So, it’s the end of the day. All of your tasks have been accomplished, you’re clean from a perfect hellfire-temperature shower, and you’ve slipped into some freshly laundered sheets. You dim the lights, set your perfect mood, and decide you deserve some pleasure. You reach down with your fingers or your beautiful V For Vibes sex toy and set forth on your journey… but shortly after the initial burst of pleasure, you begin to feel an unsettling and reoccurring numbness.
You want your orgasm, you yearn for it, but your body is not responding as it usually does. Or maybe even not at all. Doubt starts to build, as perhaps this isn’t your first time experiencing it. What confidence you first found in your body starts to wane, and it eventually becomes harder to reach completion due to feeling numb.
If this is what you’re experiencing, these are the two basic schools of thought that this article covers: the physiological standpoint and the mental standpoint.
Speaking from a strictly physiological standpoint, you may be experiencing a nerve blockage or a hormone/chemical imbalance if you cannot feel anything when you masturbate. If you feel that this is what’s wrong, or have deeper medical concerns, having an honest conversation with your primary care physician is highly encouraged. Often with an honest conversation, your doctor will be able to help you find a medical solution if the issue really is physical.
However, most of our lack of feeling when we masturbate comes from limitations in our minds. It is only recently that human sexuality has been seriously researched, and one of the many things discovered was the power your mind has over your physical body. Be it a lack of self-love or acceptance, or just a general misunderstanding of what your body likes, your mind sends those messages of doubt to your body and affects how you interpret touch.
When it comes to interpreting our own pleasure, we can often feel let down when our bodies don’t react the way we think they’re supposed to. After all, in movies, both pornographic and romantic, and in books, the scenes are constructed in such a way that tells us that having these big “O” moments should look and feel a certain way.
Yet when we touch ourselves to bring pleasure, we can’t help but notice the sensitivity portrayed in those scenes actually isn’t present in our bodies. From this, we begin to question why we don’t feel anything when we masturbate or only feel pleasure by looking at certain images.
Unconsciously, we can begin building these expectations for our bodies. This can be destructive and can take away from the very real sensations our bodies are capable of.
Much like how the characters are portrayed, you want your body to match their level of sensitivity and enjoyment from the act. And how could you not? These scenes purposely depict the characters to be oversensitive in order to arouse a specific type of reaction from the audience.
A great way to move away from these expectations is to stop giving them attention, and instead of focusing on how you think you’re supposed to feel, focus on how you do feel. Not only that, but also appreciate your body for how it feels. Your body, everyone’s body, is very communicative and can tell us what we need if we take the time to learn the language.
That being said, learning the language can be difficult, especially since we’ve been taught by so many outside sources what we should feel and like. To learn this language, you have to be willing to take the time to be alone with your body and not judge your physical being or the thoughts you have.
Remember that masturbation is different for everyone and that there is no basic blueprint to orgasm, despite society’s opinion on the matter. You can’t just fit Tab A into slot B and repeat as necessary! No, your journey to your orgasm is as just as unique as your fingerprint and should be treated as such.
So, when you’re masturbating but not feeling any pleasure, and you feel yourself becoming frustrated, stop. Recenter. Let your thoughts settle, let your hands begin to roam, and begin again. Don’t just focus on the pleasure between your legs, but the pleasure that your entire body can feel. When it comes to orgasms, we often think of one particular body part, but the reality is the buildup of an orgasm doesn’t just come from one direct spot but from a collection of erogenous zones.
Another reason you may be experiencing a lack of feeling when masturbating is that you are putting too much pressure on the end goal and not enough focus on the journey to getting there. For one reason or other, be it lack of self-acceptance or internalized shame created by an outside source, we tell ourselves that masturbating should be done quickly, even when we are alone and safe to express our sexual desires.
But the truth is, most orgasms are not instantaneous, with or without a partner. By taking on the “get it over with” attitude with your orgasm, you unconsciously put pressure on yourself to be something you can’t, and that affects our ability to appreciate stimulation.
Instead of just trying to get to the end, try instead thinking of all of the smaller touches that make a sexual encounter so great: The way you like to be kissed, to be held. The way you like your nipples touched or your thighs massaged.
For example, if you enjoy being kissed on the neck, there is no need to think of someone else doing that for you or you performing enough for them to take the hint on what is working or not working for you.
Masturbation can be about you being there for yourself. You wrap your fingers around your neck. You control the pressure and pleasure. Each session is an opportunity for you to practice admiration for yourself. If you begin to feel a tingle in your breasts, let your fingertips go to them. If you feel a longing to stroke your thighs or hips, give in to it. Let your body feel the pleasure of self-induced foreplay.
Another way to add stimulation to your masturbation is to arouse your other senses. For your sense of smell, light candles or incense that makes you feel relaxed, or spritz on a perfume that makes you feel sexy. For taste, eat something sweet before you play, like pineapple or a piece of fruit-flavored candy. For sight, you could try a mirror if you’re feeling bold, but if not, whatever you truly prefer to help with your arousal. For sound, try playing come light, slow music.
Remember, your body is unique and worthy of your exploration and your time. Even if your body frustrates you, it is still worthy.