As we now know, May is Masturbation Month. For some of us, masturbation appreciation month is every month whether we prefer it that way or not. For others, the act of masturbation is a distant memory, tucked behind months or years of partnered sex. People in relationships (especially women) are often warned to be prepared should their relationship circumstances change. Whether this applies simply to a financial, physical or emotional shift, it's wise to know how to be independent. This can largely apply to sex as well. Knowing the what's and how's of getting yourself off makes you the captain of your ship. It helps you better understand your own body as well as navigating sex with a partner. It helps you better communicate what you like when you're with someone and can take a great deal of the initial fumbling guesswork out of those first few encounters with a new "bed friend." Having a deep and conscious understanding of our sexual pleasure can also lead to a broadened sense of self.
I find this notion especially important for women. This isn't to say that male pleasure is simple. I don't mean to reduce the male sexual experience. I will say, however that female sexuality and further, female pleasure carries the broad potential to be far more complex. There are a multitude of societal and personal factors that can make a woman's access to her own satisfaction very complicated. That said, I think it's worth the work and I think she is the best person to lead that charge. A woman who knows how to turn herself on and get herself off without a partner holds the key to a stronger appreciation and understanding for her own body. So many women lament past partners that couldn't hack it but maybe these people didn't have an informed or communicative partner either. Masturbation and confidence in our bodies makes us an ideal partner. Wanna be good at sex? Be good at masturbating. Be good at making yourself happy in bed even if you're the only one in it. Partners change. Circumstances change. Don't allow "the best sex you've ever had" to get caught up in something that could very much change.
If you are in a committed relationship, encourage your partner to masturbate. Never take their masturbation habits as an insult. You have a physical relationship and an emotional relationship but this doesn't mean you are truly one entity. You both should be encouraged to explore and experience pleasure on your own terms as well. This isn't to say that you can't learn about yourself from a partner. When considering the modern model of dating and ugh ok, hookup culture, the ultimate ideal of sleeping with someone is not exactly to mate or even settle down, it's to enjoy our human desires for pleasure and to make that person a better lover to their next partner. But the same idea circulates around masturbation: create pleasure for yourself and be better for your next partner.
Whether you're in a relationship, single or enjoy the fantastic limbo of an undefined sexual existence, I highly encourage you to be your best partner. Figure out what you like and do it often and unapologetically. Further, identify what you might like and explore it a bit with yourself. There are a multitude of amazing products that aid and encourage the solo experience. Or get back to basics and simply enjoy yourself completely by yourself. It's up to you and you should celebrate that independence. Happy Masturbation Month and may you always be your best.