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Welcome to Good Sex, POPSUGAR’s twice-monthly essay series featuring people’s hottest, horniest experiences. Whether you’re looking for some new ideas to bring back to the bedroom or you just want a voyeuristic thrill, Good Sex has you covered. Want to share your own lip-biter? Email with your story. By submitting, you are acknowledging that you have read and agree to our Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions.

I’ve struggled with body dysmorphia nearly my entire life. Growing up with a twin sister half my size with boobs twice my size, I was constantly compared to her and reminded of my insecurities. I’ll never forget when one student in my class asked me what it felt like to be “the ugly twin,” and that was when I realized people thought there was more value in my appearance than me as my own individual person.

Since then, I’ve spent the last few years of my life traveling the world alone in an attempt to learn how to love myself – and it’s worked, for the most part. When I look at the scar on my knee, I remember the epic surf session I had in Brazil. When I notice the extra rolls on my stomach, I remember the gorgonzola gnocchi I ate in Italy. And when I look at the freckles on my face I once hated, I remember all the days I spent in front of the Australian sun.

But I still struggle from time to time. And every now and then, I have rough days or weeks when I’m really just going through it.

Recently, I had been in one of these low self-esteem moods – maybe because I had been comparing myself to others again, or maybe because I had seen something on social media to make me feel insecure. But I couldn’t quite identify the trigger. And that’s when I knew it was time to try tantric masturbation.

As a level-three reiki practitioner, I became interested in tantric sex and masturbation when I learned about how beneficial it could be in connecting my mind, body, and soul. The idea is to awaken and align the chakras to consciously connect to otherworldly divinity. To really be in your body and fully feel the flow of energies.

The goal of tantric sex is not to orgasm but, rather, to just be. It’s deeply engaging in sensorial stimulation of all sorts. So when I finally made time to commit myself to this practice, I didn’t reach for my vibrator as I normally would. I knew my vibrator could make me come in seconds, but I didn’t want it to be over so quickly. I wanted to really dedicate the evening to loving myself.

So I first set an intention: to strengthen my self-love via tantric masturbation. Then, I made my bed to create a sacred and safe space for myself to explore tantric territory. I cleared the clutter in my room and burned some incense to relax my mind.

My tantric touch felt fiercely feminine and freeing. There was something about touching myself that felt empowering – like I didn’t need any validation from anyone else to tell me that my body is beautiful. All I needed was my own love.

After setting the scene, I stepped into the shower and started adjusting the temperature, noticing how the different settings toyed with me. The cold water stiffened my nipples, while the warm water penetrated the skin on the back of my neck.

I then played with the pressure of the detachable shower head between my legs, circling my clit with a teasing torrent of warm water. I could have orgasmed from that feeling alone, but I didn’t want to come quickly. Rather, I wanted to dive into the depths of why I thought I wasn’t deserving of love or not beautiful enough.

While in the shower, I started writing loving affirmations on the steamy glass door.

“I am lovable. I am loved. I am love,” I wrote.

When I stepped out of the shower, I took a few minutes to meet myself in the mirror. I stood there vulnerable in my nudity for 10 minutes staring at my reflection until I found myself reframing my toxic thoughts into kind ones.

When I got to my room, I melted into a meditation to release the thoughts that didn’t serve me.

“My belly is too fat” turned into “I love my rolls.”

“My thighs touch too much” turned into “My thighs help me move my body.”

By touching each part of myself I didn’t love, I convinced myself that these same places were both lovable and worthy.

I lightly grazed my moist skin, giving loving attention to every part of my body – my stretch-marked thighs, my belly rolls, my sensitive nipples. I wasn’t thinking about orgasming. Instead, I was appreciating the curves and creases of my body that had always bothered me.

My tantric touch felt fiercely feminine and freeing. There was something about touching myself that felt empowering – like I didn’t need any validation from anyone else to tell me that my body is beautiful. All I needed was my own love.

Over time, my breaths became deeper and louder, with little moans escaping my lips. I started to sway my hips in sync with my movements, arching my back and thrusting my pelvis, taking in every bit of pleasure it brought my body until I found myself in a releasing climax. Pressing my palm against my clitoris, there was something so satisfying about softly pushing and pulling the clitoral wings that made me feel like I could fly with them.

Although this wasn’t the most intense orgasm I’d ever had, it was the most impactful one I’ve experienced yet. It felt beautiful, slow, sacred, and special. It was a culmination of a journey to untethered tantric love for and of myself. The kind of self-love that I hope permeates through my partnered experiences, too.

As I looked at my body following the orgasm, I noticed just how beautiful I was. And that’s when I realized that insecurities are exactly that: insecurities. They’re valid, but they’re also not real outside of my own head. The quiver in my legs and pounding of my heart, somehow, felt like a confirmation of that.