I wrote this for men’s site that focuses, among other things, on our sexuality. I thought I’d share it here too…
Yes, I coach men on how to make masturbation a more satisfying experience. Wait a sec, isn’t this something that most men are pretty accomplished at?
Actually I believe that many of us need help and, yes, some adventuresome men will pay for advice in this area. No, this isn’t just an excuse for a circle jerk.
Most of us learned to masturbate when we were somewhere around 11 to 14 years old. Unfortunately, as adults most of us do it the same way as we learned way back then. The quickie version that most of us still practice may have been useful for us way back when, but often isn’t that satisfying as we age.
Think about it, the early adolescent experience is focused entirely on ejaculation (usually fast and often), not getting caught (quick and quiet) and removing any evidence as quickly as possible (quickly clean up with no time to savor.) We carry this same fervent focus as adults. No wonder I hear so many men complain that while masturbation is a way to have an ejaculation, it’s really not that satisfying. It’s because we’re still wanking the same way.
It’s time to look at masturbation as an adult. So, how do we do that?
Communicate. In some ways male masturbation is the last taboo. We joke about it all the time, but when was the last time you honestly talked about it? Or even consciously thought about how to make it better? Many guys continue the habit developed when we were younger to make masturbation a hidden, furtive experience. When we were younger we hid it from parents, in school we hid it from roommates and as adults we hide it from our partners. I don’t believe that it can truly become a pleasurable practice until we communicate with our partners about it.
Masturbation is a great way when we’re younger to learn about sexuality. Later, we enter into relationships and mistakenly believe that this part of our erotic life will suddenly go away to be replaced with partnered connection. The reality for many is that both continue to co-exist. Partnered sex and solo sex meet different and complimentary human needs. One of the most intimate ways of connecting with your partner is to talk about your solo activities. Talk with your partner about your practice and find ways to be more open about what you already do. Take your masturbation out of the bathroom!
Slow down. Now that you have some room to be more open about your practice don’t be in such a rush. Warm up your body by taking the first 15 or 20 minutes and involve your entire body except for your genitals. You wouldn’t start a workout without a warm-up; erotic practice is no different. Use this time to check in with your body and discover what your body really wants. Practice quieting your mind and listen to your body. Become aware of the dissonance between what your head wants and you’re your body wants. Maybe you don’t need the usual fast and furious stroking; slow and sensual can be a nice change of pace.
Try out different strokes. Even using your other hand can offer a very different experience. When we slow down we begin to notice new and subtle sensations that are often overlooked when things are going so fast. Oh, and since you already talked with your partner, you can take your time!
Savor. Most guys use our sense of vision much more than the other senses. Close your eyes. If you’re adventurous put on a blindfold. Discover what there is to experience from the other senses. Let go of goals and bring your attention to the pleasures of the journey. By slowing down, those subtle sensations that signal an approaching orgasm become much more apparent.
I suggest looking at erotic pleasure on a scale from one to 10; one is hardly feeling anything and 10 is orgasm. Look at the subtle differences between a six and a seven. When approaching an eight, try to practice coming back down to a seven. When in the nine to 10 range, slow down even more and feel what there is to savor.
Turn off the porn. Porn can be a spark to get things started, but it quickly becomes distracting. Porn is nothing more than manufactured erotic fantasy. It takes us away from the experience. It’s all too easy to lose sensation in the body because we’re fixated on what’s on the screen. But many guys will say, “Without porn it’s boring.” When you close your eyes and bring your attention inward to savor the experience many men quickly that porn isn’t needed. If some external stimulation is important, consider aural stimulation. The sound of other people can be very exciting to hear and doesn’t remove us from our own experience.
Make it a practice. A workout regimen is a practice. Yoga is a practice. Masturbation can be a practice too. Keep striving to learn new things about yourself. Tell your partner what you’re learning and incorporate those learnings onto your lovemaking. Make masturbation a conscious choice. Set aside time to savor the gift of your body rather than looking at it the way we did when we were younger.
A practice involves conscious choices. Begin with scheduling. Find time when you aren’t rushed and can clear that task list in your head. When we’re focused on what we have to do next, it’s hard to let go and surrender to the pleasure. A great gift of sex is that it can be a mind wash to help us put all parts of life into perspective. Use this gift with intention.
Be conscious around ejaculation. Ejaculation when the body doesn’t need it is draining; ejaculation when the body does want it is life-affirming. I believe that there are times when we need to ejaculate and there are times when we don’t. Learn how to differentiate the two. Listen to your body; sometimes the message is quite loud. Follow what you body needs rather than the habits we’ve developed.
Try out some of these ideas and see what it’s like to move an important part of our erotic life to more accurately reflect our adult desires. It’s time to grow up.