Ruby Payne has the titles we all secretly want; her resume has more slashes than a Guns N’ Roses’ discography. She’s a sex and relationship expert/writer by day and a Dominatrix by night and is clued up on all things to do with body language and self-pleasure.
In her free time (yes, she still has that), Ruby consults with the wonderful folk at UberKinky, helping them with everything from new sex toy ideas to marketing the finished product. For well over a decade now, Ruby has written about sex, relationships, fetishes, and kinks.
Whether that’s on the UberKinky site or in publications such as The Sun, The Mirror, Yahoo, Huffington Post, Entertainment Daily, The Tab, and Cosmopolitan – to name a few.
Self-pleasure as a form of self-care
It’s the taboo form of self-care that we should all be following. Even if you’ve not got the most rampant sex drives, masturbation can be a great way to relax, relieve stress, and even improve your mental health by boosting your self-esteem and confidence.
Instagram influencers have almost tricked us into believing “self-care” is face masks and Netflix binges, whereas it’s so much more than that. Self-care is as unique as the person doing it, so if face masks and pizzas are your things, then have at it. At its core, self-care should be about taking time away from stresses, escaping the pressures of life, and reconnecting with yourself. How do masturbation and self-pleasure fit in with that?
Masturbation is a form of self-intimacy. It’s an escape from our often mundane reality and can soothe the soul.
It’s perfectly natural and healthy, and it’s the perfect way to relax after a busy and stressful day. In my opinion, masturbation is the pinnacle of self-care.
“Getting started” self-pleasure tips for newbies
- Choose a time when you’re going to be home alone with no chance of interruption. Turn off the technology and put your phone on silent. Maybe take a shower or a bath – take your time – and, when you’re ready, lie down somewhere dimly lit and comfortable, and centre your breathing
- Using the lightest pressure – and I mean butterfly-light – start stroking yourself with your fingertips. Explore your neck, chest, arms, stomach, inner thighs, acknowledging how you react to your own touch; and focus on staying in the moment
- Once you’re feeling more relaxed, start to move your hands towards your erogenous zones – you might start with your nipples or breasts. If you have them, the dips of your hips and inner thighs. Experiment with different pressures; you may prefer a firmer press on your pubic bone, or you may find you love to pinch and pull your nipples gently
- Now it’s time to head south. Spread your legs a little to give yourself easy access to your hotspots. Slowly, start to stroke your vulva, circling around your vagina with a light touch, and stroke your clitoris. Use your index and middle finger to draw gentle circles, changing up the speed and pressure to work out what feels best for you
- As you feel yourself get more aroused, try bringing another hand into play. Keep one hand for external exploring, and try reaching one finger a couple of inches inside your vagina, stroking the front inner wall. This is where the G-spot is located. If you find this tricky, G-spot vibrators have a curved design to stimulate this area
- Let your body respond to your own touch – don’t feel restricted or pressured to lie still. Press your thighs together, wriggle about, rock your hips back and forth, or even flip over, so you’re lying on your stomach. There’s no one watching, so you can really let go
- Don’t feel pressured to reach orgasm. Although it feels fantastic, orgasm should never be the sole end goal of masturbation – crazy, right? Wrong. Masturbation should be all about enjoying yourself and exploring what makes you feel good. And if you happen to come along the way, all power to you
Choosing the right tools (and toys) or you
It’s really all about knowing more about what turns you on and finding tools to help enhance your pleasure. Some toys are more suited to advanced players, but if you find through experimentation that you enjoy a little anal play. There’s no reason why you can’t incorporate a butt plug or anal beads into your masturbation routine.
Start with something that’s going to replicate what you can do with your hands. Examples are a bullet vibrator or wand that focuses on your clitoris. When you start feeling more confident, work your way up to a small dildo or rabbit vibrator that you can use either solo or with a vibrator still on your clit.
Getting more comfortable with exploring pleasure
For a long time, masturbation has been deemed taboo and something dirty – for vulva-owners in particular. In high school, “boys” could boast about how many times they wank in a day and be incredibly open about it, whereas it was seen as something shameful and disgusting simply because someone had different genitals.
No doubt this has contributed greatly to the way many vulva-owners feel about masturbation today; it’s more likely to be something to hide or feel embarrassed about, led to believe that their urges are disgusting.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Masturbating is perfectly natural, normal and above all, healthy. But these stigmas create mental barriers that can make indulging all the more difficult. If you’re new to self-pleasure and wish to venture down this path, then first off, I applaud you. It’s never easy to try something new, especially something involving our own bodies. Here’s a few tips to get more comfortable:
- Start by looking at and exploring your own body in a setting where you are already naked – such as in the bath or shower. Everything is better underwater
- Read and research more about masturbation and its benefits. Go to reputable sites, and explore what masturbation does to your body
- Research what turns you on. I wouldn’t recommend free porn sites – as these can be very male-oriented and not very female-friendly. Instead, try erotic novels, audio erotica, or female-friendly porn websites with paid content
Encourage more open conversation around self-pleasure
The best way to destigmatise any topic is to talk about it more and to become more educated. Social media can be a great way to do this if you don’t feel like opening up a conversation with your friends. Start following sex bloggers and educators, read their stuff and share it. In fact, be prepared to join in conversations or argue (politely) against stigma if it does crop up in conversation. The more knowledge you have behind you, the more chance you’ll be able to enact.
Rituals we can cultivate around masturbation
People with vulvas generally need more to get them “warmed up”, as they certainly don’t get aroused as quickly as others. Getting out of our heads and into the moment is incredibly important. Forget your to-do lists and put your phone on silent. Here are a few ways to create a little sexy self-pleasure ritual:
- Start off by having a shower or a bath – or you could spend the whole time in here if you’d prefer. This is a space where you’re already used to being naked, so you may initially feel more comfortable
- When you’re on dry land, try undressing slowly in front of a mirror, enjoying the sight of your own body. This may take work if you don’t have the highest self-esteem. Try to pick out the things you love about yourself, even if it’s as small as the way your eyes look, or the dip of your hips
- Try repeating positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror – even if you feel silly at first. This can be a wonderful way to boost your self-esteem
- As we mentioned earlier, it’s good to get all the senses involved with your alone time. Try lighting candles or dimming the lights, spraying your favourite scent or lighting a candle, so you’re doing something special to mark this sacred time
Masturbation can help us better get to know our bodies
I’m a firm believer that everyone should masturbate, regardless of whether they’re in a relationship or not.
No one should be dependent on another person for their pleasure, so by getting to know your own body – what turns you on, and what feels good – you’ll be able to make yourself feel good, learn more about yourself, and be able to direct your partner/future partners, so they can make you feel good.
Ruby Payne is a sexpert for online sex toy retailer, UberKinky.