Review your beliefs about masturbation and self-pleasure… Is it something that only ‘other’ people do? Is it a second choice to sex with another person? Is it something you can only do on your own? Can you only do it if you have a sex toy to play with? Once you’ve identified your beliefs, you can explore them a little bit more: where (or who) did this belief come from? Does it serve you to keep believing it? What might you choose to believe about masturbation and self-pleasure instead?

Include your whole body – not just your genitals – in your pleasure. Experiment with touching parts of your body with different kinds of touch. What feels good? What do you want more of? Touch yourself with the hands of a lover.

Give yourself permission to include self-touch and self-pleasure as part of your wellbeing routine. There are numerous benefits to self-pleasure. Some people find it helps them reduce feelings of stress and sleep better, for others the benefits may include feeling better about their body image or rebuilding feelings of safety around touch. Whatever benefits it brings you, know that you have permission to include this in your life just as you would attending a yoga class, reading a self-development book, or going for a walk in nature.

Normalise using lubricant for solo (and partnered) sex. Choose one that is body safe, doesn’t contain any parabens or other ingredients that could upset the delicate pH balance and sensitive tissues of your genital area. I recommend Yes Organics and Sutil (both available from JoDivine.com).

Try new things! Don’t get stuck in a masturbation rut – always using the same technique may feel like a reliable way to get yourself off, but we learn more about our body’s pleasure by experimenting with new things. This is especially important as our body changes over time: things that used to feel good may no longer feel that way, and there may be new ways of experiencing pleasure that your body has opened up to.

What happens if you broaden your definition of ‘pleasure’? Think about all the moments in your day when you could pause to notice pleasure: the first sip of morning coffee, waking up to the sound of birdsong, pulling on a favourite pair of comfy pants… We can build our pleasure receptors by noticing and appreciating these everyday moments.

Involve all your senses. Do you make sounds when you make out with yourself? Have you ever tasted yourself? What about your sixth sense? What does your intuitive self want you to know about how to experience pleasure? (Curious to find the answer to this one? Try my guided meditation: Meet your Sexual Self)

And, finally, if you never feel like masturbating or it’s simply not something you feel you want or need in your life, that’s fine too. You get to choose. Pleasure (in its broadest sense) is important, however, so how else might you include things in your day that light you up and make you feel good?