During Coronavirus, we have been hosting a virtual ‘ask me anything’ series with Queer Sex Therapist, Casey Tanner, in partnership with HER. Casey has provided tips, tricks, and toy recommendations to raise your self-pleasure game. Check out the top requested questions from the event, and Tanner’s responses.

How often is it normal and healthy to masturbate?

Some people masturbate often — every day, or even more than once a day. Some people masturbate closer to once a week, once every few weeks, or every now and then. Some people never masturbate, and that’s fine too. All of these are perfectly normal. Finally, it is absolutely healthy to masturbate.
 
When a client comes to me wondering if they are masturbating too frequently, I do a full assessment and then ask two main questions:

  1. Are you distressed by the amount of time you are spending masturbating?
  2. Is masturbating getting in the way of other important responsibilities like work? Or other meaningful activities like being with your family or having a social life?

If the answer is “no” to both, we have nothing to be worried about. If you are distressed, but you are still able to engage in life as you desire, this is more likely to be around the shame and beliefs you carry about masturbation than it is about masturbating too much. If your time spent masturbating is in fact getting in the way of other important priorities, you may want to chat with a doctor or therapist about why this might be happening for you.

Should condoms be used when masturbating?

Condoms were originally designed for safe sex, but they’ve been improved for maximal pleasure, and that’s an aspect we can take advantage of! Whether or not one chooses to wear a condom or use a condom on a dildo during masturbation is a personal choice – there are pros and cons to both.

Pros: 

  • Makes for a super easy clean up when you’re done! Just slide the condom off your penis or a dildo, and toss it in the trash.
  • For people who have penises who struggle with coming too quickly, condoms can slow down the sexual response cycle, potentially delaying your orgasm
  • If you fantasize about partnered sex while masturbating, rolling a condom onto a dildo can set the scene for a more realistic fantasy
  • Helpful when moving between vaginal and anal play, because you can remove and change condoms rather than using multiple toys to keep your body safe 

Cons:

  • If you enjoy the feeling of your hands or the texture of your dildo on your skin, condoms may get in the way of the skin-on-skin or skin-on-dildo sensation. However, this can be mitigated by choosing a thinner condom, such as a condom in Durex’s “Thin Feel” line
  • Using a condom during masturbation may increase friction, such that more lube is required. However, this can also be a pro for people who enjoy that friction and self-lubricate easily.

Is it advised to use porn whilst masturbating?

Because many of us did not have the privilege of receiving accurate and timely sex education growing up, many of us have resorted to pornography to “teach” us how to have sex, how to treat our bodies and the bodies of others, and what is “normal”. Unfortunately, this is a miseducation all its own.

Porn creates unrealistic “sexpectations” that harm us and our partner(s). We end up believing myths that leave us feeling inadequate, or viewing our partners as inadequate – myths such as:

  • I should be able to orgasm on command
  • I should be able to orgasm from internal stimulation alone I should be able to get hard immediately and stay hard for hours
  • My body should look like THAT
  • My partner’s body should look like THAT Natural body hair isn’t sexy
  • Natural curves, cellulite, stretch marks can’t be sexy
  • I (or my partner) should know exactly what to do without any verbal communication
  • No lube is required
  • Only fast, intense movement is pleasureful/sexy My sexual orientation or gender identity isn’t valid
  • Or my least favourite – queer porn in which people are played by straight people!

ALWAYS REMEMBER SELF PLEASURE IS SELF LOVE

Ultimately,  maximum sexual pleasure comes from letting go of anxiety, tension, and engaging with the present moment. This takes practice, just like any other form of mindfulness – masturbation can be that practice.

Casey Tanner is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counsellor, her expertise is based on experience in North America

RB-M-06424

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