Hi, my name is Lara, and masturbating hasn't always been easy for me. In fact, for several years, masturbating was impossible due to how much pain it caused me thanks to my vaginismus, vulvodynia, and endometriosis. Nothing could touch my vulva — I mean nothing — without a fiery pain spreading through my pelvis and rendering me useless for more than a few hours. And even the act of becoming aroused would send a sharp, stabbing pain through my abdomen.
But after months and months of work in pelvic floor physical therapy and with dilator use in my free time, I got to a place where I could exist without my vagina punishing me for every move I made. I was wearing underwear again! I even dared to wear jeans on occasion! However, the thought of touching my own vagina in an attempt to make myself orgasm was still a thought that filled my stomach with dread.
At the urging of one of my therapists at the time, I began to allow myself to think more about masturbating. Instead of associating it with horrific pain and suffering, I thought about what it might be like to be able to do it. I dreamed of the day when I would be able to orgasm, pain or not, and then I would have a very concrete example of just how far I'd come. Outside of wanting to orgasm for the physical pleasure, I needed it mentally, too.
It's now been a few years since the first time I was able to orgasm after being diagnosed with the illnesses that cause me such pain. Since then, I have changed the way I think about masturbation completely. Something that used to fill me with dread is now a form of self-care. I even installed shelves in my bedroom to display my vibrator collection.
During this 30-day experiment, I didn't masturbate every single day. But I came close. And while I have no doubt in my mind that some man somewhere will likely comment on this article with some sort of derogatory comment, I just want to say that masturbation and giving yourself an orgasm isn't inherently bad. It is not something that should be stigmatized or looked at as shameful. It's actually really, really great and is an important part of my self-care.
And now for some things I learned along the way:
1. Masturbating every day should be "easy," but like with everything else, life gets in the way. Making time for this felt like making time for other things that are good for me like meditation, eating right, remembering to breathe, unclenching my jaw, etc. In some ways toward the end of my experiment it began to feel like a task that I needed to remember to do, but this task came with a great reward.
2. There are so many different kinds of vibrators and I learned that if one doesn't work for me, another might, so it's good to experiment if and when you can.
3. Because of the way masturbation, especially for women, has been portrayed to me and communicated to me through society for basically my entire life, there's always something that feels a little inherently wrong about what I am doing. But the more I did it, and the more I normalized it to myself as something that was good for me, the less I felt weird about doing it. It's natural!
4. Changing it up was good! Listening to different kinds of music. Doing it in the morning some days, at night others, different parts of my apartment. It was good to just give myself permission to do it whenever and wherever in my apartment I wanted to.
5. Using CBD-infused lube for me was key after the first week or so. It helped reduce irritation on my vulva, clitoris, and elsewhere and made my orgasms more intense. Some of my favorite CBD lubes: this one from Foria, this one from Kush Queen, and this one from Toca.
6. I generally felt better about myself mentally after masturbating even if I didn't feel that great physically. It really did help my moods.
7. I slept better overall (around 85% of the time) if I masturbated right before bed.