Struggling to masturbate!

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mozzerella
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Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby mozzerella » Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:29 pm

Hey!! Thank you guys for all the awesome work you do.

I've always had a hard time masturbating. Up until earlier this year, I never even touched my genitals (I'm a person with a vulva) just because I was so nervous and uncomfortable about it. I think I definitely had a lot of big mental blocks and shame about it that I've started to work through.
I have a great boyfriend and we've recently started to engage in different things sexually (oral and manual sex, nothing else yet). We always go at my pace, communicate well, and he cares about my pleasure. However, I'm just super stuck on why the masturbation thing isn't working for me. I know it's the best way to get to know your body, and the only way to figure out how to have satisfying sex, and I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself but... it's hard. I've tried clitoral and vaginal stimulation myself. It always feels super medical and weird. Even when I get aroused on my own, once I start touching myself, the feeling goes away and I just feel nervous and sometimes, nothing. I've gotten better at it over time, as in I'm much more comfortable touching my clitoris (not directly because it's quite sensitive) than I used to be. When my boyfriend and I try fingering, etc, it just feels kind of strange, like SLIGHTLY better when I do it myself but still nothing to get all that excited about.
I'm feeling kind of stuck and don't know how to move forward because I can't figure out how to pleasure myself, let alone tell him how to pleasure me.

Sam W
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Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:51 am

Hi mozzerella,

That sounds frustrating! You mention that you have a lot of feelings of discomfort and shame around touching your body that way, and that may be playing a role here. Can you tell me a little more about those feelings and where you think they come from?

mozzerella
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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:21 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I think I'm a good listener :)
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: heterosexual
Location: California

Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby mozzerella » Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:18 am

Sure thing. Well, I grew up in a family that never talked about sex (I’m 20 now and to this day neither of my parents have ever had a single conversation about sex with me). My mom always told me it was something dirty that adults do and I shouldn’t think about it. When I was a young teenager, I asked her what masturbating was, and she told me it was something dirty that people do, and that women especially shouldn’t do. Like, it’s a wrong or BAD thing to do. That led to a lot of internalized panic and disgust around masturbation for me...I didn’t even fully realize how to do it with my body, but every time I thought about it it would lead to a lot of panic and stress. I’m also generally an anxious person :) so it built up a ton of very specific negative energy around the idea of me touching myself.

Obviously, these are very unhealthy ideas about sex and since then I’ve done a lot of research and thinking about these concepts to change the attitudes that my family gave me. I feel like I’m way more sex-positive now, but I still can’t figure out the masturbation thing. At the very beginning, I would feel a physical stress response (like my throat tightening and heart beating faster) when I thought about masturbating. Over time, I was able to gently lay a finger or two on myself (still, though, would feel a physical panic response sometimes!)
I’m pretty proud of this since in the last six months or so I gradually got more comfortable to the point where I can at least try to touch myself for 1-2 minutes before giving up.
At first it felt gross, the idea of touching myself. Now it just feels weird and ineffective. The panic response is mostly gone though. Maybe it’ll just take more time?

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7294
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
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Location: Desert

Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:31 am

Ooof, those are some rough messages to get around sex and masturbation. I'm glad you've been taking steps to unlearn them, that's an awesome thing to do.

Given that you had a long stretch of time where masturbation (or even thinking about masturbation) caused a stress response, I do think some of what you're experiencing will decrease with time and unlearning that shame. So, one thing that will help is to be patient with yourself; your body and brain are trying to unlink masturbation from stress, and that can take some time.

There are also a few things you can try to help masturbation be enjoyable. One, which it sounds like you may already be doing, is to give yourself permission to stop if it's feeling "meh" or unpleasant. That way you aren't accidentally putting pressure on yourself (since pressure is often a pleasure inhibitor). Too, are you able to masturbate in times and places where you feel relaxed and like you have privacy?

mozzerella
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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:21 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I think I'm a good listener :)
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: heterosexual
Location: California

Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby mozzerella » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:22 pm

Thanks. I think you're probably right that my body/brain might need more time.
And I think that's a good point about giving myself permission to stop- I usually get frustrated with myself when it does feel "meh" because I feel like it shouldn't. I'll work on being gentler with myself in that regard. I just don't know how to get it to the point where maybe it doesn't feel "meh" anymore. Maybe it's a time thing, again.
I do luckily have privacy and my own space! As for feeling relaxed, I usually get a bit stressed out as I mentioned before. That makes the feeling of arousal subside, which makes things more difficult.

Mo
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Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby Mo » Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:58 pm

It's definitely tough when masturbation winds up feeling frustrating, but it's definitely going to be a LOT harder for it to feel enjoyable if you're in that frustration zone, so I do think taking a break if you're getting stressed is going to be the way to go. It might mean you have some abbreviated masturbation sessions sometimes, but I think that's better than trying to push through it. I don't know if you've ever been really stressed or struggling to sleep and wound up angrily saying "RELAX!!!!!" to yourself, but I think it's similarly unhelpful.
I wonder if it would be at all helpful to take some time, when you're feeling aroused, to touch or explore your body in a more general way, or even to do something sensual but not necessarily sexual like taking a bath or doing some gentle stretching or movement, as a way to connect to your body in a different context.

mozzerella
newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:21 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I think I'm a good listener :)
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: heterosexual
Location: California

Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby mozzerella » Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:01 pm

Thanks- I will try to give myself a break and not push too hard or compare my experience to anyone else's. And maybe the exploring in a more general way is a good place to start. Appreciate your help!

Mo
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 1999
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:57 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I'm always wearing seriously fancy nail polish.
My primary language: English
My pronouns: he/him, they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queer/bisexual

Re: Struggling to masturbate!

Unread postby Mo » Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:39 pm

You're very welcome! Please let us know if you need to talk about this further or have any other questions. :)


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