I just discovered that I’m an exclusive masturbator.
I sat down to write this bit of stuff about where I’m at – the ironic fact that I’ve committed to a period of celibacy at the same time as beginning my training as a facilitator of sex education workshops for adults.
In terms of the celibacy thing I’m not having sex with other people… but I am having sex with myself.
CELIBACY: abstinence from sexual intercourse.
INTERCOURSE: dealings between individuals or groups
There’s no word for me, the person who is abstaining from sex with others, but not abstaining from sex with self.
Which reveals an interesting culture bias – that unless sex is happening as a form of intercourse, then it’s such a no thing as to be unnamed, wordless and invisible.
Does it even happen?
So in casting around for a way to describe my current status, I realised there is a word for the act of self love itself: masturbation.
And from here I coined the exclusive masturbator title, which actually makes me sound like some kind of obscure engine part. I love words, but I reckon masturbation is one of the ugliest words in the english language.
But so what.. what does this have to do with anything?
In the work I do with women, I quite often hear them speak about sex and sexual pleasure as something that is only available or ‘right’ to do/receive with their partner. It’s something they only ‘do’ with someone else.
But who made that rule?
Is it a good rule?
What about you, do you feel it’s ok to give yourself sexual pleasure?
What are the ways you allow yourself to pleasure yourself?
Do you know how to make love to you?
Can you receive your own love or is your relationship with yourself mainly critical/judging?
What are the things you often say to yourself about yourself?
KNOW THYSELF – this is an ancient and pretty self-explanatory maxim. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, it’s also our pathway to compassion. It’s through awareness of our own experience and how we’ve suffered, struggled, fallen, risen and grown that we can understand and feel into other people’s stories, compassion is the connection superhighway. But wisdom is not just a heady thing. It carries across our bodies too.
In coming into a touch based relationship with self, we can give ourselves a self-determined experience of our boundaries, likes, dislikes, capacities and incapacities, and perhaps most importantly, an experience of personal sovereignty.
WTF is that?
SOVEREIGNTY: a self-governing state.
Most of us live out our day to days lives feeling governed by an external authority figure – it’s the ‘they’ out there, the ones in charge, the governments, the banks, the corporations, as a child it probably would have been your father, as an adult many of us feel ‘owned’ by work… We are all conditioned into subtle and sometimes not so subtle states of dependence.
Here’s a little observation exercise:
Do you live in a way that is determined by the unspoken rules that society has instilled in you, or do you live governed by your own deeper truth and self-awareness?
Do you dress the way you’d like/ to or the way you are conditioned to through advertising?
Do you appreciate your body for the incredible wonder of it, or do you judge it for being too fat/thin/weak/broken?
Do you feel seen in the world, or do you feel that you present an edited ‘version’ of yourself?
When we begin to explore our bodies, we begin to see where we are trapped in our conditioning – we see where we are unfree.
For example, if I look at myself in the mirror and all I can see are my blemishes and my cellulite – here I know I am trapped in someone else’s idea of beautiful. If I look at my vagina in a mirror and all I can think is that it’s hairy and disgusting then I know I am trapped in someone else’s idea of what a vagina should like. My body is the universe, a repeating pattern, unfolding, expanding and breathing in perfection of process. Your body is too.
So when I touch myself with love and reverence, and I tell all the ideas of how I SHOULD look to FUCK OFF, I offer myself a pathway to freedom and transcendence.
I offer myself the gift of the open door.
Movement and self-pleasure offer very simple and very accessible pathways into what freedom feels like in our bodies. When we move into pleasure, despite the messages of our unfreedom, we break the chains of ideas and norms that are designed to keep us small, subservient, and malleable.
Self-pleasure can be a radical act of self-determination.
To dance naked for yourself alone and love the being you meet in the mirror is a form of activism.
When you begin to experience freedom in your body, your body will help you to create freedom in your life.
If you’re interested in exploring how to find more freedom in your body, in your life, and in your relationship or how to connect with and use love, sex and pleasure as modes of awakening, we’re offering The Yoniverse sex education workshops for men and women across Australia.
There are whole day events for both women and men.
Feel welcome to find out more on this website if you’re curious to go deeper in your relationship with sexuality.
(Words by Louisa Miranda, a Yoni Mapping Therapist on the Gold Coast, and a Yoniverse facilitator)