May is National Masturbation Month! Pleasure is a human right, and masturbation is one extremely healthy, fun, and free way to exercise that sacred right. Luckily for us, there is an entire calendar month dedicated to practicing!

Founded by San Francisco-based Good Vibrations, one of the most iconic sex shops in the world, National Masturbation Month returns each year to bring us some serious self-love. It was first designated in 1994, after Joycelyn Elders (the first Black woman to serve as Surgeon General of the USA) was fired for saying that information about masturbation should be included in sex education materials. Yes, this actually happened.

Shocked and appalled by this inexcusable decision from President Bill Clinton, Carol Queen and her team at Good Vibrations decided to start a conversation about the myriad benefits of masturbation. Twenty-six years later, Masturbation Month is observed internationally. That’s the kind of globalization we can all get behind!

Masturbation Month is More Necessary Than Ever

After a year or more of being in quarantine, National Masturbation Month has become more meaningful and necessary than ever before. So many people spent the first pandemic year isolated and alone to stay safe. Because masturbation is in no way “less than” partnered sex, this isolation inspired a lot of people to step up their solo sex game. Sex toy purchases went through the roof in 2020. During the first few anxious months of lockdown, this was one of the bright spots. No wonder: stress reduction is but one of the many benefits of masturbation.

Yet despite the tireless work of sex educators across the decades, shame is still associated with this natural and healthy human activity. From religious stigma to toxic, patriarchal body-shaming, millions of people still need help getting comfortable with touching themselves, especially people who identify as women

Another thing that’s gotten worse during the pandemic: viral anti-sex conspiracy theories from Christo-fascist influencers and, unsurprisingly, mental health issues from those subjected to that toxicity.  There are few things you can do to that simultaneously reduce stress and eradicate shame, but masturbation ticks both of those boxes.

As sex coaches, it’s our job to help our clients remember they can give themselves pleasure whenever they want, for any reason, no matter how they were raisedand Masturbation Month is the perfect time to send that reminder.

Here are a few more of the myriad benefits of masturbation:

  • Helps you sleep
  • Improves body image and self-esteem
  • Relieves period pain
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Strengthens muscle tone (especially in the pelvic and anal areas of your body)
  • Improves libido
  • Has potential cardiovascular benefits
  • Improves brain health and cognition
  • Reduces vaginal atrophy for menopausal women
  • Potentially boosts immunity

Changing Up Your Masturbation Game This Month

Even if you have a shame-free relationship with self-gratification and you indulge in it liberally, changing up your own routine can bring you to new and unimagined heights of pleasure. Just like in sexual relationships with partners, our masturbation habits can go stale and eventually begin to bore us. There is a fine line between learning how to bring yourself to orgasm and getting stuck in a particular routine for months or even years. Just like with partnered sex, we may crave inspiration to get us going even when we’re alone.

If you learned to masturbate quickly and furtively when you were young and found a method that works for you, now may be the time to experiment and find a new angle to your relationship with your own body. Masturbation doesn’t always have to be about scratching an itch when you’re horny, bored, or stressedit can be so much more than that. Not just a quick, secret snack, masturbation can be an entire meal onto itself. Slowing the process way down can markedly increase your pleasure.

You might be resistant to this, stuck in the old adage, “If it’s not broke, why fix it?” If you get a decent orgasm from your solo sex routine, especially if it took a while for you to figure it out initially, you might be less inclined to experiment with new options. If you found your sweet spot long ago, you might just discover you have more than one!

And if you’re in a satisfying sexual relationship with someone, you might think focusing on self-pleasure isn’t worthwhile or even that it’s selfish. But I’m here to tell you that it definitely is worthwhile and it’s definitely NOT selfish. The better you get at bringing yourself pleasure, and indeed different kinds of pleasure, the more comfortable you’ll feel asking for what you want with a partner(s).

Try 30 Days of Orgasms This Masturbation Month

a woman sitting on the edge of the ocean ecstatic because it's masturbation month

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

If your masturbation habits have been merely a way to scratch an itch, but you long to experience elevated ecstasy, why not make Masturbation Month into a self-styled program, just the way you might put yourself on an exercise regimen to get in shape? If an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away, why not have at least one orgasm a day for thirty days in a row?

I’ve led “30 Days of Orgasms” training sessions several times, and it’s incredibly fun and rewarding. This is a really exciting, educational, and healthy homework assignment for sex coaches to give their clients as well—but you might consider trying it for yourself first.

This is especially helpful if your libido has been lagging during the pandemic, or if you were super horny at the start and now everything feels “meh” again. Bonus: putting yourself on a 30-day solo orgasm regimen this May can ready you for a post-pandemic summer of sizzling partnered sex.

Instead of buying weights or exercise bands, you might buy a new vibrator or some lube, some sexy lingerie or candles—anything that will get you in the mood for solo sex. Then, look at your schedule and figure out what time of day best lends itself to masturbation sessions.

On some days, you may have time for elongated, experimental solo sessions, perhaps on the weekends. On other days, you might only have time for a quickie, either in the morning when you wake up or right before you go to sleep. However, you fashion it, know that there is no “right way” to do thisit’s meant to be one big experiment and adventure so that you can discover what feels good.

Before You Begin, Try Some New Toys

Going boldly into your 30 Days of Orgasms, how can you change things up? One option is to gift yourself with a new sex toy for the month of May. No matter when your birthday is, you deserve this. If you’ve always favored internal toys, you might opt for one that provides external stimulation. If you’ve mainly used dildos or vibrators inside, this could be the moment when you explore toys made for external stimulation.

If you have a favorite toy you’ve used for years and simply cannot live without, you might check with the manufacturer to see if there is an upgraded model. Sex toy manufacturers are constantly tweaking their tech, especially in the last few years, when there has been a veritable revolution in sex tech. Pro-tip: if you have a vulva and you’ve never used an air-sucking sex toy: go buy one RIGHT NOW.

If you’re still in a work-from-home situation and privacy is an issue because your children or partner are constantly hovering nearby, you might consider getting a waterproof sex toy to use in the shower or bath, especially if that is the only time you get to be alone.

Lube: Not Just for Penetration

If you’re not in the mood to invest in a new toy or prefer to use your hands, you can keep your price point far lower by simply buying some new lube. Why would you need lube for solo sex, you may be wondering? Lube is NOT just for penetration! Making things more slippery, no matter your anatomy, can markedly enhance your pleasure.

There are endless options to choose from when it comes to using lube for self-pleasure. Water or oil based? If you’re using a toy, make sure it’s compatible with the kind of lube you’re using, as some toys can be damaged and require silicone-based formations. If you’re using your hands, you don’t have to worry about this, of course, but do make sure that the ingredients in your lube aren’t irritating to your body. Opting for organic, aloe-based formations can help you avoid any issues with allergies.

In the last few years, some innovative lube manufacturers have begun including CBD in their formulations. This is thought to penetrate the skin and provide deep relaxation in the body. Some incorporate kava and other natural ingredients to enhance relaxation. 

If you prefer not to buy new lube and you have a jar of coconut oil in the kitchen pantrywell, you just discovered that it’s a multitasking wonder oil. Cook with it, moisturize with it, and then masturbate with it.

For more ideas on how to vary your self-pleasure routines, read our prior articles “Masturbation Month: Celebrating in Isolation” and “Self Soothe with Self Pleasure.”

Setting the Mood

Because most people don’t plan their masturbation sessions in advance, it might be strange to think about setting the mood for solo sex. But doing 30 Days of Orgasms is the perfect reason to plan! Just like getting down with another human being, enhancing your senses with lighting, scent, and tactile sensations can increase your pleasure. This can also encourage you to take it slow, changing the energy around masturbation from “get it out of the way” mode to “I had no idea this could feel so good” mode.

When people embark on their 30 Days of Orgasms adventure, they often wonder­can I still engage in partnered sex? Well, of course you can! You may find this challenge increases your desire for your partner, because you’ve dedicated yourself to self-pleasure in advance. “The more I get, the more I want” principle applies here.

Are you ready to celebrate Masturbation Month with 30 Days of Orgasms? Note that you can start this any time you want: it doesn’t have to be May 1st. Check in with us on social media and let us know how it’s going!

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