“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.