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Masturbation Mythbusting

Masturbation Mythbusting: Solo Sex & Social Distancing

We've all been discovering ourselves a bit more often than normal this past year, but can too much solo sex ruin your next in-person encounter? LMFT Shadeen Francis breaks down a Q&A on socially distant solo sex in this edition of Masturbation Mythbusting.
by Shadeen Francis
Last Updated: Mar 09, 2021

Myth 1: Long-distance sex is less intimate than in person.

Q: I am socially distanced from my partner but we want to still be sexual with each other. I don't know if we can still connect. I have heard of sexting and stuff but I'm not really sure how. I don't know if it'll feel like intimacy if we are just sending pictures and touching ourselves.

A: I know it's not the same, but connection while socially distanced is not impossible! The research on dating during the pandemic is actually showing that separation has made people more intentional about dating: they are spending more high-quality quality-time with one another, are having deeper and emotional conversations, and are finding ways to be more creative on dates. So there is hope!

Technology is a tool, and we can use it to help us overcome barriers to connection. Let's start with getting some clarity on "intimacy" between you and your partner. What feels like an intimate connection to you?

Is it seeing each other's faces? Then you might try being sexual on a secure video platform. Does hearing their voice feel most intimate for you? Think about exchanging lust-filled voice notes or having sex dates over the phone. Do their words really inspire you? Try writing erotic letters or sensual emails. You might also explore Bluetooth controlled sex toys for some long-distance sexual touch! There is a lot of room to get creative, but it starts by thinking about what you need.

Masturbation mythbusting on solo sex during social distancing

Myth 2: Too much solo sex can ruin partnered sex.

Q: I love having all this time for solo sex but worry about when it's time to date again. What if nobody feels as good as my vibrator? Have I ruined myself for future lovers? Should I just skip the dating scene and marry my toys now?

A: You can go ahead and cancel that reception - it is a widespread myth that vibrating sex toys desensitize your vulvas to partners. Although human bodies can rarely imitate the speed, intensity, or consistency of sex toys, masturbation does not put your partnered sex at risk. On the contrary, it most often helps people better understand what arouses them and what feels good on their bodies.

Be sure to share what you learn with your future partners. Whether it is a tour of your toy collection or a sexy game of Simon says, it is important that you help your partners understand what you enjoy. We are ultimately responsible for our pleasure, but it is always nice to have some helping hands! And if you've already committed to marrying your vibrator, consider making your partnered sexual experiences a 3-way and include your favorite toy in the action!

Myth 3: You have to have solo sex to be a sexual person.

Q: I think I am asexual and like sex but what if I don't really enjoy masturbation? It feels good and I'm not ashamed I just don't really like it. Am I just not actually sex-positive?

A: Then don't do it! My belief is that sex is always about pleasure, and that includes solo sex. If masturbating does not feel or sound pleasurable to you, that is okay. You absolutely do not have to masturbate to be a sexual person, nor do you have to touch yourself to feel pleasure.

Being sex-positive is about respect for the diversity of sexual identities and genders, honoring people's boundaries, and supporting everyone's freedom to make informed choices about their sexual lives. Sex positivity doesn't mean any kind of sex is necessary! Think about what would feel good to you and protect intentional, uninterrupted time for that. It could be a good meal, a long walk, a favorite movie, an art project — whatever you choose, if you can do it without shame or harm to yourself or others, it is perfect.

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