2015 has been an ass-kicking year, for me and for many folks I know. “Relentless” is the word a friend used recently. When life is hard, and every day is a struggle just to get through, sexuality often gets relegated to the back burner. Our attention is scattered; our desire is seemingly non-existent. We may not think we have the time, energy or emotional bandwidth for deep erotic connection, with ourselves or others.
During these times, sex may be the last thing we want to do. Our masturbation becomes purely functional, or doesn’t happen at all. Actually living and feeling inside our bodies when we are suffering may be unbearable. And so we leave: we disassociate, check out, numb out, distract ourselves. We pretend that our sexuality isn’t hugely important. We forget.
While all of these coping strategies offer us the ability to just get through whatever the hard thing is, there is also a hidden somatic cost associated with them. The more we are absent from our own felt sense, our own sensations, the less we actually feel. Our capacity TO feel becomes limited. And even once the hard time has passed (as they always do) we are then left with diminished feeling and sensation. Joy becomes something that others feel, not us. Pleasure is elusive.
I’m curious about a loving cultural reframe. What if we experienced our bodies as a refuge? What if our sense of safety was held within, and we could choose to find a sense of embrace inside? What if sexuality was a space of home, of welcome? If we could nourish our hearts through feeling pleasure? What if, when our hearts were bruised and tired, we brought loving touch to ourselves?
Trauma tells us that we are broken beyond repair. That we are unworthy of love and pleasure. That the only safety is somewhere else, never here, now. Trauma tells us that suffering is our due, that swimming and muddling through the quagmire of our brokenness is the ‘real’ work. We believe we just can’t get this body thing right. This is not the way things are supposed to be. We are not damaged goods.
Who or what is served by all of your struggles against embodiment?
Imagine for a moment if there was a small dial, behind your left ear. You could just reach up, and change that channel of loyal suffering. Instead, you could choose the channel “I live in this body. It is my home.” And when things get so fucked up and hurty, and you are overwhelmed with it all, you find your fingers, rising of their own accord to that tiny place. Suddenly, breath fills your lungs, your belly. Your awareness drops down through the tissues and organs of your body. You feel your sex, resting and open and alive.
Your hands move down your body and find the places you know well, or the places you are only now discovering. The secret places of joy, where your body belongs to you and you alone. And your touch is that of an old, familiar lover, bringing care and adoration.
Is sexual liberation possible in this lifetime? Yes. If I commit myself to its practice, each and every day. If, when I forget my true work of freeing myself from all of my internalized oppression, I remember to touch myself and whisper “I am worthy of my love” and “I am safe in here.”
What do you think? If you’re curious about these ideas, please leave a comment below.
My job is walking with my clients on their path to sexual liberation.
I meet my clients where they are in terms of their sexuality, and together we discover the blocks, traumas, and limiting beliefs that stand between them and the deeper erotic life that is possible for them. It’s a process. Along the way, there are unexpected twists and turns, as the body slowly begins to reveal its secrets and stories. Almost always we encounter the gatekeeper, Resistance. It’s how we know we are getting closer to the essential erotic self, which is quite powerful and can be frightening.
I have the capacity to make this journey with my clients because I’ve done it, am doing it, myself. My body knows trauma, resistance, and both welcomes and trembles at hope. I’ve had to wrestle sexuality back from fear, and reclaim my erotic life from the abyss of disassociation and sexual shut-down.
Being a coach and standing in witness of the journeys my clients make is a magnificent experience.
I watch, time and again, as the intuition and body knowledge someone has deep inside emerges to guide them home to Eros. I stand in awe of our power to know ourselves, ever more deeply.
I’ve come to know myself more deeply. Over the last year or so, I’ve experienced a growing desire to embrace my performer self. I’ve not had a lot of training in performance, and I’ve been seeking out venues to practice.
It’s good for me to be in spaces where I don’t yet have mastery; it keeps me in the space of beginner’s mind. But I also fucking hate not being good at something, not having things be easy and effortless. It reminds me of the vulnerability and courage it takes to enter into a process, not knowing who you’ll be on the other side, and what the price of admission will cost you.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to participate in a transformational coaching process for performance, with Eric Scheur and Reba Sparrow of Mystery Box Show.
Mystery Box is a story-telling show out of Portland that is real people, telling their real foibles with sexuality. It’s not porn stars, or people who have it all together in terms of sex. The stories are funny, tender, heartbreaking, and remind us that we’re human.
I worked with Eric and Reba for three months, developing my story for their San Francisco show.
The story they chose for me to tell is about the very first public masturbation ritual I ever led, when I had never even masturbated with another person before. Everything was working against my desire to explore communal masturbation. It was a pivotal moment in my life, one that ultimately led to me becoming a facilitator of sexual liberation for others.
The transformative story coaching process was supportive, and yet humbling.
Each time we would meet for our skype session, I would have to tell them the latest version of my story. They’d tell me how great it was coming along, and then they’d basically suggest restructuring many components, or eliminate elements that were non-essential to the story.
Throughout the process, I felt the story getting tighter and more cohesive. I also dreaded each and every coaching session. It is really fucking hard to show up, with your art, your tender, vulnerable story, and have someone, with the greatest compassion, hold you accountable to an even higher iteration of your ability.
I was a wreck in the days leading up to the performance. I fought with myself. I met with them one last time the day before the show, and they wanted me to change the beginning of the story that I’d been working on delivering just right for weeks! I wanted to punch Eric in the face. But I sucked it up, and kept working on the story, figuring out how to implement his suggestions.
They don’t tell you the order you will be presenting your story in during the show until that night. I was hoping that I would go first, and just get it over with. When I met I met the other story tellers, one of whom I’d recently seen perform, I was relieved because I assumed I would go first. Unfortunately, when they revealed the order, I was the last performance of the evening. Which meant I had to sit through all of the other stories, heart pounding and palms sweating.
Miraculously, once I heard “Please welcome to the stage Pavini Moray!” my fear dropped away.
All of the preparation, the coaching, the support, the reworking, the practice, it all kicked in and was directly available in the moment.
I’d been worried that I’d forget key elements, or that my timing would suck. I was concerned that my gestures wouldn’t work, or that I’d fuck up with the mike. None of that happened. While I was telling my story, I felt the greatest sense of presence, and of pleasure. I couldn’t believe it when I realized I was getting to the end of the 17-minute piece.
I stepped off the stage, and knew that I had nailed it. The joy and celebration lasted for days.
Two weeks later, I’ve had time to reflect on the experience. Why was it so successful? Well, as I’ve already said, all the preparation. But even more than that, I realize it’s because Eric and Reba were there, expecting me to be brilliant. Their belief in me fueled my belief in myself.
I’m so grateful that I got to participate in a transformational coaching process, and that the results were so clearly demonstrated.
I’ll hold that moment of success as a trophy, a reminder of what happens when there is support, high standards, and accountability. I’ll use the experience to support processes that I move through, and sexual liberation processes that I help my clients move through.
Last week I wrote that what we accept asour capacity for pleasure is actually far smaller than what we are capable of experiencing as humans.
Perhaps you thought, “OK, so then I’m going to increase my capacity for feeling pleasure and expand my sexuality.”
Indeed, how does one expand into feeling more pleasure, if one has already accepted that the limits of our pleasure capacity are inflexibly where they are?
Or worse yet, what if we have don’t realize that the limits to our capacity for feeling pleasure are ones that we ourselves have created?
Before we consider the question of how to increase our capacity for pleasure, let us first acknowledge our diminished capability to enjoy the fullness of our human sexuality. Let us ground into the historical contexts of how we have ended up here.
Throughout my blog, I have often written of my own experiments as I attempt to expand my erotic self and broaden my capacity for pleasure. I write of my own experiences for a number of reasons, mainly because I trust personally people who walk their talk. Therefore, my integrity compels me to be transparent about my process. Blogging keeps me accountable to my chosen course towards erotic wholeness. Importantly, transparently blogging about my sexuality helps hold my shame at bay.
Ironically, the shame of not being or having the sexual self we know or imagine is possible can actually be enough to block us from seeking that self. Therefore, it is crucial to the sexual wellbeing of the planet that we begin to break silence about our shame. That people with marginalized identities also claim sexuality. Through sharing our erotic journeys, we not only give ourselves permission, but also model and give each other permission to seek authentic sexual expression.
When I started exploring my erotic nature, I was optimistic, but guardedly so. Perhaps there was more to my sexuality than I was experiencing. I had a vague sense of missing out on something, but assumed (incorrectly) that the experience I was having was the extent of the experience I could have. I thought the sex that I had, though limited and at times non-existent, was good enough. Plainly put, I settled for the experience I had and tried to wrap my sexuality around it. I did not try to expand the experience to meet the edges of my sexuality.
After all, I had read enough about women’s sexuality to know a few things (or so I thought.) I knew that that many women didn’t masturbate. Many women didn’t orgasm during penis-vagina intercourse. Many women didn’t have more than one orgasm. Many women didn’t even orgasm at all. Since I was capable of coming a couple times when I had penis-vagina intercourse, and I masturbated, I was doing better than many women.
I set my own sexual bar super low.
What were some things I was missing from my sexuality?
Play and Exploration and edge-pushing
Desire and Fantasy
Transcendent sexuality and sex magick
Embodiment, sensate focus and being present during sex
Freedom for fantasy during sex and Freedom for all kinds of fantasies
Exploring different turn-ons
Toys, different positions and mixing up the patterns of sexual encounters
Gender play and different sexual partners
Knowledge of my anatomy
Squirting and Kegels
Breath, movement and sound
Ecstatic sexual encounters and meeting the Divine during sex
Awareness of erotic energy, and ability to work with it
Kink, BDSM and power exchange
Communal erotic encounters
Allowing sex to crack open my heart
Full Body orgasms, G-spot orgasms and orgasmic spaces beyond the clittoral
Acceptance for my kinks and turn-ons
Shit, that’s a whole lot of missing!
The most interesting thing is that I really believed I was doing good! I ACCEPTED that the limits of my sexuality were real.
Barnaby Barratt, a psychotherapist, sex therapist, sex educator and tantric facilitator, implores that, “Our sexuality encompasses everything about our embodiment. It is our sensual and erotic connectedness with all that is around us. It is the medium of our alignment or misalignment with the universe, the grounding of our being-in-the-world.”
Why do we accept for our sexuality something that is less than perfect alignment with the universe? How did it come to be that I accepted those limits?
While most of us probably feel some degree of shame about where we are in our sexual expression, it turns out there are actually a number of really excellent reasons why we are where we are.
Here’s the crux of it: Our sexuality is informed by a complete paradox. Ubiquitous in the United States are both blatant sexualization and blanket sexual repression. We all encounter examples of both of these hundreds of times each day.
Sexually Explicit or Implicit Advertising
Oh Hi, Sex-Sells Advertising! The earliest known use of sex in advertising was in 1871, by the Pearl Tobacco brand. The advertising featured a naked girl on the package. Since then, sex has been a powerful advertising tool used to sell almost everything. And it works, too, since we are hard- wired to respond to sexual connotations.
We actually even respond to messages that only imply sex, meaning advertisers merely have to access the part of our brain that recognizes sexual messaging. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, average American adults are exposed to approximately 650 advertising messages each day.
We live in a society that is completely sex obsessed,
and simultaneously completely sex-phobic.
Pervasive Sex Negativity
In juxtaposition to the images above, consider the following:
It was a mere ten years ago in 2003 that the U.S. Supreme Court (in a 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas) struck down the Texas same-sex sodomy law, ruling that private sexual conduct is protected by the liberty rights implicit in the United States Constitution. (This decision finally invalidated all state sodomy laws and meant that same-sex sex couldn’t be prosecuted.)
Receiving these contradictory messages can be disastrous in our search for authentic erotic expression. On top of that, layer the traumas, stories, shame, abuse and bad sex many of us have had, and it’s a recipe for sexual shut-down. Seen through this lens, the fact that we can feel any pleasure at all is quite remarkable!
“Many of us tell ourselves that “sex is not all that important to me,” and then we immerse ourselves in substitutive activities. We plunge into all manner of heartless addictions, or we become preoccupied with policing the sex lives of others. We even lose our awareness of how disconnected we have become from our sensuality. We no longer recognizer our own inhibition, nor do we see its roots in our unconscious shame and guilt.” ~Barnaby B. Barratt
Those who do attempt to cultivate an authentic erotic experience often find themselves facing strong societal prohibitions. However, when we turn our attention to that quiet, internal voice that compels us towards wholeness, we know we must question the limits we currently accept as immutable.
Sometimes we are required to accept things on faith. Take leaps of thinking and believing that are unsubstantiated in our lived experience. Sometimes, we just have to believe there is more, and set off it search of it, hoping we will find it. I had to leap into the void of giving up my sexual limits, (without having any proof I would get something better,) before I was able to start consciously evolving my own erotic experience
I started this post with the thought “Okay, then I’m going to increase my capacity for feeling pleasure and expanding my sexuality.” That is indeed the topic. Stay tuned for further thoughts. And until next week, I invite you to do one thing: consider that perhaps the current limitations of your sexuality will be different in the future. Perhaps something deep inside hears the truth of this next statement:
Joseph Kramer, my mentor and teacher, says that if you want to change your life, change the way you masturbate. I want to tell you a story about how I have learned to masturbate better.
I’ve written before about how this sexual liberation stuff has been quite the journey for me. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. We did NOT talk about masturbation as I was growing up. None of my friends admitted to ever doing it. I thought I was freaky and perverse (well, okay, maybe I still think that) until I moved to San Francisco. (I find it COMPLETELY ironic that I now coach people in masturbation!)
But, there was this one time… when I wasn’t here yet, and somehow I got it into my head that I could videotape myself masturbating. Revolutionary, I know. So, I did. And when I watched it, I was completely stunned by how sensual and beautiful I looked as I touched my body, and aroused my pleasure. Unfortunately, I had a HUGE shame response, and not only erased the scene, I then DESTROYED the tape. (Pre-digital.) Yeah, I know, sooo sad!
So fast forward to now, years later. I now record my sessions with some degree of regularity. What I find is that they are very instructive. When someone tells you to ‘masturbate better,’ it can be daunting. What does that even mean? How do you know what to do? Are you doing something wrong?
So what do I pay attention to when I watch my video masturbation sessions? When I look at the videos, I pay attention to the signs of arousal I see myself displaying. If I watch it soon enough, I may be able to remember that particular moment, and connect what I am seeing on the outside with the memory of my internal experience. I notice how much time I am taking (or not) and the quality of the touch I am giving myself. I pay attention to my breath, and also especially focus on any points I notice that I may be constricting. Just like athletes watch tapes of their performance to gain insight, masturbators can do the same.
I invite you, in honor of National Masturbation Month, to videotape yourself doing yourself. Take your time. Turn yourself on.
When you watch it, (hopefully soon after) notice how you feel, seeing yourself in your arousal. Notice what feelings come up.
Wash… Rinse… and….. Repeat! Try it again, and this time touch yourself for the camera. Play it up. And also pay attention to the quality of your own touch. It’s kind of like the mirror, only a different format which you can use to change up the ways in which you touch yourself.
And, keep it! Don’t erase it. Try again in 6 months, a year. Compare technique. It’ll be like an erotic journal of your pleasure journey. I’m guessing you’ll be surprised by what you notice.
And by the way: there is no wrong way to masturbate.
As a sexologist, I believe there are various ways to enter into our sexy space. And just like different strokes for different folks (did a masturbator come up with that saying?) different people enter into erotic energy different ways.
With purportedly, 30% of all internet traffic to porn sites, obviously visual stimulation is a well-traveled inroad for many wankers. Fantasy will do the trick, and of course good old fashioned friction also get us there. And then there is erotica.
I’m a big fan of erotica. Starting with reading Penthouse “Forum” as a young person, I learned early to masturbate while reading. I would say that a majority of my teenage masturbation involved the use of printed material. My session today led me down this road of sweet stimulation. I like erotica because I can fast forward and freeze frame mentally, at will. It’s not so much the images that are created, but rather the phrasing. Words like “throb” and “sopping” and “turgid” and “slit” are not often used outside the realm of erotica. I find them incredibly turny-ony.
The kind of orgasm I have when using erotica is very different from an orgasm when my focus is on my body. There is a very particular heat that is generated by reading steamy stories. I’m super picky: it has to be well written, and detailed enough to dampen my panties. It can’t be stupid, or have too many characters with hard-to-believe names like Sally and Fred. Enough plot to be believable, not too much that I’m having to read about feelings other than arousal, turn on, shame, or prohibition. My biggest turn-ons involve situations where there is a conflict of interest: desire + shame, or pleasure + power imbalance, or headfuck situations that involve someone being turned on even though they are being manipulated.
Part of what erotica does for me is give me a space for permission to be turned on by things that I would never really do. Taboo is hot in erotica, in my opinion. I’ve noticed that erotica is often ‘given the shaft’ so to speak, and dismissed as softer porn, for girls and sissies. I beg to differ. Raunchy, saucy and dirty are all qualities I seek out when looking for a thigh-squeezing missive.
What I do consider important is not to get stuck in only one pathway to arousal. I regularly mix it up, just to keep it all working. While I don’t consider porn a problem per se, what I do have concern about is people only being able to access their erotic energy through one pathway. Why limit yourself?
If you liked this post, do me a favor and leave a comment below answering this question: what is your favorite pathway to arousal?
Masturbating in the mirror is a powerful modality that takes a brave and courageous heart, but offers the potential for deep healing. I’ve done this meditation a number of times, and each time am surprised by that moment when my own beauty takes my breath away. Practice today included gazing at myself in the mirror as I masturbated.
It is interesting… I always find it hot to watch myself touch myself. I even have a mirror at the end of my bed so I can do it. But I rarely choose to use it! Today, I sat up in my bed, and I used the mirror to heighten my own engagement with my touch, really focusing on following the movement of my hands as I brought a lover’s touch to my body. I enjoyed watching my face (and sometimes felt slightly self-conscious.) I did notice that as arousal grew, I wanted to close my eyes and sink into the experience, and staying present to my visual experience was a challenge.
Since orgasm is an internal experience for the most part in the body I have, I relied on visual cues as well as physical ones to track the onset of climax. My face started to shift, my shoulders and belly would tense, and then I would deliberately relax them. I played with kegels, and watched how doing them in an aroused stated rippled through my entire body.
When I came, I kept my eyes open as much as possible, and watched my face as my head tilted back, and my mouth opened. I was surprised by how quick the orgasm was… when I am not watching they seem much longer. One of my favorite parts was watching my body as it settled from the onset of orgasm, and I moved and undulated with the waves of it.
It feels vulnerable to watch myself in this way, and to allow myself to see my own pleasure. But I like it, too. I like the permission I see in my eyes.
The other day I wrote about how I’ve been paying attention to my presence… how present I am when I am doing mundane things. I’ve noticed that often my mind is elsewhere… I’m in the shower, under the steamy hot water, and I’m thinking about a session, or my kids, or my partner, or…
Part of my commitment to pleasure is being available to receive it when it comes. For example, part of my self-pleasure practice over the weekend was taking a walk in the woods, alone, and being truly present with my embodied self. I focused on my breath, my feet, the sense of being in my body, the sensation of movement, and the sensory input I was receiving. At the end, I felt just splendid… so juicy and full and loving myself and my life. I realized that I had just masturbated in public, and no one even knew!
Us sex-educator types talk about masturbation as self-love. But I’m not sure we take it to the next level, and make it about feeling the love. Feeling that deep, warm abiding sense of presence and care. Just like we have for somebody else; a loved one, pet or child, but actually this time feeling that same love directed toward ourselves, as well as feeling the receiving of that love.
Thich Nhat Hanh writes about noticing when you are doing the thing you are doing… now I’m typing. Now I’m drinking coffee. Now I’m noticing I need to pee. Apparently, suffering comes in when we are disconnected from our experience in the present moment. And how does this relate to masturbation?
Well, being truly present to our own touch, our own sensations can be novel. Often, we focus on porn, erotica or fantasy during masturbation. I love all of those things. And. There is a certain quality of touch that comes when my attention is ONLY on touch. Or perhaps we are numbed out, and can’t feel our own touch, or get aroused by it. This will not do. Barnaby Barratt says,
“We mentioned how being touched is essential to our physical welfare, our emotional vitality, and our spiritual growth. However, none of us would thrive if our being touched remained dependent on the love of others – the love of our self is prerequisite.
It is important line of childhood development that, as we grow from babies into toddlers, we are able to assume some responsibility for our need to be touched, as we become sufficiently coordinated to touch ourselves intentionally. This does not mean that the need to be touched by others disappears. Quite the contrary, it remains strongly important to continue to be touched by others, especially since we know that being touched by another human being has pronounced different energy dynamics than touching ourselves – an issue we will mention again. But it does mean that, as our child develops, touching can be reciprocal, and then, if these developments proceed well, touching can become energetically mutual or “synergistic.”
Very importantly, it means that our child becomes able to administer the gift of touch to ourselves – moving from being simply a recipient, to the possibilities of being actively self-giving. This is an enormously important shift for physical and emotional development as has been demonstrated in many ways that documented in the literatures of developmental psychology and psychoanalysis. It is also the foundation of our human capacities to receive love, and therefore to be able to give love.”
Today, I will practice administering the gift of mindful, present touch to myself, so that I may love and be loved to the full extent of my capacity. I understand that reclaiming my touch relationship with myself is a practice, and that it may take time to feel my own touch as fully as I feel a lover’s. However, I also recognize how self-love creates availability for loving others. I invite you to this practice with me.
My orgasms used to last about 5-7 seconds, and were a series of 5-10 rhythmic contractions of the muscles of my pelvic floor and anus. Since childhood when I began masturbating, I have experimented with focused orgasm. I have tried many different muscular approaches to maximize my orgasm, and settled the predicatable orgasm described in the beginning of this paragraph. While I mixed up my masturbation practice, my orgasms were typically similar each time I came.
Becoming a Sexological Bodyworker has changed my belief about what is possible orgasmically. I’ve begun to experiment again, and it is so fun. Part of what I’ve been curious about is Kegels. Everyone knows they “should” be doing them, but how much? How frequently? It’s always been a mystery. Today I’ve got a few resources for you if you’d like to work with your Pubococcygeus Muscles.
When fellow Sex Educator Nikki Lundberg saw my commitment to 30 days of pleasure, she invited me to participate in her 30 day self pleasure program running this month. Each day she is sending me a masturbation challenge. On Friday, she wrote: “For today’s self pleasure session consciously incorporate the PC muscle (the pubococcygeus muscle).
This band of muscle is shaped like a hammock and is connected at one end to your pubic bone and on the other end to your tail bone. It encircles your rectum and urethra. For people with vulvas, it encircles the vaginal canal.
If you don’t know where it is on your body, while peeing ,stop the flow of urine. (But don’t make a habit of it.) The muscle you use to do that is the PC muscle.
While the primary function of this muscle is to control the flow of urine, a healthy PC muscle is part of fantastic sexual pleasure. It contracts during orgasm – and the stronger the contractions the better it feels. A strong PC muscle also provides more force behind your ejaculation (for all genders).
For people with penises, a strong PC muscle is critical for stopping premature ejaculation – it can stop your semen the way it stops your urine (with practice.)
Today, start your 30 minutes with kegel exercises. They are pleasurable and will increase blood flow to the area.
I recommend using a timer that shows seconds as well as minutes.
Flutter – Completely contract and relax the PC muscle as quickly as possible. Try to go for a whole minute.
Contract and hold – try to keep it fully contracted as long as possible up to one minute.
Add repetition – contract completely and hold for 2 to 5 seconds and relax for 2 to 3 seconds. Repeat as long as you can up to 5 minutes.
Doing kegels with resistance can be extra beneficial. First, it helps to isolate the correct muscles. Second, it gives your muscles somethign to resist against, kind of like weight training. (There are also kegel weights available, or Betty Dodson’s “Vaginal Barbell.” This is a product that I find fascinating for kegel resistance training. (I don’t get commissions on any of this stuff… just offering it as resources.)
So what are my results thus far? Well, I’ve had several orgasms lasting over 20 seconds each. The strength of my orgasms instensifies when I do erotic training. I feel more pleasure, and can tolerate more stimulation. I like the attention I am placing on my pleasure: it draws my presence to my practice. I actually feel the love I have towards myself, and that feels amazing.
It’s such a joy to take this training on. I hope it is beneficial to you. I hope it models permission to explore and play, with your sexuality, pleasure, and yourself. Let me know how it’s going!
It is surprising when I notice that I am not doing what I think I am doing.
For example, part of my daily practice is to spend some time with my feet, each evening. I rub this lovely frankincense lotion into them, and try to pay attention to just that experience. So often, my thoughts fly away and I have to bring them back, again and again, every evening.
Tonight, my erotic practice revolved around my feet. There are many, many nerve endings in the feet. They can be very pleasurable, when I pay attention to the pleasure they can give.
Wikipedia says it feels so good “because of the concentration of nerve endings in the sole and digits of the human foot, and possibly to the close proximity of the area of the brain dealing with tactile sensations from the feet and the area dealing with sensations from the genitals.”
Tonight I spent time awakening the erotic energy in my feet. And very soon I felt my arousal response begin. (Yay! It’s working! I told myself.) I continued on, and awakened other parts of my body too. The cool thing is that I could feel those enlivened neurons, even after I stopped stimulating my feet and other places.
Touching myself in unexpected, experimental ways makes for a gratifying session. I heart masturbation 4evah.
In honor of National Masturbation Month, I’ll be completing a “Masturbation Challenge,” which means a month of daily erotic practice. I’ll be posting here and on facebook about my experiences. I invite you to join me!
National Masturbation Month started in 1995, after Joyce Elders was fired from her position as the Surgeon-General for saying that masturbation education should be part of sex ed in schools. Whattt???
Here are some reasons Good Vibes suggest masturbation:
Because masturbation is immensely pleasurable, invigorating, rejuvenating and fun.
Because sexual pleasure is each person’s birthright.
Because masturbation is the ultimate safe sex.
Because masturbation is a joyous expression of self love.
Because masturbation offers numerous health benefits including menstrual cramp relief, stress reduction, endorphin release, stronger pelvic muscles, reduction of prostate gland infection for men and resistance to yeast infections for women.
Because masturbation is an excellent cardiovascular workout.
Because each person is their own best lover.
Because masturbation with a partner can be educational and hot.
Because masturbation increases sexual awareness.
Right! I’m going to go workout now! Anybody up for the challenge? May is starting to sound pretty fun. Drop me an email at pavinimoray (at) gmail if you’d like to train together!
This weekend I facilitated a “Queer Women’s Masturbation Ritual.” Seven self-identified queer women and I gathered together to reclaim our bodies and have our self-love witnessed. I want to share about that experience, with the intention of furthering this work in the world.
I’ve been leading masturbation rituals since 2009. I’ve begun telling participants that they are walking the warrior’s path with this work the amount of courage and bravery it takes to show up with a group of people and let them see you pleasure yourself is immense. It’s such a revolutionary act of self-love to reclaim our bodies in a communal erotic setting. So simple, so profound.
Sunday’s gathering went according to my experience. People gathered, nervously, and weren’t making eye contact. Even the women who already knew each other were quiet. As facilitator it’s my job to create a supported environment where people can be vulnerable. I asked them to just notice how they felt in the moment, and to imagine how they might feel by the end of our time together.
We began by breathing together, and dropping our breath into the pelvis. Squeezing the pelvic floor muscles to bring that part of the body alive, and moving our hips as our bodies were called to move. The breathing together created rapport, and I felt the group’s energy shift, dropping from nervous and high into a deeper, more grounded place. We stood in a circle, and agreed to support each other in this revolutionary work, and looked around to see who had the courage to show up.
Next, I facilitated a process using a Joanna Macy technology known as “milling.” Participants move slowly around the space, listening to the sound of my voice. After a bit, they find a person near them to partner with, and a brief facilitated engagement takes place. This process is repeated a number of times, with each engagement being an opportunity to either witness, acknowledge or demonstrate something about themselves and their partner. For example, the first pairing asked participants to “just look, and acknowledge, the tremendous courage this person standing before you has, in the fact that they showed up today.” This milling process, which can be verbal or non-verbal and/or somatic, begins to build group intimacy and support.
We then deepened into a heart circle process, in which participants spoke from their hearts about their experiences with masturbation, and the feelings and stories they carry about it. Having one’s heart-truth witnessed and held, and never fixed or advice given, is another simple ancient way of council. I borrow this particular moniker from the Radical Faerie community, but many indigenous cultures have council practices. The room was feeling quiet, and gentle at this point, as we heard many of our own truths and stories reflected in the sharing of the others. Stories of excitement at self-discovery, fear of being caught, shame, blocks and the challenge of self-love threaded through the circle, binding us together.
While the overarching intention for the ritual was sexual healing, we then deepened into a time of internal searching, to listen to our body wisdom of what our bodies want for sexual healing. Not what we “should” want or do or have, but the truth that arose from our somatic knowing of ourselves and our desires. We recorded these personal intentions, and spoke them aloud.
And then we masturbated, heads in the center of a circle, our intentions held at center. I guided us into explorations, and invited us to touch ourselves in new, experimental ways. Enliven the surface of the skin, stoke a deeper arousal than usual, following the breath to an ecstatic state. And ecstatic it slowly became, as women around the room began to engage their own erotic energy, and treat themselves as a lover. Signs and moans and “oh yeahs” started to fill the space. The sounds were enticing, and in the room the energy started to build. Every time someone would orgasm, the group would respond with vocal support. The energy passed through us in waves, sometimes high and intense, and at others quieter and stiller. It did build to a crescendo, and I reminded us to send energy to our intentions, our bodies, and our loved ones in need of sexual healing.
The most amazing thing happened next. It’s always an interesting challenge to know how to end the ritual. This group started laughing. Huge, rollicking laughter and belly roars filled the space, and lasted for many minutes. We’d get almost done, and then someone would start again and we’d be off. Again and again, orgasmic waves of laughter and joy cascaded down around us, weaving in and out of our intentions and our bodies. Slowly, and eventually, we finished this big release and turned over to gaze, with new eyes, at the other Self-Love Revolutionaries on the path with us. We greeted each other with joyful eyes, in awe of the erotic courage of us all. After a quick debrief, we shared snacks and community space, before cleaning up and going back to our lives.
Before this ritual, I was contacted by an interested party who asked, “I am not sure how community masturbating is going to heal sexual blocks and or shame.”I’m not sure honestly why it does work so well, but I have some thoughts. Being held and seen in warrior community is powerful as one gather’s allies on the path. Setting intention to reclaim the pleasure inherent in our bodies, and then taking action that is witnessed is potent. And coming together communally, with the idea that we are worthy, that we do deserve more, and that we desire sexual freedom? It’s almost like no socialization can stand up to that determination.
I welcome your thoughts and comments. What do you want out of your self-love practice?