When we refer to sex, the most common assumption is that we are talking about penis in vagina penetration. With the much-needed progression of sex positivity we are starting to widen both our definition and our perspective, about what it means to be sexual. Now what we are experiencing in our current environment is a real shift to a more inclusive definition of sex and sexual experiences, one that doesn’t require penetration or intercourse for it ‘to count’. The important point being that this definition excludes a large proportion of the population who don’t have a preference or the ability for this to be a part of their sex lives.
What we have also focused on more is the sexual relationship with ourselves. As a Psychosexual Therapist, daily I find myself discussing the benefit of developing a sensual, educational, and pleasurable relationship with the self, as a place to start in bringing about changes in our sex lives. The point being if we don’t know our own bodies and what feels good, then how can we communicate to a partner about what role they can play, or what they can do to help us achieve pleasure when you are together.
The common challenge that many people face is that they feel that their partner hasn’t quite ‘got it’ when it comes to satisfying them, but our partners are not mind-readers. Unless we are able to tell, encourage, and discuss with our partners our sexual likes and dislikes; then it’s a challenge for you to both get exactly what you want, and to open up a space to explore together.
So, when you’re solo, there are a variety of things that you can consider in terms of your self-discovery journey. As we all know, sex is more than just the what of what you’re doing, it’s about the why and the how too.
Ignite your imagination.
There are so many means of exploration beyond just the visual that most pornography sites offer. The beauty of text or audio erotica, is that your images are completely tailored and individual to you. Although they may offer vague descriptions of a person’s appearance, the devil is in the detail. The most famous example being the discussions that million of people had about ‘their Christian Grey’. The images conjured up from those books were completely personalised. There are some fantastic books, erotic short stories and online sites dedicated to this sexy exploration, as well as audio apps and sites such as Girl On The Net and Dipsea stories. Also apps like Ferly, which offer audio-guided mindful sex and sensuality exercises to help you to connect to your body.
Play with texture
The addition of lubricant to solo play can be a complete game-changer in terms of the sensual experience. It can be particularly helpful for clitoral stimulation, as the clitoris does not self-lubricate the way that the vagina does. Lubricant creates a slide and smooth sensation eliminating any potential friction. It can either be used on sex toys, or directly onto the hands or body. It’s a really simple way of just changing it up. Also just because you are on your own, doesn’t mean that you can’t engage in a little texture play, your body is still going to go through a process of arousal. You can touch anywhere on your body, or through clothes or underwear, in the shower or a bath. A useful way of breaking up any routine around self-pleasure, is the same advice that I offer to couples who don’t want to get stuck in the way they always do things. Every time change one thing.
Solo play can involve another in the form of a sex toy. There are thousands to choose from, all with different advantages or focuses for both men and women. So it’s about thinking about what you would like or be open to exploring, e.g. just clitoral stimulation, involving penetration either vaginal or anal, something with a remote so you can use a hand elsewhere simultaneously. The options for men are also varied with the possibility of designing your own pleasure with products like the F1s. The fact is sex toys offer a range of different sensualities such as vibration, rotation and oscillation, which we can’t entirely replicate without the power that this area of sextech can offer.
Make the time
The why when it comes to solo sex, is yours to decide. But when combined with stress or pressure or an inability to fully focus our attention on what we are doing and experiencing, we struggle. So give yourself permission and the space to enjoy. Turn off your phone, disconnect, forget about work and your to do list. It can wait. Sexual health is a part of all round health, and self-pleasure can be a part of your routine for nurturing yourself and giving yourself what you need. In the famous words of Woody Allen in the film Annie Hall, “Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love.”