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Love and Sex: Self Pleasure in a Global Pandemic

header illustration by SNIKKA

I am not an expert on love or sex, though I do feel that my personal experience, along with my sheer willingness to explore this topic publicly, qualifies me to write this monthly column.

As I write to you each month, I’ll be coming from a place of curiosity, armed with my own research and ongoing conversations with a few frank and very funny friends as we drink wine and take our discussions into uncharted waters. This month, we’re chatting about self pleasure in all forms. Let me start by saying that no sex education I ever received placed pleasure at the center of the conversation, let alone how to enhance our body’s innately programmed ability to enjoy itself (shout out God). Amidst the world’s largest civil rights movement, a global pandemic and continued abuses of power from our federal government, connecting with your body and your pleasure is a crucial part of the revolution for human liberation. Masturbation in particular provides fantastic stress relief and may even contribute to a healthier immune system, which is something we all need in order to sustain our individual and collective transformation at this time.

Let’s get into it.

While we’ve all been confined to our homes and adapting to high stress levels, there is one upside to increased isolation — you can finally masturbate uninterrupted. Of course, if you’re quarantined with a lover, you lot can tango this activity together. But if you’re single like me, just tell your roommate that you’re “finally binge watching Avatar” and you’re good to go. For most womxn, the art of the orgasm is no cake walk. It’s a particular science and each of us is on the ultimate quest to crack our body’s particular code of pleasure. Whether it’s solo masturbation or partner play, we need mental presence, specific stimulation and intimate touch. Additionally, when engaging with a partner, we need the communication skills to specify our needs in the moment. As the apocalypse slowly shifts into regeneration, I sincerely hope that everyone takes this opportunity to become fluent in your body’s unique language and learn what you like now so that you can ask for what you need from your partners later. Bad sex? In this economy? We will not tolerate it.

I’d rather buy a vibrator.

illustration by SNIKKA

Anything that connects you deeper with yourself and relaxes you into your body is self pleasure.

One of my friends purchased her first vibrator during quarantine. Can I get a “hell yeah brother!” for my girl? Hell yeah. It’s pretty hard to talk about female sexual liberation without investigating mechanical masturbation. For penis-bearing people, my sources report that masturbation is typically a more straightforward endeavor perfected over years, even decades, of practice. Though, as one buddy of mine countered, “I don’t just beat my shit, there’s some vibes in there.” Noted, and go off, King. Men should absolutely set the mood for their solo play, too, and if a glowing pleasure sleeve gets you off, then I’m glad you’ve seen the light. But for people with pussies especially, sometimes masturbation actually requires some extra tools on your belt and down your pants.

Enter: the vibrating sex toy.

Every person remembers their first time buying a sex toy. At first, you were probably intimidated, or maybe you still are, and like my friend, you want to cross into new territory. It’s the first time you ever considered that batteries could possibly be sexy, so you committed to investigating further. How can pleasure become toe-curling *~pLeAsUrE~* with a little turbo-charged support? There is one clear way to find out. 

Now I can’t tell you where to start, but I invite you to begin. Scroll through these Black-owned sex toy stores to discover your new bed buddy for your sexual revolution. Organic Loven has a great selection of eco-friendly body-safe sex toys for under $100 which means less harmful ingredients in your body and more fun on your Sunday afternoon. Based in Berkeley, California, Feelmore 510 stocks an extensive array of brands in their online shop. And then there’s Overkink, which is one of the few sex toy shops that has a loyalty program, so stack those points and scream with joy.

black and white photograph by jean amb

These days, our priority is not how we look but how we feel in our own physical vessel.

We’re shaving less (if at all) and are completely unconcerned with the way our body looks to any potential suitors. Self pleasure includes moisturizing those hairy legs, lighting a candle, working out to feel grounded rather than to lose weight, accepting your kinks and naming your sexual desires because we all have them. Anything that connects you deeper with yourself and relaxes you into your body is self pleasure. I want to encourage everyone to take all aspects of self pleasure seriously because it’s important to not only normalize but to indeed maximize our human right to express and sink into the many gifts that our sensuality has to offer us.

This is a truly brilliant time to behold, folks. Instead of swiping through cute strangers knowing damn well that you will not be going to meet up with them, romance yourself. Let some of that stress go. Give your mood a boost. Vibe higher, literally. Use a bit of that unemployment check to buy yourself something nice, so that even while our government is doing everything they can to control womxn’s bodies, they are still paying for your pleasure.

xoxo,

Viv


Tune in for a new Love and Sex column every month on The Kollection.

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