One thing nearly everyone has in common is that we engage in some form of self-pleasure on occasion. Personally, I make time every Saturday (not only Saturday but always Saturday) for a good self-love session. While some people are as uncomfortable with the act of masturbation as the word itself, others discuss it over cocktails at the gin bar on a Sunday evening, just like my girlfriends and I did recently. Wherever you find yourself, chances are your game can be improved upon.
I am a woman in my 30s writing to see if you have any ideas to prolong masturbation (I orgasm too quickly) and how to avoid the comedown. After sex, even though I don’t come from it, I enjoy cuddling and feel soothed. After masturbating, I feel a lingering emptiness that I don’t enjoy.
-HELP ME LOVE MYSELF
First, I want you to know that you are so not alone in this and in case you don’t already know, there are actually multiple clinical names for this kind of comedown: post-coital tristesse, post-coital dysphoria and post-sex blues are just a few, and all refer to those lingering negative feelings like sadness, melancholy and depression that can arise after orgasm. Although research is ultimately limited, a 2022 scientific study found that, though rare, post-orgasm melancholy occurs more in women than men. Women’s health—especially sexual health—is never high on the list of things to be researched, so who knows if we’ll ever have answers. Having said that, I do have some thoughts I think might help.
Something that stands out to me is how you say you don’t experience these feelings with a partner. While things like cuddling do indeed release all of those yummy feel-good hormones (oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin!), if you aren’t actually orgasming during sex, you’re likely not experiencing the same dysphoria you do when you masturbate and orgasm.
You must go way up to come way back down—or whatever Michelle Obama said (just making sure you’re paying attention), and I think it is more likely there is a connection between how you’re getting yourself off and the emptiness you feel when it’s over. You may very well be coming too quickly and feeling let down because the act itself is the only thing you’re deriving pleasure from while it’s happening.
So, I have what could feel like new-agey bullshit homework for you: I want you to carve out some uninterrupted time a day or two a week to really connect with and celebrate your sexual energy. Maybe you’re in a bubble bath with your favorite candles lit, listening to some Frank Ocean. Maybe you’re naked between a set of satin sheets with the soft glow of a salt lamp and relaxing scent of essential oils in the air. Wherever you are, I want you to surround yourself with beautiful things that not only entice your senses but remind you pleasure is expansive and doesn’t just happen from coming. Take time to explore your body with your hands—or better yet, with something that gives you a new sensation, like feathers. Not only do I think this weekly practice might amplify and extend your orgasms when you’re ready to have them, but your comedown will be a gentle ride back down, immersed in sensation and beauty rather than a crash landing from a rush job in a dark room.
I’ve used the Rabbit [vibrator] for the last two decades, but I’m ready to branch out and try new toys. How do I know what I will like and where do I start?
-SPOILED FOR CHOICE
OK, first of all, it’s blowing my mind that the Rabbit made that oh-so famous Sex and the City debut in 1998! That feels like yesterday, so on one hand, I totally get why you’re still using it, but on the other, you’re about to have your world rocked.
If you want to shop strictly online, I suggest buying a variety of inexpensive toys from retailers like Adam & Eve or even Amazon so you can experiment and identify your evolving likes and dislikes while not spending too much. If you’re working with a decent budget, you can go straight to luxury sex toys from a brand like Bellesa or Bedroom Kandi. That way, you’ll get a toy that is not only high quality, but has multiple functions. I like Bellesa’s Airvibe, which has vibration, suction and G-spot stimulation. It can also be used as a dildo in a pinch.
If you are comfortable seeking out toys in-person, I recommend Modern Aphrodite in Santa Fe at 1701 Lena St., Ste. C, (owned by literal sexologist Anne Ridley) or Self Serve in Albuquerque. Both have amazing staff ready to help you on your journey into the 21st century sex toy universe. Really, being able to experience pleasure fully is a gift we can and should give ourselves but, it is so often overlooked. In a world where there is no shortage of bad sex, remember why we’re doing this in the first place. Having modern equipment can only help.
Layla Asher is a local sex worker on a mission to spread radical self love to her community and the world. Want to ask your local sex worker their expert opinion on something? Let’s have a sex-positive conversation that keeps respect and confidentiality at the forefront and judgment a thing of the past. Please submit your questions to email@example.com and include an alias that protects your anonymity.