I’m a Sexologist and I didn’t masturbate until I was 28!
I know…this sounds strange, and maybe even makes you question my chosen field of work. Shit, it may even seem like an oxymoron, but I assure you, I was this person.
So here is the low down on how this once was me. I grew up in a traditional Cuban household with a Southern Baptist upbringing with Deaf parents. Yep, I know! So as you can imagine, this created a very confusing, complicated relationship with my sexuality and body. Add to that the only sex ed I got was a weird correlation of a red shirt my twin was wearing to menstruation from my mom who also only associated sex with the devil and procreation- what a contradiction in and of itself- and perhaps now you may understand why I didn’t masturbate.
Don’t worry, I fantasized like crazy [and still do] about sex yet I never touched myself while doing so. I was always so terrified my parents would have this secret power of knowing when I did it and would catch me. The fear of this squashed any desire to masturbate.
Fortunately, as a teen I had a long term boyfriend who I was able to experience with and do all the exploring I was too fearful to do alone. Lucky for me I have always had a satisfying sex life with others. Yet, pleasing myself by myself was missing.
It literally took me being assigned masturbation and self pleasure exploration as homework in my PhD program to finally dive in. Well lets be honest, I didn’t exactly dive right in. I started slowly because although I logically knew my parents weren’t going to walk in or anyone for that matter, the fear was still present. I also was terrified of connecting with my body fully. This has always been scary, my body and I have had quite the rollercoaster relationship. But as I was able to recognize my fears when they were present, be kind to myself, and in few words tell myself I was safe I could return back to my pleasurable sensations. I could let go, surrender, and fully indulge in this beautiful form of self love.
I cannot express what this new found relationship has done for me, it truly has been transformational. It has given me the confidence that I know myself inside and out. It has given me the safe space to explore things sexually I may not have done otherwise. It has given me a beautiful, sexual relationship with myself. It has given me a way to give love to my body, a place that has been hard for me to be present in.
Honestly, it helped to be assigned the explorations. It helped that I have been surrounded by the most sex positive colleagues and friends who reassured me along the way. It helped that my husband is always supportive. It helped that as I share with others I know I am not alone.
The purpose of this blog is to start this conversation that often isn’t discussed between women or anyone for that matter. Masturbation and self pleasure are incredible gifts we can give ourselves and the benefits are endless! Please stop depriving yourself*. Please give yourself permission to do whatever it is you want in your solo play and know it is all OK. And for goodness sake, enjoy the heck out of it!
*only explore self pleasure if YOU want to; not having the desire to touch yourself is OK too
Until next time,
Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.