Masturbation as Compassion for the Self

Author :- Wellcelium March 5, 2021, 8:38 a.m.
Masturbation as Compassion for the Self

The following blog post were written by a student in Wellcelium’s Ignite! Course. Quotes below were written by Dr. Pavini Moray as part of the Ignite! Course curriculum. The questions and practices sections at the end of this post were developed by Wellcelium to support your exploration.

We are furtive, secretive, and ashamed of our self-pleasuring practice. Almost none of us spend the time and attention on our own bodies which we would lavish on a lover.

It is time to reclaim masturbation as an act of compassion for the self. A primary sexual relationship that is there for us for the entirety of our lives. A laboratory for researching pleasure and desire

This week’s invitation is to practice self-pleasure for thirty minutes a day.

And it is incredibly hard.

The level of resistance I experience is both hilarious and disheartening. I can’t seem to escape the idea that this self-pleasure practice should end up in touching my genitals. Which I’m in no mood to do. And even though part of me knows that is old learned shit about what sex is and looks like, it’s still firmly pinned into my psyche somewhere and I haven’t unfurled it yet.

My resistance to masturbation as I know it becomes my resistance to self-pleasure time. The only way in is through unknowing. But I’m fucking tired and I don’t know if I can bear being in unknowing for long. I remember earlier teaching from Pavini and start aiming for just five minutes instead of thirty. It’s still hard but at least I can sometimes do it.

And this is like the easiest possibility offered for this week. There’s also MASTURBATING WITH A FRIEND. Which, at first sounds brilliant but then, the more I think about it, the more terrified I get. And disturbed that I’m terrified. I bring it up to a pair of friends to talk it out, not to invite them to do it with me but just to share the idea out loud with someone else. Each one has really different reactions but some things I’m surprised to hear coming out of each of us are shame and fear.

“Oh well, mine would be boring cause I just do it like this so no one would enjoy it.”

“What if it messed up our friendship though cause it went weird or something?”

The thing about masturbating in front of a friend is that once you’ve done it, they’ve seen you like that! And what if you look stupid or you’re doing it wrong and they make fun of you and then they know that private part of you and then THEY REJECT IT AND YOU FEEL TERRIBLE?!

Or… what if… they know that part of you that you haven’t shared with many maybe… and maybe they still love you as their friend… they still care about you… they still like you. And you get to, like, talk about it. I mean maybe that would be pretty amazing. I watch a wonderful video of Pavini telling a story about per’s first communal masturbation ritual. And it’s fucking beautiful. And it inspires me to deeply want to let my desire drive like Pavini says!

So, one day.

But. It’s also true that that day is not today, for me.

There’s something else in the way, some other things that need tending to, in order for me to be able to let my desire drive.

When life is hard, and every day is a struggle just to get through, sexuality often gets relegated to the back burner. Your attention is scattered; your desire is seemingly non-existent. You may not think you have the time, energy, or emotional bandwidth for a deep erotic connection, with yourself of others.

During these times, sex may be the last thing you want to do. Masturbation may become purely functional or doesn’t happen at all. Actually living and feeling inside your body when you are suffering may be unbearable. And so you leave: disassociate, check out, numb out, distract yourself. You pretend that sexuality isn’t hugely important. You forget.

We are in a pandemic. Lemme tell you, nothing has been less sexy than staying home non-stop, losing my sense of impact and exchange with the world, and the deep underlying fear of myself and those around me dying from this virus. Not hot.

I would love to welcome the erotic as the place to be with those feelings.

I know, intellectually, that it can be a wonderful place to live out and process all the feelings. But my body is not on board with that right now.

My body says no way, dude. I am not available to experience these intense feelings even more intensely right now. What I need is de-escalating and comforting things and, babes, your sexuality is not that place for us right now. I mean, fair. My sexuality is a tangled zone that I’m starting to map and get the sense of. But it is not yet a place of comfort and joy. I let myself watch movies and shit TV and take baths. Is this my way of doing sex with myself right now? I don’t think it is if I’m honest…

What if we experienced our bodies as a refuge? What if our sense of safety was held within, and we could choose to find a sense of embrace inside? What if sexuality was a space of the home, of welcome? If we could nourish our hearts through feeling pleasure? What if, when our hearts were bruised and tired, we brought lov­ing touch to ourselves?

The shock of this week is how hard it is to bring a loving touch to myself.

Not so much the bringing as the receiving part. It’s hard for me to receive loving touch! It’s hard for me to receive pleasure and love wholeheartedly! Where did I learn that I don’t deserve that?

I want my sexuality to be like coming home.

Right now, though, what I see is that it’s more like coming home when the home you live in is a dangerous space. This is very good information that I need to take time to feel sad about. And then, I need to move to a metaphorical new home.

So with this recognition that I can’t spend 30 minutes a day self-pleasuring… yet!… I ask myself why? And I return to the frozenness that comes out of past experiences. I realize that I’m still working on things from the earlier weeks in the course. I go back to the trembling exercises and I decide I need a small trampoline because it’s often hard for me to leave the house but this is a way to really move the muscles in which some of my old patterns are trapped. I manage to get my hands on one. And then… I jump.

Questions to Ask Yourself

What if we experienced our bodies as a refuge?

What if our sense of safety was held within, and we could choose to find a sense of embrace inside?

What if sexuality was a space of the home, of welcome? If we could nourish our hearts through feeling pleasure?

What if, when our hearts were bruised and tired, we brought lov­ing touch to ourselves? Can you welcome yourself home to your sweet body?

Suggested Practice

Each day for one week, spend at least 30 minutes alone with yourself, touching yourself. Enjoy yourself anyway that feels wonderful. Orgasm is not the focus, but it’s wonderful if it occurs. Try new ways to touch yourself, not just focused on the genitals. How is it to stroke your feet? Your face? Do you like to pinch your inner thighs?


At the end of each session, spend five minutes allowing all the love to settle over your body, and just notice how it is to be with yourself. Savor this last five minutes of the ses­sion, then take notes!

Originally posted on Wellcelium.org.

Cover photo by Pexels