There is a much-neglected form of self-care which the world needs to talk about a bit more – masturbation. Many people still cringe when this topic is being brought up, but there is nothing shameful about it! It’s an amazing way to destress and produce hormones of happiness.
In 1993, in her popular column, American author Ann Landers managed to achieve something which many sexologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and other professionals, had previously failed to. She endorsed masturbation as a safe-sex alternative.
The drop in your libido is normal
When you’re going through menopause, it’s common to experience changes in your libido. Weight gain and hormonal fluctuations are normal and often make you feel less sexy and less comfortable with your changed body.
Many women feel guilty when they go through the phase when they no longer desire to have sex. You may be someone who used to have a voracious sexual appetite and now you’re feeling bad for saying no to your partner. But worry not, if you don’t feel like having sex, you can still experience many of the benefits orgasm brings.
Why masturbation is good for you:
It releases healthy hormones
Orgasms make your body release several hormones, including oxytocin, the “love” hormone, dopamine and endorphins – associated with pleasure. They also lower cortisol – the stress hormone. You must have noticed how relaxed you feel after sex or after masturbating. Your head is lighter because all your blood is flowing down there. When your stress levels are lower, your appetite drops too, which can lead to weight loss if you do it regularly!
Masturbation helps with sleep
Menopause often leads to disrupted sleep. To a large degree, it’s because of the hormonal disruption, but also because of the overactive mind. One of the best insomnia remedies is something that slows you down and helps you unwind. It could be a hot shower, reading an exciting book, watching a sitcom or masturbating. Masturbation helps with falling asleep more easily. Try it and you’ll see!
It increases the blood flow which reduces vaginal dryness
Normally, the vaginal walls stay lubricated. But during menopause, there’s a drop in oestrogen which can significantly reduce the amount of vaginal fluid available to successfully coat the skin. That leads to vaginal dryness. Masturbation (especially when you’re using lubricants) can increase blood flow which will reduce vaginal dryness. Orgasm is often accompanied by the release of fluid. If you have solo sex 3–4 times a week, this is a great way to lubricate your vagina.
How to enjoy masturbation during menopause
1. Make sure you’re not interrupted
To get the most out of your solo sex session, make sure you’re alone (unless you want to include your partner, which is fine too). Close the door, put the blinds down and relax knowing that you won’t be interrupted. It’s good to use vibrators that are very quiet especially if you live with someone else or have thin walls and nosy neighbours. The more relaxed you feel, the more you’ll enjoy masturbating.
2. Set the atmosphere
The first step in creating pleasure is to get yourself mentally ready. Schedule time for your solo sex and make your space ready. You can add nice music in the background and include candles. For many people, masturbating is often a quick and efficient affair. You feel aroused, you touch yourself in the right places until you climax, and then you move on to the next thing. But what if you treated masturbation as regular sex? You can turn it into something mindful and sensual. Close your eyes and imagine anything you want to make this experience even more enjoyable.
3. Use a healthy, all-natural lubricant:
There are natural lubricants you can use such as coconut oil which is healthy and good for your skin but it can easily go rancid and make your bedsheets or underwear smell bad. There are water-based and oil-based lubricants such as Motion Lotion which has been formulated to provide extra silky lubrication to help alleviate discomfort. Try some of these and notice how much better your vagina feels.
4. Get the right toys
Like we’ve said on p. 72 in The New Hot, vibrators are no longer just big lumps of plastic shaped like a penis – things have changed a lot. If you’ve never owned a vibrator, you can start small and get a bullet – it’s excellent for clitoral stimulation and it’s very discreet. You can move on to G-spot stimulators and dildos that go inside you and suction type vibes that feel a bit like a tongue. Select the type of toys that simulate what you enjoy the most in sex If you’re not ready to buy a vibrator, you can use your hand or the showerhead! Anything that stimulates your lady parts goes!
5. Enjoy yourself and repeat frequently
If you make masturbation part of your regular self-care routine, your life can only get better. It’s such a healthy, natural way to release pressure and forget about your chores and worries. If you masturbate mindfully, it’s a great way to get to know your body, get in touch with what turns you on, and just have an enjoyable time pleasuring yourself.