"I Touch Myself to Come Home to My Body": A Public Celebration of Masturbation and Self-Pleasure

Photo: London Zhiloh

Note: Some of the photos on this post are NSFW.

We recently entered the of May and May just so happens to be International Masturbation Month, a month entirely devoted to solo sex and self-pleasure.

Masturbation isn’t just a method of getting off, it’s a tool you can use to explore yourself, to understand the way your body and your arousal works. It helps familiarize you with your sexual body so that you are better able to know what turns you on.

Because if you don’t know what turns you on, if you don’t know what gets you off, how in the world will your sexual partners know? And how will you be able to convey that to your partners?

Masturbation is a crucial part of sexual liberation.

To honor of this glorious month dedicated to the art of self-pleasuring, I thought it would be appropriate to share my masturbation origin story.

Here's a snippet:

I remember being a little girl and touching myself at night while lying in bed, almost to lull myself to sleep. I don’t believe an orgasm or even arousal ever came from my touches, but I do remember that it felt wonderfully comforting, like a bear hug, like being rocked to sleep.

This became a ritual for years to come: touching myself until my eyes grew heavy and eventually closed shut with sleepiness.

I had always thought that what I did back then was a mere symptom of childhood, like when a kid sucks its thumb. It didn’t actually click until I intentionally gave myself my first orgasm that I finally understood that when I was small, I was touching myself for consolation as well as pleasure.

To finally have a bit of resolution to what I had done for most of my life, and to finally understand what it all meant. . . it was thrilling. I wasn’t crazy or sick; I was a natural, sexual being since birth. This was such a crazy beautiful realization.

Press play below to listen to the rest or click here.

To celebrate the most important sexual relationship there is, here are even more stories, resources, and self-pleasuring tips:

The history of International Masturbation Month—how it got started, who created it, and why we celebrate it in the month of May:

"[T]he merry, merry month of May has long been seen as symbolizing sexual awakening. Also, because May and masturbation both start with M—it's nice and alliterative."

  • Plus! An interview with Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the person who inspired International Masturbation Month.

A few masturbation myths and facts:

"Masturbation is not simply a substitution for sex with a partner."

If you're having trouble achieving orgasm while masturbating:

"I learned, over time, and after much fretting, that you really have to be pretty intentional about orgasms, especially as a person with a vulva ... At one point in my Orgasm Quest, I was even watching videos that *just* showed what a vulva looks like during orgasm, and trying to rate my own experiences against that."

How to overcome shame while masturbating:

"Think back: Where did these [shameful] beliefs come from? Who put these ideas into your head and body? Can you pinpoint where it all began? It can be challenging to go inward and analyze where these unpretty thoughts originated, especially if they were born of trauma. But getting to the core of your sexual wounding is key."

Drawing: Porn on Paper

Personal story: Why I touch myself:

"I touch myself to worship my skin and senses. I touch myself to reconnect with my heart space and quieten my mind. I touch myself to release tension, rage, sadness, or sheer joy. I touch myself to come home to my body."

And a few more personal stories:

35 reasons to add masturbation into your self-care routine:

"We’re very familiar with the typical ways to exhibit self-care—saying no; sleeping in; moving our bodies; tuning into our intuitions; feeding ourselves nourishing foods; unplugging from the internet, etc.—and solo-sex is an often overlooked. Not anymore!"

If you want to ween yourself off of your vibrator:

"I wanted more control of my arousal and more of a connection to my orgasm. I wanted slow sex. I wanted lasting juiciness. I wanted to continue to explore my sexuality without needing to be tethered to a battery-operated device. I especially wanted to experience the organic accumulation of sexual energy by playing with different sensations all over my body, not just on my clit."

Some interactive worksheets from Afrosexology about masturbation:


Photo: Struchman

Playlists to touch yourself to:

How to practice solo sex magic like a sex witch:

"I’m not somebody who meditates every day, but I am someone who will masturbate at least once a week. That’s my spiritual practice."

What to do if you think the fantasies you get off to in your head are unhealthy:

"That’s the great thing about fantasies: They don’t necessarily mean you must do in real life that which you find hot in your erotic imagination."

Why I'm trying to masturbate more:

"Masturbating is now an expression of me taking my erotic power back. It’s an opportunity to hold myself accountable to my orgasm. It’s a way for me to renew a sexual relationship with myself, the first relationship there ever was, outside of my partner’s involvement."

What it's like to have sex with a crystal dildo:

"From the first time I used my crystal dildo, I could feel an incredible shift in my body, as if I had been cracked wide open to experience and receive a deeper kind of pleasure than I’d ever had with any toy before. And the orgasm was so intense, sending me on a kind of body-high, one that reverberated into my day-to-day."

  • Plus! Get 10% off when you use the code LIBERATION at checkout.

Photo: Peyton Fulford

And books to help you cultivate more of a solo sexual relationship:

*Books about connecting to your body, unshaming masturbation, and demystifying your sexual fantasies.

© 2020 Ev'Yan Whitney / All rights reserved.