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9 Masturbation Tips That Are Basically Self-Care

It's basically a pleasure ritual.

For a lot of people, masturbating is usually a quick and efficient affair. You know — get in, get off, get out. / Via

But you can also get a lot out of taking your time and masturbating ~mindfully~. It's a great way to get to know your body, get in touch with what turns you on, and tbh, just have a really, really great time pleasuring yourself.

For the uninitiated, mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and being aware of your body, your feelings, and your individual senses. So, mindful masturbation is what it sounds like: embracing that level of focus and awareness while you're having sex with yourself. And while not every time you masturbate can be the picture of mindfulness (nor should it — we all have shit to do) you should definitely indulge in an occasional ritual of self-love.

Since you're probably asking how to actually accomplish that, we got tips from Daniel Saynt, founder of The New Society for Wellness (NSFW), a sex-positive club that hosts sexual education workshops.

1. Throw the goal of orgasming out the window and just focus on exploration and pleasure.

This is *probably* contrary to how you usually masturbate — after all, one of the good things about masturbation in the first place is that you have the advantage of knowing how to get yourself off. But that's not really the point here.

"Mindful masturbation is designed to increase your understanding of your body, discover new feelings, and help you explore new ways of pleasuring yourself," says Saynt. "The 'goal' is to be able to say, 'I really know my body. I know what toys and touches I like. I’ve spent this time with it. I’ve pleased myself.'"

So instead of working toward an orgasm, Saynt suggests drawing out the experience as long as possible. You might do this by edging (AKA getting yourself close to coming and then resting before starting again) or by avoiding the specific kind of stimulation you know gets you off.

2. Set the stage and create an ~ambiance~ to set the mood.

Like, candles, mood lighting, music or ambient noise, the whole shebang. Or at least take the time to declutter and crack a window for some fresh air. It might seem a little extra, but really, you're just creating an environment where you can relax and focus on the task at hand.

If you don't know where to begin curating a masturbation playlist, Saynt suggests NSFW's selection of ~melodic~ music for this very purpose. And here are some sex toys you might want to consider.

3. Pick a time when you know you won't be interrupted or distracted by the fear of being overheard.

Because listen, that is the quickest way to ruin the mood. On top of that, Saynt suggests finding time in your schedule when you spend about 30 minutes really playing with yourself and enjoying the experience. That might be longer than your typical solo sex session, but you've got a lot of area to cover.

4. Make sure to set out everything you need ahead of time, and choose a variety so you can experiment.

Think: toys, lube, towels, etc. That way, you don't have to stop yourself to collect supplies once you're in the zone. For lube (because it's not only for partnered sex!), Saynt recommends going silicone-based for masturbation since it's thicker, unless you're using toys that require something water-based.

5. If you need help quieting your thoughts so you can really focus, start with some non-sexual meditation or relaxation exercises.

Nathan W. Pyle / Via

Sometimes being focused and present is easier said than done, so you might want to take a few minutes before you begin to get any stressed or anxious thoughts under control. If you don't have a go-to way to do this, start with focusing on your breathing or repeating a mantra (out loud or silently).

6. Skip porn in favor of fantasizing so you can really get in touch with what's turning you on.

No judgment if you usually enjoy watching or listening to porn while you masturbate, but for this mindfulness experiment, Saynt strongly suggests not using it. Your body is a little less discerning when it comes to what excites it than your mind is, so when you watch porn, you're stimulated because of that — and not necessarily because of things that actually turn you on. And since the goal here is to figure out what you like and what your body responds to, porn kind of defeats the purpose.

7. Explore all your erogenous zones and how they respond to different types of touch.

You can think of it as foreplay to get yourself turned on if you want, but you might also discover you actually get a lot of pleasure from parts of your body you normally don't stimulate, like your nipples or stomach. Ditto for different types of touch, says Saynt — you might be used to rubbing or stroking, so play around with sensations like scratching, tugging, and tickling.

Which is not to say you shouldn't spend a lot of time with your genitals — you should. Chances are, you probably haven't fully explored them either, so use your fingers or toys to feel everything you've got going on down there, concentrating on what new sensations you discover as you do. Eventually you can get around to trying to orgasm if you want, but bonus points if you try to make it happen a different way than you normally do.

8. As you explore, try visualizing your body in your mind, then imagine each touch or each feeling as a color appearing on your skin.

Identify each color so you can stimulate more or less depending on how those touches feel. Or if colors aren't working for you, you can imagine your body as a heat map and see where pleasure is most concentrated.

This exercise helps you create a roadmap to your body and your pleasure zones, but it can also just be hot in and of itself. "You start start visualizing your body getting pleasure and that can turn you on as well," says Saynt.

9. When you're done — whether that's after you've had an orgasm or whenever you decide — take time to reflect on what you learned about your body.

"Just take 15 seconds of not touching yourself and really recap the experience," says Saynt. "Think about the orgasm you just had or the sensations you enjoyed, identifying the things you found more pleasurable so you can draw on them later."

And then, if you want, you can just start on round two. Or just feel like a centered badass who has a strong and healthy relationship with their own body.

So, what do you think of masturbation as a way of practicing ~mindfulness~ or self-care?

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