I’ll have what I’M having!
Masturbation helps us in bed—no, not just the way you're thinking...
Whether you’re solo forever, loving the one you’re with, or waiting for The One, masturbation can be about so much more than our pleasure in the moment. (Though that’s reason enough to do it right there!)
We love the old sexology joke “Someday my prince will come... and so will I!” (Get it? If you are not into princes, substitute princess or princeling and gender it according to your comfort.) It’s not just a funny quip, though. It points to a true problem, and it’s one that masturbation can help us solve.
At the heart of this joke is a fantasy that is all too real for many people: that there is a special someone out there who will unlock the pleasures of intimacy, sex and orgasm for us. This is related to the “save it for someone you love” message so many people learn, especially femme of center folks whose own sexual feelings and explorations may be frowned upon or disregarded, depending on the culture, values, and religion of their community of origin.
But we really hope that idea isn’t taken so seriously by anyone that it shuts down their access to (and comfort with) masturbation. Because solo play is where we learn what we like! It helps us explore how our body responds, how long it takes us to get turned on, what the run-up to orgasm feels like. If we ever have a sexual relationship with a partner (and most of us will, though of course not all of us want this), it is great to be able to share this valuable intel with them! Because this isn’t the kind of fine-tuned information we’d ever learn in the sort of sex education most of us got (if we got any at all).
Unfortunately, most of us were taught to believe sex is something you learn how to do after a few tries then just replicate that each time or with each partner. Recycled sex, so to speak. As we link up with one another we often cross our fingers and hope that what we both like overlaps, and often without much checking in beforehand to find out more of that person’s likes/needs. Interestingly enough, this is not how many of us typically engage in sharing company with folks we care for.
How about looking at it with a tasty breakfast analogy? Are you offering people a unique experience based on what you know they might enjoy? Or maybe sharing what you like and expecting them to enjoy it too? If you had a houseguest and hopped up early to make them a big delicious breakfast with bacon and eggs and hot cakes and all those yummy foods, that would be a wonderful thing for your guest to wake up to… or would it? What if they were vegan, but you didn’t ask and they didn’t expect a meal on the table before they had a chance to let you know what their preference was? People have vastly different food preferences and sensitivities— much like how we each have our own sexual desires and boundaries, too. It’s important to know them for yourself—and share the info with anyone you’re sharing that space with.
After all, a good cook knows how to work with many ingredients to make the right combination for each dish; it’s part of the process to learn that your taste in cooking won't align with every guest (and that's OK!). Some folks just won't like broccoli no matter how it’s cooked.
And if you’re the guest? Knowing what you like vs. just taking whatever's being dished out is empowering, and lets you fully take part in enjoy what’s on offer. Each one of us is an individual, with variations of what we like and enjoy. That’s not something to be ashamed of, that’s yours to celebrate, and potentially be celebrated for, should you desire.
Let this Masturbation May be an opportunity to figure out what we might say if someone asks us “what do you like in bed?” Being able to know this puts us one step closer to having the type of sex we really want, and maybe not have to pretend to enjoy something we really don’t.