correlated with a release of oxytocin and prolactin, which is associated with love, bonding, and, most importantly, de-stressing.
A few months ago, I found myself in the same situation – working on multiple businesses at a time, trying to achieve big goals and dreams (you know, the usual boss lady mantra), and I was incoherently losing myself once again. One morning, I woke up, realizing that I was letting this fantastic source of built-up pleasure slip away. So, I did what any rational women would do, and I made it part of my self-care routine. I'm now a few months in, and I can honestly say that my decision was life-altering. Part of masturbating is getting acquainted (or reacquainted) with your body.
Right about now, you're either thinking that I'm crazy and think that masturbation is like the 'Voldemort' of female desire; you don't say the word out loud. Or you're thinking 'hell yes, let's talk more about this. How often should I masturbate?" And hopefully, it's the latter.
Given all the advantages and juicy playoffs that a self-pleasure practice holds, my general rule of thumb is, "the more, the better." Now, skeptics would have you believe that female masturbation kills the mood in the bedroom; however, I would like to point out that if you can orgasm by yourself, you're more likely to do it with your partner. Exploring how you like to touch yourself can help you play, show, and communicate what you like and don't like. Furthermore, masturbation will enhance sex with your partner and make those hot and heavy sessions even more desirable.
If you've continued reading more into this article and this whole self-pleasure thing is new to you, a few guidelines will help you. Suppose you're considering self-pleasure for the first time. In that case, I recommend setting a minimum of two hot and heavy fifteen to thirty-minute self-pleasure sessions a week (you can, of course, build from there), and always, always, always use lube - this will enhance masturbation.
Now, when it comes to masturbation and pleasuring yourself, there are five C’s to consider when you're just getting familiar with your body: center, circle, clitoris, climax, and calm. Set the mood and get centered with some relaxing music or mood lighting. Then spend fifteen minutes circling the areas you'd typically go to for direct stimulation (nipples, areolae, and clitoris); instead, focus on your inner thighs, hips, abdomen, and upper chest. Then take the time to build your orgasmic sensation by stimulating your inner labia and areas around your clitoris with your hands, and when you're ready to climax, use your hands to get you there. When it's all said and done, take the time to feel the cortisol-flush-calm after you climax; this is called the resolution phase. Put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly, breathe and relax.
The skeptics are right: knowledge is power. But as I always say, understanding what your body needs is much more powerful. The more you know your body and what turns you on, the better the sex will be, whether on your own or with someone. When I added orgasms to my self-love practice, it became a conscious choice, one where I decided to choose myself. Doing something that has benefits for my well-being, health, and relationships was a powerful self-love act, if not the most powerful one. Masturbation is something that is mine, and mine alone, to practice and to own. So if I could lessen the stress of the day or add a moment of pleasure to it while making myself feel amazing at the same time, why should I do anything less than orgasm?
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