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I'm just going to come right out and say it, masturbation is a form of self-care, and y'all should be indulging in it as much as you want. I find it so interesting that we're happy to openly talk about male masturbation or having sex with strangers after a single swipe, yet the concept of female masturbation for pleasure is still loaded with guilt, shame and sometimes, self-hatred.
I was lucky enough to be raised in a relatively open home, so I've been comfortable with my sexuality and talking about masturbation for as long as I can remember. And that privilege is not lost on me.
Sadly, I know so many women who have had to break down the learned response of guilt and shame often associated with masturbation so they can finally enjoy it, which can take years.
And it makes sense, historically female masturbation was linked to sin and shame instead of pleasure. Out of curiosity and service to my fellow women, I decided to chat to sex educator and intimacy coach, Georgia Grace, who confirmed my theory that when it comes to normalising masturbation (especially as a form of self-care), we sadly have a long way to go.
"There is a genuine need for people to have better access to understanding and to explore sexual wellness through masturbation . . . It should be as normal and accessible as making a cup of tea, eating lunch or sleeping in on a Sunday."
*Wildly nods in agreement*
As women, it's SO important to build that relationship with ourselves and our bodies. We need to explore our sexuality solo and with partners to find out what we need from intimacy, what we like and what we don't. And masturbation is the perfect entry point for that.
"It's remarkable that solo female pleasure is still taboo. Practising sexual self-care is inquiring and creating a relationship with sexuality that is useful for you. It's understanding whatever it means for you and that it is vital to your overall health and happiness," says Georgia.
That said, mindfully masturbating shouldn't be mistaken for masturbating every day. It's about exploring your own body, in your own time, in your own way. "Sexual self-care doesn't mean you have to be having lots of sex, or you have to be highly orgasmic, or masturbating every day. It's about mindfully experiencing sensations that can expand your relationship with pleasure."
The more you can experience masturbation as a form of pleasure, without negative feelings attached to it, or as a way to please someone else, the more you'll notice the benefits of it. "It supports stress relief, helps you sleep, boosts your libido, supports connection with others, and so much more."
At the end of the day, if you're keen to explore the idea of masturbation as self-care, it's 100% up to you. Take it slow, set the mood, make yourself feel sexy and be open to exploring your body without feelings of guilt or shame. Personally, the more I masturbate and focus on my own pleasure, the more I enjoy it. It has become a time of excitement, exploration and a way to unwind — and I'm not alone, "A healthy masturbation practice is good for you!" explains Georgia.
If you struggle to masturbate the old school way, may we suggest using a sex toy? Or vice versa. Below is a selection of the clitoral and g-spot vibrators we recommend trying.