Everyone’s sexual journey is different, especially where self-pleasuring is concerned. Wherever you’re at in yours, we’re all currently dealing with living in isolation which means a lot of us are spending more time alone than ever before. It’s a tough time to get through and human connection is important (thank you, Zoom calls!) but it’s also a good time to reconnect with your own needs.
When I was in university, my best friend started working at an adult toy store part-time. I considered myself to be pretty open about sexuality, but having a BFF who was quickly becoming an expert on solo sex opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. What my friend was able to share with me through her own experiences discussing sex really blew my mind. She taught me how to test a vibrator’s intensity (hold it to the tip of your nose), and more importantly, how to empower myself through exploring my own turn-ons.
In writing this article, I researched a few myths about masturbation and aside from the ones that are clearly not true (it will definitely not cause blindness), there was one common rumour that stood out: The idea that women can desensitize themselves to partnered sex if they masturbate too much. This is something I genuinely used to worry about. I thought that if I abstained from solo sex, it would somehow make for a more enjoyable experience for my partner. This, I am now happy to report, is total BS. In the words of John Mayer, your body is a wonderland. And it is indeed yours to explore—always, but especially now.
The first vibrator I remember trying was a small bullet-style device that was attached to a flower controller. It had more than one intensity, which was a thrill to explore. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of trying a whole range of toys, from the Magic Wand (I love mine) to the Sex and the City approved Rabbit, to more recent favourites, glass dildos and the Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation (if clitoral stimulation is your thing, go add this to your cart and thank me later!).
Making it a point to try new things when it comes to my solo sex experience has been transformative. It’s made me realize that there are things I enjoy now that I didn’t used to (and that some things I used to enjoy are no longer a turn-on). It’s also given me a healthy boost of self-esteem: Knowing that I’m truly the only person who knows exactly what I like is a super liberating and empowering feeling.
If you have any kinds of reservations about indulging your desires, start by taking some time to get familiar with your body. I’ve been mostly single for five years now and I’ve used that time to really get to know parts of myself that often went ignored—not just physically, but emotionally. When you’re getting sexy on your own, the focus is all on you. You can be completely selfish and pay attention only to what feels good for you. And that doesn’t necessarily mean rubbing one out to your favourite porn and passing out on the couch. Consider making a night out of it: Date yourself! Get romantic, taking the time to really slow down and explore your body from head to toe. Be gentle and patient with yourself, and know that you’re in complete control.
Make it a time for self-care: Take a bath, light some candles, try feather play or other sensory tools (maybe nipple clamps are your thing?), try self-massage, read some erotica or turn on a sexy playlist. You may find some erogenous zones you didn’t know you had. And try your very best to ditch any shameful or guilty feelings here: You deserve this special, loving treatment and your body will thank you.
Aside from the instant pleasure it provides (which, honestly, would be more than enough for me!), masturbation has a long list of benefits. It reduces tension (which is likely why I always sleep so well after a good solo sex session) and helps reduce stress. It might also help you when it comes to sex with future partners; after spending time alone with your body, you’ll have a better idea of what someone else could do to turn you on in the ways you like. And I can’t forget my favourite benefit: Orgasms release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals. They can even be a natural painkiller, helping to ease menstrual cramps for some. Masturbation is also totally safe (as long as you’re not sharing toys with anyone else). All these facts should give you even more reason to ditch any fear or doubt.
I know I’m not the only one missing romance with a partner right now. Being in isolation is tough, especially for folks who are alone. Personally, I miss putting on some lipstick, going on a date and flirting, the end-of-the-evening kiss and then seeing where things go. I’ve been using some dating apps to try to connect with people here and there, but really, the biggest relief for me when it comes to missing affectionate touch is to satisfy my own damn self. Solo sex has also provided me with a way to reconnect my mind with my physical body, especially during this stressful time. I’m able to focus on nothing else except what my body is telling my mind it wants in the moment. And afterward, I feel lighter, more focused, less anxious and overall, a lot happier. I also feel confident and powerful knowing I’m able to show my body the love it deserves.
I encourage you to do the same: Go exploring and don’t be afraid to try new things. Book a date with yourself right now and check out PinkCherry’s endless options to see what strikes your fancy. Now is the best time to really embrace self-love—let’s not forget to show that love to all our parts.