It's not as woo-woo as it sounds, promise.

By Rea Frey
January 05, 2020
Katarzyna Kogut / EyeEm/Getty Images

Masturbation is my jam. It has been ever since I was a curious kid with a vibrating hairbrush who used to get off and then bury it at the back of my closet because I thought I was going to hell. (I had some real shit to work through, obvi.)

Despite my initial confusion about the morality of masturbation, I realized at a very early age the importance of self-stimulation. Now, as an adult, there's not a single day that goes by where I don't masturbate (true story). Over the years, my husband has even bought me some ahh-mazing toys. (See: The Best Vibrators for Women to Use for Solo and Partnered Play)

While I pat myself on the back for my commitment to orgasms, I swiftly noticed my masturbation wasn't mindful. Instead, it had become…perfunctory. There was no exploration of my own body, no taking my time, no connecting with myself. It was something I did in my bedroom with a toy with my eyes closed (or watching strangers on a screen). I wasn't taking time with my body or mind. It was just another thing to check off of my to-do list so I could rush about my day.

And I wanted that to change.

So, on a mission to reconnect with myself, I went on a hunt for different ways to masturbate. I stumbled upon OMGYES, a science-backed website that showcases real women explaining (and demonstrating) how they get off. (Also check out these woke sex apps that can help improve all aspects of your sex life.) After some fun research, I hid my toys and screens, and then I went for it. I began to play out different scenarios in my head. I touched my body. I teased myself. I masturbated with my other hand. I kept the lights on. I watched myself in the mirror. It took practice. Every time I wanted to just get to the finish line, I had to slow down and remind myself of the ultimate goal: connection. By trying something new, I related to myself in an entirely different way. I began to move through the world as a more confident, sexual being. I felt a bigger release. (It even upped my game in the bedroom with my husband.) Masturbation became an event I looked forward to.

It's amazing that when it comes to our bodies, we often operate on autopilot. We hit the gym to move our bodies, we hold our breath, we down smoothies or snacks while on-the-go, we're constantly plugged into technology, and we often search for quick fixes every chance we get. There's no time to just revel in pleasure anymore, right? However, bringing mindfulness to your physical, mental, and emotional self can radically change the outcomes in your daily life.

Most of us think mindfulness is a sacred gift reserved for less busy people. We don't have time to be mindful! We even walk through life expecting other people to meet our needs: intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and professionally. We blame our lack of mindfulness or self-care on being too busy; yet, we manage to fill our time mindlessly scrolling through social media or vegging out to hours of Netflix. The thing is, you don't need more time to be mindful. You don't need to stop everything and sit cross-legged and "om" for an hour to reap the benefits of mindfulness in your life. Mindfulness is simply the art of being present in your body in this exact time and place—and what better time and place to do that than when you're masturbating? (See: How to Practice Mindfulness Anywhere)

After practicing mindful masturbation, sure, I learned more about what could get me to climax—but, more importantly, I tapped into the magic of arousal. It's a powerful thing. It allows you to figure out what the hell you want so you don't have to rely on anyone else. It puts you in control.

Ask yourself: Do you know who you are? Do you know what you like? Do you spend time disparaging your body instead of worshipping it? Do you walk around admiring other shapes, sizes, or people, instead of yourself?

We're taught that it's narcissistic to love ourselves, but that's a bunch of bull. The most important relationship you can work on is the one with yourself. With a self-loving, exploratory intention, mindful masturbation can help you feel more in touch with who you are, what you want, what you like, and what you don't like in the bedroom (and in life).

Besides tuning in to what I want and like, mindful masturbation forced me to really get to know my body. It helped break my reliance on porn, toys, or fast orgasms. It removed all the stimuli that lay in between connecting one-on-one with myself. While "rubbing one out" is fine every now and then (hey, a girl's gotta eat), cherishing that time with myself helped set a more intentional stage for how I see myself in other areas of life—which can affect a lot more than just having intense orgasms.

How to Try Mindful Masturbation

Want to connect with yourself through mindful masturbation? Start with these suggestions from my mindful masturbation experiment and Gigi Engle, certified sex coach, sexologist and sex educator. Remember that mindful masturbation is simply the act of slowing down and tuning into your senses while you're experiencing solo sex—it doesn't need to be anything fancy. (Then, keep reading here: 13 Masturbation Tips for a Mind-Blowing Solo Session)

  1. Stand naked in front of a mirror and really take time to look at yourself naked. Name three things you really love about your body. It can be as simple as: “I love my eyes,” or “I love how strong my arms are.” Anything to put you in a positive headspace for self-love. All positive sexual experiences start by loving yourself first.
  2. Use your other hand when stimulating yourself so you can get out of "autopilot" and really tune in to how you're feeling. Don’t be surprised if this takes time to experience orgasm, as it’s new.
  3. Try something new. If you always use toys, use your hand. If you use your hand, use toys. Or try a new sex toy. Take yourself shopping and get something you’ve had your eye on.
  4. Try getting off somewhere other than in bed. The kitchen, the couch, anywhere that gives you a change of scenery.  It's easy to get into orgasm ruts by doing the same routines over and over again. You need to keep the spark alive, even with yourself.
  5. Go slow. As you near orgasm, stop. Get yourself worked up and then delay the gratification as long as possible.

You don't need a partner. You don't need a reason. Never masturbated? If you've got a hand, you're in business. Let your mind wander. Create your own safe space. And then have some fun with yourself. You're entitled.

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