Secrets to Self Love & Self Pleasure (aka Masturbation)
What is Self-Love?
Self-Love: What do you think is the most common, universal sexual issue? No, it isn’t penis or breast size, but it is the attitude looming behind your physical attributes that counts more than what you look like. And that manifests itself by causing us to feel inhibited. Inhibition begins with that old bugaboo “lack of self-worth”.
Anyone who grew up on this planet has experienced this loss of self-esteem and self-value. It has many causes, from family conflicts to society’s ills. What matters now is giving yourself a positive self-perception. You’ve earned it. You deserve it.
Lack of self-worth isn’t an item that stands alone like a crooked nose or big feet. Our self-worth affects every area of our lives across the board. It’s an awful thing to feel. In fact, often we run from feeling it and its shame-based origins. We overeat, overindulge, overspend – anything to keep from feeling bad about ourselves. A lack of self-worth can cause us to spiral down into the pits before we realize what’s happening.
As one man once said to me: “I can sure dig myself into a hole with very little effort”. Self-esteem affects one’s confidence, ability to have positive relationships, career success, self-assertion and self-expression. Low self-worth can stop us in our tracks and keep us petrified of experiencing life and its myriad pleasures.
Everyone is inhibited about something, whether it is physical appearance, performance as a lover or the ability to let go and have an incredible orgasm with their partner. Some people are so inhibited about sex they have never explored their bodies to discover their erogenous zones. And if they don’t know what arouses them, they surely cannot communicate it to a partner.
Statistics show that over 78% of women have never explored the inside of their vagina. This is sad, because knowledge equals power. It’s imperative to be aware when your body is feeling different, especially when it comes to examining the breasts for possible lumps. I would like to encourage women to feel the inside of their body, probe and get to know their cervix, learn to recognize when they are ovulating and note any changes in bodily stimulation and emotions.
Women need to familiarize themselves with bodily secretions, as well, and what they mean.
Self-pleasuring is a good tool for utilizing fantasy to overcome inhibitions. In fact, there are many good reasons for pleasuring one’s self. It feels good. You can explore your own sexual response patterns. You can enjoy sex without feeling desperate for a partner. You can relieve tensions. For women, you can relieve pelvic congestion, especially during
menstruation. Masturbation is also an excellent way to reenter into sexual activity after a heart attack or other medical problem. People who feel good about pleasuring themselves are much less likely to have sexual problems. If you take responsibility for your sexual needs and responses, you are likely to make a good sexual adjustment. Let’s take a look at some of the self-pleasuring myths and realities.
- Self-pleasuring causes insanity, headaches, blindness, nosebleeds, nymphomania and warts.
- Too much self-pleasuring is harmful.
- Self-pleasuring is unnatural.
- Pleasuring yourself is immature.
- Self-pleasuring is for simple-minded people.
- Self-pleasuring is a substitute for sexual intercourse.
- Self-pleasuring is socially unacceptable.
- You may begin to prefer self-pleasuring to intercourse.
No evidence exists that self-pleasuring causes physical or mental problems.
- It is a healthy way to take responsibility for your own orgasm.
- It is an excellent way to learn about your sexual responses so you can share them with your partner.
- Intercourse with a partner and self-pleasuring are complementary sexual experiences.
- Many sexually active people who have available partners still enjoy self-pleasuring.
Far from being an “unnatural” act, self-pleasuring is a very natural function. It is healthy both psychologically and physiologically. And there is no “normal” rate associated with self-pleasuring; frequency varies enormously from one person to the next. Some people fantasize while pleasuring themselves, others don’t.
And there is no “right” or “best” way to have an orgasm or to masturbate. Some people reach a climax quietly while pleasuring themselves; others thrash about and make a lot of noise. These aspects vary greatly, and are not judgmental criteria.
Masturbation and Children
It is also natural for children to masturbate out of curiosity and for pleasure. Guilt results only when a child is told by others that self-pleasuring is wrong. It is important for parents to become as well informed about sex as possible, so we can all convey healthy sexual values to our children, clearly and effectively.
Self-pleasuring offers a great exercise in overcoming inhibitions. Looking at your genitals as you masturbate (either directly or in a mirror can help you to notice the different parts as they really are, rather than how textbooks portray them. It will also help you to gain self-acceptance about your body and how it functions sexually.
In a relationship, self-pleasuring takes the pressure off the partner to perform at times of stress or during a temporary change in lifestyle. Even in the best of unions, sexual tastes can vary and one partner may need more activity than another. Self-pleasuring can provide a healthy release between love-making sessions when both partners are desirous of sex.
Self-love and self-pleasuring are the first natural steps to a healthy sexuality. It is so vital to develop a loving, patient and understanding attitude toward one’s self, and to learn to pleasure one’s self, so each of us can bring that knowledge and caring into a union with our everlasting love.
Men have been taught to rigidly conform to cultural myths about themselves and their sexuality. If they don’t live up to those myths, they incur much guilt and negative feelings. As cartoonist Dan O’Neill once said in jest, “In the beginning, God created man… and his penis.”
Men worry unnecessarily about the size of their penis, when in fact the size of a man’s heart is much more important to a woman. If men have difficulty in achieving the standards of maleness, they have been told to remain silent and bear the load. The limits imposed by these unrealistic standards have inhibited men from exploring and fulfilling the total range of sexual options.
Below is a list of unhealthy myths and societal messages men get:
DO: perform, get it up, keep it up, achieve, always be turned on, be a sex machine, control, have sex only with young attractive women, give women orgasms, have a big penis, hide your feelings of fear, inadequacy, rejection or helplessness.
DON’T: quit, fail, feel, be vulnerable, be weak, be receptive, be passive, take responsibility for birth control.
The above DO’s and DON’Ts are not attractive to women, so why must they be perpetuated on men? To achieve a full and satisfying sex life, men need what women need: self-knowledge, facts, options, techniques and honesty. The two genders are not so different in their basic wants and desires.
The confusing sexual messages women get from society’s projected attitudes are equally as damaging, if not more so. During childhood and adolescence, women are often taught to fear sex, which manifests in the following:
DON’T: touch “down there”, talk about sex, learn about sex, read about sex, get turned on, give in to sexual desire, be available, kiss on the first date, feel sexual, be too forward.
However, women are expected to hide their womanly wiles behind an attractive, mannequin-like pose and do the following:
DO: be attractive, be obedient, be passive, be sensitive, be loving, be nurturing, maintain a “good” reputation, wait for the male to initiate, expect the man to know all about sex, refuse a man when he asks you to be sexual.
As if these weren’t enough, women are bombarded with other cultural messages as well:
- Sex is only for men’s pleasure and for making babies
- You aren’t allowed to have sex until you’re married.
- You should only have sex with men.
- Your only goal is to please your man.
- You should only share love with one person during your life.
- Sex is dirty; sexual desires are bad.
- Only the missionary position is right; any other sexual position is kinky.
- You must not have sex during your period.
- Never reveal that you are sexually experienced, even if you are.
- Fake your orgasm, if you can’t reach one.
- Your naked body is shameful and embarrassing.
- Women shouldn’t be too successful, especially in sex.
- It is selfish and demanding to want clitoral stimulation.
- Foreplay isn’t necessary because intercourse is the goal of sex.
- You must have a perfect, “hourglass” figure, or super model skinny or insert “ideal” social acceptable body-image type HERE.
- You should always be naturally lubricated.
- Birth control is the woman’s responsibility.
- You must have sex when your partner demands it, not when you want it.
- You must climax together.
- You need a man to be whole.
You aren’t doing it correctly until you have a “vaginal” orgasm. (This is attributed to Sigmund Freud, who said that women have two kinds of orgasm: 1. clitoral, which is immature, and 2. vaginal, from penile thrusting, which is the “right”, mature kind of orgasm.)
Can all of these sweeping statements be true? If our genitals are as valuable as priceless rubies, why are they spoken of as “dirty”? If sex is so beautiful, why do people shame it? If sex is a no-no before marriage, then how can we be expected to perform perfectly and know everything about it on the wedding night?
It is no wonder that women are often as confused as men about sex; feel guilty, alone and worried; are uncomfortable with their bodies; are waiting for IT to happen; are masturbating in secret, if at all; and are worried about whether their genitals smell and taste normal.
Society’s messages are obviously ignorant, and have been handed down to us from times when people just didn’t deal with “such matters”. It is up to each woman to establish her own sexual values, and overcome the taboos with self-knowledge, creating options, being honest with herself and others, knowing the facts, learning techniques, and sharing her needs with others.
The clitoris was designed to open sexual doors for women, literally. The very word, “clitoris”, derives from the Greek word for “key”, as in the key to female sexuality. It opens women up to pleasure. And for a woman to revel in and thoroughly enjoy sex, her mind must be in the right place and not constantly fighting the negative messages above. The clitoris has its own rhythm and will not be rushed. A woman must have a connection from her brain, and the fantasies it activates, to her clitoris; thereby taking responsibility for her own satisfaction. If her mind is in harmony with her clitoris, she is moving with her own sexual rhythm.
Ironically, our sexual knowledge is expanding at a time in which there is extreme concern about sexually transmitted diseases. As much as we may desire to experiment and free ourselves of sexual taboos, it is equally important to be sexually responsible, both to ourselves and others. AIDS, caused by infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus
(HIV) is considered the most serious health crisis of the century. More than 30 million people worldwide are now living with the AIDS virus, and about 16,000 new victims are infected every day. To date, it has no cure. If you get it, not only will your sex life be over, so will the rest of your life. We must also be equally cautious about other known sexual diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea chlamydia, genital herpes and warts, and trichomonas. Even though treatable, these latter two can cause serious health problems.
The Sexual Revolution is NOT Over!
The “sexual revolution” is not over, because each generation is showing more eagerness to explore healthy sexuality. This is no time to retreat from sexual expression, but rather to become as responsible about it as you would if you were learning mountain climbing. All over the world, people are protecting their health by using erotic sexual techniques that prevent or greatly reduce the possibility of infection. Some of these include tasty condoms, spermicide and gels for oral pleasures.
A “safe sex” approach to lovemaking means finding ways to remain uninfected no matter what your sexual lifestyle may be. It is not a time to crawl back into the closet and wait for the “sexual crisis” to be over. However, it is a wonderful time to explore the joys of monogamy and growing more deeply close to one partner. Couples may enjoy exploring ways to keep a closed relationship vital and adventurous while protecting their sexual health.
For those who are sexually active and not monogamous, there are many techniques such as mutual self-pleasuring and “outer course” as different from “intercourse”. These include flirting, communicating, cuddling, tender kissing and massaging. The most important thing to remember is to avoid the exchange of bodily fluids, and that the most erotic organ is the brain!
Achieving the Ultimate Through Sex
I like to believe that in the new millennium sex will rise to new heights as a healing
energy between partners. Many ancient cultures knew well the tremendous power of sex when combined with love. Perhaps we should look to that ancient advice in creating our future views of sex as an ultimate pleasure in partnerships. What were the great mystics trying to tell us about sex and spiritual union? Sexual ecstasy with our “soul mate” is the attunement with our life force that we all wish to find.
How many single people place ads that read, “I’m looking for my soul mate”? Deep down inside we wish for that comfort in spiritual, mental, emotional and physical closeness with another, and sex is one of the most binding aspects of it.
Self-Love Is the Ultimate Kind of Love
What is the ultimate in sex but a glistening sense of self-worth and self-love afterward? We feel we can conquer the world when our home fires are burning!
As we grow healthier in our body and mind, our sexual selves will grow too. And that can refurbish and replenish our desires, renew our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. Sex can, and should, be discussed without judgment. A healthy attitude toward sex, free from guilt and secrecy, and a hearty body, a curious mind and a happy heart will open up new sexual vistas for the human race in the decades to come.
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