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How Masturbation is Like Playing the Piano

I was forced to take piano lessons as a child. And, I hated the daily practice—playing the scales, working my way through those clever exercises to remember the names of the keys. I hated struggling through new songs. What I didn’t really understand was the benefits of practice. If I had continued with the piano I would have learned to move my fingers gracefully across the keys and found my own rhythm. I might even have enjoyed hearing the results of my work. Needless to say these subtleties were lost on me as a child. Now I understand the need for practice when it comes to doing those things we want to improve, enhance and enjoy in our lives.

How Masturbation is Like Playing the Piano

So, what does masturbation have to do with piano playing? May is National Masturbation Month, and throughout the sex education and blogging networks, folks are writing about and practicing masturbation. I like to call it ‘self-pleasuring’ as it has a gentler tone.

Why should you self-pleasure?

That’s where my piano analogy comes in—to get good at something we need to practice. Many women come to me with stories about their inability to orgasm or their lack of interest in sex- -they want to enjoy it, they want to want sex but something is missing. So often we don’t know where to start, particularly if we were schooled to think that touching ourselves was sinful or bad for us.

If you want to have better sex you need to understand how your body works—you need to know where your clitoris is, how sensitive it is, and how you like your genitals touched.  And, that takes practice.

Some of you are saying things like, “I’m done with sex”, “Why bother, I have sex with my husband once a month, that’s enough”, “ I don’t like the idea of touching myself” and so on. You know who you are. Here’s the thing–sex, whether partnered or solo, through masturbation, is good for our bodies and our emotions.

Self-pleasuring doesn’t have to be about orgasms. The term itself defines what you want to do—give yourself a pleasurable experience. If you have orgasms with ease and regular sex with a partner you’re probably not the person who needs this article, because you already understand the benefits of taking care of your own sexual needs.

If you’re not satisfied with your current sexual response and want to change things, start by self-pleasuring yourself on a regular basis. There are sexual health benefits to be derived from having sex, with a partner or with yourself. Worried about lubrication as you go through menopause? Self-pleasure will help by bringing blood flow to vaginal tissues, stimulating your body’s natural lubrication. Concerned that you will have trouble with sex once you’re ready to start a new relationship? “Practice” by yourself. Feeling a little down or sad? Orgasms cause the body to release oxytocin, the feel good hormone.

Think of your body as an exquisite piano with many options for bringing forth sensations. What does your body respond to? Light and fast, firm pressure, slow and measured? Where are your erogenous zones? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, chances are your lover doesn’t either. When you take the time to learn your body you are investing in your own pleasure and your sexual health. How much practice? Well, I know of people who practice their art daily. That may be a little too much in the beginning. Start slowly. Take 5 minutes as you step into the shower to explore a little. Or block off 30 minutes for a sexual meditation of slowly exploring your whole body-with a sensuous focus. The practice of masturbation, or self-pleasuring, is about embracing your sexuality, creating moments of arousal, and taking time to appreciate your body. It’s more satisfying and much cheaper than buying new shoes or getting a pedi/mani. So have fun, the month has just begun.


More articles from Walker Thornton on this May celebration:

Let’s Celebrate, It’s National Masturbation Month In this article I talk about tools to assist you in self-pleasuring

The Merry Month of May-National Masturbation Month, 2014

Spring and the Sexual Self, on Midlife Boulevard



Walker Thornton

We are delighted to have Walker Thornton as our Women’s Sexual Health columnist. After working for over 10 years in the field of sexual violence against women, Walker is now enjoying a new career as a freelance writer, public speaker, and sex educator with an emphasis on midlife women. Her blog, was ranked #5 by in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2014. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter For questions about sexual health, write her at

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