Everyone has different definitions of what self-care is. For some, it can be an hour-long hot bath and sheet masks. For others, it can be a meditation session somewhere completely serene. And as mentioned in my post ‘Why SELF LOVE is essential now more than ever’, it can also be just little acts of self-kindness, like taking yourself out for a walk, reading a book, sleeping for 8 hours, completing a workout, and putting together a yummy meal.
It’s really only you who can define what self-care means for you, so why is self-pleasure still considered taboo?
The rise of self-care
In case you haven’t noticed, the concept of self-care has been gaining traction in recent years. What was initially deemed as a passing fad is now the norm, as more and more people are beginning to recognise the importance of mental wellness, and the role self-care plays in maintaining mental health. Self-care facilitator and coach Gracy Obuchowicz notes that we’re beginning to realise that paying attention to what we need can boost our well-being.
Self-care isn’t a trend—it’s a holistic process that we need to facilitate presence, engagement, wellness, and self-love. It encompasses a wide variety of tasks tailored to meet your unique needs. And while there may be similarities with regard to how people choose to practise self-care, a Psychology Today feature on self-care highlights how it’s ultimately subjective and varies from person to person. So, while yoga may help your friend find inner peace, it doesn’t mean that the same method will be what’s best for you.
Self-pleasure is not taboo
Our journey to figuring what works for us varies, but if self-pleasure happens to be yours, then there’s no point in being ashamed of it. After all, how could exploring yourself in an intimate way or alleviating your stress by self-pleasure not be a form of self-care? Masturbation or self-pleasure is part of sexual wellness, and is therefore under the self-care umbrella, too.
Whether it’s for health reasons or just giving yourself some well-deserved pleasure, self-care should never be taboo. It’s fun, it’s great, and it should be normalised.
Tips for newbies
Self-pleasure is a great way to get to know your sexual self-better. You can figure out what you like and what you don’t. The Good Trade also points out that it’s self-stimulation without judgment or expectation, where the only goal is to be present in mind and grounded in the physical experience. The aim should be to focus on the moment and how your body feels.
Create a safe space – If self-pleasure is something you’re unfamiliar with, it’s best to schedule sessions, ideally in a safe and soothing space where you feel the most comfortable. It can be in your bedroom or bathroom for ultimate privacy, with candles or soft music to set the mood. What’s important is you do what’s best for you.
Take your time – There is absolutely no need to rush when it comes to self-stimulation. Take as much time as you need so you can really explore your body instead of rushing to rub one out. You will be doing yourself a favour if you played around with techniques and took the time to enjoy all the sensations as you go along.
Acknowledge any shame you might be feeling – Considering how the concept of self-pleasure is still stigmatised, you may be conditioned to believe that what you’re doing is wrong, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Psychologist and sex therapist Megan Fleming suggests that if shame comes up for you, start by owning that that’s what you’re experiencing. You can then remind yourself that those were only brought about by feelings of internalised sex negativity, until you banish the thoughts altogether. If a self-pep talk doesn’t work, you can always enlist help from certified sex therapists.
Switch positions and experiment – Self-pleasure may just be the most opportune time to play around with different kinds of touches, toys, and positions. You do it with a partner anyway, so why not when you masturbate, too? When you experiment, you’ll have better chances of finding out what your personal taste is.
Thank your body – Everyone harbours some type of insecurity when it comes to their bodies, but you should let those go when you’re masturbating. Instead of focusing on parts of yourself that you’re unhappy with, divert your attention to the sensuality of your curves and how capable your body is of pleasure. You’ll be able to love yourself more, leading to a positive body image. And when you feel confident about your body, you can feel greater sexual satisfaction.