Each time I touch myself, I resist notions about my inability to love myself, and to be delicate or vulnerable.

-Anonymous

by Anonymous

There was a time in my life when I had no idea what an orgasm was or how I could experience one. Over time and throughout encounters with different partners, I eventually learned how it feels  to climax and how to get myself to do so. Even better than learning how to orgasm with a partner, was learning how to without one.

The art of masturbation is one that I have grown to accept and embrace only in the last few years. Now, I masturbate at least twice a week and sometimes as frequently as three times a day.

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I see this act of pleasuring myself as one of my greatest forms of resistance and self-care as a Black woman

Each time I touch myself, I resist notions about my inability to love myself, and to be delicate or vulnerable. Self-pleasure has become one of my means of escape from a world that denies me peace and satisfaction on a daily basis, and I won’t stop ‘til I get enough.

I received my first vibrator from a friend in my first year of college, but I had no idea what to do with it. I remember waiting until my roommate was gone, turning it on, changing the vibration speeds and attempting to penetrate myself with it. Fail.

I tried multiple times and failed miserably to make it feel good. Eventually I gave up, and swore off vibrators and self-pleasure. At least with a partner I could feel good and even have an orgasm.

Three years ago, I stopped taking my antidepressants and anxiety medication because I had been convinced by the rhetoric about becoming permanently dependent on something that only served a “temporary purpose.” After taking daily doses for a little over a year and a half, I stopped and felt okay.

I felt okay until the urge for something more began to creep up. Something that I typically only experienced during sex with a partner. I needed to cum.

My obstacle at the time was a monogamous long-distance relationship. Sex wasn’t an option for most of the year, and this had left me feeling horny and unfulfilled. I later found out that one of the side effects of discontinuing my medication was a severe and sudden increase in my libido.

One night, as I lay in bed, I remembered the dildo that had been given to me as a gag gift thar that sat waiting in my dresser drawer. I remembered there was a vibrating cock ring I had purchased for my partner waiting there, too.

I laughed to myself as I remember my dorm room failure with the vibrator. Trying either of the toys in my dresser would likely prove to be unsuccessful as well, but I decided that it couldn’t hurt to try.

I started with some porn this time. I stimulated my clitoris with my fingers, using my own saliva as a lubricant to begin, turned on my vibrating ring and placed it between my labia. Guiding the ring with patience, I eventually found where it felt right. That night, I touched myself in ways that I never had, and before I knew it, I was making myself cum.

For the first time in my life, I had succeeded at pleasuring myself, and all I wanted was to keep practicing at it until I could make myself orgasm with ease and skill almost effortlessly.

It’s been three years since that fateful night when parts of my self-discovery and fulfillment intersected and I found magic. The thought of pleasuring myself had felt daunting for years,and finally getting past those reservations has helped to keep me balanced in the world I am living in as a Black woman.

Though I’ve never really admitted this to anyone, I feel something so powerful about knowing myself sexually and being able to give myself pleasure whenever I want or need it.

I credit masturbation with teaching me many lessons about myself and life in general. It has taught me how to be satisfied with it just being me and being with me. As someone who is currently single and has been for quite some time, I often forget the benefits of solitude, especially when it comes to learning about myself. Touching myself helps to remind me of those benefits.

To be quite frank, when it comes to my sexual pleasure, no one does it better than me. Learning to masturbate has boosted my self-confidence and taught me how to be gentle with myself. My worst critic is myself in most aspects of my life, but when it comes to masturbation, I am able to give myself the credit and the praise that I am usually not able to accept so easy, if at all.

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Masturbation has taught me how to embrace my body and love myself, how to take ownership of what I enjoy and to feel free enough to take it. I need to make myself cum.

I need it on the days when I don’t truly appreciate my dark skin or the visible stretch marks on my tummy. The days when I refuse to stare at myself in mirror for too long. The days when I make it out of bed and people still try to police my body and my Blackness. I need it on days when it doesn’t feel like America will give my people a fucking break. When I masturbate, it’s not just for pleasure, it’s also a coping mechanism.

Black women deserve to cum. I deserve to cum on my best days and my worst days and every day in between.

So, I will continue to touch, rub, lick, tickle, and squeeze myself for my sexual, mental, and emotional pleasure and well-being. Because every time I do, I feel I am actively resisting this world which too often tells me that I am undeserving of it.