Mindful Masturbation Could Take Your Sex Life to the Next Level—Here’s How to Do It

For better sex and less stress

mindful masturbation illustration of woman in a bathtub

You’ve heard of mindfulness, or working toward being more present and in the moment, but have you heard of mindful masturbation? It’s basically taking the principals of mindfulness and incorporating them into masturbation to make the experience more pleasurable. We checked in with therapist and author Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., to learn more about the benefits of mindful masturbation and how to try it out ourselves.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist and an emeritus professor at the University of Florida. For more than 30 years, Mintz has maintained a small private practice, working with both individuals and couples on general and sexual issues. She’s also the author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—and How to Get It, and a LELO expert.

What Is Mindful Masturbation?

Mintz explains, “Mindful masturbation is the marrying of two powerful health enhancing habits—mindfulness and masturbation—to make the latter even more pleasurable and to learn the former at an even deeper level.” Just like it sounds, mindful masturbation is when one engages in self-pleasure while being mindful. “Mindfulness is when the mind and body are in the same place (as opposed to when our body is doing one thing, and our mind is thinking of another),” Mintz tells us. “It is when we engage fully in the sensations of the moment. During mindfulness, when thoughts inevitably occur, we let them go without judgement.”

Per Mintz, the benefits of mindful masturbation are plentiful, and include:

  • More pleasure
  • More intense orgasms (if orgasms occur)
  • A better awareness of one’s body and what feels good and what doesn’t
  • For those plagued with guilt or shame about masturbation, a lessening of those negative feelings
  • Reduced stress
  • Better sleep

Can Mindful Masturbation Have Positive Effects on Partnered Sex, Too?

You bet it can. “First, mindful masturbation will help individuals (especially women, whose pleasure is often ignored or misrepresented culturally) learn what feels good to them,” Mintz tells us, explaining that knowing what you like alone is essential to getting what you like with a partner.  “Additionally, during partner sex, individuals are often distracted by thoughts (e.g., how they look, if their partner is enjoying themselves) and having practiced mindfulness skills when alone will aid in using them during partner sex in order to let such thoughts go without judgement and re-focus on the sensations of the moment. In my book, Becoming Cliterate, I say that ‘mindfulness is sex’s best friend,’ and this goes for solo and partnered sex.”

OK, So How Do You Mindfully Masturbate?

Before getting to the masturbation part, Mintz recommends developing a daily mindfulness practice via an app like Calm or Headspace, or by practicing mindfulness during daily tasks like brushing your teeth or washing your hands.  (You can do this by fully immersing yourself in the senses of the experience—the feeling of the toothbrush, the taste of the toothpaste, etc.—and then when thoughts occur, bring them back to the senses and sensations.)

Then, apply this mindset to self-pleasure.  Here are some of Mintz’s tips for doing this successfully:

  • Slowing things down: Take more time than usual to immerse in your sensations.
  • Start by touching all over first, then moving to erogenous zones that are not genital (i.e., inner thighs, breasts) and subsequently moving to genitals.
  • Let go of the goal of orgasm and make the aim simply immersing yourself in pleasure.
  • If you use a toy, perhaps try your hands and if you use your hands, maybe try a toy.  New sensations may help you focus.
  • Keep an attitude of curiosity: What feels good and what doesn’t?  Simply observe this without judgement

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...