8 ways you never knew you could masturbate

Friday is the first day of the 20th annual National Masturbation Month.The holiday was started one year after Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the U.S. surgeon general at the time, was fired for saying that masturbation was “something that perhaps should be taught.”Which begs the question: How is our culture of getting off currently getting on?

“If one thing has really changed about self-pleasure, it’s that the stigma has been lifted,” says New York-based clinical psychologist and sexpert Dr. Belisa Vranich who advises everyone to mix up their routines this May. Currently, 7.9% of women between the ages of 25 and 29 masturbate two to three times per week versus 23.4% of men, according to Indiana University’s National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.

(Ladies, let’s please start catching up.)

Part of the reason the act is more acceptable now is that technology has collectively taken so many people far out of their comfort zones. Think about it, Vranich says: Skype sex is just two people masturbating separated by computer screens. Being a cam girl is an actual career path. And revenge porn is essentially built from a collection of snaps sent of — and for — people masturbating.

“Not to mention, there’s also this uber-narcissistic selfie-sex trend,” she says. On Instagram, people not only tag #aftersex pics but are also known to stimulate themselves to these exhibitionistic me-me-memories as well.

“I’m not recommending people play with themselves — or with each other — in any way they don’t feel comfortable with,” Vranich says. “But all of these different inventions and new takes on masturbation will, if anything, open people’s minds — and maybe their genitals — to new forms of pleasure. That’s what healthy self-stimulation should do: gently take you out of your comfort zone to see how many wonderful possibilities sex — even with yourself — can truly provide.”

We asked Vranich for eight unexpected takes on pleasuring ourselves.

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