Self-care helps you nurture the strong, beautiful, tender vehicle that sustains you: your body. Whatever form it takes: journaling, meditation, preparing yourself a nourishing meal, exercising, or even simply taking a bath, it’s a way of loving and looking after yourself. Even the smallest acts that let you pause from the hustle and grind of daily life to engage your senses in a relaxing and pleasurable way.
Simply letting yourself stop to smell the flowers or maybe tuck one behind your ear — can infuse a moment of mindfulness, joy, and gratitude within your day. And while many of us do practice some form of self-care for physical and mental health, an aspect that often remains neglected, is sexual self-care. Yup! cultivating a joyful self-pleasure practice can help you better understand your anatomy, desires, and arousal, connect with your sexuality, and honor your pleasure. Here’s how:
You Get To Know Your Body And Pleasure Better
When you take charge of your own pleasure and deliberately set out to explore it, it can help you get to know yourself in ways you never knew before. For example, many women have never had an orgasm despite being married or sexually active for years, because partnered play tends to be overly focused on penetration. And that’s where massagers, vibrators, or sex toys can be really handy. They can help you navigate self-pleasure incredibly effectively, serving as a tool for the most joyful self-discovery. Indeed, most people who use a clitoral stimulator like the Pyaari massager from Leezu’s for the first time, report experiencing pleasure that they didn’t even know they were capable of experiencing until they tried it!
R (she/her), 26, a graphic designer from Mumbai, recollects experiencing her first ever “big phat orgasm” while using a clitoral stimulator. “I had been with many partners before and thought that I was sexually satisfied with just penetrative sex. The first time I used a clitoral stimulator, I think I definitely saw stars for a whole minute. I had never experienced this sensation before, and the climax made me experiment more with my body.”
For S (she/they), 29, a therapist from Bangalore, massagers helped them “befriend their vagina.” “I used my first-ever toy in front of a mirror because I was curious. I wanted to see what it all looks like and what happens to my body as I try all the different modes on my massager. I kept trying different permutations and combinations of how the toy would feel on different parts of my vagina. Honestly, my labia looked a little funny to me, but I remember spending a lot of time looking at it. Probably because I was looking at it for the first time?”
For many, a massager brings along a sexual awakening. It becomes a medium to understand your body better, and to experience where all stimulation feels good, as well as at what intensity and tempo. A massager can thus help you unpack the workings of your anatomy and arousal, enabling you to become more comfortable with your body, as well as to both explore and fulfill your desires.
When you take charge of your own pleasure and set out to explore and understand it mindfully and deliberately, it lets you get to know yourself in ways you never knew before. It entails embracing even the parts you think are meant only to be relished by someone else — because especially for women, sex is posited as something that we must simply provide for a male partner rather than something pleasurable that we are entitled to partake in, even by ourselves!
When you understand and connect with what truly pleases you, it can feel incredibly empowering. You can savor how your body responds to every single sensation. You realize your pleasure doesn’t have to depend on someone else’s skill level in bed — YOU can give YOU an orgasm! You know how to get yourself there just right.
You Can Communicate More Effectively
Understanding your own body, arousal and pleasure well makes it so much easier to effectively communicate your desires to a partner, and to explain how you like to be touched. Many of us don’t always experience as much pleasure as we would like during partnered play — we may recognize that what our partner is doing isn’t exactly working for us, but often we ourselves don’t know what will work for us either. It’s only when you spend enough time understanding your pleasure yourself that you’ll be able to tell your partner honestly and confidently about what you enjoy.
Y (he/him), 28, an HR professional, looks at massagers as tools that help him enjoy the journey more than the destination. “I love experimenting with different toys, be it strokers or vibrators. For me, “masturbation” is very different from “self-pleasure”. The former is more like a thing to get out of the way, while the latter is to savor and lose myself in. I think it is time people realize the difference. As a queer individual, bringing toys into the bedroom has never been a problem for my partner and me. But it took me a lot to start exploring them by myself. It helped me be a better sexual partner in so many ways as I understood pleasure like never before.”
You Can Explore Your Fantasies Without Judgement
Another reason we find self-pleasure and sex toys so powerful: they can also bring around an opportunity to experiment with fantasies, kinks and fetishes you may be curious about, without being shamed or judged for them. You can explore them at your own pace, define them as you like, and even do away with them if you realize they are not in fact your cup of tea.
M, 32, a media professional based in Goa, explained that she felt much more uninhibited in her ability to explore the realm of fantasy alone with her toys, than during partnered play because with a partner she was often too concerned about how she looked, tasted or smelled, and whether he was enjoying himself, to be present enough to use her erotic imagination, and that she also feared that he would think she was “easy” or “too much” if she was “100 % honest” about the things that turned her on: “I really enjoy being submissive in bed, but I also want to remain in control, and would never want my desire to be submissive to be seen as an excuse to override my consent, so I haven’t yet managed to play out my submissive fantasies with a partner. However, alone with my toys, I can really fire up my erotic imagination and create the most intensely arousing scenarios for myself that I’m not even sure I actually want to do in real life — they're just so hot to conjure in the imagination when you're super turned on, you know? And my massager helps me get to that peak state of arousal where my imagination can run wild.”
We carry a lot of stigma and myths about our own bodies and often deny ourselves pleasure out of shame — masturbation is posited as shameful, eating as much as we’d like is posited as shameful, even laughing too loudly, dressing in ways we may want to, or simply sitting with ones legs comfortably spread out, for women especially, is often posited as shameful! All this even though, or perhaps, more sinisterly, precisely because — enjoying pleasure in all its various forms is the most fundamental form of self-care that there is! What better way to oppress people than to make them feel guilty and shamed of pleasure? It’s no surprise that patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, religion, indeed every hierarchical and oppressive social structuring principle you can think of — is premised on denying certain groups of people access to autonomy and pleasure.
In a world where pop culture and society feed us insecurities about our bodies regularly, finding comfort in our skin is a radical act. Self-acceptance is a potent tool both inside and outside the bedroom. Connecting with yourself on an intimate level contributes significantly to better self-esteem. It also helps you feel more in control of your pleasure and satisfaction.
It’s a profoundly joyful and powerful discovery to realize YOU can give YOURSELF so much pleasure, and that joy and power spills over into all aspects of your life. When you feel sexually fulfilled you are more likely to experience a creative, positive, compassionate, joyful, and open state of mind. We understand it can takes years of unlearning to finally lean in and let go, but we urge you to do so!
Self-love looks so damn good on you!