Healing Myself with Mindful Masturbation

Like many people, I have a masturbation routine—the toys, positions, and settings I rely on to get me there, fast. Whether I’m enjoying a mid-day fap or lulling myself to sleep, self-pleasure is my favorite form of self-care.

Except—that routine is hurting me.

I realized this shortly after starting pelvic floor physical therapy. How I contort my body and the way I clench but don’t relax my pelvic floor when I self-pleasure aggravates my two types of arthritis (facet and ankylosing spondylitis for my fellow rheumies!).

I switched up my routine, relying on techniques or toys that I use whenever I really need to procrastinate…only to remember the reason I save those for a rainy afternoon: they take too long, or the toy is too loud. Stronger orgasms or expediency, not both. At 1am, with my partner asleep next to me, I just want to rub one out without waking him and drift off to sleep!

Then, I stopped self-pleasuring. My pain ebbed. My pelvic floor relaxed. My core engaged. But I missed masturbating, my beloved pleasure practice that had buoyed me through eating disorder recovery, graduate school, fights with my beau, sex droughts, the grief of two autoimmune diagnoses, and so much more.

When I returned to my routine, my therapy progress halted, and my pain returned. I knew something needed to change. I also knew I wouldn’t do it for myself.

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