How Masturbation Is Keeping Me Sane During My Break From Sex & Dating

When I started a 30-day dating app detox, I felt stricken with anxiety. My shy personality and reserved demeanor acted as the perfect social crutch for me to interact with new people in ways that I would never date to in real life. Indeed, I reasoned that because I only used dating apps to meet new partners, App-less April would be disastrous to my dating life. Instead, App-less April was truly a challenge in pushing my boundaries and breaking free of my comfort zone which had confined me to an online, toxic space.

App-less April entailed an abrupt change in my behavior that altered my dating life and my perception of sex. Contrary to all of my fears, App-less April encouraged me to embark on a journey of self-exploration and self-discovery. I grew tremendously from the challenge — it taught me that I am capable of far more than I believe. It affirmed to me that I am able to attract positive energy and people into my life through my own energy — the real life me, not the one that features or four meticulously edited photos, possesses an inner burgeoning social butterfly.

How I Realized That Casual Sex Doesn't Satisfy Me

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Through App-less April, I was able to reach several revelations, including how I manifest my sexuality in my life in a way that truly pleases my body and soul. By taking a break from the non-stop, highly sexually charged energy of dating apps, I came to the realization that casual sex doesn't satisfy me. Over the month that my social calendar was not filled with dates with random, first-name only, Tinder matches, I realized how exhausting and draining casual sex feels for my body and my psyche. I made the decision that I would take an indeterminate break from sex, with my intentions set that I would awaken my personal growth and come to a place of clarity.

As one would expect, my sex hiatus has proved to be an exercise of my will-power and self-control. When my sexual energy is surging and my body is screaming for satisfaction, my hiatus feels grueling. In the spirit of fostering my relationship with myself, I have been engaging much more in the most wonderful expression of self-love: masturbation.

"There are an endless number of . Learning how to make yourself orgasm is the most empowering experience you will ever have," Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and founder of , tells Bustle."

When I am lying in my bed with my vibrator, I clear my head, close my eyes, and shut out the noise of the outside world. I light my favorite cinnamon vanilla candle and I turn up my specially tailored masturbation playlist. I immerse myself fully in the moment while I feel ecstasy and bring my sensations to new heights.

What Masturbation Means For My Personal Growth

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my masturbation sessions have been invaluable towards keeping my mind engaged and pleasing my body. I believe that by choosing to focus on my own pleasure rather than on my partners' or on the game of casual sex, I am cherishing and loving myself.

Masturbation is a deeply personal experience that serves the unique needs of every woman. For me, at this vibrant point of my life that I have chosen to commit to a break from sex, masturbation has kept me in a state of mind and body awareness. My ability to pleasure myself has kept me sane and on the path towards higher personal growth that I am determined to complete — with my vibrator wand right next to me.