The difference between self-pleasure & masturbation

There’s so much more to intimacy than we were taught. Most people describe their early pleasure experiences of being quick, rushed and disembodied, so we thought we’d share with you five differences between self-pleasure and masturbation.



MASTURBATION is defined as stimulation of the genitals only and is inherently ‘sexual’

SELF PLEASURE is defined as the giving of pleasure to oneself. It is less genital focused and is inclusive of the whole body as well as feelings and thoughts that may arise.



MASTURBATION tends to have a start and a finish. Most commonly finishing with orgasm

SELF PLEASURE is more fluid, gently starting and drawing to a natural ending marked by nothing specific, but your own intention or ritualised completion.



MASTURBATION often has a goal – orgasm

SELF PLEASURE holds so much more potential beyond climax. It’s an opportunity to connect with your body, release emotion, experience the nuances of touch and discover new pathways for pleasure. Sometimes to experience more pleasure, we need to feel the pain that is blocking it.

Self pleasure creates space for this because you are giving your presence to what is arising moment to moment.



MASTURBATION can be more reactive.. sexual energy building to the point of distraction, needing release.

SELF PLEASURE is an invitation to be intentional. An opportunity to thoughtfully create a self care practice, explore your body and experience pleasure.



MASTURBATION is commonly linked to porn and fantasy, which takes you out of your body and into the mental space.

SELF PLEASURE can be very embodied, encompassing breath, sound, touch, movement and intention deepening into self intimacy. The pleasure state available from this place of embodiment is rich and expansive, compared to a quick, porn fuelled climax.

If you want to explore self pleasure, why not try these simple tips to help you create more intention around your pleasure and mindfulness around your body.

  • Try a self pleasure session without genital touch. Curiously approach the many other areas of your body and see what new pathways to pleasure present. In the absence of the obvious, its surprising what other opportunities emerge!

  • Try romancing yourself. Write your body a letter, use massage oils and sensual culinary delights to immerse yourself in an embodied experience of tactile enjoyment and seduction.

  • Allow your body to move in a way that feels good. If you experience any blockages or moments of pain, breathe through the discomfort and find ways to care for yourself with touch and gentleness.

  • Set an intention for what you are desiring to manifest. Offer your pleasure to this as a way of anchoring your desires to take physical form.

  • Provide your own aftercare. Allow space to integrate your experience, ground and nourish. Cleanse yourself slowly and mindfully. Nurture yourself with nourishment and hydration. Journal for any insights or epiphanies that your self pleasure may reveal. Allow space for rest.