How To Improve Your Sex Life Through Masturbation
Ashley Batz/Bustle
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Lots of sex therapists say that masturbation makes you a better partner. But how exactly? It obviously teaches you what you like, which lets you help your partners please you, but is there any other way we can use masturbation to improve our sex lives? "Masturbation is good for your sex life whether you're single or coupled," Astroglide's resident sexologist "Dr. Jess" O'Reilly tells Bustle. "It’s the prime opportunity to learn about your own body without the pressure to perform or meet another person's needs. And once you know what you like in bed, you can train a partner (or two or three!) to be a part of the process."

Sex therapist Vanessa Marin agrees. "[Masturbation] helps you learn what you like," she tells Bustle. "You can then teach your partner what you like, which takes a lot of pressure off of them to magically figure out what works for you. Masturbation helps you get more comfortable with your body. If you're not lost in self-conscious thoughts, you can be more present with your partner. You can also masturbate with your partner, which can be a really novel and erotic experience."

Here's how to make the most of your solo sex life to improve partnered sex.

Experiment

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When we're masturbating, we normally figure out what we like and stick with it. But Dr. Jess recommends thinking of your masturbation routine more like partnered sex. Try out new techniques, positions, toys, and locations with yourself so you have more to teach your partner.

Be Conscious About Your Breathing

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Intentionally speed up and slow down your breathing to see how the sensations in your body change, Dr. Jess suggests. Figuring out what helps you feel most aroused and present can also help get you in the mood with someone else.

Make Noise

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Find a time to masturbate when nobody's in the next room and experiment with different noises. Many of us feel awkward making sounds during sex because we're so used to silently masturbating or the only sex noises we've heard are the exaggerated ones in porn. Getting in touch with what expressions of pleasure feel natural to us makes us more expressive partners. Plus, "stifling your sounds interferes with breathing which can inhibit sexual response and orgasm," says Dr. Jess.

Slow Down

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"Because many of us were conditioned to rush through masturbation to avoid getting caught during our teen years, we’ve created bad habits that prioritize expediency over experience," says Dr. Jess. Learning to savor each sensation rather than rush toward orgasm will give you more control over your sexual responses and make sex more enjoyable.

Appreciate All The Awesome Things Your Body's Doing

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Another way masturbation can improve our sex lives is by improving our body image, says Dr. Jess. As you masturbate, take some time to appreciate how good your body's making you feel.

Remember, masturbation's not just for single people. It can also be a great addition to an active sex life — and a means to enhance it.

Check out the “Sex & Relationships” stream in the Bustle App for tips, tricks, and advice on friends, sex, dating, and everything in-between.