By ena ganguly
We all have different masturbation stories. Many of us began to explore at a young age, while others didn’t until they were much older. There may be different ways we were introduced to it. Some of us have never masturbated. No matter when it was that we started our masturbation journey, and if we have not, it’s a tool that may be used for stress release, quality time, and intention setting.
Masturbation, usually a taboo topic in our culture, releases ‘happy hormones’ such as dopamine and oxytocin. This creates in us joy, allowing us to feel less stressed and anxious. Healthline notes that the after-effects of masturbation may also be feeling more focused and having more clarity. Though there’s no one ideal time to masturbate, since it may help us fall asleep, perhaps we can reach for this tool right before we take a nap or fall asleep for the night.
Though masturbation can produce in our physical bodies a feeling of euphoria, it may be an activity that disturbs us mentally or emotionally. Perhaps because this activity has been considered ‘selfish’ or ‘harmful’ for religious or cultural reasons, but also perhaps because of any trauma we have experienced, especially as it relates to sexual trauma. Any blockages that we may experience as we reach for this tool is valid, and we should take our time exploring those blockages, allowing us to feel our feelings without pushing ourselves to the next step of our journey.
Please keep in mind: masturbation is a self led journey where we teach ourselves how to claim ownership of our bodies. Though at times it may be frustrating, it’s a time for us to see what feels good. Ideally, it would be great if we could abstain from judging ourselves during this time, and observe what comes for us, perhaps even writing those things down for reflection at a later time. However, we know that this journey is often met by shame, self-disgust, frustration and even anger. It’s all valid, and it’s okay for us to feel those feelings.
The best part is that we are not alone in our journeys. Here is a vlog by Mia Li, who grew up in a conservative Catholic Filipino family, talking about her masturbation journey in a really beautiful and authentic way. She posts lots of great content, including masturbation tips and how to build a healthy relationship with your sexual self. Knowing we aren’t alone is probably one of the best reminders in this journey, which is so unique to each of us that often it feels like we are the only ones on it, but that’s not true!
Lastly, masturbation can be used as a tool to set intentions. Many queer femmes and women have begun to cite masturbation as an intention setting tool, as a way to manifest their desires through orgasm! It’s an exciting thought: to have the power to envision our ideas in our minds and spirits and let it be released through our bodies into the universe. Here is a Vice article that talks more about this in detail.
We are all in the process, however painstaking, beautiful and long, to heal ourselves, celebrate ourselves, and take time to care for ourselves. Masturbation is a great self care tool when and if we need it. It will always be there, within our reach, but if we decide that’s not our thing right now, or really ever, we can choose to fill our toolkit with a number of other self-care strategies like journaling, doing another physical activity, and so on. The journey to self-care is beautiful and worth taking, because it’s fully and wholly ours.
Join us this Sunday, July 12th, from 3 to 5 PM to talk about Masturbation As Self Care! Register here.