In this column, I want to reframe how the Amherst community discusses sex, in relation to all aspects of sex or, in this case, the lack of it altogether. I’m talking about self-pleasuring — the orgasmic feeling you receive due to your sensational hands.
Orgasms are pretty fantastic, right? However, thanks to a number of movies presenting men shooting into a tube sock or a nymphomaniac girl humping everything in sight, masturbation has the reputation of being an action for the desperate, the dateless or only done as a last resort. This is absolutely false. Statistics indicate that approximately 88 percent of males and 71 percent of females between the ages of 18 to 24 have masturbated at some point in their life. Masturbation is prevalent everywhere on campus — as it should be — and has a fantastic ending (in case you haven’t heard). Let’s get the sex rehab going and examine the intricate art of self-pleasuring.
I was told that you should never depend on another for your own happiness, and that statement could not be more accurate in terms of sexual pleasure. Of course, it’s wonderful to have another person pleasure you, but imagine how much better your sexual experiences would be if you could precisely guide your partner to your ultimate pleasure. Let’s get real: if you don’t know the supreme source of your arousal, how can you reach your sexual potential with a partner? Self-pleasuring makes you become more aware of your body, your hot spots and what exactly blows your mind. As Ian Stahl ’14 says, “You know what you like best and nobody knows how to do it as good as yourself.” Then, you can be the sexiest teacher possible when coaching your partner. If you’re concerned that masturbation makes you lose your stamina, remember: practice makes perfect. Masturbation can’t give you an STD, get you put behind bars in handcuffs, make you lose your hair, get you pregnant or cause you to become ill. If anything, it’s the most exciting workout you can have. There’s no downside!
I bet you’re curious as to how to make sex for one satisfying. Well, first you need to find a time and place where you can be alone and openly focus on your own pleasure. For us females: you have to open the hood — I can’t emphasize this enough. If you’ve watched porn and are concerned that your vagina isn’t as attractive as a porn star’s, remember that your vulva is beautiful and unique. The more comfortable you are with your vagina, the more comfortable you’ll be as a partner is ripping off your panties to feast their eyes on all its glory. You should get over the awkwardness of masturbating immediately and try doing so in front of a mirror to learn about your body. Explore all of your genitals: it may seem scary, but it’s perfectly natural to embrace your sexuality.
Setting the mood is also important. Regardless what your taste or fantasy is, this is key. According to author and sex therapist Dr. Ian Kerner, “The brain is the most powerful sex organ.” There are several documented cases of women bringing themselves to an orgasm just by thinking. Men, he adds, have a much harder time making themselves climax without any touch whatsoever.
Ladies, think of whatever makes you wet, whether it’s the way your partner rocks that purple scarf, a celebrity with chiseled abs or even a peaceful, calm environment with your partner. You need the matches before the candle flame can burn: the mental foreplay must happen. Crysta Song ’14 agrees, “You gotta lock the door and enjoy some southern comfort. I feel like masturbation is a certain kind of self discovery that everybody should experience.”
What about objects? Oh, there are so many toys to toss you over the edge. Vibrators.com offers many different ways to help you with your quest. There are so many areas you can pleasure yourself: vaginal, clitoris and even the elusive G–spot. If you’ve ever reached an orgasm on top, clitoral stimulation is key. Purchase a vibrating pillow and ride your way home! If vaginal penetration makes you wild, then go dildos all the way. If you’re a little hesitant about this, there are dildos specifically for your first time. They are very plain and quite simple — just plug it in and turn you on. After a while, you can certainly work your way up to “the rabbit:” it has a curved angle to reach the infamous G spot and vibrating action for your pink canoe. It may be the ultimate tool of pleasure for some ladies — long, thick and pink. If all else fails, go with the always-handy vibrator. If you’re back home, set a bath with vanilla scented candles lying around, use a hand-held showerhead and let the waves surge you to relief.
It’s not only vaginal stimulation that can make you reach the big O. For some ladies, the back door is stimulating; if this is the case, why not consider anal beads? One last thing: don’t ignore the rest of your skin; it is the biggest organ in your body. Ladies: don’t forget your breasts. Feel free to touch them, soften them with lotion, juggle them and enhance their size as much as possible: don’t forget that they attract the attention of all ogling eyes. Women can have orgasms by nipple stimulation alone. Think of how you like your partner to motorboat, lick, suck and caress your breast. Let the nerve endings of your fingertips come into contact with your nipples and areolae. Let your mind run wild without any inhibitions and enjoy your own show.
Men, I would imagine that back and forth hand motions are getting tiring. Mental foreplay is still key and you need to play the “reel” of what or whomever turns you on. Explore the rest of your body as well, and come into closer contact with your stress balls. Keep in mind that sex objects are not just for the ladies. There are penis rings to help you reach stronger orgasms; they vibrate around the end of your shaft. They can also be used during intercourse with a partner. Never quite got the fantasy blowjob you desire? (Give your partners some time to practice.) There are deep throat masturbator objects that look and feel realistic to a mouth. If you want the feeling of a vagina there are male vibrators with intense suction for a silky, tight feel.
Once you have mastered masturbating on your own and are comfortable, try self-pleasuring next to your partner. Mutual masturbation can be very erotic and glance over a few times to see exactly how your partner reaches climax. Enjoy the sexual energy the two of you are creating and soon work your way to masturbating in front of each other. Avoid the temptation of touching each other! Soon enough you’ll feel comfortable masturbating that you won’t mind your partner “accidentally” walking in on you.
Masturbating is a healthy and normal release of energy, People need to feel comfortable and take responsibility for providing their own pleasure. So sit back and enjoy the ride — no matter how long it lasts.