What is Mindful Masturbation? An IG Workshop with Cameron Glover
My name is Cameron Glover. I am a writer, sex educator, and a podcaster. I'll be talking to you all about one of my favorite topics, mindful masturbation.
I'm based in New Jersey - very close to Manhattan and like I said I’m a writer and sex educator. I write for a variety of publications online, including Playboy, Health Line, Essence, and various places on the internet.
I’m also a sex educator and I focus on sex education through a social justice framework, which means I’m integrating identity, connection, culture, all of these things that we naturally think about into the teachings of how sex education applies to all of us in different ways, because I believe that sex education is for everybody, but there is also no one size fits all approach of talking about or experiencing sex and pleasure and all that fun stuff.
What is Mindful Masturbation?
It just seems fitting to kick off the month of May, which is National Masturbation Month with this topic.
So maybe some of you are wondering what is mindful masturbation or how masturbation can be mindful, and I think that it’s something that a lot of folks are starting to think about now and have different ideas around.
Masturbation, as we know, is the act of self-touch in an erotic, meaningful way. So we might be more familiar with masturbation in mainstream media that surrounds folks with penises, so a lot of like jerking off, a lot of very erotic touching, but also something that’s seen as something to be frowned upon.
I think that in terms of talking about sex in media, penetrative sex and partnered sex gets a lot of the attention and masturbation is seen as this thing that you do when you’re single or like you can’t get anybody to sleep with, and all these kinds of negative messages are not correct at all. You can masturbate at any point in your life, and you do not have to be single to enjoy masturbation. You can do it in a committed, monogamous relationship, and I think that it can also be fun.
Getting Started with Mindful Masturbation
There are also ways to incorporate it into your life and your dynamic with your partner or partners in a way that still feels like the other people in the relationship are also involved.
I think that it is super important when we are talking about masturbation that we are exploring different alternatives and different ways of looking at it. Like sex is not a one size fits all experience, there is no one size fits all experience when it comes to masturbation. Everybody has different bodies, and everybody likes different sensations, different pleasure points, different specific ways of touching themselves and feeling good, and different sensations that they want to feel during a masturbation session.
I like to look at mindful masturbation as a way of exploring that and creating a safe environment for you to navigate what this looks like for you, navigating the different things that you like, that you know that you like and things that you can potentially like, you may not know that you like being touched in a specific way but during mindful masturbation you really thinking consciously about that and incorporating it all into the experience throughout different sensory things.
Something that I think about constantly and picked up during my certification process of becoming a sex educator, was this idea of incorporating mindfulness period into our lives and I think that if mindful masturbation is something that you’re interested in, that could be an excellent way to incorporate it fast.
The next time that you take a shower for example, instead of just like going through the motions of like you know, you lather up, you’re thinking about the next thing you have to do, you got to get in, you got to get out, like instead of thinking about all that stuff you can incorporate a mindfulness by thinking about okay what does this feel like, this sensation of my hand on my body as I’m lathering up, as I’m cleaning myself off. How does the water feel? Does the temperature feel good? What’s the pressure feel like? These are mindfulness practices right, and I think some of us may be more familiar with mindfulness practices in other ways, so like if we practice yoga or meditation, right, we’re also familiar with the act of coming into our body and slowing down this part here, right. Mindfulness is just a practice of slowing down and incorporating like enjoying the experience rather than just going through the motions.
So when it comes to incorporating mindful masturbation you can take a lot of these ideas and naturally incorporate it in, and what’s fun about mindful masturbation is that you don’t need to get anything else, you can use the tools that you already have, and it’s really just a practice of slowing down.
So the next time that you are in the mood to masturbate, especially this month considering it is National Masturbation Month, take some time out, like literally if you have to carve it out and put it on your schedule, on your planner, carve out that time and dedicate it to just masturbating right, and think about what kind of experience you want to have. Not just the act of reaching orgasm but how do I want to feel, do I want to incorporate different things to help me get into the mood. So for example like lighting is super popular with folks, lighting some candles, getting some like natural light instead of some harsh light.
Figure out what makes you feel sexy, what makes you feel comfortable in your body, and this will help create a mindful atmosphere.
Also touch is like super important as well, if you have like special sheets or like things that you enjoy the feeling of like a silk robe or something you can bring that into the act as well, and just like you don’t have to like lay on it or anything like that, but just touching it can like sometimes get you into that mood and get you into that feeling that you want to embody.
And I think it’s super important to again not rush for orgasm or see orgasm as the ultimate goal for sex regardless if it’s partnered or solo or with multiple people, orgasm is not the end all be all when it comes to sexual experiences and I think that it’s especially important when we’re talking about masturbation because the focus is on our selves right, even if we feel that pressure to be performing for other people or pressure to adhere to what other people want or what other people expect out of us at that moment, masturbation is just for us and I think that there’s something really special and really powerful about that, so mindful masturbation is something that all of us can practice, it doesn’t take a lot and there’s no wrong way to do it right, it’s just the matter of connecting with your body, connecting with yourself and really focusing on what makes you feel good.
Questions About Mindful Masturbation
Q: How do you incorporate mindful masturbation with a partner who may not be as interested?
A: Masturbation doesn’t need to be something that is shameful, that is guilt-ridden, that you need to hide. It can be something that you can incorporate into your partnership and you can definitely bring your partner/partners into the experience.
So something that could be super helpful is this idea that you can masturbate together with your partner or partners, so you both get in the room and you’re both like in the moment going through like the experience, and like verbally expressing out loud right, like how this feels for you because you getting the added bonus of visual sensation, creating a connection with your partner and also like potentially learning stuff about your own body while sharing the information with your partner and that can be really fun and really cool way of exploring and diving a bit deeper together.
Q: How can I speak to my partner about mindful masturbation?
A: Great question. I think that communication across the border is super important, so when we are talking about mindful masturbation and expanding the ways that we are talking about masturbation and being mindful and what that means, having a conversation with your partner can also sometimes lead to a really great connection as well, because it could be something where you both are operating from different expectations of what mindfulness looks like and different views of masturbation in general/
Looking at different ways of how we can incorporate masturbation as a legitimate sexual experience in our partnership and to what level does your partner want to be included right, because some partners, some folks like being hands-on, like helping to pick out toys, like helping to touch one body part while you touch another one, and some folks like they kind of want to be you know, "I wanna be over here and I just wanna watch", and some people may feel comfortable with not wanting to be involved at all, like tell me about it later but I want you to have you know something that you enjoy, so I think being very clear about what it is those expectations are and what comfort levels everyone is at, can really help to create this really collaborative atmosphere and not have anyone feel like they are being resentful or like being left out of the experience right.
Q: What does it mean to be mindful during masturbation?
A: Embodying being present in your body, so really looking at like how you’re feeling, and really centering the things that you want to be entered in that experience, so pleasure can come in many different forms for different folks, some people like really want to create an atmosphere and create sensations that make them feel really light, really floaty, really good right.
And some folks may even see incorporating like BDSM as a mindful masturbation practice, so if you do like rope or something like that then like that can also be a mindful masturbation practice as well like it does not need to be something that is all like silk sheets and like whatever.
Like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong way to incorporate mindful masturbation, there is no like you’re not doing it wrong, it’s just about being in your body and prioritizing this feeling of please however this looks for you.
Q: Is there a way to incorporate mindful masturbation with your partner?
A: If you are maybe looking to explore mindful masturbation with your partner and like lets say you’re communicating, you’re both like into it, I would definitely start with what are some acts that you both are interested in, that you already do, and like creating and cultivating that atmosphere that feeling together is gonna be a really great way to kick that off as well.
And don’t be afraid to like be direct as well, so if you, if your partner is like I want to create a mindful masturbation session with you and I want to center like your feelings and like really focus on pleasuring you, like that is wonderful, but like being direct about like I want you to do this, I would like you to touch my breasts or touch my arm or like hold me while I do.
Or hold me while I touch myself, like you can be super direct about that and this also helps to create a mindful practice as well
Something else that I also think is really helpful is like the act of breathing together, so either beforehand creating this environment but especially afterward too, when we talk about sex the act of aftercare is also super important to remember, so really being able to come back into our bodies, really calm down from those sensations together and then later on be able to debrief about the experience, how that felt, what you would like to change in the future if anything and how that made you feel like, this can all be part of the mindful masturbation practice as well.
Q: Are there specific examples you can give that can help us be mindful during masturbation or otherwise?
A: Looking at different mindfulness practices, so again meditation is something that this isn’t masturbation specific but masturbation is a really good practice if you struggle with being in your body and even like looking at what mindfulness can look like for you, then taking a few moments to really like sit with yourself and like take deep breaths, and really quiet your mind and even just examining like what it is that like makes mindfulness more of a challenge for you is a great place to start as well, this helps to give you a better idea for where you are starting at and what mindfulness can look like for you.
Something else I didn’t mention as well, in terms of sensation I find that incorporating in addition to other things, the sensations of the pleasure products you’re using can also be really great to be mindful of right, so we’re thinking about mindful masturbation incorporating lube, for example, can help with this.
So literally thinking about okay like what does this sensation of cold lube feel like on my hands, does this take me out of the moment, does this like help me to get more comfortable, what does it feel like to spread that along my body, to warm that up, you know, things like this can also help with mindful masturbation.
And also thinking about the material of your toys as well, so definitely like temperature play toys are an option if you want to have like you know a specific sensation during the mindfulness practice, but most silicone toys I find are pretty warm to the touch, like they feel really nice and smooth, and just feel really fun to play with as well, so thinking about all those things helps to create that atmosphere and really help you to dive deep in your body during this experience.
Q: How can mindful masturbation help with pelvic pain?
A: So chronic pain is something that I talk about often on my personal Instagram and with my podcast, I’m somebody that has chronic pain so, this is something that I think about often and in terms of mindful masturbation I think that this is especially helpful for folks that may be experiencing chronic pain or have disabilities, because again like this is a practice that we put into motion and we can incorporate other people into or even just ourselves right, and we are focusing and prioritizing our pleasure and it’s super important when we think about marginalized identities but especially if we are navigating pain, right, prioritizing pleasure and feeling good looks very different than it does for able body folks, so this is a fantastic question and something that I hope that you all think about a little bit more beyond this chat, but mindful masturbation can be beneficial with pelvic pain and I find that incorporating different tools that help me when I’m feeling maybe more elevated pain that day can be really great.
But looking at the different tools and things that you’re using if you’re somebody that has chronic pain or has a disability, how can you incorporate that into the masturbation practice as well, because again like if we are thinking about prioritizing our pleasure this means alleviating as much pain as possible and if we have the ability to incorporate with our partners or our support pod or whoever, into this process as well this can also be a really important teaching moment for helping to A. Destigmatize this idea that people that experience pain don’t deserve or cannot experience pleasure because everyone can, and it’s also important too because it helps us to think about different aids as not just things that help us get through the day, this is also something that can bring us to pleasure right, so something that I use pretty often is I have a little back pillow that I’m using and finding different ways to incorporate that if im having a higher pain day is super important, if you’re having pelvic pain specifically, there are wedges, there are specific pillows that people can use for like you can have it underneath your body or help with different positions if you find that you’re having pelvic pain or specific pain that makes it difficult to navigate different positions, that can also be totally used during masturbation and definitely part of the experience as well, like do you have a special ritual for bringing out these different items, how are you incorporating them into the experience, these are all like the things to think about right.
So before we head out, I want to remind you all that this is the first of many classes that both b-Vibe and Le Wand are hosting for the month of May to celebrate National Masturbation Month.