“I took this excerpt, from my Bodysex certification thesis, to use as a response to women asking me where and how to begin their own self loving practices. I am realizing how many women have never ever touched themselves with their own hands. While everyone is different, I am sharing my own story to show understanding of where they are at in their journey, as well as an example of a possible beginning.”
At the beginning of my journey, towards understanding my sexuality and the changes that I was experiencing in my body, I read a book by Naomi Wolf called Vagina. There was a chapter in it on self love, touching and taking the time to really enjoy your body. I had never masturbated using my bare hands before, so the idea of touching myself in this way seemed completely foreign.
I had begun masturbating as a young girl with always something separating my fingers from my pussy – a teddy bear, rolled up socks or the seam of my jeans. To orgasm I would lay on my stomach with my legs straight, hold my breath, and rub against something soft until I came. As a married woman I believed that masturbating was a form of cheating and, while I sometimes did it, it was always in secret and carried with it a great deal of shame.
Something about the way the author of this book took the time to love herself, regardless of whether she orgasmed or not, really intrigued me. Wanting to see if I could feel this for myself, I decided to give it a try.
Putting oil on my fingers I began to explore my body, touching my pussy like I would touch a most treasured lover. I noticed how soft and nice I felt to touch, and my hand quickly seemed at home in the warmth between my legs. Unsure about what else I was supposed to feel, I focused my attention on the spot where my fingertips met my skin and carefully and tentatively explored my inner and outer lips. Never having touched myself this way before, my body slowly responded to the skin to skin contact.
I continued this daily self loving practice, enjoying it, but often considering giving it up in frustration over my lack of an orgasm. Realizing that I was putting pressure on myself to “perform” and that I had expectation on my touch – to be more than just a nice feeling – I decided to change my attitude and my practice.
I knew that I wanted to learn to orgasm through touch but, in order to do so, I needed to let go of the expectation and time restraints that I was putting on myself. My old method of masturbation was quick and easy – albeit not at all satisfying – and I was expecting this to be the same.
With this in mind I set a timer and give myself an hour to just touch. This seemed long but I wanted the focus to be completely off of the orgasm and onto the feeling of my fingers. I needed to eliminate the pressure of “performance anxiety” and by giving myself an adequate amount of time to relax, this seemed like the best answer.
As I touched and allowed myself to be present in the sensations – rather than looking ahead towards the goal – an amazing thing happened. Long before my hour was up I realized that I was on the edge of an orgasm – from my own hands – for the very first time! After that first orgasm, the pressure and anxiety was gone, making it simple to do again and again and again.
When we receive touch from our own hand or the hand of another, and we pay attention to all of the sensations that we feel from that touch, our body is actually becoming “touch imprinted”. Touching any part of ourselves, wakes that part of our body up and it will remember how that touch felt the next time it happens. This memory increases the amount of sensation that we will be able to feel in the future – essentially meaning that the more we touch, the more pleasure will be available to us. So in touching myself, my own hand was giving my body these memories.
Sometimes wanting instant gratification, I was tempted to go back to my old, quick orgasm pattern. But with the touch of my hands, I discovered new and better ways to pleasure myself. My orgasms became more intense – pulsating through my entire body, causing me to let go of inhibitions and the control that I held onto so tightly the rest of the time.
I discovered that by giving my body sufficient time and space to touch, I could orgasm in any position I chose to try. On my back, stomach, knees, sitting on my feet, on all fours leaning on the couch, in the bath, and standing up. I had never had an orgasm during sex before and with the help of my hand, I was able to do so over and over again. This discovery was wonderful to share and with it came the desire to let go even farther. I stopped hiding my face when I orgasmed during partner sex. I turned on the lights. I sought out eye contact when I came, and all the while I continued to touch myself.
Wanting to further this self loving practice even more, I extended it to other parts of my body and, in doing so, discovered eroticism in places that I didn’t know could be sexual at all. My left hand became my lover – softly touching my ears, hair, mouth, the space between my fingers, the stretch marks on my stomach, my cesarean scar. Every inch of my body was capable of feeling erotic when it felt the touch of a lover. I became that lover.
I’m in Betty Dodson’s apartment listening to her explain what is involved in Orgasm coaching. I have come to New York to defend my Bodysex certification thesis – which ended up not needing to be defended – and for Orgasm Coach training. Aside from running my own Bodysex workshops, I want to be able to provide one on one help for women who are unable to orgasm or who are struggling with their orgasms. Betty explains that the only way to learn to teach something is by doing, so she is about to coach me through my own orgasms. We share stories and laughter and for the first time with her I feel like a peer. This surprises me considering how much I look up to her. But in her stories I see and hear that she’s human, that she doesn’t always have the answers, she’s always learning and that sometimes she fucks up. I feel her vulnerability at times, as well as her pride, joy and fear. My stomach already aches from laughing at her never-ending dirty jokes – dirtier than anyone my age could get away with. Hearing the voice of my grandma mimic a guy masturbating is enough to put me in tears of laughter. At the age of 85 Betty speaks alternatively like a trucker, a mother, a guide, and a lover. She doesn’t hold back, or try to be perfect and never stops making me laugh.
In the space with her I know that I can be me. Exactly as I am – the good and the bad – and I’m not sure that there is a person in the world that I am more honest with. She has seen me naked, lovingly held me while I opened my vulva to the women in the workshops, held space for me while I cry and has heard my stories. Some I am proud of and some I’m not. Through it all she accepts my honest “I’s” and loves me as I am. In my sharing with her today she looks lovingly at me and says “You’re human Natasha.”
As part of my training Betty leads me through the genital show and tell. I have done this three times before and I don’t feel nervous at all. Close enough so that her arm is over my open leg, and we both can see the same image in the mirror in front of me, she begins by telling me how beautiful I am. These words never lose their power and I feel instant pride in my vulva. Guided through the exploration I discover parts that I hadn’t before and, surprised by this, I am reminded that how we see things is constantly changing. My eyes aren’t the same eyes as they were when I did this back in November and I am grateful for these new eyes to see.
With the genital show and tell complete she leads me to a massage table and asks me to lay down. The room we are in is like a womb and the smell instantly takes me back to all that I experienced before in this space with other women. I feel safe and held as Betty explains the process while constantly finding ways to place her hands on me. She checks my jaw to make sure I’m relaxed, touches my heart, my face, my stomach. She asks me to touch myself and watches with pride in my technique. In my thesis I explained how healing it was for me to learn to touch myself with my own hands and this was one thing that she said she hadn’t really considered. She explained that she grew up touching herself with her hands and almost took it for granted as normal – not realizing how difficult it can be for some. My story reminded her how much this touch needs to be encouraged as a way of connection with self – regardless of whether it ends in orgasm or not.
So with Betty’s constant encouragement and guidance she held space for me to bring myself to orgasm not once – but three times. She was ever so careful to support and encourage when she saw me arch – which cuts off my sexual energy- and yet always stepped back before I came. She stressed that it is important to “Never let your client give you credit for their orgasm. This defeats the purpose of what we are teaching.” So in tune with a woman’s body and how they respond to pleasure she knew exactly when to step in and when to just observe. She marvelled at the pre orgasmic jolts going through my body and explained that they are my sexual energy. I knew exactly what jolts she meant but hearing this explanation was fascinating to me.
On and on she watched me build and pull back, torturing myself with what she called “the best kind of torture.” As my sexual tension built Betty encouraged me to make noise. Normally I would do this already but something about being watched was holding me back. I followed her advice, moaned and instantly orgasmed. Anything that we hold back is holding a part, or all of our orgasm back and this is true for sound, breath and movement as well. As she led me towards my second orgasm she encouraged me to bring the sound out from my stomach or power centre as she called it. To do this she guided me with sounds of her own – very deep, guttural almost ape like sounds – and I instantly came again. I could not believe the difference and intensity in feeling I got from bringing this sound out of my stomach rather than my throat.
After my final orgasm Betty used the vibrator to carry my sexual energy from my vulva, through my belly, heart, throat, forehead and out the top of my head. She held it for a long time on my head and asked me to say my name. “Natasha” I replied. “Say I love you Natasha” she said. “I love you Natasha” I said. Then with tears in my eyes she carried my sexual energy back down through my chakras to my vulva again.
My favourite part of the day was at the end sitting with her and again sharing stories, going over details of the training, asking questions and drinking champagne. I think of all of the women she has helped through the years and I feel so proud to have her blessing to carry on this special work. I will show up naked and hold space for other women with humility and vulnerability, showing my weaknesses as well as my strengths not pretending that I have it all worked out or that I am perfect. I am learning too.
Thank you Betty for being my teacher.
All my love,
I used to live inside a box. It was comfortable and warm inside this box. In it were all the things that I needed, things that made me feel safe and somewhat happy. Life was pretty good in that box. Yet I couldn’t shake the subtle but constant hum of discontent I felt. Life in the box seemed just a bit too tight, too limiting and too dull. I felt desire for something that had no name, no known address and no label. Something that was just more. Finding this more seemed like a far off and unattainable dream, while stuck in this box, so I started searching for ways out. I read books about boxes and about people who found ways to live outside of their own boxes. I travelled to new places, looked on maps and searched on street corners for old men with long beards who must know how to get me out of my box. While searching I grew, learned new things and to my amazement, began discovering holes in the box – little cracks where bursts of light would shine through. These lights and the colours and warmth that they produced enamoured me so much that I quickly became obsessed with finding their source.
Initial excitement over the discovery of the cracks faded when – despite searching nearly every day – I was unable to find a way out of my box. The hum of discontentment inside me built, soon taking over my entire body, and I became even more determined to find the source of light which I felt certain was the more that I was looking for. Then one day while searching the roof of the box, I was astonished to find that the cracks had multiplied. Excited, I spent days and nights reaching towards the stream of lights coming through my box, hoping that just one of them could lead me out – towards the more on the other side.
Finally, exhausted and weak from days of reaching upwards and from the sound of the constant hum, I collapsed on the floor resigned to never finding my way out. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that one of the cracks was getting bigger. Turning towards it I could see that the light coming through was shining down on me – landing on my body on the floor. Too tired to reach up to the warmth of the light, I instead touched the place where the light was touching me. The instant burn on my fingers shocked me and at once I realized that the light wasn’t coming from outside of the box, but rather from inside of me.
Scared but drawn inwards, by the now deafening hum, I decided to enter into the light. In doing so I discovered a magical, brilliant place, full of bright colours, unimagined depths and also dark corners. Using the humming as my guide I travelled deeper, enjoying pleasures that I had never experienced, seeing colours that I didn’t know existed and exploring rooms that I hadn’t wanted to enter. As doors opened and new rooms formed, I thought back to how hard I had worked to reach outwards for the light – for the more that was sure to be there – only to find that it was within me all along just waiting to be discovered.
Four years ago I began digging my way out of my box and into my light. This journey has brought me to today – on my way to NYC to defend my thesis on “What I believe are the main issues with female sexuality, and how I am going to change them.” In doing so, I hope to be given Betty Dodson’s blessing to carry on her life’s work as a Bodysex Facilitator in Canada. Many days, in fear, I wonder why I climbed out of that box and I ponder how easy it would be to just slip back in. But the hum and the light keeps bringing me back to myself and I simply cannot ignore it. I hope that with Betty’s blessing, I will be able to inspire and encourage other women to find their way in to their more, their light, and themselves.
I’m looking for some advice. When my husband and I have sex we start by massaging each other and then he goes down on me. I love both of these things but they don’t make me cum and he always seems to wish that they would. When I get so turned on and feel like I can’t take it anymore, I ask him to fuck me. Doggy style is our favourite position so we usually start this way and after about ten minutes I can tell that he is ready to cum but wants me to first. The rhythm will be good and I will be so horny but I just can’t cum without my clit being rubbed too. Sometimes he reaches around and tries to rub it but it’s hard for him to give the pressure and touch that I need to orgasm. After awhile his hand will drop away and Its obvious that he’s getting tired of doing it. He’ll say “I want you to cum” and this just makes me feel more pressure to hurry up. No matter how turned on I am I know that there’s no way I’m going to cum this way. At this point I can tell that he’s feeling frustrated – like he’s failing me somehow. I decide to just fake it so that he can cum and neither of us have to feel bad anymore. After he gets off, I go to the bathroom to clean up, lay on the floor, rub my clit and get off really fast. It’s really easy to orgasm at this point cause I am so turned on from the sex. Some nights I would rather just masturbate so that I don’t have to feel like a failure during sex. Do you have any advice for me?”
Thanks so much,
I hear this kind of problem all the time and in fact it’s the most common question that I get asked. First of all please understand that MOST women do not orgasm from penetration alone and this is totally normal. I have many emails from women saying that they get off alone after having had sex with their partners!
IMO the best and most consistent way for you to learn to orgasm during sex is through masturbation. It sounds like you know how to pleasure yourself alone but have you considered incorporating this skill into sex with your husband? I get that this idea might seem shocking and impossible but if you take small steps to get there, I think you will both be very happy.
First of all if you can let your husband watch you masturbate it’s the best way for him to learn exactly what kind of touch works for you. Every woman is different and it takes time to know what someone likes. Masturbating in front of him is like a tutorial on how to get you off. How can that be a bad thing?
Or you might find that he enjoys watching you touch yourself so much that it makes sense for you to focus on that while he takes care of the penetration side of sex. The best kind of orgasms are a combination of both vaginal penetration and clitoral stimulation. You can use your hand or a toy to stimulate your clit during sex but keep in mind that certain positions make it easier to do this – doggy style against a couch(you need to be able to lean on something so that you can free up a hand), reverse cowgirl, or him kneeling in front of you while you sit back on the couch or bed.
You may wonder how to bring up the topic of masturbation with him. I get how hard this can be and it took 32 years for me to admit to anyone that I masturbated. (now look at me!!!) But really most of us do. If you are really scared you could tell him you stumbled across a website where a sex educator says that the best way to enhance sex is to masturbate during it( natashasalaash.com ) You can make a joke to him about it and with that you’ve planted a seed. Depending on what he is like he will probably be thrilled to watch and it might be more a matter of getting you past your fears of doing it in front of him.
If that is the case here are some steps to help you ease into it. These, by the way, are tried and tested by myself as I had to learn how to do this as well.
- Begin by blindfolding him and masturbating beside him in the room. It still may take a few tries to relax enough to cum, but once you do you’re ready for the next step.
- The next step is to take his blindfold off and make him promise to look away while you get off. Make sure he knows that if he looks he dies. It’s important for you to not have to worry about being seen. This fear is all in your head and you need to be completely relaxed in order for the orgasm to flow. Once you can do this, you are ready to let him watch.
Don’t expect too much the first time you try in front of him. Masturbation is highly intimate and it’s okay to be nervous. But practice makes perfect and it is so hot to watch a woman give herself pleasure.
As long as he can let go of the idea that he has to solely give you your orgasms, adding your own touch to your sex life will mean more pleasure for both of you. Plus it frees up his hands to touch other erogenous zones on your body.
Let me know how it goes!
Sitting here naked on the edge of my bed, feeling defeated after a hard day. Glancing around I look for someone or something to grab onto, to fix this feeling. But it’s only me in the room. Unconsciously I reach up to trace the lines along my forehead with one finger – all the way across and back.
These lines are etched into my skin from years spent under the Kenyan sun, and with the touch of a finger I am instantly there again. A young wife and mother, excited by all that was new – yet struggling to make sense of the struggle. I take a deep breath, and sit in that story, going back and forth over the lines that I notice every time I look in the mirror. They are a part of me now, just as much as my Kenyan stories are.
My fingers slide down over my eyes travelling the contours of my face. I end up resting on the softness of my lips and my mouth opens slightly in response. I know this touch. I’ve felt it before from someone else’s hands. I touch my lips harder – almost tugging at them, thinking of frantic kisses and soft, yet hard bites. Another deep breath, sound escaping from my lips at the memories of those stories.
Sliding farther down, past my neck, I take time to enjoy my shoulders. They are strong and the hard curves feel good against the softness of my fingers. I am reminded of my strength even when I feel defeated. Taking a few breaths I relish stories of pushing physical limits, carrying babies, and picking myself up off the floor. With several deep breaths I let these stories resonate before moving on.
My finger brushes past my right nipple causing it to lift and harden against my touch. I fed all of my 5 children with these breasts and the stories run like photographs in my mind. Tiny mouths, feeding children born from my body and from the body of another mama, squirrel sounds, pain, frustration and unbelievable connection. I take a deep breath for the gift of life then continue on.
Leading down to my stomach my touch switches from one finger to five. This is the area of my body that I have been the hardest on. It holds reminders of what went “wrong” in childbirth, my painful diastasis and my vanity. I touch my stomach over and over as a way of asking forgiveness for the years of unacceptance. My scars are me too and this touch reminds me of that. Another deep breath and my hands go farther down still.
Gliding my fingers onto my hips feels like pure joy. Leaning back onto my bed, still naked, I use my full hands to explore them. Learning to listen to and allow the movement to flow from my hips has been a huge source of pleasure for me. Rubbing my hips I begin to move them slowly in small then bigger circles – enjoying what feels like an intimate dance with myself. I see stories of learning to dance as an adult, of pushing my limits and of movement during sex. Breathing deeply again I’m starting to feel alive.
Letting my hands lead the way I end up with both of them between my legs. This is my favourite spot. I am still alone but no longer feeling at all defeated. What I feel is hope, desire and anticipation. I am made up of many stories and some are easier to relive than others, but they are all a part of me. Breathing deeply, moving my hips, touching my pussy – this is who I am. My womanhood, the root of my pleasure. I take my time allowing my hands to be my lover. How could I have forgotten? No matter where I am, who I am with, or how I am feeling – with touch, my hands will always bring me back to myself. Faster my hips move, deeper I breathe, sounds escaping my lips. I dance to the music of my stories and as the crescendo builds, my orgasm builds too. When I finally let go the release is like a slide show playing all of my stories at once with each one just as important as the other.
My lines show my joy and struggle, my lips are pure lust, my shoulders are my strength, my breasts are my mothering, my stomach is my shame, my hips my freedom and my sexuality brings them all together. My touch brings me home to myself.