What are the different kinds of touch when pleasing yourself? Discover new ways, taking your time, negative messages and sharing your discoverie
Although masturbation is often treated as taboo, it's entirely normal and extremely common. Sex and relationships counselor Suzie Hayman explains why it's vital you know how to satisfy yourself in order to make sex with a partner as fulfilling as possible.
As a baby or toddler, you probably explored your body to find out where you began and ended, and what felt good. This kind of experimentation usually evolves into masturbation, but children often receive a puzzling message from parents at this point. They are discouraged from touching themselves and hands are slapped away, which tends to leave a feeling that sexual exploration is a thoroughly bad thing.
It doesn't stop children doing it, but it may mean that boys masturbate hurriedly and furtively in order not to be caught out - which may lead to premature ejaculation in later life. Girls grow up feeling they should never admit to masturbating, let alone do so in front of a partner.
Lots of scare stories have grown up around sexual self-exploration over the centuries. People are told that it makes hair grow on your palms, makes "real" sex unsatisfying, and that it's only for the sad and desperate. None of these tales is true, but the overall result of the negative messages around the subject is that masturbation is seen as a sad activity for desperate people, which shouldn't be valued or discussed.
Different kinds of touch
Masturbation can be all the more satisfying if you vary the ways in which you touch yourself. Choose a time when you can be alone, relaxed and comfortable, and lie back and run your hands over your body. Try strokes, caresses, nips, pinches and gentle scratches.
No one is born knowing how their own body or anyone else's responds to sexual stimulation. You have to learn by trial and error. And since everyone's different, the only way of finding out how to please your partner is to learn from them. It's also common and normal for adults in happy relationships to feel like pleasing themselves at times.
Taking your time
Concentrate on areas that particularly excite you, but try not to stimulate only the most obvious bits. You're likely to bring yourself to orgasm by stimulating your penis or clitoris, but it will be more arousing, and your climax more satisfying, if you explore as much of your body as possible.
Masturbation can feel so much better if you introduce contrasting sensations. Try stroking yourself slowly with:
- hands covered in oil or cream
- a feather
- fake fur
- a silk scarf
- a body brush
- a sponge run under hot water, then under cold
Sharing your discoveries
When you've had a chance to explore your body and your responses alone, you could think about sharing your discoveries with your partner. Watching them pleasure themselves can be arousing, and it's also the best way to learn about what pleases each of you.
Mutual masturbation or body rubbing has a variety of advantages. It's safe, with no risk of pregnancy or infection. Non-penetrative sex also reduces the pressure to perform. Losing an erection or coming before your partner doesn't have to spell the end of love-making. All in all, brushing up your masturbation skills can add a lot to your sex life.
next: The G-Spot