by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 21, 2020 self care month, sex therapist, sexual wellness, Uncategorized0 comments
May is Self Care Month! In honor of that, let’s explore a form of self care that might not be the first thing you think of when you think about wellness. When the oxygen masks drop on the plane you always put on your own before helping someone else. This is self-care. The actions you take to keep all dimensions of your own health (physical, emotional, social, spiritual, mental) as strong as possible so that you can continue performing at your peak, whether at home, at work, or in your personal life. The phrase ‘self-care’ has made its rounds in mainstream media and for many people may include a spa day, sleeping in, or saying ‘no’ to certain obligations. However, one activity, self-pleasure or masturbation, has not gotten the credit it deserves as the ultimate form of self-care. Sex therapist Lauren Aikin-Smith from Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh shares her expertise in masturbation as a form of self care.
To start, anyone can masturbate. It isn’t restricted by wealth, gender identity, body shape/size, ability, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity. It’s easily adjustable based on your other life factors. For example, you can get it done in a few minutes while the kids are napping or leisurely take up an afternoon if you have the time. It can be done alone or with a partner(s). It’s cost effective and fits every budget. It can fit everyone’s personal style and isn’t limited to just involving the genitals, but may include a bubble bath, rubbing lotion on your body, or even involve other erogenous zones like the ears, scalp, and nipples.
Self-pleasure simultaneously has positive effects on the physical, mental, and emotional dimensions of health. The sensations, relaxation, deep breathing, and mindfulness that accompany masturbation promote the release of endorphins and oxytocin, even without achieving orgasm. Orgasm is accompanied by a surge of dopamine, activating the brain’s reward pathways. The endorphins and flow of blood throughout the body help release pent up energy, and promote stress and pain relief throughout the body by relieving stress, tension, headaches, and period cramps. Finally, there is a release of serotonin which is responsible for good mood and relaxation and can help promote sleep, another essential aspect of self-care.
Self-pleasure connects the mind and body, and can help you better understand what arouses and turns you on. It can help you recognize how your body responds to touch, sounds, and smells. Over time, you’re able to get a better sense of the sensations and movements that are pleasurable for you, which in turn also promotes body positivity.
Masturbation is empowering. You will never be in control of all aspects of your life, and many times you may feel like you aren’t in control of much at all, but, you can at least be in control of your own pleasure. You don’t need to rely on someone else for pleasure, it can be all your own.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, masturbation is the ultimate form of self-care because through all the craziness of life, it allows for a few moments that are focused solely on nothing other than your own personal gratification. The only way any of us are going to make it through life is by making time for ourselves, for our self-care, and for personal pleasure.
To discuss any sexual or intimate health concerns with one of our licensed counselors or sex therapists, call us at 412-322-2129 for an appointment.Learn More
by Stephanie McCrackenAugust 4, 2014 counseling, couples counseling, marriage counseling, psychology, psychotherapy, sexuality0 comments
“Birds and The Bees Redux; Sex therapy, Psycho-therapuetic perspective ”
Seduction, Eroticism, Arousal, Desire, Consent, Sex, Orgasm, Connection. How do you perceive those words? Are they lurid? Dirty? Enchanting? How intimately do you introspect upon your very own sensual conduct or is this a thought so frighteningly formidable that consideration is cast towards the shadows, remaining beneath a dark veil? Perhaps you dear reader, are thinking, why all of the sex talk, this psychotherapist could have picked a more comfortable topic, any other formation of words strung to sentences in the direction of a cogent thought. Hone in on your emotional, physical, and psychological reaction in reading these words right now. If these words bring about discomfort for you, there might be something worth exploring with a sex therapist.
Comfort with sensual talk, the vocabulary that we use to discuss and imagine physical intimacy is embedded in the furthest reaches of our psychological development. As all mental health therapists recognize, our thoughts are closely related to where and how we received our first sexual educations all the way back in childhood. If you are like most people your sexual understanding may have been born from some dim intimation, if you reach back to childhood you will remember that these early messages tend to be more forbidding then uplifting towards a budding understanding of sex. In the school classroom we are doled out some cautionary tales about the dangers of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. “Wear a condom” “No means No.” While all of this in its own perspective is valid and true maybe we are missing a lesson in there. Still yet, in the sermon of the major religious teachings we are chastely instructed to not engage in damning premarital sex and only for procreations purposes. Outside of suggesting chastity and the prevention of disease did anyone ever share the sex positive information about the beauty and grandeur of “it?” The cosmic, interpersonal, relational meaning of the merging of body parts leading to physical connection? While billboards allude to sensually explicit material, within American homes it’s not just the kids who are often missing opportunities to have frank discourse about sex but husbands and wives too shy away from conversations about their own sexual relationship simply because the topic is shrouded in taboo. Without examining all of the manners that sex can be dysfunctional, perhaps the world hears more than enough of that sort of message, for today, shall we enjoy a more pleasurable encounter wondering about the aspirational hope and joy of our sexual selves!
Over and above economies which have been created to bolster our sexual essence such as lingerie and cologne and cultivating our bodies, we can best serve our higher selves by exploring the deeper fleshy meaning of the very act of sex. Standing bare and uncloaked it is indeed the meaning which appears, the essence beyond evolutionary longings to procreate, we are thirsted with the vital human need for connection, for intimate thirst. We manifest our need for connection with increasingly expanded abilities to connect actually, virtually, reshaping the present and future. It’s socially common to even connect on the web to other people’s sexual escapades via red tube and interactive porn. Yet still, there is often something lost within such mediums, the human essence evades digital transmission or perhaps it is a divergent longing to entertain our sensual longings through such means. Yet I digress, and this is not about the many, many, ways that sexual longing can be pathological but the ways in which it is an essential and elevated expression of tangible expressions, the converging communion. Sex is indeed one of the most concrete interplays which brings emotional love to life to meet physical body and spirit, metaphorically and literally indeed. In the quest of a sex positive message may we consider the unique question of how we bring our love to life, how do we foster a sense of connection physically and emotionally, how do we esteem our sexual selves? Have we fallen victim to shaming by a sexually uncomfortable society which wishes to expand its repertoire of sexual innuendo without upholding blissful and loving sexual interaction?
Exactly how much elevation are we able to achieve through our sex as we revere it in the eternal crescendo of our ancient and primordial lusting and life giving urges. We sustain the a connection and deep communion with our past, present, and future selves while merging with the same in our lover, like the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, just a thing called sex.
In loving intention,
Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh
830 Western Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15233
Reviving Minds Therapy
1010 Western Avenue Suite 100
Pittsburgh Pa 15233
enjoy other articles from this writer on the sexual topics such as http://revivingmindstherapy.com/long-term-sex-for-long-term-love/