Comments: 508 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

Smgth197 karma

How do you feel about /r/nofap? Or about their claims that it solves all their problems and basically gives them magic powers? Also, how annoyed are you that people constantly spell it "masterbate"?

Heather_Brewer6 karma

Well, I think it has its place, but it gets pretty tricky when people try to make what works for them be the guiding principle for everyone.

Like anything that a person can become addicted to or reliant upon, masturbation can be usefully abstained from for certain people or for a length of time. A lot of the anecdotes (anecdotes! they're anecdotes!) are from people who have truly struggled in their life due to addiction or otherwise "self-medicating" through masturbation. Most anyone can relate to this in at least a small scale way. Have you ever masturbated in order to fall asleep? Or when you could have waited a bit to have partner sex? A few instances of that don't have to be a thing, but they can become problematic for some people. Some have learned that the only way to self-soothe is to masturbate. If they always go to that, they are unlikely to learn other ways of finding calm, and that can be really problematic. Imagine needing to masturbate after a boss yells at you, or because you're late on your rent, or because you got into a fender bender. What if you couldn't calm down for hours because you had to wait to be in the appropriate setting? What if you couldn't wait? Self-pleasuring would lose a lot of it's pleasure. So of course a person who has been able to stop and find other ways of coping is likely to be an advocate for abstinence.

And a note on sex, love or porn "addiction." There's been a big movement in this field to discontinue using the word addiction, and I think the reasons why are excellent. It's incredibly important to ditch the stigmas and to better understand what drives what we've been calling addictions to these things. We all need connection, comfort, play, exploration and all that good stuff that can come from sex, love and porn. How we meet our needs is always the place to be aware of ourselves. So I think the movement will bring a lot of good. When I use the word "addiction," I mean only to point to habits or behaviors that are causing a person distress.

So, it's not masturbation that's dangerous. It's our relationship to it that can be. But that latter part is far more complex, and I think it's important to be kind to people who need to keep things as simple as possible for themselves for now or forever. If and when they aren't kind to you, try to remember that the complexity of your experience can be threatening to them.

And finally: ever so slightly annoyed. ;) But more upsetting is to consider how many misspellings are due to the fact that the word isn't in most cell phone dictionaries! Words like "heteroflexible" I can wait a few more years on. But "masturbate?" Embrace it, world!

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Eeeeep! Did my answer show up for you?

Donkey_Punch_You172 karma

Can I get it in writing that it won't make me go blind so I can prove mum wrong?

Heather_Brewer217 karma

Definitely. PM your address. #notjoking

Whatsthedealwithyou130 karma

My girlfriend gets mad when I masturbate, if I want to get off I should be going to her for relief. Our sex life is pretty active but sometimes I would rather rub one out quick than have to initiate it. Is this normal? Should I be having sex instead of masturbating?

Heather_Brewer180 karma

I'm really glad you asked this, because it comes up a lot. It can be completely fine and healthy to masturbate when you're in a relationship. You are the one who knows if you're avoiding anything by self-pleasuring instead of having partner sex. If you are, then I encourage you to explore it. It's not uncommon to have a harder time reaching orgasm during partner sex, because it's a lot more intimate. There's a whole other person to worry about, for goodness sake! And it takes a balance between tuning into the other person (or persons), while also being tuned into your own body. It's simply more work. Now, it pays off like crazy to increase your comfort and skill with partner sex, but it's certainly ok to also enjoy time alone. I liken it to cooking. Sometimes you feel like peeling and marinating and sautéing and damn there are a lot of sexy verbs for cooking!... and sometimes you just grab an energy bar.

All that said, be kind with your girlfriend about what she's feeling. It wouldn't be odd for you to feel defensive about your masturbatory habits, but try to explore this together when you can come at it from a clear and warm state of mind. Ask her if she's willing to sit down and chat about it sometimes. When she's ready to, ask her what she feels when she thinks about you masturbating. If you watch porn and she has concerns about that, address them. You actually have a chance of deepening your sex life together by working this through. Are there things you like to think about or do alone that you'd like to share with her? Does she have things she'd like to share? Who taught her what she believes about masturbation? Are you comfortable with her masturbating? Why? Tell her. But remember, you both need to feel throughout this conversation. Put it down and come back to it if you need to, and don't be at all shy about exploring it in therapy together. Little is a greater source of awesome sex than getting to learn more about your partner's sexual self.

Whatsthedealwithyou28 karma

Thanks Heather you raise some good points here. Thank you for replying!!

Heather_Brewer22 karma

You're very welcome.

Disma78 karma

My wife was always jealous when I looked at porn. I assume you deal with this situation often; any thoughts?

Heather_Brewer87 karma

Yes! Partner discomfort with porn habits is very common, and it makes sense, right? It's pretty intimate stuff you're watching there! Read my response to the question before yours, because I would reiterate much of that to you. I also very highly recommend Leandra Vane's writing on this, particularly her article on why to include porn in your relationship (http://theunlacedlibrarian.blogspot.com/2015/06/10-reasons-i-include-porn-in-my-marriage.html).

And take a look at my article on how to talk about fantasies (http://heatherbrewermft.com/blog/?p=94). Most often, people just don't understand what it is that their partner likes, and they feel much more comfortable when they do. Unknowns when it comes to sexual desires are simply fertile ground for fears, because that's the general sexual climate of our society. Sexual stuff is powerful, but it doesn't have to be scary.

rarevaper75 karma

How much is too much?

Heather_Brewer119 karma

It entirely depends on you. If it feels good, you're not too dependent on anything specific, you're able to connect to partners if you choose to have partner sex, and you're getting to work on time, then you have my a-ok.

mute_nostril_agony132 karma

if you choose to have partner sex

If only it were that easy…..

Heather_Brewer42 karma

Ha! Indeed. Not quite what I meant there. ;)

Lost_my_other_pswrd42 karma

getting to work on time

What if it's WHILE I'm getting to work

Heather_Brewer39 karma

As long as your work isn't suffering and you're being appropriately private, /approve.

RedditHateFreeSpeech61 karma

Can excessive masturbation lead to depression? I see lots of websites that discourage masturbation and claim this as fact. I'm not sure if they are just pro-Christian funded groups or what.

Heather_Brewer100 karma

In short, no. Anti-masturbation articles are too often born out of fear-based opinions. In fact, masturbation and orgasms can contribute to LESS depression, because of the release of oxytocin, and because cardio helps lower levels of cortisol.

But it's important to look at the specifics of a person's experience. "Excessive" is relative, for one thing. Masturbating one or two times per day (and more on weekends and vacations) is not at all uncommon, and I don't get curious about a client's frequency unless it's often more than that OR if it's causing them distress. For instance, a person could certainly be bummed out by their self-pleasure if they're frustrated at being without a partner, or by not being able to orgasm with their partner, or by beliefs they have about masturbation in general. To your point about the role Christianity can play, I have heard a lot of people talk about feeling something unpleasant afterwards (guilt, shame, disappointment, etc.), not because of the act itself, but because they aren't sure they should have engaged it due to something they heard in a religious context. It's often a belief that's placed on top of the feelings that causes distress like depression. But again, speaking broadly about the physiology, it's healthy. And it's fun, no?

Pervomatic50 karma


You heard it here folks, jerkin' it (and whatever term ladies prefer) officially qualifies as cardio.

I personally like to go a step further and treat it like Olympic training ;)

Also that was a very well-written post above.

Heather_Brewer34 karma

It does if you can get your heart rate up high enough!

And thanks!

Woonasty42 karma

Have you ever had someone sign up for a session and come talk to you just to be a weird perv?

Heather_Brewer72 karma

Yes! But only two or three times, and it wasn't anything majorly weird. I speak to new clients over the phone first so that both of us can get a feel for each other, and that generally weeds out people who aren't clear that my work is purely psychotherapy.

Heather_Brewer35 karma

Haha, repeat questions about health benefits/ cautions are off the hook! I'll respond to the first one about this at length, so please read my response there and see if you have a follow-up or slightly different question.

Verdant_Shade31 karma

Hi! (24, f) Is it weird if I don't get off on it? I just get frustrated and it just...ends :( My ex looked at me like I had two heads when I mentioned I hadn't climaxed before. Thanks!

Heather_Brewer2 karma

I'm very much enjoying the responses others gave you, and I'll reiterate a few of them in my own response.

It's not weird, really. Your body likes what it likes, and it's not sold on what it's been offered thus far. You can likely find something it does. The Hitachi Magic Wand indeed works for a lot of people. It's well known for creating record speed clitoral orgasms, because it provides a ton of stimulation.

What kind of frustrated do you get? What happens in your body before you end? Do you get numb? Over-sensitive? Does your mind wander? Do you feel like you have to pee? The specifics of what happens on a sensation level will give you the information you need to decide what's up. And be sure to give plenty of attention to anything that may be getting in your way physiologically like depression, anxiety, or physical abuse. If any of those apply, I encourage you to have the support of a therapist in order to explore and move through.

I'm sorry to hear that you got a funny look about never having climaxed before. Don't let that sort of thing get in your way. It doesn't help your process to judge what's happening. The body doesn't have a hidden agenda. Let it talk to you and follow its lead. If it doesn't cause you any distress outside of thinking that you "should" masturbate, don't try to force anything. Place yourself in safe, pleasant and relaxing circumstances, see what arises, and take it from there.

Runslkchicken30 karma

Hi Heather! First off, I'd like to thank you for doing this AMA. What are the exact good things or bad things masturbation can do to the human body?

Heather_Brewer38 karma

You are very welcome! Yours is one of my favorite questions. Let me come back to you full of references for what I have to say.

Ok, here we go...

The Good

When done well...

  • it's the basis for good partner sex, because you get to know yourself
  • it increases self-esteem
  • it can help to process trauma and other emotional difficulties Not to mention...
  • it's a really easy and safe way to have sex
  • it clears the mind
  • it relieves stress
  • it relieves menstrual cramps
  • it releases endorphins
  • it flushes the prostrate gland
  • it reduces the chance of yeast infections
  • and, der, it feels seriously good.

The Sometimes Iffy

If done without care, it can...

  • make intimacy with a partner more difficult
  • become a crutch for self-soothing


Come as You Are by Emily Nagowski

The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans

Healing Sex by Staci Haines

Body, Self and Soul: Sustaining Integration by Jack Rosenberg, Marjorie Rand and Diane Assay

And if you want to really get into it, check out some of the sex journals, of which I've listed my favorites here: http://heatherbrewermft.com/Fun_and_Useful_Resources_for_Sex.html

I spoke to a bunch of these in various places through the AMA, so be sure to read around. If you have follow-up questions about anything in particular, let me know.

solisu16 karma

What are your feelings on 'The Internet Is For Porn'. Is there some truth to this, or do you believe this sort of material is damaging?

Heather_Brewer28 karma

Curate curate curate! I'm very pro-porn, because I see it as a means of exploration and enjoyment. It's like lubricant. But just like lube, it's important to know it's content, how it's made, whether or not it's healthy for YOU specifically, etc. Porn can be damaging, but ultimately only you know if your specific habits with it are working against you. Sometimes it takes exploring this with a therapist, however, as it can sometimes be tricky to separate intuition and awareness from learned beliefs. And that ends up being really beautiful work, because you get to learn a ton about yourself. Leandra Vane, the Unlaced Librarian, writes a lot about exploring one's relationship to porn. Here's a link to that section of her blog- http://theunlacedlibrarian.blogspot.com/search/label/porn.

Many sex shops, like The Pleasure Chest, Good Vibrations, and the Peekay stores offer curated porn, meaning that it's responsibly made and has a diverse audience in mind. I also really love A Smart Girl's Guide to Porn by Violet Blue.

ExtraShard15 karma

Not really a question about masturbation, but, what kind of stuff do you go through in your job?

Heather_Brewer16 karma

This varies greatly depending on the client. But in short, somatic work looks much like any other type of psychotherapy, except that we're paying lots of attention to what's happening in the body. The body is a great source of information, as well as a resource for practicing new ways of being. You could talk about things forever, but somatic work helps to fill in seemingly missing information and gets things moving along. You can hide behind words, but you can't hide behind your body.

Marginbuilder13 karma

What is the proper way to masturbate to avoid losing sensitivity for me? What is the proper way for women?

Heather_Brewer21 karma

This is very dependent on your particular body. For instance, some people love using vibrators, others feel over-stimulated by them, and then there are lots of people who fall somewhere in between. But on the whole, changing up types of stimulation and regulating the length of time you spend on each one is key. If you begin to numb or just less pleasure, switch things up.

Would you like to say why you're asking? I detect the need for context. :)

Cdoves13 karma

I'm a pro at masturbating, I can always get off without any issues. My boyfriend has never successfully made me orgasm in the 5 years we've been having sex, sometimes when he gets close I just start laughing. Why can't he?

Heather_Brewer41 karma

This is a great question, because it's a great example of how we get to see how we relate to ourselves and how it sometimes differs from how we interact with others. It's awesome that you're a pro at masturbating, and I'm glad to see that you have given him feedback about what you like. As someone else suggested, you could be dependent on your specific way of stimulating yourself. But my hunch is that it's more relational, partly because of the laughter, but more because it sounds like you have healthy comfort with your body. So, could it be that it's hard to "let go" around him? Can you make yourself orgasm in front of him?

Cdoves21 karma

I have thought that it might be the fact that that I am used to doing it I guess "my way", and that just may be the case. He's never seen me orgasm, and this is probably a bad thing considering we're 5 years into it. I've never tried stimulating my self in front of him.

Heather_Brewer20 karma

Then start there when you feel ready to. And don't worry that it's been five years. It's useful to have a solid foundation between you two as you explore this together. AND it means things can get even better than they presumably have been for you to have been together for so long!

Real_nimr0d12 karma

Does masturbation has something to with acne?(male)

Heather_Brewer27 karma

Research on this is inconclusive. We can sort of kick around some hypotheses about androgen levels, but evidence doesn't show anything more than some slight correlations. I think we can pretty safely say that masturbation does not directly cause acne, and I just want to find an acned teenager to hug when I think about all the times kids have been told that exploring their sexuality is causing their skin and thus perhaps their social problems. Gah.

GodfreyLongbeard12 karma

How come i never have as much fun fucking myself in the ass as i have getting fucked in the ass? Like masterbating with a dildo is hardly worth the effort, but getting fucked so is worth the effort.

Heather_Brewer23 karma

Perhaps, for you, it's just having a partner! The experience of being fucked by another person brings all kinds of lovely feelings (sensations and emotions) that are harder or sometimes impossible to experience alone. If, however, you suspect that you could up your self-fucking game, you might seek out some resources. Here's a start- http://www.goodvibes.com/s/content/c/How-To-Enjoy-Anal-Sex. And be sure to explore your relationship to yourself. Some of us have a harder time embodying ourselves if we are alone. If that's a struggle for you, it will be well worth to get really good at enjoying alone time, sexy or otherwise.

Heather_Brewer11 karma

Ok, all. I'm off for the evening, and will be back tomorrow afternoon!

823649 karma

Have anything to add to this?

A reminder on toy safety:

Safe Materials

  • 100% Silicone
  • Glass (lime-soda, borosilicate)
  • Metal
  • ABS Plastic
  • Ceramic (glazed and kiln-fired)
  • Wood (when the finish is medical grade)
  • Acrylic

Materials to Avoid

  • Jelly/ Crystal Jelly / Gel (or any variation thereof)
  • Rubber
  • Cyberskin/ Ultraskin/ Eroskin/ Softskin/ SoftTouch/ Cyber Jel-lee/New supersoft/ Futurotic/ UR3 (also known as thermal plastics)
  • Vinyl and PVC

Approach With Caution

  • TPE, TPR, Elastomer, TPR-Silicone, Silicone Blends – These are probably non-toxic, but more then likely will be porous enough to hide bacteria or mold. These types of toys should be examined closely every time you use it. Look for any black spots, tears, or foul odors, discard immediately if you find any of these.
  • Natural Stone – The material is likely safe, but may still be porous.

Originally by /u/KittenBoheme.

Heather_Brewer9 karma

What a great list! I'm not a toy guru, but this looks pretty comprehensive from what I do know. My go-to sources for materials questions are Sex Nerd Sandra, and Good Vibrations. Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence (Carol Queen's hubby) is passionate about safe and quality toys, so the Good Vibes stores are often really on it when it comes to the latest research.

Marginbuilder8 karma

How does one regain sensitivity as a man? As a woman?

Heather_Brewer17 karma

Oh look! More context! So you've lost some sensitivity. Gender doesn't matter here, as the type of tissue is the same cross-nethers. Reducing frequency and adding variety of stimulation is often crucial, and practice tuning into subtler sensations. If this is something you experience outside of sex and masturbation, you can practice this all the time. We stop feeling because we get overstimulated. So if you can discontinue the overstimulation (which may mean making changes outside of the bedroom, too), you can then safely invite your body back into feeling. And then be sure you watch for that line where you could cross back into overstimulation. This may very well be a dynamic you'll want support with.

Take a peek at my article on embodiment (http://heatherbrewermft.com/blog/?p=470), and see where that takes you.

AstarteHilzarie7 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA! So many questions I would normally love to ask but can't think of as I'm trying to go to sleep...

I find that I need some sort of external simulation to tune out the rest of my brain and really enjoy what I'm doing. Whether it's porn, erotica, or just music, I can't just lay in bed and go at it with my vibrators, it takes three to five times as long, if I get there at all, and it's never anywhere near as satisfying. I also do much better in complete dark or with my eyes closed. Is this fairly typical for women? Do men feel this way too? It seems like my husband can pop into the bathroom for five minutes and be set, where for me I have to... seduce myself? And if anything goes wrong (dog barking, ad popup on spotify, something weird or obviously faked in porn, a stray thought wandering through my head, or worst of all a dying/dead battery) I can't just pick up where I left off, it's back to square one. It gets quite annoying, I can't just "rub one out" at will, are there any methods or techniques to help unwind and make a quuck and simple session by myself possible?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

You're welcome! My intuition is that you're describing a need to feel a boundary, and that you have a responsive arousal system.

Regarding a boundary (which essentially means the edge of your experience- the place where you can feel), external stimulation or complete lack of it are two things that can pretty easily cause us to be aware of our bodies. You're describing success with using both as a way to feel what you want to feel. Music, porn, erotica, etc. are external stimulation- something you can bump up against and know, in your body, "That's not me," and then you can have a response to it. Closing your eyes or having the lights off are ways of tuning out the external and noticing just the internal. Sometimes I will have a client close their eyes in session, if they're struggling to feel something. What can be trickier is filtering- having a fluid boundary that adapts to your circumstances. It takes work to open yourself to experiencing an erotic scene in porn only to become distracted by the obvious lack of enjoyment apparent in someone's expression. I can totally relate to that, especially since my entire job is about noticing. I have definitely had to learn to "turn off" a bit when I leave my office. But only a bit. If I turned off completely, I'd miss out on all kinds of important things. Take a look at my articles about boundaries and embodiment (http://heatherbrewermft.com/blog/?p=544, http://heatherbrewermft.com/blog/?p=470 in that order), and notice what comes up for you. What makes sense? What doesn't? What's hard to read or understand? Let that begin to point you in a direction. I'm betting that you're a hell of an empath, in which case it will be very useful to practice knowing what's yours, what's not yours, and what's shared. And that will have to happen on a visceral level. Be patient with yourself as you learn to notice things without reacting to them. Then you can begin to skip around and pick and choose things a bit during your sexy time. Hot, sweaty bodies moving together? Yes! Music that makes you sing? Yes! Dog bark? Mm, no. The buzzing of your vibrator? Yes! Spotify ad? Gah! No. When we're feeling, we're feeling. You learn to choose what to ride.

About your type of arousal, it sounds like what works best for you (at least right now) is indeed to be seduced, a way of describing it that I love. People with responsive arousal simply like to have a little taste of what's being offered before they say yes. In fact, you may even see similarities with what and how you eat food. Bodies just have their ways of being, and they mean well. And huge percentage of the population is right there with you, and that includes all genders. Men definitely experience what you're experiencing, as anyone who is used to tuning into others and their environment more than themselves would. But it doesn't help that female socialization encourages this. So regarding your arousal, I wouldn't worry about it much until you've worked on increasingly your ability to filter your stimulation through boundary work. That is likely to give you the quickies you desire, but it's fairly likely that your body will continue to enjoy being seduced.

And regarding dead vibrator batteries, I say "Go for corded!"

ICryLightning6 karma

Are transgender patients different than other patients in terms of masturbatory practices?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Not really, because bodies are bodies. Whenever I talk about the somatic considerations for the trans community, I can hear how everything I have to say applies to a lot of people. Some transfolk prefer not to touch or have touched certain parts of themselves, but this is much like anyone's experience of preferences. There are also people- some trans, some cis- who have trouble feeling their bodies, and they have a higher likelihood of not enjoying sexual touch. Anyone who has had reason to internally or socially struggle with their body is liable to approach sex and masturbation a bit differently, if only for a period of time. But this sort of struggle can also mean having to become intimately acquainted with oneself in a really deep way, which can translate to a lot more health and pleasure.

SDSunDiego5 karma

Men have a sexual pornography preference, vision, fantasy, and style, why does it seem like big media religion are trying to dictate what fantasy is right and wrong? Aren't they fucking, too?

Heather_Brewer14 karma

Haha, "Aren't they fucking, too?" I love that, and I'm going to quote you all the time now.

PEOPLE have preferences. And it's a great question. I think the short answer is that someone who is trying to dictate your preferences has had their own dictated. And damnit, if they learned to fit in that box, then so can you. ;) Extend empathy when this comes up. Respond matter-of-factly if a response is required, and then go on your merry and fucky way.

AstarteHilzarie5 karma

Can I quote you on "merry and fucky way"? I quite like that one.

Heather_Brewer3 karma

Certainly. :)

noeye3 karma

Am I missing out on something by not having sex. About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to date and try out teh sex. Started lifting weights and pursuing other means to better myself. I feel a lot better about myself these days, but have lost the desire for intimacy with a woman. I'm pretty much fine with pleasuring myself. The thought of this just being my life isn't too scary.

Is this by chance unhealthy?

articleofpeace3 karma

Not her but that doesn't sound unhealthy to me as long as you're not being driven by having given up on yourself. If you're more confident about your body and yourself generally and you feel as if you're happy with your life without sex, but without excluding it, that's fine. Sex is awesome but it's not the be-all and end-all. It's good that you don't have a fixation on it because when you do get the chance to have it you'll be more laid back and confident about it.

Heather_Brewer2 karma

This! But give plenty of airtime to your lost desire for intimacy. Have you been taught that self-reliance is the most important thing in life? Can you be vulnerable in front of others without feeling shame? Can you allow someone to witness you feeling better about yourself? And does "better" mean content and happy and relaxed, or just not so shitty anymore? You are the one who knows if you're avoiding anything by not being intimate. And if you're not, great. As articleofpeace said, stay open to it and if and when it's presented, you'll be able to embrace it with confidence and excitement.

CorvoAttano4203 karma

What do you think of Dr. Doe?

Heather_Brewer8 karma

I don't know her work terribly well, but everything I've seen of it is pretty great. I LOVE that she has a great sense of humor, which goes really far in this work. Anything in particular about what she's said about masturbation? I'd be happy to give you my opinion of something specific, if you like.

Marginbuilder3 karma

How do I quit masturbating if I am addicted?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

What tells you that you may be addicted? Do you mind naming specifics? If so, just say so and I will answer generally.

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Ok, dearies! I'll be back for one last round of answering tomorrow. If anyone is up for it, give our moderators a ping. I haven't heard back from them since Tuesday when I sent the additional proof they requested for this to be put back up in IamA. Cheers!

shockfuel2 karma

Will masturbation reduce my testosterone levels or make me weaker in any way?

I for some reason sleep better after doing it and actually struggle to get up on time the next day (i feel that my body wants 10 hrs of sleep instead of regular 8)

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Masturbation doesn't affect testosterone in any significant way, no. My hunch is that you're entering a deeper sleep after masturbating (lovely, isn't it?), which does tend to be more difficult to wake from. Any chance you masturbate before bed on days that are extra exhausting or leave you extra "wound up?" You might just need more sleep, as your body is suggesting. Maybe you often need more sleep, and only notice it when you relax more deeply? I'm a nine-and-a-halfer myself. Or perhaps your sleep stage pattern is different on those days due to the increased relaxation. You can try setting your alarm for a few different times and see if you can find where you're in a lighter stage of sleep, which is easier to wake up out of. And maybe this is just your particular body's reaction to your little lullaby. There's something that really makes sense to me about sleeping longer when you've sent yourself off in such a nice way.

Throwaway433246512 karma

Hi Heather. Thanks for doing this. I have a number of compulsions that extend beyond masturbation, but started with masturbation. For example, specific types of porn that can lead to unhealthy behavior. Like watching Glory Hole videos. I later found out how many there are and how easy it is to seek them out and it has become really exciting and addicting for me. I find it hard to resist going to them and when I do it is not generally safe sex. I have started to worry for my health. I try to get tested regularly but am just waiting for something bad to happen, but that fear almost makes me want to do it more. Do you have any advice for how to treat this?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

I'm glad you're asking! It's very important to be safe about what you're doing, so the fact that it's difficult to take care of your safety is reason to explore what's going on for you on a deeper level. It's not at all uncommon to feel aroused by the risk, and there's nothing inherently wrong about enjoying glory holes, yet something is overriding your natural instinct to be safe. I encourage you to explore this with a therapist, as it sounds like it will take having an external witness to get clear on what's happening for you. Be sure to pick someone you feel that you can open up to, and work to feel safe doing so. There is undoubtedly a way for you to continue to enjoy what you're doing, even to continue enjoying risk, without actually being at risk for permanent illness or death. Your work may include practicing containment and tuning into subtleties, as "compulsive" behavior can often stem from being sort of checked out of yourself. Look for a sex-positive therapist where you live. Email me (not a Reddit PM, which I may miss after this week) if you need help finding someone.

Markyspark2 karma


Could you thoroughly explain the start-stop technique, and/or other techniques for prolonging the funtimes?


Heather_Brewer2 karma

The best way is to prolong is to expand your zone of tolerance for building charge, and breathing exercises kick ass at this more than anything else. You can do them during masturbation or sex, or outside of sexy time.

If this is safe for your particular body, try this to start: lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Then raise your butt up and come into a half bridge pose (look up Iyengar half bridge pose for an image, if you like). You will feel your thigh muscles engaged pretty rigorously. Work to relax everything else. Then take 3-5 quick breaths, breathing both in and out through your mouth. It's almost like panting. Try this a few times through, lowering your back and butt to the ground in between sets, if you like. This is very charge-building, so you will likely feel an increased blood flow. Your head may get a little buzzy and/or you may experience tingling in your extremities. This is what we want. Build up to doing 3-5 sets of 10 breaths each. And track your emotional state as you go along. This is an exercise that often happens in somatic therapy, so be nurturing to yourself and do not hesitate to have the support of a therapist with this, as it can release a lot of emotions.

And then in masturbation and sex, just allow yourself to breathe as your body wants to breathe. We too often hold back our breath during sex, as it is pretty vulnerable to breathe heavily and loudly in front of another person. Practice, so that you feel increasingly comfortable. This will give you the ability to tolerate the charge you build, as well as to better track what you're feeling as you go along and make adjustments to your sensation input as you desire.

enkae73172 karma

Hello Heather. I've been meaning to ask, have you ever browsed /r/nofap?

The men there believe that masturbation is a crux and a big factor for their social anxieties. They also feel that masturbating too frequently reduces overall sex drive and thus reduces desire (or ability) for authentic women interaction. Personally I feel that abstaining from masturbation does help me socially and in the bedroom sexually. Sex feels 2-3x greater after I haven't masturbated or orgasmed for a while.

What is your stance on this?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Check out my response to smgth- I spoke to the nofap question at length there. I'll add a that the claim that masturbation can reduce overall sex drive is false as a blanket statement. Many people, especially those with responsive arousal, often experience a higher overall drive if they regularly masturbate or have sex. In terms of desire or ability for authentic interaction, masturbation can certainly affect this. We're excellent at doing things that protect us from the experience of facing scary stuff. We text instead of call. We pretend we didn't get a call. We hide behind cynicism or disapproval. We assume something will go poorly so we don't bother trying. Masturbation can be just one more way of getting a need met well enough by avoiding the complexity of interaction. But as with all things, the role masturbation plays here must be looked at on an individual basis.

What you're describing in terms of increased pleasure during sex sounds like the typical experience of the human body wherein something it hasn't felt in a while is experienced anew. That can happen even if you do go from masturbation to having sex shortly thereafter, as there are all different kinds of stimulation that you can have, and because tissue can become increasingly aroused with more contact if one avoids too much repetition or friction. But each body is different. So that abstaining works for you for sex and socially is swell! There's just no rule about masturbation, and that's largely the point. We each find our own way with it.

And just a gentle note on the largely heterosexual focus of nofap and your question: this is no different physiologically for females except that they have a higher incidence of responsive (rather than spontaneous) arousal, and female socialization can create a buffer against severe avoidance of others. I wanted to name that particularly because the fearful message about male masturbation can seriously contribute to sexism against boys and men. Neither your body nor your desire is inherently dangerous. Rejecting your emotional world by trying to shut it up with masturbation is. So just be an observer of what you feel and do, and cultivate your ability to connect to yourself and others in a variety of ways.

AstarteHilzarie2 karma

Why was the post removed? 0.o

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Reddit is being a little picky about my proof, which ultimately I appreciate for safety and privacy reasons. I'm chatting with them about it, and it will show up in IamA again soon. ;)

[deleted]2 karma


Heather_Brewer3 karma

It depends on the body in question. It can definitely be used as a way of increasing one's ability to tolerate excitation, or simply as a means to enjoy a really intense orgasm once you finally let yourself go. If you'd like to give me more context or hypotheticals, I'm happy to speak to those.

solisu1 karma

Do you think psychosexual therapy works with rehabilitating the criminally released?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Do you mean sex offenders?

Boxscape1 karma


Heather_Brewer2 karma

Only in the case where a sex therapist is also a sexual surrogate. A lot of somatic psychotherapy includes touch, but it is non-sexual (meaning that it is not intended to be arousing for either party). Surrogacy, on the other hand, is for very specific cases, and involves a surrogate as well as a psychotherapist. Sometimes it involves sex, and sometimes it doesn't. It just depends on the client's specific needs and circumstances. IPSA is the only recognized surrogacy provider, and they are highly trained to deal with the many considerations that exist when someone is interested in trying this. You can read more about it through their website, if you like (http://www.surrogatetherapy.org/).

rigal011 karma

Sometimes if I pee after masturbating or masturbaty while needing to go to the bathroom, my dick feels weird, its like I have extreme need of going to pee but only a drop of two comes out. Why is that ? Is there a way to aboid it ?

Also, during sex it takes too much time for me to cum, most of the times I have sex I don't even cum, we just get exhasuted. Any tip ?

P.D. Gay male here.

Heather_Brewer2 karma

Regarding the need to urinate, it sounds as though your urethra is becoming irritated or inflamed. To be safe, get a medical check-up and ask your doctor about this to rule out any acute or chronic physical problems. Irritation is more likely to occur when you are masturbating while needing to pee, because you have conflicted muscle physical needs going on: you need to pee, but aren't, and you need to relax to enjoy stimulation, but you can't or you'll pee. This irritation can also happen from prolonged stimulation, as well, so if you've stimulated yourself for more than say an hour (the length of time just depends on your particular body, so you know best), then that could explain it. If you're engaging in anal play, you could be managing to put some pressure on your bladder, in which case you may be leaving your bladder confused about all the pushing when it has very little to offer up. Anal play with a partner is another reason to be sure to have a medical check-up, as well, as it's possible to get a bit of feces in your urethra, which can cause a UTI.

Ok, and then to your second question, it sounds as though it may just be tough to let go. Since your former question tells me that you might be accustomed to holding tension in your muscles, my intuition is that it's difficult to fully relax. It seems counter-intuitive, but an orgasm requires relaxation. And that includes emotional relaxation. Take a look at some information on the orgastic cycle (http://heatherbrewermft.com/blog/?p=105), and see where you may be getting hung up. And let me add that while orgasms are pretty awesome, there's a lot of lovely stuff going on during partner sex. You may want to practice enjoying all the different sensations and emotions that can be felt with you're having sex with another person. Not only do you not want to be skipping over those and thus cheating yourself out of a fully experience, tuning in that way can add to the building of charge that will push you over the "event horizon" (thank you to the Redditer who gave us that great term!).

oh_by_the_gods1 karma

Pre-story: My super christian mother kept me in total oblivion, no sexual education at all, except of horrors that await me in hell for touching myself or look at naked women. All of the pain I endured those years, when my junk was on fire, and sometimes I did masturbate. I had terrible soul self-torture after that. I didn't know the difference between boys and girls till 11+ age. Now I have an erectile disfunction and can't perform without help of viagra (in most cases).

The question is: how do I overcome my problem? I connect my case of ED with my childhood. Do you agree that they are connected?

Heather_Brewer2 karma

I'm so glad that you've already done some work to come out from under all of that difficult stuff. Your struggle to get erections now is undoubtedly related, which I would have suggested even if you hadn't. The body is really good at listening to its environment, and yours has been hostile towards erections. As you continue to make it internally safe to become aroused and to masturbate or have sex, you will likely find that your ED diminishes. If you are not already working with someone to process these beliefs put upon you, I highly recommend that you do so. It can be especially helpful to explore with a therapist your mother's upbringing to understand the context for the way she raised you when it comes to sex. Her stuff is her stuff, not yours. Learned that in your body.

And when you masturbate, which you can do flaccid, relax as much as possible. Listen for those unhelpful voices that pop up in your head. Tell them to shush, and return your awareness to the pleasurable sensations of being in your body. Do this repeatedly. Your body learned to avoid erections slowly over time, so be patient as your body gathers the proof it needs to unlearn that.

UGunnaFinishThatEh-12 karma


Heather_Brewer3 karma

How what? :)