It had a far more profound effect on me than I thought it would.
As a sober chick who doesn’t drink alcohol, do drugs, or even guzzle caffeine, I often get my rocks off by, well, getting my rocks off.
I usually masturbate once or twice a week, but I was recently challenged to do it for seven days straight to see what I could glean from a week of self-love.
I didn’t know how the hell I was going to incorporate daily me-time into my already packed schedule of working full-time, writing regularly, and training for a half-marathon…but I found a way to make it all work.
Day one: This isn’t so hard…
Let’s do this! I’m pumped to see what I learn about myself from seven days of self-love. Today, I masturbated like I normally do: fingering my clit for a little bit then bringing out the vibrator to finish myself off. Nothing fancy. I felt great, then went to bed.
Day two: Learning to love my flaws
This was an interesting session, as I incorporated foreplay for the first time. I also sat in front of a full-body mirror. I’ve masturbated in front of a mirror before, but not like this. This time, I watched my reflection as I touched my breasts, my legs, and my arms. I gave myself goosebumps and truly relished in the sensual touch of my hand.
While I was watching myself, I noticed the parts of my body that are imperfect (aka: normal): my stomach that lacks six-pack abs, my love handles, the cellulite speckling my thighs, my beaten-up runner’s feet. Suddenly, I found myself feeling repulsed by the sight of my own flesh. It was an odd sensation to be turned on by the image of myself touching myself in the mirror, whilst simultaneously feeling grossed out by my body, but I was dedicated to seeing my experiment through till the end, so I chose to keep going and instead focused on what felt good. After a few minutes, I began to find my imperfections bearable to look at, sexy, even. I floated from the room after my self-loving sesh feeling sexy and powerful for the rest of the day.
Day three: Feeling good
Still on a body positivity high from the day before, I wanted to keep it going and see if I could masturbate my way to feeling sexy for the rest of the day. It worked…ish.
On most days, when I pass my reflection in cars parked on the street, or mirrors in stores, I stop to check and make sure I look ‘perfect’. I also check to see how my stomach (my most obsessed-over body part) looks in what I’m wearing. Today, I caught my mind trying to go there, but I thought about the reflection looking back at me yesterday when I was in my room; how confident and sexy she was. I did my best to channel that vibe and felt pretty good for the rest of the day. I was even down for round two when I got home.
Day four: Staving off depression
After flicking the bean for the fourth day in a row, I wanted to do a little research about masturbation and its effects on the mind. It turns out masturbation releases neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin that can elevate your mood. On top of that, orgasms are often followed by euphoric feelings. In a nut shell, masturbation is a killer way to get a natural high. I also found an excellent piece written by Michael Castleman M.A. In this article, Castleman addresses many myths associated with masturbation; a big one being that solo sex is linked to mental health issues. He debunks that myth in a single sentence; ‘So yes, solo sex is associated with mental health and erection problems, but it doesn’t cause them. The cause is society’s vilification of masturbation.’
Day five: Dry spells
I had a hard timing getting into it today. I woke up at 6am for running training, before a three-hour drive home. By the time I got back, did some laundry, and ate some food, I was exhausted. I wanted to take a nap to rest before the Beyonce concert I had planned that night, but wondered if I had time to both masturbate and nap (I believe this is the epitome of the phrase “first world problems”).
I looked into my night stand and saw my vibrator mocking me. I rolled my eyes, grabbed it, turned it on, and tried to pretend like I was looking forward to getting it on with myself. It didn’t take long to get into it, and it turned out to be pretty freaking great. After I came, I enjoyed a euphoric post-orgasm catnap, then got ready to see Queen Bey, who had me chanting things like, “I slay” and “I’m a queen”. These affirmations were exactly what I needed to remind myself that I do, in fact, slay.
Day six: Is my libido higher?
On the second-last day of my experiment I decided to wait until bedtime to masturbate. Interestingly, throughout the day, something felt like it was missing, and I found myself feeling extra frisky at work. I was looking forward to getting home and feelin’ myself. Had I accidentally trained my libido?
After doing some more research, I learned that a low sex drive is common for people who suffer from mental health issues like anxiety. It made total sense. When my depression or anxiety kick in, the last thing I want to do is have sex. But after five days of solo sex, I found myself hornier than usual.
Day seven: The home stretch
It’s day seven, and I can officially say I’ve masturbated for a week straight. Seven days of straight up self-love had me shouting from the rooftops about the beauty of masturbation, so I shared articles on Facebook and even made a status asking friends how often they masturbate. Nearly 20 people (evenly split between men and women) openly provided an answer. Most said they do it daily, or a few times a week. I got a few private messages with responses, too. I posted that question as a test to see how many people would feel comfortable sharing this information. The more we talk about masturbation, the closer we can be to breaking the stigma associated with it.
Like I mentioned before, I struggle with depression and anxiety. I’m not saying that masturbation ‘cured’ my mental health issues, but I can say that (in addition to therapy, journaling, running, and meditation) it helped me manage them. Taking a little time each day to make my body feel good often made my mind feel good for rest of the day, too.
This experiment was work, I’m not gonna lie. Setting aside time to do this every. damn. day. was tedious, but of course it ended up being fun. It was kind of like training for a half-marathon: sometimes before I run, I have to psych myself up by reminding myself how good I always feel afterwards – I had to implement a similar mindset to this challenge. And while I don’t plan on continuing to masturbate daily going forward – mainly because I simply don’t have the time – I’ve definitely learned a lot about the significance of making self-love a priority.
Image via tumblr.com. This post was originally published September 2016.
Comment: What benefits have you experienced from masturbation?
Tawny is a Texan who’s living in New York City. When she’s not writing about sex, she’s writing about sobriety and mental health on her blog, SobrieTeaParty.com. She loves Mexican food, running, and carefully deconstructing song lyrics. Follow Tawny on Twitter and Facebook.