Sex is everywhere — in the movies we watch, books we read, and music we listen to — but when it comes to female pleasure, positive public perception isn’t quite there yet. According to sex and relationships expert Annette Gates, LMSW, MEd, CSSE, the almost-taboo topic of (physical) self-love has everything to do with societal beliefs that can only be perceived as sexist and antiquated.
“Universally, we are socialized in a shame-based puritan, religious culture where sex is tied to serving the man and only for marriage or procreation,” says Gates, citing one of the most common reasons women shy away from masturbation. “Anything outside of that is considered impure.”
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Annette Gates, LMSW, MEd, CSSE, is a Relationship and Sexuality Oracle.
While it may feel foreign to the uninitiated, “self-lovemaking” is necessary for those looking to prioritize themselves and their needs, inside and out. “It’s ideal in getting to know yourself, what feels good, and how one experiences arousal and orgasm,” adds Gates. It’s not an action item you can cross off your to-do list after a session, however. “It takes time and practice to get to know your body,” she says. “But this time is well worth it to experience more pleasure with a partner.”
To support you in your journey, we rounded up a few products to keep in your pleasure chest, from a Sunday Riley-approved massage candle to a very discreet and effective vibrator.
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