Sex starts with the self.
This may sound odd in a culture that is inundated with how to make partner-sex astounding. Cosmo and Maxim use headlines like “How to give him awesome oral pleasure;” “How to make her come multiple times;” or “How to hit up the hot spots.” These are necessary points, but we rarely hear about how to make masturbation mind-blowing. Granted, some men successfully self-pleasure themselves daily and some women are best friends with their battery-operated boyfriends. But not all of us have flawless sexual functioning. Many of us struggle with premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, difficulty having an orgasm, or lower levels of arousal and/or desire. So, before we dive into algebra and calculus, I want to start this sophisticated (and sassy) sex column with basic addition and subtraction: Developing sexual intimacy with yourself.
In tackling the taboo topic of self-pleasure, we must first eradicate the idea that sex is a performance — unless you are in public, on stage, or in front of a camera. For the majority of us, sexual intimacy tends to be a private endeavor. So why have we been bombarded with social messaging that we need to perform in private? If we deconstruct our sex-negative scripts, then we are left with a great deal of permission for pleasure. For instance, just think about the clitoris from an evolutionary perspective. With 800 nerve endings packed into a very tiny space, the clitoris has but one function: pleasure.
The stress of sex as a performance creates confusion for our poor genitals. Sometimes we don’t know how to relax and enjoy the experience because we are caught up in how well our genitals can or cannot function. But imagine if we say that sexual intimacy is about melting into the moment and embracing the potential for maximum pleasure. This is not an easy task, even in a more mindful and meditative town like Boulder. However, the best place to start learning is in the bedroom — solo.
Here are some guidelines that I believe should get more media attention. Keep in mind that these are to be used when alone.
One: Think of your body as a topographical map with numerous erogenous zones just waiting to be explored. Become your own best tour guide.
Two: Imagine touching yourself as if you are feeling your skin for the very first time. Soak in the softness, as well as the ridges of scars and bumps.
Three: Use a mirror and look at your nude body head to toe. Recognize that you are your own biggest critic, and give a little extra love to the body parts you tend to like less.
Four: Flirt in the mirror. Yeah, you know it’s fun.
Five: Make friends with your genitals and give each part a positive and sexy label.
Six: Mix up your ingredients. If you usually use lotion, try out oil or baby powder. If you normally need porn, finger through a book of erotic poetry.
Seven: Role-play orgasm. The idea here is to exaggerate the performance until it spills over into pleasure. This is especially helpful if you are totally stuck, either unable to arouse yourself, or unable to climax.
Eight: Indulge, abstain, indulge. Try teasing yourself in the morning, then stop before you get too heated. Then come back later in the day and tease some more. Let the coals simmer some, and come back one more time to set the logs afire. (Though you can use this tip with partners too, the objective is to maximize self-pleasure first.)
So go ahead and fall in love with yourself. Explore your body’s terrain. You have the doctor’s order to make self-pleasure succulent and sensual!