Sam W wrote:Another thing to try would be to set aside a time where you can really relax and get in touch with your body without putting pressure on yourself to orgasm or otherwise achieving a specific result from masturbating. Instead, you can focus on what things feel good to your brain and body and explore them.
Sam W wrote:The tricky thing about depression or other things that lead to a lot of negative self-talk is that they often don't happen during 100% of our lives. We have days where nothing feels wrong, days when everything feels awful, and lots of days in-between. Just because it's not a constant stream of bad thoughts doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed by a professional.
But I feel you big time on the worrying that a problem isn't "big enough" to seek help for (and I'm definitely guilty of putting off seeking help for just that reason). In fact, that kind of thinking is really common, because most of us can easily imagine someone who has bigger problems and is more "deserving" of help than we are. But the fact of the matter is that seeking help is about how much distress or unhappiness something is causing you, not how your unhappiness compares to the hypothetical unhappiness of someone else. Does that make sense?
With masturbation, there are a few different things you could try. One is just to take a break from masturbating, period. Sometimes, when masturbation isn't resulting in what we want it to, it starts to build of this expectation of frustration that just saps any remaining pleasure from the activity. So taking a break can be like hitting a reset button on your brain. Another thing to try would be to set aside a time where you can really relax and get in touch with your body without putting pressure on yourself to orgasm or otherwise achieving a specific result from masturbating. Instead, you can focus on what things feel good to your brain and body and explore them. Do either of those sound like things you could try?
horriblegoose wrote:Sam W wrote:Another thing to try would be to set aside a time where you can really relax and get in touch with your body without putting pressure on yourself to orgasm or otherwise achieving a specific result from masturbating. Instead, you can focus on what things feel good to your brain and body and explore them.
I want to expand on this one more for you, 90Hello09, because I feel like I've been pushing this in a couple of threads around here. ^^
I think when you have shame associated with your body and simultaneous shame around sex in addition to that, it can be very hard trying to overcome both at once. It might be easier for you to break these things down when you approach them separately.
It sounds like you've worked a lot on getting in touch with and feeling better about your body with the working out you've been doing. How about some specific activities that get you in touch with your body beyond just pushing it to its limits - but specifically built to help you understand and appreciate your body?
This could look like exercise in the form of "slower" exercise types like yoga, pilates, and/or tai chi, which are exercises built around balance and movement. As athletic as you are, I'm sure you're aware of your body's abilities and limitations. But how often do you slow down and really feel the movement of your body when doing things like this? Something that specifically forces you to think about the specific positioning of your body and feel the movement you're holding.
In a similar vein as above but in a slightly different direction, this could look like stretching and deep stretching. Settle into your body and feel how it's doing by performing some stretching.
Ways other than exercise can include meditation and just plain exploration. I prefer guided meditation, which leads me through specific ways of connecting with my body and being aware of it and practicing visualization exercises to help me relax my body. I use the free app Insight Timer, which has thousands of free meditation sessions from music to guided to talks, with tons of different topics from mindfulness to anxiety reduction to sleep help to intention setting and more. ASMR videos have become big recently as a way to relax and improve the mind-body connection. Finally, you can explore your body without even masturbating. A shower in the dark can be a good way to start doing this, especially if this feels weird or awkward to begin. Let the water help keep you grounded. The dark will help you feel your body rather than just see it (which can sometimes make us more judgemental, tbh). Then use your hands to explore and learn your body, as if you're learning someone else's body. You can soap up while doing this but try to use your bare hands or just a washcloth. Feel your shape. Find your scars and dips and moles. Find where you're soft and where you're more muscular. Experiment with different pressures and find where you like soft touch and where you prefer some tension. You can also do self-massage instead of a shower (which is probably good to do if you're working out a lot). Look up pressure points and work on massaging those areas. When you're doing any of this, focus on the sensations you're feeling and how they make you feel.
As for unlearning purity culture/sexual shame, that could look like a lot of different things.
It might look like talking things through with a therapist. It could be journaling out your feelings to help yourself sort through them and start picking them apart. It will probably involve doing some sex positive educational reading. (Since you're already here, I would start with ScarleTeen's resources like Undoing Sexual Shame and, if religion plays into any of this for you, On Sexuality And Sin.) It could be exploring some personal erotic writing/drawing (if you do either of those) to find what you're interested in/comfortable with.
It sounds like, for you - and for a lot of us, really, a lot of the shame and weirdness you feel comes down to the silence you've been expected to keep on the subject, so anything that focuses on somehow vocalizing your thoughts about sex would be excellent to work up to, as that'll help break a lot of the shame that you feel. The silence really helps feed the shame. Opening up about it can help break down these barriers!
Thanks for the advice! I already tried meditation a couple of times, but I never really got to the point where I really felt connected with my body. In this situation I often thought something like „this is pointless, I feel nothing“, because it never seemed to work. Maybe because I tried to force myself too hard. But I think I will try again.
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