The five love languages, outlined in Gary Chapman’s book of the same name, were originally intended as a tool for communicating how you give and receive love in relationships. The conceit was that identifying your and your own and your partner’s primary love language—words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, or acts of service—could help you both feel held and seen. But why stop there? You can also use your love language in the office, with your friends, with yourself, or even with your vibrator. Yep, that’s right: You can absolutely use your love language for masturbation.
Maybe you’re asking (as my editors surely did), “Is that even possible?” How does one “acts of service” themselves? Well, look, I’m of the philosophy that the difference between a utilitarian masturbation sesh and a self-pleasure experience is a dash of romance. Sometimes someone else can provide that romance, and other times—like, say when you’re several months deep into pandemic celibacy—you don’t. Whatever your personal situation, though, several sexperts are here to share their best tips for speaking your own love language for masturbation.
How to use your love language for masturbation and reap the pleasure benefits.
Words of affirmation
“In front of a mirror naked, look at yourself, and tell yourself how awesome you are and how much you love yourself,” says Searah Deysach, sex educator and owner of pleasure shop Early to Bed. If appraising yourself verbally doesn’t quite turn you on, you can also use the written word to fuel your tank. You can journal about your best masturbatory moments. (“Dear Diary, you’ll never believe what me and my sex robot got up to last night…”) Whatever you writer, let the thoughts about your solo sex speak to you.
Or you can keep it super simple and send yourself a love letter. “Tuck a sweet note to yourself into your bedside table to find when you reach for your favorite vibe or bedtime book,” says Deysach. “Perhaps remind yourself of something sexy from your past or encourage your future self to remember how hot her butt looks.”
Okay, get out your phone, pull up your Google calendar, and time block some solo sex time. Do your best not to flake, or to ignore your notification because you’re deep in emails. If your love language for masturbation is quality time, you need to carve out enough time to make it happen..and really make it an experience.
“QT people will have a better masturbation experience if they don’t feel rushed, and know they have the freedom to take their time,” says Jill McDevitt, PhD, resident sexologist for CalExotics. “This can include not just the time for actual masturbation, but also, as the name suggests, taking the time to make it quality. This can include the time to indulge in self-foreplay, playing with fantasies, reading or listening to erotica, or taking a sensual bath beforehand to build arousal.”
And don’t forget practicing aftercare! If you’re a quality time person, maybe it’s just important to reserve 15 minutes to treat yourself nicely post-orgasm. “It can also include taking to the time to do post-masturbation activities that feel quality to you, such as taking a cat nap, journaling, meditating, or showering,” says Dr. McDevitt.
“Treat yourself to a new sex toy,” says Deysach. “Even if your vibe is working fine, invest in a new style, or one made of new materials, or try something like an air-pulse or thrusting toy for new sensations to experience alone.”
If you already have a nightstand crammed with every type of rechargeable silicone buzzy friend, then you can appeal to your sensuality elsewhere. A decadent scented candle might arouse you (bonus points if it melts into a massage oil). And upgrading your bedding with high-quality sheets will envelope you with softness and regality in one satin-y swoop. Or, why not lovingly touch your body with some luscious body butter and make a ritual of applying it slowly, all over your body?
And radical thought: If the pandemic has made sitting in granny panties your underwear-wearing default (and, to be clear, there’s no shame in that game), lacing up just this once might be a game-changer. “Even if only you will be looking, add some new lingerie to your collection,” says Deysach. “When you are free from any outside judgment, what kind of sexy underthing would you want to try out?”
Acts of service
“One way of demonstrating your love for yourself through acts of service is for present-moment you to be in service to future-you,”says Caitlin V, MPH, clinical sexologist for sex-product company Royal. “Set up things for yourself in advance, like the ingredients to a luxurious bath or laying out clean and cozy clothes in advance.”
“Take extra care of yourself and your space—maybe by cleaning up your bedroom so that it’s not a distraction later, or finally cleaning those cobwebs from the light fixture, before you enter into self-pleasure space. Doing these small acts from a self-service perspective can feel so nurturing and really helps us to tap into the love we have for ourselves—not just others.”
Dr. McDevitt adds that acts of service could include laying out fresh sheets and plugging in your rechargeable vibrators, so they’ll be ready to go when the time comes.
And if you really want to know more about your body, it might be worth it to call in a professional. “Seek sex therapy or coaching, if appropriate,” Dr. McDevitt adds. “Whether it’s learning how to have their first orgasm or overcoming shame and getting more comfortable with their body, my clients often consider the work they do with me to be a personal act of service that will benefit their self-pleasure experience later, both physically and emotionally.
I mean, this one is kind of baked into any self-pleasure practice, right? So if physical touch is your love language, the key is to maximize touch. “To really explore this love language in the context of self-pleasure, you must explore touching yourself in ways that are outside of your usual routine,” says V. “Touch your entire body, very slowly, before even coming near your clitoris.”
She suggests this powerful exercise to become hyper-present and sensitive to touch: Touch the back of your hand and inside of your arm for five minutes without getting distracted. “Set a timer and really challenge yourself to explore all the touch that’s possible in that finite time and space—and, trust me, five minutes will feel like an eternity the first time you do this,” V says. “After that, move on the rest of your body with the same sense of presence and exploration as you gave to your hand.”
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