Masturbating is the highest form of self-care. Exploring your body, setting aside alone time for yourself, giving yourself pleasure — all of that is beautiful and self-loving. Sometimes, masturbation is even better than sex.
Don’t get me wrong — sex in the right mood with the right people is beautiful, pleasurable, glorious. But sometimes I just want to make out with a cutie, get their number (or not), and go home to masturbate and sleep in the comfort of my own bed.
This weekend at Pride, I flirted with and kissed and got numbers from gorgeous women. Pride was a beautiful explosion of color, vibrant and crowded and bursting with love and joy. Every few steps I took in the past three days, I’d pause and get distracted by the most beautiful woman in the world, and another one, and another one. (The true most beautiful woman I saw was a little micro-poodle named Mochi.)
But I didn’t go home with anyone — just went home to recharge for the next day of hedonism and sin.
And at first I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t “getting any” or “living up to Pride expectations.” But I quickly reminded myself that this mindset is a crock of shit. If I don’t want to hook up, that doesn’t lessen me as a queer woman. If I don’t want to date and find a wife as soon as possible, that doesn’t make me a tease. Living only to measure up to someone else’s expectations and definitions is the easiest way to ensure that I’m not living my life at all. So I got over myself and those bullshit expectations, had fun at Pride and went home to take care of my needs.
With the crush of the crowds this weekend, some alone time was exactly what I needed. Masturbation isn’t just a way to get off. It’s another form of self-care that allows you to orgasm, have fun fantasizing about whatever you want and not create a mess involving people who may not be worth the trouble.
Orgasms in other people’s presence can fuck us up — they fuel overattachment and clinginess, and they escalate relationships. Sex can make relationships messy, and not just in the I-came-all-over-your-face way. As much as hookups can be great physical releases, we’re not always in the right mindset to deal with the aftermath. The stress of the day after can range from trying to find my bra after a one-night stand without waking the other person up (I’m not leaving my bra at a stranger’s house! I pay upward of $30 for that shit!) to dealing with the impact of having drunkenly hooked up with my best friend.
Masturbation is the best of both worlds — an uninhibited expression of pleasure, without any of the attachment and consequences of hooking up. And it is so loving when done right.
Even when I’ve been edging myself for a long time or fucking myself hard and rough, spending time with myself feels loving. There’s no better feeling than dropping a kiss on my shoulder or hand while I’m taking a steaming post-orgasm shower — a little gift for myself to say “thank you” and “I love you.” Yes, I am aware how hoo-ha white I sound right now, but that doesn’t change my stance on this. Being able to make myself come, knowing just how to make myself shake with the need to moan loudly, is a beautiful reminder that I can make myself feel sexy and worthy of pleasure without needing another person’s presence.
After a long day of school and work, I love knowing that I can go home and release the day’s stress just by laying in bed and fucking myself. The best is when I have no other commitments and can spend time working myself up slowly until I’m nice and wet. I brush a finger over my nipples, soft and teasing until my hips start bucking up, then start plucking harder. I run hands soft and assertive down my body, reorienting my fingertips with the beauty of my own skin. I might sneak my fingers down to see how wet I am, or grab my trusty strap and start teasing it just out of reach of where I need it to be. I don’t stop until my legs are shaking and I’m biting my fingers in an attempt to stay quiet.
But I fuck myself — for how long, what toys I use or who I’m thinking of doesn’t matter. I decide what happens; I have the power to give myself pleasure, and I fucking take it. Masturbation is for me, from me, about me. It’s a way to express my love for myself, and it is thoroughly, lovingly, unashamedly mine.
Astrid Liu writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected].