Masturbation reduces stress and releases sexual tension. It aids with sleep and even helps in relieving menstrual cramps. Masturbation carries many benefits for the body. Moreover, masturbation can help improve your self-esteem and gives you knowledge of what turns you on.
What’s more, masturbation is a potent venue to explore your queerness.
Most LGBTQ+ individuals find masturbation scary, uncomfortable, or just plain uninteresting. These sexperts explore how those who want to masturbate can gain confidence and comfort by doing so. Moreover, they also tell us how it can be a useful forum for self-exploration.
What is masturbation?
We talk about sex and give certain actions a name. Sex can mean a lot of different things for different people and so does “sex with oneself,” which is generally how masturbation is referred to. Jiz Lee says, “I think the same of porn, which is notorious for eluding definition. By extension, we could borrow from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s colloquial “I know it when I see it” definition, which is to say that the person who is masturbating knows so when they do so.”
How can one explore gender and sexuality through masturbation?
Masturbation is learning about your body, learning about what feels good to you. Ericka Hart says that she encourages people to take a mirror and to do what they have told you in old school sex education. Apart from looking at your genitals, look at the rest of your body. Because masturbation does not only involve genitals. When it comes to exploring your gender, it offers a space to explore what feels good to you. Moreover, it frees you from the pressure of being with another person.
It is scary for those people who identify outside the gender binary. The act involves interacting with our anatomy with which we might not be entirely comfortable with. Ericka points out something interesting. She asks, “For trans and gender-nonconforming folk who want to masturbate, but experience difficulties for these reasons, what strategies would you recommend?
The answer is to start slow. Maybe you should not start by touching yourself. Maybe you can start by just wearing lingerie or doing a quick photo shoot with yourself to get to know your body before actually touching yourself. Ericka is a breast cancer survivor. Like many other people who live with chronic illness and disabilities, she suggested that you learn your body and affirm them through your own eyes. That is the first step to any sort of sexual expression.
Jiz Lee says that it is important that what works for one person may not work for another. You might have some difficulties. However, Jiz Lee’s go-to advice would be to drop all the needs to have a goal and just explore for the sake of trying something new without any expectations.
“Don’t make orgasm a goal, just observe.”
Zoë Ligon tries to educate about masturbation in one particular way. She mentions how society expects you to masturbate. There is a particular way based on how you have been socialized and/or what your genital configuration is like. Penises are stroked or jacked. Vulvas are rubbed or flicked or vibrated and penetrated.
Our genitals are made of the same types of tissues. And the types of stimulation a penis enjoys is the same as the vulva and vice versa. Lingon says, “I have spoken to people who expressed embarrassment that their masturbation style looks “feminine,” but so many people rub their penis against their palm or their leg to get off. Penises also respond brilliantly to vibration!”
Basically let us not let the predominant images of gender and masturbation cloud your self-pleasure exploration.
Jiz Lee believes that if people allow themselves to be honest about their fantasies without shame, then there will not be any border between the sex that is queer and sex which is not. It is like saying missionary sex for reproduction is the only type of heterosexual sex. However, sex can be far more varied. People of all genders and orientations can enjoy all kinds of sexual sensations.
Hence, queering masturbation might simply mean to go with your body’s responses as opposed to the stereotypical idea of what masturbation should be.
The pressure from sexuality can be removed. Even though there is a lot of pressure around sexuality. Especially when it is only with ourselves. You can alleviate your insecurities, self-doubts and all the negative associations with sex.