Masturbation Mastery

This post is also available in: Nederlands English (Engels)

By Debra Shade for ASN Lifestyle Magazine

A promotional image and graphic banner for sex educator Debra Shade

Start the year off with a commitment to have three orgasms a week. Give yourself permission to touch yourself for pleasure. Masturbation is key for learning/creating your orgasm formula. This is the combination of touch, environment, and mindset needed for you to release. The importance of masturbation is not only in creating the perfect storm of hormones that release at the peak and resolution of orgasm but for the body’s ability to absorb and use these hormones for the many health benefits I will share with you.

Hormonal Harmony

The hormones oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine build during the process of arousal. Oxytocin is known as the feel-good hormone. Makes you want to cuddle, snuggle and seek connections beyond the physical. It is a natural hormone that stimulates uterine contractions; however, it also affects human behavior and everyone’s reproductive system. It is a chemical that tells the brain how to react to sexual arousal, trust, romantic attachment, and bonding. 

Serotonin is the hormone that regulates mood. It is a neurotransmitter that helps the brain and the nervous system cells to communicate. As well as more feel-good, it plays a role in the digestive system and rest cycles. Our body is controlled primarily by the brain and nervous system. It can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and aids in sleep, bowel movements, and blood clotting. nausea, bone health, and, best of it, for me, sex drive. 

Dopamine is an “intoxicating” hormone. One that triggers the brain’s pleasure sensors just as a drug does. Often blamed for the driver of sex addiction. The “high” that the body feels is something people chase and begin to make sacrifices for. The brain makes this neurotransmitter a part of the “reward center,” sleep, and arousal in body functions such as memory, motivation, movement, attention, and mood. It reduces insulin production in the pancreas and raises the release of urine and salt from your body. It is so badass that it also causes our blood vessels to relax. As well, it reduces lymphocyte activity in your immune system. The point is to allow the feeling of euphoria to wash over you and take advantage of the higher sex drive. 

Together, these three hormones cause the body to contract and release tension which can equate to relieving stress and lifting moods from depression, making it an antidepressant. Believe it or not, it is also an antihistamine because it relieves sinus pressure. The overall orgasm can lower both blood pressure and cortisol. The many benefits are under-studied in all gendered bodies.

Some Hystory & Anatomy

The research done on the understanding of vulva orgasms is slim, to say the least. It was not until the early ‘20s that “female” orgasm was recognized by science. The concept of female ejaculation is still being challenged as a phenomenon. History shows that doctors treated people with “incontinence” and “hysteria” with a vibrating wand which caused the release. The fix — orgasm. This is funny to me as the wand, known as the first sex toy, was a medical tool used for generations by medical professionals. Squirting is still contested as being urine, containing urine, or a result of something broken in the vagina. This cannot be the case. Science shows us that human bodies with a penis are very similar to the body with a vagina. 

Where the penis body has prostates, the vulva body has Skene’s glands. These glands hold the fluid that is ejaculated just as the prostate does. How can it be possible that one is releasing urine and the other is not? The penis does not pee and ejaculate. The body has a muscle called the PC muscle that controls what is released and when. Based on hormones that are created, the body takes the signals and does the right thing at the right time. With arousal, sperm or fluid is built in these sacs and, at the peak of orgasm, is released. Think about that. How perfect is the body that it can follow a divine design to take care of itself sexually? It fights off infections, and it delivers magnificent orgasms.

Penile Masturbation

Society is very accepting of individuals with a penis touching themselves. I am of the school of thought that masturbation is NECESSARY. Learning what sort of pressure you desire, long or short strokes, and how you include stimulation of the head or including the balls into your pleasure combination. Use a great water-based lube. For generations, it has been lotion or Vaseline, but little education has been provided about the chemicals our body absorbs from such products. Now we know to use lube and take your time to give yourself a mind-blowing orgasm. We all need to include our whole body, all erogenous zones. It does not have to be a bathroom or closet activity. It can be whatever you imagine in determining your orgasm formula.

Creating Your Orgasm Formula

The most powerful thing about masturbating, though, is the ability to create your orgasm formula. This is about exploration — exploring your body and noting the parts that feel good. Play with the stimulation, the pressure, speed, texture — everything about giving the body pleasure. If pinching or twisting your nipples is not your thing, then don’t let your mate(s) waste their time doing something that does nothing for you. Not to say that you don’t let someone else get pleasure from your nipples; you can still share yourself, just be sure that you are telling them that it is not aiding in your arousal. 

Arousal is instrumental in orgasm. The higher the level of arousal, the more of those hormones are released. Don’t waste an opportunity to enjoy a great orgasm and its benefits to the body. Soft caresses of your arms or thighs. Massaging your ass cheeks, a foot rub, circling your clit, or pressing down on your mound. All these things can be explored. Nipples for all bodies can be sensitive to temperature. Play with that and let go of hang-ups you may have about touching yourself in this way. Let go of stereotypes and see how touching your perineum feels when you put a little pressure on it. Separate yourself from thoughts of what is an “appropriate” touch and what is a “gay” touch. Pleasure is something that we experience based on reaction. It does not have a title that some person eons ago made up and society uses to keep our sexual pleasure in check…

All About Anal

Anal being one of those things. Including anal play in your masturbation can open a whole new world for you. While you must do some prepping when it comes to anal, it is well worth the exploration. For penis owners, via the anus, you can stimulate the prostate glands, which is extremely pleasurable and often explained as having the same explosive climax as squirting. In the vulva body, the stimulation is against the Skene’s gland — the G-spot — can be stimulated as well. This means that anyone with a rectum can experience anal, and it has nothing to do with labels or lifestyles. Pegging is becoming more popular among individuals who consider themselves heterosexual. This is when a vulva individual uses a strap-on harness and dildo to enter the rectum of a penis owner. 

Pegging only works in this combination. When two vulva owners or two penis owners are having anal sex, this is known as anal. No labels, no judgments — just anal. Let yourself experience this pleasure and let go of the stereotypes that you have been told your whole life; lies like it’s painful, creates STIs, or, again, a homosexual act. Drop it. Drop that mindset and take the leap. Explore with your own body first so that you know what to expect, what your point of pleasure is, and which toys/body parts you can include in your anal play. Anal masturbation allows you to take your time and figure it out. When you masturbate, you should prep your body just as you would if you were about to share it with another. Shower, lotion, oil — do whatever you find enjoyable to get ready to please yourself. 

With anal, a little more preparation is needed, but believe me — it does not always have to be a douche or an enema. Biology tells us that feces does not hang out in the rectum, which is the entry point for anal. If you feel as if you need to void your bowels, please do so. If not, it could get a little messy. Handling feces is very unsanitary as it is our body’s way of getting rid of everything it can not use to its benefit. While it is minimally toxic to consume, it contains bacteria that are found in the intestines. Our intestines are made to manage these bacteria; no other part of your body and its anatomy is able to do this. Feces is 75% water. The rest is dead bacteria that allow us to digest our food, live bacteria, undigested food residue, and protein. The waste material from food, cellular linings, salts, fats, and substances are processed through the intestines and the liver out of the body. Nothing sexy about that. 

However, knowing that can help you have a better experience. Take the time to prep for it by voiding if you need to and washing the area. The orgasm experienced releases those same hormones and thus makes it beneficial for you. Lube is the key to great anal. Take your time and apply it liberally to your toy and the anus itself around the rim of the anus and then into the rectum. The pinky finger is a great way to start. When you are ready, push into the rectum slowly and at a downward angle if you are on your knees and upward if you are on your back. Do not go straight in, or you will bump against the S-curve (sigmoid junction), which is very painful and located at the bottom of the large intestine. This is the reason most do not like to have anal or have heard the horror stories of the pain that anal includes. It is possible to have pain-free anal if you learn to enter with ease.

Perfect Storm = Mind-Blowing, Full-Body Orgasm

The goal is to create that perfect storm of hormones. Regardless of your age, we all benefit from the release of those hormones. Regardless of anatomy, we can please ourselves and learn the language to communicate our needs to lovers. With the formula to get to your orgasm at your fingertips, you can spend more time with your lovers having fulfilling fun, and not lackluster sexual experiences. Sex for pleasure is purposeful. It is something you cannot achieve without addressing your barriers and without knowing for yourself what it is that gives you pleasure. Stop believing the adage that sex is fill-in-the-blank with whatever negative, judgmental, and discriminatory words that were taught to you.

The Eight Vulvar & Vaginal Erogenous Zones

Vulva owners, touch your vagina. Finger it, vibrate against it, rub, massage, or pinch it. When inserting things in your vagina, explore the eight vulva and vagina erogenous zones that result in orgasms of different intensities. Beyond the G-spot, you have the A-spot (anterior fornix), the C-spot (cervix), the deep spot (back of the vagina wall), the Cul de Sac, which is all the way to that back wall but down into the vagina (this one is intense!), The P-spot is the stimulation of the Skene’s glands; the V-spot is the vaginal opening. The U-spot is the small space between the bottom of the clitoris and the urethral opening. The clitoris is, of course, a hot spot, and its stimulation is often required for most vulva owners’ release. Again, the perineum and anus are included in the areas of pleasure you can explore. 

All we must do is let go of generational messages about masturbation and begin to include it in our healthcare regimen. I prescribe, at minimum, three times a week to maximize the hormonal benefits our bodies naturally produce. 

a magazine cover design for ASN Lifestyle Magazine featuring Leylani Wood

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of ASN Lifestyle Magazine.

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