1. Celebrate Self Pleasure, by Chantelle Otten

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    The whole month of May is International Masturbation Month. It's a month entirely devoted to the celebration of self pleasure.

    Now, it's important to realise that masturbation is both a privilege and a right. So it's time to not be so private about what we do in our private time.

    Masturbation has so many benefits, beyond just feeling good, and there are plenty of ways we can make it even better. Read on for my top tips!



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    Why masturbate?

    Masturbation is a fantastic way to relax your whole body and de-stress, as it reduces the stress hormone cortisol.

    By reducing cortisol in our body, self pleasure aids in relaxing our muscles, particularly stress-induced tension (which can make masturbation particularly useful just before bed for an excellent night's sleep).

    In addition to this, de-stressing has a myriad of positive flow-on effects on us physically, including offering support to your immune system.

    And would you believe it also has benefits for our skin? Dermatologists have referenced stress as having a hugely negative impact on our skin due to its cause of inflammation in the body, which can show up in a variety of skin conditions including acne, wrinkles, and other skin-related woes.


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    Prioritise pleasure

    Masturbation is about experiencing erotic pleasure on our own, in our own time. That's pleasure, not orgasm.

    Yes, orgasms are great and amazing, and all the other words for WOW, but they don't need to be our end goal. In fact, we don't even really need an end goal. Follow your pleasure through your body, and you might end up falling into orgasm, but let's not put all the pressure on that!

    Another thing to consider is shame. We need to give ourselves permission to move past shameful thoughts and embrace the normality of self pleasure. If we want to masturbate but think it's something dirty or shameful, it's going to be hard to relax and fully enjoy ourselves.

    With a bit of research, we can educate ourselves around all the positives of masturbation (and trust me, there are many more than just an orgasm). However, if this is something we continue to struggle with, it might be time to reach out for some help and book a sexology session.


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    Focus on the journey

    We are trained to be so goal-orientated when it comes to sexuality. We aim for orgasm and can forget to enjoy the process and how our senses are engaged during self pleasure. So, don't focus on orgasm. Instead, focus on sensation, pleasure and engaging your senses. Put some music on, jump into a clean, warm bed, bring out a sex toy and take your time. You will be much more satisfied as a result.

    Many people can give themselves a quick orgasm when feeling that erotic itch, but it can be great to set aside time for ourselves. We give ourselves time to work out and be social, we need to give ourselves time to explore our own bodies, too. This also means maybe not going straight for our genitals, because we need foreplay when we are alone too!

    Maybe spend some time thinking erotic thoughts, and watching or listening to erotic material to get in the mood. Then you can start physical pleasure, working your way down your body, so that by the time you get to your genitalia it's aroused and ready to go.


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    Change things up

    I find that many women masturbate in the same position and environment every single time. Why? We don't have sex in the same position and place every time, so why don't we spice it up for ourselves, too?

    If you're always lying on your back, explore sitting up, on all fours, standing up or try masturbating in the shower. If you're a morning masturbator, try before bed or a solo afternoon delight session. Let's keep it interesting – you want to expand your solo sexual repertoire!

    Take a risk, and change location from your bed. Move to the shower, kitchen, or even the workplace bathroom (don't forget to lock the door). Nothing like a little adrenaline and a new experience to help us feel sexy.

    I would recommend carrying a small vibrator in your bag, such as the travel-sized Lovehoney Deluxe Rechargeable Mini Glitter Massage Wand Vibrator.


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    Add some music

    Just as you might prepare the space and yourself for eroticism with someone else, take the time to set the scene for yourself.

    Get in the zone by playing some tunes. You can check out my sex playlist or make up your own. It will get your head in a place to be relaxed, sensual and should banish distracting thoughts.


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    Always use lube

    Lube is EVERYTHING. There are different types of lube for different functionalities.

    A good silicone-based lube is great for masturbation with fingers alone. If you're using a silicone toy, a good water-based lube is best to keep it in optimal condition and not damage the material. Lube helps with sensation and makes sure that comfort is tip-top during self pleasure.

    Shop Lube


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    Add a clitoral vibrator

    Clitoral vibrators are amazing for pleasurable stimulation and can produce a very different sensation than just our fingers and hands.

    If you have a clitoris, it's your best friend, with around 8,000 nerve endings designed purely for pleasure. The Womanizer Starlet is petite, affordable and fits in your bag, too. It's also rechargeable, so say goodbye to batteries. Use with some lubricant anywhere, anytime. It's the perfecto starter clitoral vibrator.

    Shop Clitoral Vibrators


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    Add a dildo

    If you enjoy vaginal penetration, I would recommend using a dildo on the outside of the vagina, then adding lube and slowly sliding it inside.

    You can then experiment with thrusting and holding the dildo inside you against your G-spot. If you like vibrations, go for a classic or realistic vibrator with varying vibrations and finding your sweet spot. The new Gyr8tor automatically gyrates for you – I would recommend trying this baby out!

    Shop Dildos


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    Add a stroker

    For those with a penis, there's a whole heap of great gadgets you can use to shake up your routine!

    Try a male masturbator with rows of soft tendrils that surround and engulf your erection to deliver the ultimate all-immersive blow-job experience... without the blow job!

    Shop Strokers


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    Add a prostate massager

    A prostate massager gives a different type of stimulation, massaging the prostate – which is often thought of as the equivalent to the G-spot. I recommend a remote control prostate massager, as it's easier to control the vibrations while the toy is inside you!

    Made from silicone, Desire's Luxury Rechargeable Remote Control Prostate Massager inserts smoothly, with a firm and dented tip to maximise P-spot stimulation.

    Shop Prostate Massagers


    Chantelle Otten is an award-winning sex therapist and relationship specialist in Melbourne, Australia. You can follow her on Instagram, and find out more at chantelleotten.com.


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