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Ready to get in touch with yourself in a new -- and satisfying -- way? If you've never tried masturbating, you're certainly not alone. But did you know that 50 to 80 percent of women have performed solo sex, according to the book The Guide to Getting It On? Unless it's prohibited by your personal code of ethics for religious or cultural reasons, masturbation is a healthy, natural outlet for sexual expression. In fact, it can actually improve both your sexual technique and level of arousal during shared sex. How? Think of it this way. It's up to you to turn yourself on and keep the motor running, but once you do, your sex life will take a dramatic turn for the better! Whether you ultimately want to improve your shared sex technique or just learn some guidelines for self-pleasure, here are six simple steps to get you started.
1. Create your own time and space
Set aside some uninterrupted time in a private space for this activity. Make sure the kids are occupied or, better yet, choose a time when they're out of the house. Turn off the ringer to the phone. Don't sabotage your first attempt at solo sex with unwelcome distractions. Instead, create a sensual ambience for yourself. Anything from soothing music to scented candles to a hot shower can help get you in the mood for self-touch.
2. Get to know thyself
Take the time to explore your body. Sit on your bed (or another comfortable but private place) and use a hand mirror to examine your beautiful vulva with your own eyes. Vulva is the term for the visible sexual anatomy between your legs. It includes your clitoris, vagina and vaginal lips. Becoming familiar with your own body is an essential part of claiming your personal self -- and increasing your sexual pleasure.
3. Find out where your hot spots are
While you're still in a private place, free from as many distractions as possible, lie down or recline against some pillows. It's time to explore. Begin by touching the various parts of your vulva, outside and inside. Start by lubing your finger with some natural oils or a water-based lubricant and then rub it over, around, on and under your clitoral area. Then move down inside your inner labia (or lips), into the opening of the vagina and anywhere else you can produce sensations. Take note of what feels good and which areas have more or less sensation, and make it a point to memorize your personal body map. Once you know which areas of your body respond the most to touching, you can rely on those parts to produce pleasure -- whether you're alone or with a partner. You may even find that some areas fluctuate in sensations. They may become hotly aroused at first, then cool or vice versa. Either way is common. You can learn to follow your body's cues for what feels good and when. You're not trying to achieve orgasm here. You're simply starting to recognize which areas respond the most to touch.
4. Discover how sensual your whole body can be
Your body's ability to feel good, sensually and sexually, is not restricted to your genital area. Remember that your entire body can be your pleasure zone. By stroking your own breasts, nipples, neck, lips and thighs, you will feel positive results. Solo sex involves the whole body, so experiment with areas and patterns that feel right for you.
5. Experiment with intimate touch
Now that you've discovered your hot zones and learned how to arouse the rest of your body, it's time to find out which strokes and moves will feel best for your self-pleasure. Use your fingers (again, with lube) to move all around your vulva. You're going to discover your personal pattern for satisfying masturbation. Pay attention to the movements that you respond to most: an up-down motion or flicking motions, long strokes or short strokes, probing tension or light tension, moving across the head of the clitoris or over the little pearl of your clitoris. Then enter your vaginal opening to feel those different sensations. Touch the ridge between your vagina and anus (the perineum) or the rim of your anus. Once you find your groove for arousal, you can continue with that pattern until you reach orgasm. Remember, that most orgasms are provoked by direct or indirect clitoral stimulation. (Many women report that solo orgasms are more intense than those with a partner, so don't be surprised at the results.)
6. Practice until it's perfect
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again," applies to everything, including masturbation. It takes experience to find your sexual groove. In fact, simply becoming aroused takes time. Some women need more time than others, so be patient with yourself. Just use this time to focus on your own sexuality. Relax and let the sensations come as they may.
For more information on this subject check out books like Sex for One by Betty Dodson and For Yourself by Lonnie Barbach. You can also find inspiration in erotica such as my book, The Adventures of Her in France, which is available at my website: www.yoursexcoach.com.
Ready for some advanced pleasure? Check out Dr. Patti's article Masturbation 201.