From Dragons to Dongs
Sex advice can often be daunting in scope: buy this thing, have this conversation, get a babysitter, set a mood. Money, time, circumstances, and other people can complicate the execution of a seemingly simple desire. One of the things I like most about masturbation is that it’s pretty low stakes: you don’t need much time, you don’t need to talk or flirt or look a certain way—and even though there are now many fantastic feminist sex shops selling all kinds of self-pleasuring toys, you don’t need any of it. You do, however, need to be generous with yourself: tune into your desire and deem it worthy enough of a little time and attention; allow yourself to be the one who provides this attention; and if you approach it mindfully, you can learn quite a lot.
I went to my first guided meditation last week at a friend’s yoga studio. There we were, seventy people crowded into a room lying on our backs in dim light, with closed eyes, grasping smooth shards of jade. We were led through a forest and then told to imagine a dragon. Sure, I had read about dragons and seen plenty of representations of dragons, but I had never really imagined a dragon. I conjured up a gorgeous black dragon, with smooth, iridescent skin and feathery soft tufts of hair at the end of its tail and above its huge black eyes. I touched the dragon and could vividly imagine how cool and supple its skin was. It was a sensual and expressive experience and I wasn’t touching anyone, just my piece of jade.
Aside from this guided meditation experience, the other times I had visualized anything quite so viscerally as an adult were when I was masturbating: recalling the wetness of a tongue, the motion of hips, the warmth of another body or bodies. Both with the dragon meditation and my masturbation fantasies, I’m shocked at how pliable and open my mind can be if I give it some space and focus. Much the same way meditation can unlock fresh neural gateways leading to higher planes of cognition and creativity, I think masturbation holds some important keys as well.