Get Dirty While You Get Clean With Bathtub Masturbation
Bathtubs are an essential part of many self-care routines, helping people regulate sleep, elevate mood levels and release anxiety. Bathtubs can also help one discover an even greater release.
Oakland-based sex and pleasure educator Tuck Malloy remembered their own bodily awakening as a tween experiencing the powerful force of the faucet: “It was this pivotal moment for me that you can use tools to create really amazing sensations.” Their experience playing in the water led them to feel safe and eager to experiment with vibrators as a teen.
Discovering your body in the tub is common for many people—you're naked, after all. California-based toy educator and intimacy expert Miyoko has worked with many people who likewise found their erogenous zones in the bathtub for the first time under running water.
“I think a lot of people are more comfortable that way because they haven't quite established an intimate relationship with their bodies yet. So this way, they're allowed to experience sensations without actually touching themselves,” Miyoko said.
Water offers not only a space to learn for the first time but to heal from sexual shame or trauma surrounding self-love, as well.
“I think that is a special aspect, too, because masturbation is so shamed in our society, to have a space in which it feels really luxurious and special and sacred even, to be engaging with one's own body is so important,” Malloy said.
As simple as you want it to be
Lying in a tub, feel the sensations or stimulation of the water touching the different parts of you. Notice where you feel pleasure, notice what invites you to play further. You can remain in this space and allow the water to softly lap your body. If you want more, start by propping your legs up under the faucet, or up against the faucet-facing wall, and you can directly feel the pressure of the water running onto your clitoris. For greater comfort, get a removable shower head to play with varying levels of pressure, rhythms and angles.
Play is key here.
“There's a lot of playful memory that we have in our bodies with weightlessness and floating and just being pulled in different directions by the ocean or lakes and rivers. And I think a lot of that can translate just as easily in a bathtub or a shower,” Miyoko said.
Playtime does come with some best practices. Vulvae can be very sensitive to changing pH levels, including from any bacteria the water picks up from the surface of the tub. Depending on your personal sensitivities and tendencies toward yeast infections or urinary tract infections (UTIs), you should avoid adding any bubble baths or soaps. And as hot as it looks in a movie sequence, Jacuzzis are not safe for a vulva's pH balance owing to the chemicals used, Miyoko warned.
Discovering your body in the tub is common for many people—you're naked, after all.
Water washes away your natural lubrication, so things can get uncomfortable from too much friction without it. So Jenn Mason, the owner of Wink Wink, an identity-inclusive sex shop in Bellingham, Washington, makes certain her customers who want to go exploring in the water all take a silicone-based lube along for the ride. Silicone provides the most lubrication and won't wash away in the water.
Silicone lube does degrade silicone toys, though, so you will want to use vibrators or toys made from other materials.
“I feel like masturbating in the tub, in particular, is a great way to experiment with penetration, specifically for folks who experience any pain with penetration, whether emotionally or physically, because warm water can help relax your muscles and your pelvic floor,” Malloy said.
When you are shopping for bathtime toys, make sure they are waterproof, because anything “splashproof” isn't meant to be submerged. For a really wild ride, you can pair a new toy with a removable shower head.
Bathtime doesn't have to be solo
Miyoko added that for couples looking to play—or perhaps they want to experiment with having a third partner—water is an excellent addition. Having sex with a partner while the water provides additional external touch and interaction to both of your bodies can be an incredible experience to share.
Masturbation can be a safe and sacred experience and practice to center your body and your pleasure. A clean bathtub is a place for restoration with your favorite toy or your legs propped up under running water—your choice.