If you want a better connection with your body, it’s time to step up your self-love sessions. Feeling good about yourself, and cultivating a healthy mind and body, affects every single area of your life—from your career to your relationships.

It’s OK to feel pleasure, alone (perhaps with a favorite toy,) and on your terms. The end game doesn’t have to be all about getting off. It’s such a gift to take intentional time to seduce yourself, to feel good for the sake of feeling good. Here are 8 tips to bring more self-love into your world.

1. Screw the Shame

A lot of us grew up thinking masturbation is weird, especially those of us who were caught and scolded. Sexual shame is so ingrained in our beings and far too many of us were raised to fear and hate our bodies. This disruptive narrative needs to stop. Right. This. Minute.

Gigi Engle, resident Womanizer sexpert, certified sex coach, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life thinks the only way we remove stigma and shame from self-love is by engaging with it.

“A lot of the time we don't masturbate because we're ashamed of masturbation,” says Engle. “But, if you engage with it, celebrate it, and treat it like a form of self-care, it can start to take on new meaning.” What's more, she adds, is that when you do something that brings you pleasure, it stops being this monster under the bed. It stops being scary.

“You can start to see the ways it positively impacts your life and your sexuality – sexuality is not THE most important thing in the world, but it's still important. It deserves a level of clout we don't always afford it.”

PSA: Pleasure is your birthright and sexuality is as natural and normal as breathing. Embrace it. It belongs to you.

2. Take Yourself on a Date

Simone Paget, a writer and sex columnist at the Toronto Sun, thinks it's important to prioritize pleasure both inside and outside of the bedroom. “Taking myself out on dates is one of my favorite kinds of self-care,” she says. “This usually involves eating and drinking something delicious, and then indulging in something I'm specifically interested in without feeling the need to include anyone else.”

For example, the last time she was in New York City, she took herself out for dinner to a restaurant she always wanted to try (Cosme for the duck tacos!) and then to see Avenue Q off-Broadway (hilarious puppet sex!). Both were bucket list items for Paget.

“Sometimes these evenings end with an orgasm, but they don't have to. Whether I'm eating something delicious or feeling something delicious between my legs, it's all about honouring my needs and allowing myself to enjoy pleasure in whatever way feels good in the moment.”

Ta'lor L. Pinkston, a self-love activist, speaker and therapist over at The Heart Advocate, also believes in the power of taking yourself on a date:

"I wasn’t always comfortable with the idea of being sexy even when I was dating and in romantic relationships. Being sexy meant confidence and I didn’t feel comfortable in lingerie. The only time I wore something sexy for my partner was on special occasions, but now I date myself, and wear lingerie for myself. I put on lingerie and feed myself strawberries and sparkling rosé and enjoy my own company."

3. Get in the Mood

Creating rituals and intentional spaces can be really useful for solo sex practices. Ashley Manta, author of The CBD Solution: Sex, suggests taking your time to make your room into a sensual sanctuary for pleasure.

“Light some incense, choose a sexy playlist, and dim the lights,” she says. “Consider setting an intention like, ‘I am here to explore my erotic potential with curiosity,’ and then take your time considering every area of your body to be a potential hotspot. Then just close your eyes and breathe, allowing your fingertips to travel intuitively.”

Pinkston adds that one of her favourite ways to indulge is with a Goddess bath:

"I am not getting dressed up for anyone. Instead, I am undressing for myself and taking a Goddess Soak. There is nothing more romantic than this bath. I feel like a Queen at this moment, and as I soak, I embrace all that I am, and it feels like ecstasy.

(Want to learn how to have your very own Goddess Soak? Check out Pinkston's own suggestion at the bottom of this article!)

4. Create a Fantasy

Lately, I’ve been getting off thinking about having a blindfolded gang bang with a group of strangers. It’s a super-hot thought in my head, that would (most likely) not play out IRL (for safer sex reasons) in my bed. But, maybe it could with meticulous screening? Who knows.

Sex with strangers is a common fantasy. This risky fantasy has fuelled many, many orgasms, and has proven to be a reliable go-to. Allow your mind to wander wherever it needs to go to get you aroused. There ain’t no shame in your fantasy game.

5. Use Lube – Liberally

It can feel like there's a huge stigma surrounding lube, especially with vulva owners. Some vulvas are naturally slick, and that's all fine and good. But if you're on the drier side, it’s perfectly OK. There are plenty of solutions.

Says Jennifer Rahner, Sexuality Educator of bodysexbyjennifer.com:

“You may think lube is only important when you're having sex with a partner, but that's simply not true,”

She says lubricant will enhance solo play as well.

“Obviously, it helps ease the way if you're using insertion toys in your vagina or anus, but even external stimulators feel better when you use lube, gliding with ease to all those spots that make you go ‘oh!’,” says Rahner.

She reminds us that while the use of natural oils is a bad idea when using condoms because they can deteriorate latex, you can feel free to try coconut, almond, or another natural oil that you enjoy when you're on your own and unworried about STI transmission or pregnancy, especially when using your fingers... know that some oils can degrade plastic components of sex toys and may void the manufacturer's warranty.

Rahner’s pro tip? Try a lubricant with cinnamon oil, CDB, THC, or a combination. “Enjoy rubbing this kind of oil all over your vulva as you start to play, and allow 15 to 20 minutes for it to start working, helping to stimulate blood flow to your clitoris and labia,” she suggests.

If you haven't found a lube that feels good, you haven't found the right one. Go to your local sex store or buy online, and try out a few samples. If you need to lick your fingers, that's OK too.

6. Buy yourself a damn good sex toy

Antonia Hall, M.A., a psychologist, writer, and host of the Experiments in Pleasure podcast says :

“Everyone deserves to own at least one quality sex toy that reliably provides pleasure while reminding them how special and important sexuality is to their well-being in life.”

For Hall, that means having a few luxury toys to choose from. “It is a part of self-care, and an act of self-love that I would recommend all humans experience.”

I prefer to shop for sex toys in person whenever I can – especially bigger ticket items. There’s something about holding a toy in my hand and playing with its settings that sparks my imagination and gives me a sense of what pleasure is possible. For clitoral suction toys like the Womanizer, this is important, since it’s hard to grasp what this palm-sized toy is capable of at a glance.

If shopping for sex toys in person is intimidating, visit an online sex toy retailer that has a lot of resources, information, and customer service reps available via chat or phone. Customers can shop from the privacy of home and purchases arrive in discreet packaging.

7. Don’t Overlook Pleasure Points

After the birth of Orgasm Coach, Carlin Ross’ son, her perineum (that space between your vagina and anus) got super sensitive. “It was like my mother's bonus,” she says. “All of a sudden I had to stimulate that area during my self-love sessions.”

She invested in a butt plug and found great pleasure in running her vibrator over the base of her vagina and right on her perineum. “Several of my clients have noticed increased sensitivity with age,” says Ross. “Female sexuality is really endless.” If you want to kick up your pleasure, she suggests getting some oil and stroking your perineum during clitoral stimulation.

8. Orgasm Isn't Everything

Jenny Block, author of the Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex: All You Need to Know About Masturbation, thinks a lot of people think solo sex has to go really fast, or otherwise, it’s somehow wasteful.

Instead of squeezing in a quick orgasm between loads of laundry or picking up the kids (which is perfectly fine, when time is limited), Block encourages people to take whatever amount of time is needed.

“The whole point of masturbating is to experience pleasure.”

She doesn’t see the point in orgasming super quickly and wonders why people are so focused on the few seconds of orgasm, instead of the 20 or so delicious minutes leading up to it. “Life is generally fast-paced, and we barely make times for ourselves anyway,” says Block. “And then we finally do, and are unable to orgasm, we think, ‘Well, that was a waste.’”

“The orgasm should be the bonus track, not the main event,” she says.

Ta'lor Pinkston's Goddess Soak Guide:

Pinkston suggests the following for the Goddess Soak, which you can also see, along with her other self-romance tips, over on her Instagram, @theheartadvocate.

Combine the following into a bath of hot water (as hot as you can stand it).

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, almond milk, or oat milk
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 10-20 drops of essential oil of your choice (Ta'lor loves lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint oil in my bath)
  • Add some flower petals you love and healing crystal (Ta'lor loves to soak with Rose Quartz)

Be sure to also bring your favorite toy into the bath as well. Mine is the Womanizer Premium.

Before you soak:

  1. Set your intention

While soaking: (30 to 60 minutes)

  1. Meditate on your intentions
  2. Inhale x Exhale deeply
  3. If you wish, enjoy exploration with your toy like the Womanizer Premium. Caress your body and let pleasure fill your senses.

After you soak:

  1. Without drying off, massage your skin with coconut, almond, or another body oil
  2. Wrap your body tightly with a robe or towel and relax for 15 minutes
  3. Rest and sleep well

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