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Talking of Intercourse: The best strategy to masturbate is doing no matter feels good to you

I masturbate but I don’t think “right”. To be honest, I’m scared of what’s down there, but I still want to have sex at some point. Is this okay? Sometimes I think when I have a loving partner I feel good about my body, but sometimes I worry that I won’t be comfortable with anyone until I’m with myself and I’m not sure when that will happen.

Masturbation and spending time with our genitals can feel like a shameful or even dirty act. These feelings can come from a number of places, be it psychological, trauma-based, or even cultural ideas about how we should or shouldn’t masturbate.

The silence around desire and masturbation has ingrained self-doubt and a willingness to compromise our pleasure. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way to masturbate.

I spoke to Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez, a sex educator, coach, researcher, and author with a PhD in health behavior from IU-Bloomington School of Public Health. Her work focuses on identity, relationships, consent, pleasure, and communication.

Connected: [Speaking of Sex: Our new series responds to reader-submitted questions exploring gender, sexuality]

Masturbation is a safe, common, and natural way to learn about our bodies. For people with a vulva and vagina, methods such as penetration and clitoral stimulation – with or without sex toys – may be required to achieve orgasm. Or it can’t include any of these things. You can masturbate to relieve stress, explore your body, or for any reason that works for you.

“You don’t have to orgasm through masturbation,” said Gonzalez. “It really is a space and time for you to devote yourself in whatever form is comfortable for you, and ideally without having specific goals as these can be stressful for some people.”

If you are having trouble masturbating, what is your intention? Do you want to prove that you can orgasm? Or is it to know your body, feel other sensations and explore your body?

Our brain is the most useful tool for masturbating. Therefore, a positive view of pleasure and the ability to be vulnerable with ourselves and our potential partners is important. That’s not to say that masturbating and figuring out what makes us feel good is an easy task.

When we’re scared to talk about sex or even our genitals, it’s often rooted in some form of shame. This can be observed before or while you are sexually active. When you experience shame, where else in your life do you experience shame, and how does that hinder you?

“When you can’t share when something hurts, or when you do or don’t want to do something, or when you can’t share your insecurities and ask for assistance in the presence, these things are going to make it difficult for you to be safe, consensual and have a pleasant experience, ”said Gonzalez.

Regardless, it is not strictly necessary to get to know your body in its entirety before having sex. The emotional and intimate aspects of partnership interactions can help you learn about your body with your partners when you are comfortable and in a safe place to meet your wants and needs.

“I don’t think you need to love yourself the way people tell you to,” she said.

Instead, Gonzalez said, walk into a room where you can ask whether your situation is serving you, honoring you, or creating negative tendencies.

The culture of toxic positivity teaches us that we should always be happy with our bodies and love each other all the time. We can take some pressure off by embracing our vulnerability and being open to facing some of our innermost feelings of shame.

Ultimately, the decision of when, where, why, and how to masturbate or have sex should be a decision that only you can make.

Gonzalez told me that body love is not a destination, it is a lifelong journey. The right way to masturbate is to do what feels good to you, and you don’t have to fully master your body to have safe and enjoyable experiences.

Speaking of sex will be an affirmative, non-judgmental space that explores a variety of topics related to gender and sexuality, such as: B. physical normalization, pleasure-oriented sex, healthy boundaries, consent, and alternative relationships. You can submit questions via email to speakofsex@idsnews.com or anonymously using this form.

Editor’s Note: The advice offered is for informational purposes only and may not apply to all. This column does not replace professional advice.

Peyton Jeffers (she / she) is a senior studying human development, family history, and human sexuality. She is a member of Camp Kesem at Indiana University.

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