Solo pleasure, as the term suggests, refers to engaging in sexual activities by oneself. Similar to partnered sex, solo sex involves more than just physical touch and location. It encompasses the connection between the mind and body, all in pursuit of pleasure.
It’s important to note that we’re not implying that you need to dedicate extensive hours to achieving sexual satisfaction. Your pleasure is personal, and we respect any method you choose to attain it. However, we also believe that indulging in a deliberate solo sex session can be a wonderful way to spend an evening, afternoon, or morning.
Engaging in self-pleasure can be particularly rewarding, especially for individuals socialized as women, who often receive messages that emphasize performance rather than personal experience in matters of sexuality. When you are alone, there is no need to prove anything to anyone. Embrace your own desires and prioritize self-expression.
Let this serve as a guide to help you explore your desires and create a safe space to nurture your body and embrace your sexuality.
Tap into your senses!
Let’s take a moment to reflect. Raise your hand if you’ve ever caught yourself planning a grocery list during moments of intimacy or self-pleasure. Now, raise your hand if you’d rather not engage in such thoughts. Our minds can be elusive, and at times, it requires some coaxing to bring them under control.
One effective way to achieve this is by creating a sensory experience that engages your senses. Here’s how you can do it:
- Begin by turning off your phone. Those distracting push notifications won’t contribute to your connection with your sexuality, we assure you.
- Dim the lights. It may sound cliché, but bright lights tend to stimulate the brain, making it difficult to unwind and relax.
- Embrace the calming effects of aromatherapy by lighting candles or using a diffuser.
- Set the mood with some seductive tunes. Our brains are uniquely wired to respond to rhythm, and music can genuinely impact our mood.
A profoundly effective approach to immerse yourself in pleasure, achieve a calm mental state, and become attuned to your body’s responses is through breathwork. Dr. Lori Brotto, a researcher specializing in mindfulness and sexuality, recommends a simple mindful breathing exercise to ground yourself and fully embrace all sexual experiences:
- Find a comfortable position on your bed, gently close your eyes, and begin to inhale. Take a moment to observe your posture and the space around you.
- Direct your attention to your breath. Notice the sensations of your body as it breathes in and out.
- Shift your focus to your chest and become aware of its movements as you inhale and exhale. What sensations do you feel, and where are they located within your body?
- Gradually shift your attention to your belly, and repeat the previous steps while being mindful of any feelings and sensations that arise within your body.
When you start touching, take your time
If your usual approach involves heading straight for your most sensitive areas, consider trying a slower approach. Take your time to tease yourself (after all, you don’t have anywhere to be) by exploring and touching everything but those sensitive zones. Build up anticipation and make your body crave it.
A study conducted in 2017 revealed that while direct clitoral stimulation is highly pleasurable (thanks to its 8,000 nerve endings), people also experienced pleasure from touching areas around the clitoral hood, on the sides, above and below the clitoris, as well as rubbing the labia.
For individuals with penises, the head of the penis holds a similar concentration of nerve endings as the clitoris (as they both originate from the same embryonic material). However, applying pressure to the base of the shaft and gently caressing the testicles can also be highly stimulating.
Regardless of the type of solo sexual activity you engage in, using lubricant is crucial. Incorporating a lubricant offers numerous benefits, including reducing pain and discomfort. In fact, a study discovered that individuals with vaginas reported significantly higher levels of sexual pleasure and satisfaction when using lubrication.
Get into a rhythm
Over 80 percent of the participants in the aforementioned pleasure study expressed a preference for a repeated rhythmic motion. Consider trying a grinding motion in sync with a song that inspires movement. Rest assured, there’s no need to worry about anyone watching!
Furthermore, don’t hesitate to experiment with different patterns and techniques. Alternating between various approaches can enhance your potential for experiencing orgasms in multiple ways.
If you’re open to investing around sixty dollars, we recommend exploring the female pleasure site called OMGyes. They offer a wealth of interviews and information specifically focused on the exploration of masturbation for individuals with vulvas.
Invite other erogenous zones to the party
If there’s one key takeaway from all of this, it’s to embrace the joy of exploration. While you may already be familiar with the easily accessible pleasure zones, why not embark on an adventure to discover lesser-known territories? Your body is a treasure trove of nerve endings awaiting your exploration. The secret is to embark on this journey without any expectations.
While common erogenous zones include the nipples, neck, thighs, earlobes, hips, lips, shoulders, and chest, don’t limit yourself to these areas. When your mind is in an erotic state, the possibilities for what might feel pleasurable are boundless. Let your imagination soar and let your body guide you to new realms of pleasure.
Switch up your position
Sexual positions are not limited to partnered sex—they can be just as enjoyable during solo exploration!
Lying on your back is a classic position with good reason: it offers easier access to your genitals and nipples. For individuals with more body weight, sex educator Elle Chase suggests placing pillows under your buttocks to maximize accessibility.
Lying belly down allows you to explore self-touch in a position similar to “doggy style” or by grinding against a pillow. This position can create friction and is pleasurable for individuals with various types of genitals. It can also help bring fantasies to life by mimicking the sensation of grinding against a partner.
Sitting or squatting can add spontaneity and eroticism to your solo experience. Sitting on the edge of a chair or bed provides a different sensation and can feel more exciting than staying tucked under blankets.
Remember, sexual positions during solo play are all about finding what feels good and exploring your unique desires and preferences.
Invest in your sex toy game
Sex toys are remarkable instruments specifically crafted for pleasure, and there is absolutely no shame in incorporating them into your solo sexual exploration. There are no superior or inferior methods when it comes to exploring solo sex; what truly matters is what works best for you.
The variety of available sex toys is vast, offering numerous options to enhance your masturbation experience. Here are a few suggestions you might consider adding to your repertoire:
If this article were a gratitude journal, vibrators would undoubtedly be the first entry. In addition to their undeniable pleasure-inducing qualities, a study has even found a correlation between regular vibrator use and overall good health.
Vibrators offer a wide range of sensations, from gentle buzzing (producing lower-pitched, tingling sensations) to powerful rumbles (emitting deeper, more massage-like vibrations). These vibrations are more potent than what your hands can provide and can effectively stimulate internal nerve endings that are otherwise difficult to access.
Purchasing a dildo opens up a world of possibilities for a personalized “choose-your-own-dick” adventure. When selecting the right dildo for you, consider the following tips to ensure maximum satisfaction:
- Determine firmness and material: The firmness of the dildo will impact the girth you choose. If you opt for a softer silicone material, you may prefer a thicker dildo since it offers more flexibility. On the other hand, if you choose a glass or stainless steel option, you may want to consider a slightly smaller girth.
- Decide on girth: If you’re unsure about the girth you prefer, you can take cues from average human penis dimensions, which are approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Alternatively, you can use your fingers as a reference point. Another creative approach is to experiment with a (clean) penis-shaped vegetable, such as a cucumber, to help gauge your desired girth.
- Prioritize body-safe materials: Opt for dildos made from body-safe materials like silicone, stainless steel, or glass. These materials are considered safer options. Be cautious of materials like Jelly, PVC, or “silicone blends,” as they may contain harmful substances like phthalates, which can lead to adverse reactions such as headaches, cramps, or nausea.
Remember, choosing a dildo that suits your preferences and prioritizes your safety and well-being is essential for a satisfying and enjoyable experience.
Butt plugs serve as excellent introductory anal toys, offering sensations of fullness, stimulation to the numerous nerve endings in the anus, and the potential to massage the prostate.
When selecting a butt plug, it is crucial to ensure that it has a flared base. Unlike the vagina, the anus lacks a natural barrier to prevent objects from traveling further inside. Therefore, a flared base provides necessary safety by preventing the plug from getting completely inserted and potentially causing discomfort or getting lost.
Pretend someone’s watching
Engaging someone in your masturbation experience or creating the illusion of being watched can be a way to tap into feelings of sexiness, ultimately providing a significant boost to arousal. Here are some suggestions to help you create that experience:
- Use your imagination: Visualize scenarios or fantasies that involve a partner or someone watching. Let your mind create vivid and enticing images to enhance the sensation of being desired and observed.
- Explore erotic literature or media: Read erotic stories or watch adult content that aligns with your desires. This can help create the illusion of someone being involved or watching, stimulating your imagination and arousal.
- Role-play: Pretend you’re engaging in a sexual encounter with a partner or act as if someone is watching. This can involve using dialogue, setting the mood, or even incorporating props or mirrors to enhance the experience.
- Virtual experiences: Utilize technology to connect with others virtually, such as engaging in consensual sexting or video chats. This can create a sense of involvement or being observed, even if it’s not physically present.
Remember, the key is to explore what feels exciting and arousing to you while respecting your own boundaries and ensuring that any involvement of others is consensual.
Sexting can be likened to crafting personalized erotica that caters specifically to your preferences. Expressing your sexual desires and fantasies to your partner through text messages can feel taboo, heightening the arousal factor. Unlike talking dirty in person, sexting allows you ample time to carefully consider and construct your messages.
In addition to textual exchanges, sharing photos or videos can be a way to eroticize yourself, immerse yourself in a sexy mindset, and see yourself through your partner’s eyes. It can add an extra layer of excitement and intimacy to your interactions.
Remember to prioritize consent, communication, and mutual comfort when engaging in sexting or sharing intimate visual content. It’s crucial to establish boundaries and ensure that both you and your partner are on the same page regarding the content and frequency of such exchanges.
Watch yourself in the mirror
Engaging in mirror dancing shares a similar concept. As you watch your body’s movements and make eye contact with yourself, you’ll discover that your body is truly a wonderland. Appreciating your body in all its glory can be unexpectedly sensual and empowering.
A special note for individuals with vaginas: If you haven’t already done so, we highly recommend holding a mirror up to your vulva. It allows you to observe and explore your own anatomy from a different perspective. Since the view from up there is not easily accessible, using a mirror can provide a better understanding and appreciation of your unique vulva.
Listen and watch to get off
While relying on your imagination can be wonderful, it can sometimes be challenging to maintain focus on specific thoughts during solo sexual experiences. This is where erotica comes in handy.
Erotica, in the form of written stories or literature, can serve as a valuable tool to enhance arousal and provide vivid imagery for your sexual exploration. By reading erotic content, you can tap into the imaginative world created by the writer, allowing your mind to be stimulated and your fantasies to come to life.
Whether you explore published erotica or even write your own fantasies, incorporating erotica into your solo sex routine can be a powerful way to ignite your imagination and heighten pleasure.
While mainstream porn sites like PornHub and YouPorn are well-known, we encourage you to explore more ethical alternatives, which involve paying for porn content. While free options may be appealing, it’s important to recognize that unpaid porn content often fails to compensate performers fairly and may even involve stolen content from other platforms.
Supporting ethical porn means acknowledging that sex work is legitimate work, and it’s crucial to pay for the entertainment you enjoy. There are various platforms and companies that offer ethical porn options, such as clip sites like ManyVids or OnlyFans, as well as porn companies like Pink Label TV, Four Chambers, or Cinesinclaire. By paying for porn from these sources, you contribute to the fair treatment and compensation of performers.
It’s essential to prioritize the well-being and rights of those involved in the adult entertainment industry by actively seeking and supporting ethical porn options.
Written Erotica and Comics
The world of written erotica and erotic comics is incredibly diverse, catering to a wide range of sexual interests and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to BDSM, romance, fantasy, or realism, there is undoubtedly something out there that will resonate with you.
Filthy Figments is an excellent resource for erotic comics, offering a membership site with a vast collection of over 200 stories and 10,000 comics. It’s a go-to platform to explore and indulge in various comic styles and narratives.
For those interested in written erotica, a great starting point is to dip your toes into an erotic anthology. These compilations feature short stories from different authors and styles, allowing you to explore and discover what resonates with you.
The beauty of the erotic genre is its vastness and versatility, ensuring that there is something for everyone’s tastes and desires. So, embrace the exploration and find the written erotica or erotic comics that ignite your imagination and fulfill your fantasies.
Looking for some sensual auditory experiences? Audio erotica could be the perfect choice for you! With a range of enticing content, from intimate recordings of consensual sexual encounters to personal moments of self-pleasure, or even personalized “jerk off instructions,” audio erotica offers a diverse array of enjoyable experiences.
Research has revealed that cannabis has the potential to alleviate stress and anxiety, offering a beneficial means of entering a more sensual mindset and maintaining focus without distractions. Additionally, many individuals report heightened sensory experiences while under its influence, akin to how flavors intensify when one is high.
Furthermore, CBD, a component of cannabis, has demonstrated its ability to reduce pain, proving advantageous for individuals managing chronic conditions such as endometriosis or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). As a result, an abundance of THC and CBD sexual wellness products are readily available for those interested in exploring these effects personally.
It is crucial to acknowledge that while cannabis can be beneficial for some, it may lead to increased anxiety in others. Thus, it is imperative to approach its exploration with caution and mindfulness.
Prioritize your Mental Health
The relationship between mental health and sexual health is deeply intertwined. Our emotional well-being significantly influences how we experience pleasure and intimacy. Therefore, when we discuss the process of developing a positive sexual identity, it inherently involves addressing psychological barriers that may hinder our sexual experiences. By nurturing a healthy and constructive mindset, we pave the way for more fulfilling and satisfying encounters in the realm of intimacy.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Consequently, we aim to conclude this article on solo sex by offering guidance on lifestyle adjustments that promote positive mental health. Extensive research has substantiated the remarkable impact of mindfulness on enhancing sexual experiences, whether in the context of intimate partnerships or solitary exploration. In fact, there exists an entire book dedicated to exploring this very connection! Embracing mindfulness can be a transformative tool in nurturing a healthy and fulfilling sexual life, encouraging a deeper connection with oneself and others.
Get physical with Yoga, Stretching, and Dance
Engaging in such activities fosters a heightened sense of bodily awareness and cultivates a profound comfort with one’s own body. Dance styles like hip hop, Latin dance, or pole dance, in particular, have been found to be especially empowering, boosting self-confidence in a significant way. This increased confidence can undoubtedly have a positive impact on one’s experiences in the bedroom, leading to a more uninhibited and enjoyable intimate life. By embracing these expressive forms of movement, individuals can build a stronger connection with their bodies and ultimately enhance their overall sense of self-assurance and pleasure.
Talk to a Professional
Seeking support and guidance regarding one’s sexuality is a positive and empowering choice. There exists a wealth of exceptional sexuality professionals, including sex therapists, coaches, and counselors, who can offer valuable assistance in overcoming various obstacles or challenges.
We acknowledge that discussing and contemplating matters of sexuality can be intricate and sensitive, especially for individuals who have experienced sexual trauma or whose identities differ from mainstream norms.
For those seeking resources on healing from sexual trauma, we recommend exploring the comprehensive list of helpful materials available. Additionally, the AASECT directory serves as a convenient tool to find providers specializing in your local area.
Eva Bloom, a dedicated queer Canadian sex educator and researcher, endeavors to bridge the gap between academic sex research and its practical application in daily life. Her commitment extends to spreading awareness about the transformative effects of masturbation. As the creator of the award-winning web series “What’s My Body Doing,” geared towards youth, and co-host of the sex-ed web series for kids called “Everybody Curious,” Eva Bloom is actively engaged in promoting informed discussions about sexual education. For more insights, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.