Sex Expert Explains Why Guided Self-Pleasure Is The Secret To Better Sex With A Partner

Masturbation is a completely natural human behavior. In ancient times, this healthy act of self-pleasure was not only discussed but it was also celebrated (via Psychology Today). Scenes of masturbation were painted on the walls of cave dwellers. The Egyptian creation myth even describes how the god Atum masturbated the universe into existence.

But for much of American history, pleasuring one's self has been considered sinful or even a mental disorder. And although the American Medical Association removed that clinical diagnosis in 1972, per Psychology Today, the misinformation and shame surrounding masturbation still remain. That includes the myth that masturbation can prevent you from enjoying partnered sex.

The List spoke exclusively with sex expert Angie Rowntree, award-winning Founder and Director of, the premier destination for sex-positive, ethical porn made from a woman's point of view, about combating this pervasive idea. She tells The List, "In our 'sexperience,' we find that women who know how to please themselves have a much easier time being confident in their partnered sex life." Research from 2020 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine confirms this: Women whose partnered sex reflects their masturbation preferences report greater sexual satisfaction.

So what exactly is guided self-pleasure and how can it help your partnered sex life? 

Guided masturbation: all the benefits plus extra perks

If run-of-the-mill masturbation is the gold standard for sexual well-being, guided masturbation is a five-star luxury experience. The dozens of guided masturbation sessions on Angie Rowntree's are 15 to 60-minute audio stories where a male voice with a gentle British accent instructs the female listener in a number of ways of touching — and not touching — all the right places.

These intimate, ASMR listening sessions provide "all the benefits of 'regular' self-pleasure, plus some extra," Rowntree tells The List. "Just as masturbation, in general, can make you more aware of how your body responds and what feels pleasurable, guided masturbation can also inspire you to explore new erogenous zones or fantasies," she says.

By focusing on what you're feeling and imagining, you can investigate new horizons for self-pleasure — all of which translate to better sex with others. "If you struggle sometimes with your sexual self-image, confidence, or have a hard time 'letting go' in bed, guided masturbation is yet another valuable tool to help you relax and consider your body from another perspective." When you "invest in your own pleasure," she adds, the return benefits you and your partner — truly a win-win situation.

Knowing what you like gives you confidence with a partner

After exploring yourself and the audio journeys available on Angie Rowntree's, you'll bring a newfound sense of self-possession to your sex life. And when you choose to engage again with a partner, your guided masturbation experiences can help you "take control of your pleasure," says Rowntree. This, in turn, can "bolster your self-confidence and help you to open up to your partner about what your broader desires are and what you want in bed."

If the idea of translating those desires into words leaves you tongue-tied instead of French-kissed, don't fret! Rowntree says you don't need to be the most verbal person to communicate your needs to your partner. She advises women that "you can always show off some of your signature solo 'moves' to your partner as part of foreplay."

Better yet, take matters into your own hands — literally. Grab onto your partner and "'guide' them (Ha! See what we did there?) to your sweet spots," adds Rowntree gleefully. Before long you'll be sharing the secret with everyone you know: guided self-pleasure is good for you, in more than one way.