Masturbation month is still going (or coming, if you will) and this week we’re going to debunk the myth of goal-oriented masturbation. Goal-oriented masturbation is the notion that pleasure should result in climax. This idea can put immense pressure on you to get there and get off, when in reality, orgasm should be treated simply as a pleasant side effect of sex or play – not the main ingredient. If you’re hyper-focused on climaxing, you could be missing out on pleasure points you don’t even know about yet by distracting you from what’s occurring within. During sex, the emotional labor that goes into forcing yourself to come could also result in waving the exasperated white flag known as faking it. Let’s leave the performances for role play – here are a few ways to look at masturbation besides a mechanism for orgasm.

Masturbation is one of the best ways to acquaint yourself with your desires, and even your instincts. By eliminating the pressure to orgasm, you allow the sensations in your body to guide you to what feels best naturally, exploring not only touch, but also smell, sound, taste, and sight. This practice opens communication pathways from your sensory systems to your brain; pathways that are often clouded due to the nature of modern living. Constant screen viewing, and, if you live in an urban area, constant noise, cause overstimulation of the senses, making it more difficult for your natural instinct to separate danger from, say, a stressed-out driver laying on their horn for no reason. Open-ended self-play can reacquaint your brain with these crucial, natural safety systems. 

Practicing masturbation with mindfulness has other benefits too, such as being a conduit for meditation. Being present in the moment and focusing on the sensations within the body are two of the main components of meditation. Therefore, when you practice masturbating without aiming for orgasm, you enjoy the wealth of benefits that come with meditation, too, such as heightened creativity, and decreased anxiety and stress. 

There’s no shame in using your tried-and-true methods, but challenging yourself to explore new landscapes might uncover pleasures unknown! And you never know what might come, if you let it come naturally.  

Written by our intern Olivia Poulin.