I discovered masturbation in 1993 at the age of 11. From what I have gathered, this is not unaccustomed for boys my age. One day you discover the intense feelings of penile self-pleasure and the next, you have a friend for life! Unfortunately, like so many others, I was derailed from fully being able to explore and embrace this new found pleasure without guilt, shame, and religious judgment.
My father caught me not too long after my first few days of orgasmic bliss and reprimanded me for the activity stating that if I continued I'd "grow a third leg." Well, obviously this was never going to happen, but the mere act of him reprimanding me surely did instill fear into my recently discovered joy. My mother, years later, would follow suit and declare that masturbation was a sexual sin because it was "having sex with yourself."
22 years have transpired since then and I share this story now because the road back to reclaiming the joys of masturbation free from negative and debilitating baggage has been long and hard (pun intended). Remnants still remain. And I know, from work I've done with clients and other conversations I've had, I'm not the only one with this struggle - grown men who, decades later, can't fully embrace and enjoy their sexuality and eroticism because of debilitating guilt and shame!
THIS IS UNFORTUNATE!
THE JOURNEY BACK TO MY BODY
About 6 years ago I began a slow journey back to reclaiming the self-pleasures of my penis. Granted, against my parents' wishes, I continued to masturbate all those 22 years, but it was never something that I felt I could fully throw myself into as a self-loving and self-pleasuring activity - an activity whose own pleasure was reason enough to indulge. My folks, coupled with my religious upbringing, had previously and systematically ruined this self-loving potential. Every time I'd do it, I'd be riddled with guilt.
I chose a different experiment, searched, and found a website that was specifically tailored towards the joys of male masturbation and met a lot of guys who had very similar stories and those whose fathers, instead of discouraging their sons, supported their self-discovery and pleasure. There was a HUGE difference in attitude and freedom between those who were discouraged young and those who grew up without the baggage. The latter exhibited a freedom I so desperately yearned for.
So, through The Body Electric School, my ongoing study of Tantra, and the work I've been doing with myself and my clients around masturbation and self-love I want to share 3 points that I hope will help enhance your own masturbation practice and bring a renewed sense of presence to it.
3 TIPS FOR creating a deeper masturbation practice (Mileage may vary)
1. BE MINDFUL AND INTENTIONAL - We set time to exercise our physical bodies. We go the gym, run, bike, etc. but when was the last time you actually set a specific time to masturbate? Many guys masturbate as a means to an end, sometimes as an afterthought. That end is usually to relieve stress, let off steam and relax the body before bed, to relieve horniness, or even to cure boredom. These sessions often last no more than 10-20 minutes, if that long. But have you ever considered masturbation as part of a mindfulness practice, an intentional self-loving exercise?
Here's a challenge - set aside some time this week to spend with yourself. Set an intention for your session beforehand, what do you want to get out of your session today? Give yourself 30-60 minutes for the exercise. Take about 5-10 minutes to warm up as you would when at the gym. Perhaps you might find stretching, yoga, and/or breath exercises as a great way to ground. The point is to get in touch with your body, your breath, and to tune in to what your body is desiring. Most of us never actually take the time to ask our bodies what it actually wants or needs in any given moment.
For instance, if I were to ask you what your body needed and/or wanted in this very moment as you are reading this sentence, what would it say?
While you progress through the session, be mindful of the feelings, sensations, images, thoughts, emotions, or anything else that might come up in your body. Truly pay attention to your body.
2. BREATHE AND RELAX - I spend a fair amount of time teaching my clients how to breathe. Because we live in a culture so riddled with stress and instant everything, we rarely learn how to take full deep abdominal breaths. Also, because sex is as psychological as it is physical, spiritual as it is physiological, breath is a crucial component in centering the body and bringing it to a point of rest.
Breathing and relaxing do wonders for your erotic energy. Most guys tend to tense their muscles and engage in shallow breathing when they are masturbating as if they are enduring to the end. This does a couple of things, 1) it locks your body into sensory habits. Over time, this position will become default; the main way your body will learn how to achieve orgasm and/or ejaculation (there is a difference) and the more you do it, the harder it'll become to break the habit and 2) tensing the body will also have the same restricting affect on your energy. Most of the energy you build will stay in the area around your genitals. This is awesome if you want to cum quickly, but you'll hardly experience the wonder of breathing and opening your ENTIRE body to the energy that you are capable of building.
Breath is the vehicle in which this energy is channeled throughout the body and deep breathing literally creates space for the energy to rise and expand throughout your body. So take deep breaths as you are climbing the ladder of sexual and erotic bliss. And taking a deep, deep breath right before climax is a great way to send you into orbit! Give it a try!
3. SLOW DOWN - THIS IS NOT A RACE!
Let me repeat.
THIS IS NOT A RACE!
You wouldn't go to the gym and throw on several pounds of weight and lunge into a full-fledged workout, would you? NO! You have to warm your body up. In the same way, take the time to actually wake your body up, tune in, and explore the journey of arousal.
Do you know other erogenous zones besides your groin? If so, do you incorporate those parts into your practice - nipples, ass, skin, etc.? Are you more interested in the destination of orgasm and ejaculation rather than the journey to heightened stages of arousal, pleasure, and sensation? Don't drive your body like you drive your car! Take your time, enjoy the scenery, taste the air, open your senses. Check under the hood sometime.
Remember that masturbation doesn't have to be just about "getting off." It can be and should be, with practice, a full body experience. Give yourself permission to reclaim your masturbation and permission to embrace your pleasure! Taking time to explore and ride the waves of sexual energy can be a very rewarding, healing, and educational experience.
In Part 2, I'll delve further into the sex magic that is masturbation! Stay tuned! And feel free to let us know how your practice is going! We'd love to hear from you!