Hi Yana,

I’ve been single for two years now and haven’t engaged in any partnered sexual activity throughout that time. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for adding excitement for one’s masturbation practice? I recently got a new vibrator which is great and a lesbian erotica anthology that I like. Any porn collectives you are a fan of?


“Dancing” with Myself


Dear “Dancing,”

A fresh, charged up, moan-inducing, creative, and satisfying masturbation practice is crucial to your sexual single life. Yet, even in the age of the Tinder-based casual sexual “revolution” where the slutty swiping has been rightly de-stigmatized, the solo-swiping of masturbation is still something we don’t talk about enough!

Masturbation (and the orgasms that may come with it!) is something that has a lot of benefits! No risk of STI/STD transmission or pregnancy! Releases stress, relieves PMS symptoms, and helps you sleep! Gives you space and permission to try new things or new fantasies without an audience! No sex toy voting process! Gets the libido flowing during a dry spell because when it comes to sexual desire, practice can make perfect! A much better way to kill a few minutes than mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed!!

Most people stall out in making their self-lovin schedule exciting because they keep it too predictable. Most of us have sexual routines that come standard to us: we like this position, with the vibrator on this setting, for this much time, watching one of our three favorite porno clips (because let’s be real, no one watches a porn scene from start to finish without skipping to the good parts).

While it’s great to have your sexual standard in your pocket for when the time is tight and the moment is right, if you’re looking to create your masturbation practice as your main mode of sexual expression, you’ve got to put in the effort.

Do a Yes/No/Maybe list for yourself to get the creative (and hopefully other) juices flowing about things you might want to try that you haven’t thought of yet. Expand your options by releasing yourself from the assumption that only certain sexy things can be done alone and others can only be done with a partner.

For example, if you have an interest in kinky play, you can certainly throw a collar and some nipple clamps on yourself. Learn a new rope tie for your ankles and tie them up your damn self (just y’know, keep your circulation in mind and the safety scissors/phone within reach). Invest in hands-free toys that can bring the illusion of partnered play into the mix like the Liberator pillow that has a handy holster for your Hitachi Magic Wand or a suction-cup dildo that can stick to your shower tiles.

Learn to anticipate sex with yourself like you might anticipate sex with a date. Play with extending your orgasm with edging (holding off on the brink of orgasm and backing off it/taking a break, and then repeating that cycle so that your orgasm ends up being more intense). Or, tease yourself all day with fantasies or sneaking little porn views in the bathroom without letting yourself give into the excitement until you get home.

Of course, sex toys can really mix things up and in lots of different directions — think anal toys, fancy lubes, lingerie, and niche sensation toys like the Satisfyer which is a funky vibrator-type toy designed to mimic cunnlingus.

As for porn collectives to check out, if LGBTQ+ is your genre, my favorites of the moment are films by IG @aortafilmswillneverdie, IG @crashpadseries, IG @erikalust, locally-made porn like TrainingOfPoe.Tumblr.Com and films by Beautiful Revenge Productions (see pinklabel.tv), and the vast network of indie porn being made by performers all over Instagram (follow the hashtags!).

Finally, if you enjoy ethically-made, female-, and queer- produced porn, don’t forget to pay for it and put your money where your orgasms are!

Yana Tallon-Hicks is a relationship therapist, sex educator, and writer living in the Pioneer Valley. You can find her work and her professional contact information on her website, yanatallonhicks.com.