Why My New Self-Care Routine Now Includes Masturbation
For the longest time, I thought of masturbation as a thing you do with someone else or if I was horny I’d masturbate. Sometimes I did it to relieve stress or help me fall asleep. I’ve usually enjoyed my partners masturbating me or us masturbating together and it’s been a part of sexual life for a long time.
I started masturbating when I was probably 4 or 5 years old. My parents let us watch R-rated movies and so I learned about the idea of sex very young. I remember dry-rubbing my large teddy bear and feeling pleasure in my clitoris. I didn’t know what I was doing but I knew it felt good.
Now as a 34-year-old woman I enjoy exploring all kinds of things in sex but I am still owning that part of myself. I tend to be shy about my curiosities and what pleases me. My partner and I have been overcoming a lot in our sex life regarding pleasure, what we like and don’t like and it’s been an ongoing exploration for us both.
For a while, in my relationships, I would keep my masturbating to myself. If I was at home and had decided to please myself before my partner got home I wouldn’t share that I had just came to a porn. It was kind of a secret I kept with myself out of fear of judgment or shame.
In my family, my father slut-shamed me a lot and degraded women in general. He sexually abused me when I was a teenager for a few years. I held onto a lot of fear around my body attracting attention and shame around sexual curiosities.
Perhaps masturbation was a safe place for me where I could experience pleasure without judgment or fear. I don’t know how it is for other sexual abuse survivors but I’d be curious to find out. I think we all have to overcome some things around sex and curiosity in our recovery.
Recently I was masturbating and right before I tend to have to overcome a lot mentally. I do a lot of personal self-talk, fantasizing, and sometimes watching porn to help get me wet and in the mood. My head is flooded with thoughts that aren’t always horny or sexual.
After I was done I was thinking about why I masturbate and realized it was also an act of self-care for me. Rather wait for my partner to please me I find comfort and freedom in knowing I can do that for myself. I also love the idea of it being a part of self-care.
It feels liberating and free of judgment and shame to include masturbation in your self-care routine. For me, it takes the pressure off of trying to get pleased by my partner which sometimes it’s nice to just have some personal time at the end of a long day with an almost 2-year-old.
Masturbation has tons of benefits from reducing stress, helping you sleep better to improving self-esteem and body image. Something cool about it is that it releases dopamine, the pleasure hormone, and oxytocin, the love hormone. Oxytocin helps to decrease stress by decreasing the cortisol, a stress hormone that we usually experience through anxiety, distress, fear, or panic.
The list goes on in how masturbation has great benefits to your overall health and mood but that would be a research paper.
Self-care is many things. It’s what you eat, your sleep, how you are taking care of your mind, and your body. It‘s not just bubble baths, getting your hair or nails done. Yes, I love it when I can get my hair and nails done but in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a little harder to access these resources these days.
Sometimes you got to remember the basics and be open to exploring new ways of being good to yourself. When you feel like you’ve neglected your self-care routine, perhaps consider pleasing yourself to start feeling better.