Sexual response is something that comes naturally. Given the right stimulation, our bodies know what to do. But discovering how to trigger powerful sexual response is often something we have to learn. Yes, we're talking about touching yourself. If you don't know your body and how it responds to touch, how can you expect your partner to learn how to please you? The answer is, you can't. So, in honor of Masturbation Month, here's a list of things you may not understand about sexual response from The key to learning is to play!

Masturbation Isn't Just About You

In order to be the best lovers we can be, we need to first become students of ourselves. It's useless to know how to expertly please your partner if you never even learn to please yourself. For the best possible sex, you must learn both.

Pleasure Can Be Learned

What makes you tick, sexually? Learn to tune in to your sexYOUality. Keep expanding your horizons of sensual pleasure. Learn to become more easily and strongly orgasmic. You have to learn about your own sexual response, what makes you feel good, and what leads you to orgasm. How can your partner know what to do to bring you pleasure if you don't even know yourself?

You're In Charge

You are the teacher of your partner. It's not your partner's responsibility to somehow magically know what to do to please you. It's your responsibility to know how to please yourself and then to communicate this to your partner so that he or she can bring you the greatest pleasure possible. (Practice makes perfect! Find out how in The No.1 Secret to the Female Orgasm.)

Men Tend to Know More

The lack of knowledge about one's own sexual response seems to be a larger problem for women, on the whole, than for men. I suspect this is due to the fact that men have been manhandling and experimenting with their penises for as long as they knew they had one, and therefore probably know their bodies a little better than women do, on average. (But they probably don't know these: 10 Things You Don't Know About Penises.)

People Who Masturbate Are More Likely to Have Great Sex

I have read many online postings from ladies, both young and mature, where they are so frustrated because they don't orgasm through intercourse, manual sex, or oral sex. Some have never had an orgasm before in their life. When asked, most of these women admit to never having masturbated or engaged in self-exploration either. Many women have to teach themselves to have good orgasms. They have to experiment and learn about their bodies' sexual response. Once they know how to do it themselves, then they can teach their men what they need in order to experience the greatest pleasure. (Want some tips on how to touch a woman? Check out Stroke That: How to Rub Her the Right Way.)

Women Who Masturbate Are More Likely to Orgasm

Women who masturbate regularly are often more able to orgasm with a partner due to their familiarity of their bodies, their sexual response, and their orgasmic process.

Many People Ignore Sensual Pleasure

Many people, especially men, ignore the sensual pleasures of their whole body, preferring to focus on genital stimulation. But doing so robs you of so much potential intimacy and pleasure and can lead to sex that is focused solely on reaching orgasm, rather than reaching the full potential of everything that lovemaking has to offer along the way. Learn to tune into your body and really feel what it is experiencing. (Tantric sex techniques aim to do just that. Learn more about them in Tantric Exploration for Beginners.)

Everyone Has a Personal Pleasure Map. It's Up to Your to Find Yours

Explore your body alone, first. When you are experimenting alone, you are responsible only for your own pleasure, so you are more likely to be more relaxed, work at a pace that best suits you, and allow yourself the time to experiment with different sensations than you would with a partner. Once you define your own personal pleasure map, then you can relay this information to your partner and begin experimenting with them. Your partner can't do this for you as accurately as you can by yourself.

Here's How to Start Exploring

Set aside some time for yourself when you will be uninterrupted. Lock the doors. Take the phone off the hook. Run a bath. Make it deep and warm. Play some comfort music. Light some candles. Get relaxed. Take some time to run your fingers all over your body and make note of what feels good. Pay attention to your responses. Listen to your body. How do you feel? Relaxed? Turned on? Any kind of touching is acceptable - light touches, heavy touches, scratching with your nails, pinching, stroking with the back of your hand, and any other way of touching yourself that you can imagine.

The only rules are that the touch be pleasurable, and that you explore every possible place you can reach. Get very detailed in your exploration. Touch and explore absolutely everywhere. Spend plenty of time on each part, trying out various methods of stimulating each part while applying various pressures and speeds. You can touch yourself as light or as heavy as you wish to test the limits of your pleasure. You may find that you prefer a light stroke on your nipples at first and find that as you get more turned on, you prefer heavier strokes there. Make note of all of your observations. There is no set amount of time that you must spend doing this. Do it for as long as it feels pleasurable. You may want to have many sessions of doing this. The better you get to know your own body, the better you will be able to instruct your partner on how to please you.

Good Lovers Know Their Bodies

A highly effective lover knows their body and their sexual response inside and out and communicates this information to their partner!