Play With Yourself (But Don’t Masturbate)

Image for FB1In our culture, masturbation still gets a bad rap. While we may no longer believe it causes degeneracy and disease or causes people to go blind (although I do know a lot of folks who wear glasses!), we still don’t celebrate solo sex for the wonderful, self-loving, healthy and pleasurable practice it is.

We don’t even have a good name for it. I rarely use the word masturbation, preferring to call it solo sex, sexual self-love, playing with yourself, or self-pleasuring. I never cared for the m-word and now that I know the derivation of the word, I like it even less. The Latin roots of the word mean ‘to pollute with your hand.’ That’s certainly not what I’m doing with my hand when it’s busy down below! Nor am I committing ‘self-abuse.’ When you’re self-pleasuring, you’re doing lots of things—giving yourself sexual loving, learning how to expand your responses, practicing skills, exploring your fantasies, enhancing your mental and physical well-being, improving your vitality, having a good time, receiving pleasure and relaxing. That sounds like a recipe for health and happiness to me! so I encourage you to play with yourself, but never to “masturbate.”

Our dominant culture still encourages guilt, if not of the mortal sin variety, then of the mildly shameful or “You’re being self-indulgent and wasting time” kind. I find this ironic since we get many of the same benefits from sexual pleasure (whether solo or partnered) that we derive from exercise and meditation. We feel virtuous when we work out or meditate, while taking the same amount of time to have some juicy solo sex is considered frivolous and decadent or worse. When will our puritan culture get over it and accept that solo sex isn’t a dissolute fall into wanton lust, but an ascent into self-love that celebrates your desire, hones your abilities and ultimately honors yourself? While the sex you have with yourself certainly isn’t all there is to your relationship with yourself, it’s an essential component.

Are you practicing sexual self-love? If your answer is “I don’t do that,” I strongly encourage you to start now. If you’re thinking, “but that’s not real sex, it doesn’t count,” it’s time for a new story. Think of your solo sex as an affirmation of your juiciness and an essential practice on your path to becoming sexually masterful.

For those of you who do have ‘do-dates’ with yourself, I have a question for you: how’s it going? While you can’t really have bad sex with yourself, you can certainly have mediocre experiences. If you’re disconnected from yourself or just going through the motions, your solo sex will refl ect that. Do you only give yourself quickies? Just having frantic fast-food snacks? Are you a poor lover to yourself?

I hope not.

How would your dream lover treat you? In what ways would he or she delight you? When you practice solo sex, that’s how I invite you to treat yourself.


This post is an excerpt from my recent book, Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice.

Learn to become masterful with your own erotic energy, delight your partners and have more bliss!

Ecstasy awaits you so why wait?

1 reply
  1. concerned cynic
    concerned cynic says:

    Your thinking reminds me a lot of Betty Dodson’s “Sex for One”, which I read in 1988. Her candor about the female bits made it much easier for me to think and talk about the male bits, especially about the male foreskin and its removal. Betty helped me see that masturbation is the training wheels of human sexuality. When I met my wife, I was still a virgin. My wife was not troubled by this, because I had often masturbated to ejaculation before meeting her. My wife has climaxed every time we come together, because she masturbates while I penetrate her. Thus she is in complete control of her trajectory to orgasm. I agree that a woman who is not at ease with masturbating to orgasm is unlikely to orgasm easily from partnersex.


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