How to Transform Your Masturbation Sessions From Meh to Mind-Blowing

How to Transform Your Masturbation Sessions From Meh to Mind-Blowing
Image: Womanizer
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You may not be aware of this, but it was Equal Masturbation Day on August 22. The event, which was launched by sexual wellness brand Womanizer in 2020, is centred on the masturbation gap between female-identifying folks and male-identifying people.

But more than that, it offers a chance to look at masturbation, the way we view it and the unhelpful ideas that tend to get in the way of pleasure.

According to a survey completed by Womanizer, which looked at the habits of 1,000 Aussies, found that while the gap in masturbation rates is smaller (one per cent lower), women still engage in solo sex 64 per cent less than men.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with having no interest in solo sex (just like there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it) the purpose of highlighting these gaps is significant in that it closely relates to the feelings of shame that many women grow up feeling regarding sex and pleasure.

The survey found that things are slowly progressing for women, while rates of masturbation slightly dropped in men, year-on-year. The average rate of masturbation for Aussie men in 2021 was 144, compared to 155 in 2020.

Johanna Rief, Head of Sexual Empowerment at Womanizer speculated that this could be a knock-on effect from COVID restrictions with less alone time. But there’s no real evidence to suggest precisely why it’s happened.

The topic of solo sex has always had loads of stigma and misinformation surrounding it, so I thought it would be useful to dig into the biggest problem areas and how to avoid them getting in the way.

What are some of the biggest barriers to self-pleasure?

masturbation solo sex
Get yours, girl. Image supplied: Womanizer

Georgia Grace, sexologist and sexual wellness expert for Womanizer, explained that while this is a deeply personal thing, there are a handful of themes that tend to pop up – particularly for women.

“…it could be limited education, low sexual self confidence, sexual shame, not knowing how or what to do, not so great past sexual experiences,” she explained.

On the other side of things, men and people with penises masturbate with sex toys at a much lower rate than women and people with vulvas, data from Lovehoney suggests.

In a statement on this, Lovehoney shared that “Only one-third of males (35%) have masturbated using a sex toy compared to nearly three quarters (72%) of females. However, interestingly they [men] are open to toy use, with nearly half (48%) having used a sex toy during partnered sex.”

Sure, male-identifying folks may be masturbating at a generally higher rate but if they’re limiting the means by which they access pleasure, that certainly counts as a solo sex barrier too, no?

There are issues with how we frame masturbation, period

Lucy Wark, GM at Normal (sexual education and wellness brand) explained to me over the phone that looking at younger generations, specifically, Normal’s data also indicated there was a gender gap in masturbation that’s slowly closing.

“Among millennials, the number or the percentage of female-identifying people who masturbate either daily or a few times a week is about 22%. And the percentage among male-identifying people is over 50%…”

She explained that when considering these figures it’s important to ask questions like “have you ever tried it? Then, how frequently do you do it? And also, how do you feel about it?”

But beyond that, Wark shared that when looking at these stats, it’s important to examine the different ways we talk about masturbation according to gender, too.

A lot of which is unhelpful or downright harmful.

“For lots of male-identifying people, there’s a lot of jokey conversation about masturbation but there’s almost no empowering, or vulnerable or educational conversation about masturbation,” she said.

Alternatively, she highlighted that “with female-identifying people [it] can be much more of a spectrum, from people who are actually sort of starting to talk and be pleasure activists and talk about this in a really empowering way through to people who sort of are still dealing with a lot of internalised or even like real self-directed shame about masturbation as well”.

Okay, so what are some tips for boosting our enjoyment of solo sex?

Georgia Grace shared here that it’s really worth spending some time figuring out what’s going to work for you, as there’s no one size fits all approach, here.

“I invite my clients to think about what they can do to create the context for a good time – is it locking the door, putting on a playlist, having a shower (or doing it in the shower?), setting a timer, getting your toys ready and charged?

“I ask my clients to think about really great past sexual experiences – and reflect on what it was about the context that made it so good – and how can they recreate this,” she said.

Abbie Chatfield, who recently released a vibrator (the Abbie) with sex toy brand Vush, also shared her top solo sex tips with me – many of which echo Grace’s suggestions.

“My biggest tip for turning yourself on and probably reaching a bigger orgasm is seducing yourself,” she told me over email.

“Have a nice bath, put on some candles, touch yourself slowly, and seduce yourself the way you’d want to be seduced by a partner.”

And when it comes to feeling sexy, she highlighted that the best thing you can do is “wear something you’re comfortable in”.

“I’m more trackies pulled down, t-shirt on, lying on the back… but lingerie, pyjamas, nothing at all, whatever works for you – just wear something that you feel good in.”

Her other key suggestion? Use lube! Especially if you’re introducing a sex toy.

“Lube is criminally underrated in a solo sesh,” she shared.

“It should be your best friend to help explore your body. Stimulation isn’t just for the clitoris, G-spot or P-spot; move the Abbie Vibrator over different parts of your body and see what works for you.”

In addition to that, Grace highlighted the power of surrounding yourself with sex-positive people and information – look to podcasts, books and shows that will encourage you.

Then do your best to take the pressure off. There’s no right or wrong, here. Your only requirement is to allow yourself to have a good time – whatever that means.

“Maybe you start by listening and dancing to sensual music, reading an erotic novel, giving yourself a sensual massage or a sensual shower,” she shared.

“Explore daily moments of pleasure – you don’t need to go in all at once, start with what feels really comfortable and exciting to you!”

And as always, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure or stuck you can always seek out the support of a sex educator or sexologist who can chat you through your concerns.

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