It is time to embark on the awe-inspiring journey of physically exploring your body. This is an opportunity to create amazing, sensual, romantic, loving and intimate dates with yourself in order to learn about what electrifies you emotionally and physically. We call this next step on the road to erotic embodiment Conscious Self-Exploration. We choose not to call this piece conscious masturbation because most people have a very strong association in their mind between the idea of masturbation and genital orgasm. While the release that comes from genital orgasm can be one possible and lovely outcome of self-exploration, it is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to initiate and deepen your relationship with your own body: to understand what kinds of stimulation arouse your desire and what sensory experiences give you the most pleasure and enjoyment. Many of us began our sexual self-explorations early in life and learned from many sources that it was something that we were not supposed to do or something that should be kept hidden so that, in addition to providing pleasure or release, self-pleasuring was also an anxious experience. One consequence of feeling anxious about pleasure is that we try to get it over with as fast as possible instead of allowing our excitement to build to its greatest heights or savoring the warm depths of our enjoyment. Unfortunately, this anxious masturbation was where we set the patterns for our adult sexual interactions. In the face of all of this anxiety and haste, it is no wonder that so many men have problems with timing ejaculation and so many women complain of desire and arousal disorders. If we never took the time to fully enjoy and arouse our bodies, then, as our bodies get older or our relationships move out of the honeymoon phase, we lack the knowledge we need to spark desire, maintain arousal or continue to experience heightened pleasure. Lack of desire, arousal or control can lead to frustration with ourselves and our bodies. In the face of this frustration, we sometimes give up on our bodies in subtle and overt ways or even set our sexual selves completely aside. Conscious self-exploration is about creating new patterns for ourselves and learning new ways to love and enjoy our bodies, it is a commitment to yourself to never give up on pleasure. Most of us masturbate the same way every time we touch ourselves so conscious self-exploration is a promise we make to ourselves to take the time do something different in order to gather more information about our desire, arousal and pleasure. This information not only helps you develop a deeper sense of connection with your own body, it can also be very useful when you are communicating with a partner about ways that he or she might arouse and satisfy you. Going deeper with yourself in and of itself is an amazing journey and it also lays the groundwork for erotic depth and longevity with a partner.
Step 1 – Making a Commitment to Yourself
What does it mean to make a commitment to yourself and why is it important? Just as we make commitments to our partner, which, when kept, deepen their trust in us and their ability to open up and connect, making and keeping a commitment to ourselves teaches us to trust in ourselves, our bodies and our feelings. Commitments to yourself are often the easiest to break, but you will find that making and keeping commitments to yourself can also strengthen your relationship with yourself. A strong, deep relationship to yourself is the foundation from which you can act in empowered ways in the world. When we don’t keep our commitments to ourselves, we lose our sense of trust and clarity about who we are and what we want. Making a commitment to fall in love with yourself and give yourself pleasure can also set the groundwork for keeping your commitment to live authentically in all areas of your life. When making a commitment to yourself about creating a deep, loving relationship with your body, make sure you only bite off as much as you can chew. If you usually spend 3-5 minutes masturbating, promise yourself two self-loving sessions a week that take 15 minutes each. If you usually spend 15 minutes, take a half an hour for yourself. Only make a commitment you can keep so that you learn to trust yourself again. Put this time in your schedule and treat it just as you would an important meeting you cannot miss (believe us, it is a meeting you won’t want to miss!).
Step 2 – Warming Up
Start your session with a few minutes of Eros Breathplay (see above) to fully enter into and relax your body. During your self-exploration, you can try varying the breath in any number of ways including how quickly you breathe, how deeply you breathe, whether you breathe through your mouth or your nose to see if these breaths increase your sensitivity to stimulation or help you with relaxation and sensation. As you start on your body exploration, keep breathing. Your breath will keep sensual energy circulating throughout your body as you practice touching yourself in new ways.
Step 3 – Approaching Yourself with Childlike Curiosity
When we are first learning about our bodies, we touched ourselves all over, we stared at our hands for hours, we sucked on our fingers and our toes. For those of you still lucky enough to be able to suck your toes, we’d suggest giving it another try. The point is that we have an entire body with which to play and touch and stimulate and we might find that we have some amazingly sensitive, totally ignored places on our bodies or that different kinds of breathing awaking different parts of our body to their full pleasure potential. While fantasy, erotic movies, or erotic fiction can be wonderful ways to arouse ourselves towards orgasm, for this session set aside these external brain stimulators because these self-pleasuring sessions are about deepening on your connection with your body. One way to approach yourself with childlike curiosity is to do your self-pleasuring in front of a mirror. You can start by standing up and looking at your body, if you have some sensual music playing, you can move your body in ways that feel arousing or arouse you visually. You can try on different kinds of clothes that make you feel sexy or sensual. You can switch to a make-up or shaving mirror when you are lying down in order to take a look at the parts of your body that you don’t always get a chance to see, your vulva or your anus. Tell yourself how beautiful and sexy you are, how wonderful it is to have a body and how much pleasure you want to give yourself.
Step 4 – Exploring Your Body in a Sensual, Sexy Space
It is very important to give a little bit of time and energy to creating your self-pleasuring space. Some people like to pleasure themselves in the bathtub, others their bed, some may do it front of the computer. For this exercise, we urge you to make whatever space in which you pleasure yourself a beautiful, sexy place to be. The best way to think about his is to pay attention to each of your senses and figure out what arouses them.
SIGHT: In thinking about arousing your visual sense, you may want to start by adding some sensual colors to your space, such as reds and oranges. Make sure the lighting in your space is warm and inviting. Dim the lights, light candles, or allow the light from a streetlamp outside your window to pour across your bed or to make your bath sparkle. Suggestions:
- You may also want to try sight deprivation by putting blindfold on or closing your eyes and visualizing the colors of your arousal.
- Look at the flame of a candle while you touch yourself and imagine the energy from the flame entering your body.
SMELL: Scented candles or fragrant flowers such as gardenias or stargazer lilies can fill the room with delicious fragrance. Or, you may want to use scented massage oil on your body. Suggestions:
- The smell of scented massage oil, mixed with your own bodily scents and juices can be very arousing. Rub the oil on your pussy or cock and then smell your hands.
- Rub flower petals across your body to scent your skin, lay a flower on your pillow or put petals in a bath.
SOUND: What kinds of sounds give you the most arousal and pleasure and keep you inside your body. You may want your favorite music or chanting or it may leave the room quiet so you can listen to your own, erotic voice. Suggestions:
- Say arousing things to yourself that you’d want a lover to say to you.
- Make noises when you breathe such as sighs or moans.
TASTE: You can also arouse your sense of taste while giving yourself pleasure. You can keep delicious foods or drinks nearby and taste them as part of your self-pleasuring. Suggestions:
- Dip your fingers in melted chocolate and suck on them.
- Remember what you favorite childhood food was and treat yourself to it before, during, or after your self-exploration.
TOUCH: Make sure that wherever you are, you can feel silkiness or softness against your skin. In a bed, this might mean investing in some soft, silky sheets, in the bath, it would mean adding some oils or bubbles. Keep some massage oil near your space to add silkiness to your own touch as well as lubrication. (Safety note: Always remember when playing with a partner that oil based lubricants such as massage oil can break down condoms). There are many other delicious tools to arouse your sense of touch such as clothes with different textures, feathers, ice, hot water, toys to stimulate your penis, clitoris or the inside of your vagina or your anus. Wearing gloves sometimes may allow you to feel as though someone else is touching you. Suggestions:
- Approach your body by touching all of the extremities first – stroke your hair and run your fingers through it, rub your feet, tickle them with a feather, tickle the palm of one hand with your finger tips, touch your cheeks, your face, and your neck.
- Try using feathers or different textures on the back of your neck and your back.
- Use your fingernails or a back scratcher on your arms and the backs of your legs.
- Tease the inside of your thighs with a silky cloth.
- Rub an ice cube down your stomach and across your nipples or let icy water drip off of the ice cube onto your vulva or penis.
- Stimulate the inside or outside of your anus with a toy or your fingers (Safety tip for women: make sure that nothing that goes on or in your anus, goes on or in your vagina afterwards).
- Kiss your hands or arms.
- Pull the hair on your head or on your genitals.
- Try different kinds of touch including tickling, tapping, stroking, pinching, massaging, slapping and squeezing.
We have offered a number of suggestions and even adding just one of them will begin you on your journey to deeper self-love and pleasure. We also strongly encourage you to come up with your own creative ideas (and, if something works really well, we’d love to hear about it!). Remember that this is an exploration without an end result in mind except to learn more secrets about your own beautiful body and commune with yourself. It is also an opportunity to laugh with yourself, dance with yourself, cry with yourself, and learning to love yourself in new ways. Some of the new touches, smells, or breathplay won’t be arousing at all. However, making a commitment to yourself, approaching yourself with childlike curiosity, and taking the risk of trying new ways of interacting with yourself may be the pathway to pleasures that you never even knew were possible.