My business manager told me that when she tells people she works for a sex coach, people say “Oh, so like a relationship therapist?” Coaching and therapy are very different (and this is one of the most common misunderstandings about the work I do), but what I find really interesting is the assumption that the only people who need help with their sex lives are couples. I have a different take on sex and singlehood than the late Helen Gurly Brown did, and I can also appreciate that she was willing to at least talk about it at a time when few people would! (It’s an erroneous assumption, by the way–almost 75% of my private clients over the last 2 years started working with me when they were single.)

I’m not surprised, because unfortunately, our culture depicts “real sex” as something that only happens with a partner. Masturbation is seen as the recourse of single folks, desperate people who can’t find someone to be with. (I think the shame is more intense for men, too – accusing a man of ‘needing’ a Fleshlight because he can’t get a girlfriend still has the potential to wound, while vibrators and female masturbation have become more acceptable.) And yet as my mentor Betty Dodson says, masturbation is the foundation of all sexual activity.

When you start thinking about masturbation as an essential part of your sexual self-expression, you get motivated to take responsibility for your pleasure. For instance, that might include learning about your anatomy and sexual rhythms so that you can experience pleasure and orgasm without depending on someone else to do it for you. I want to take a stand against the cultural BS that says “real sex”, “good sex”, “legitimate sex” are only certain sex acts performed by certain people in certain combinations. That attitude erases so many possibilities of erotic exchange, and it obliterates the primary sexual relationship in your life, which is the sexual relationship you have with yourself.

Our culture sees sexuality as something that gets activated when you get into a relationship, like a switch that turns on and allows a current of flirtation, seduction, playfulness and hotness to flow into your life. But I see sexuality as our core energy, our life force: a fire that’s always present. Sometimes it blazes brightly, sometimes it settles down to embers, and sometimes it needs to be reignited, but it’s always there. Your ability to ride those waves of hotness, desire, playfulness and sexual deliciousness is not dependent on being with someone else. It all comes from within YOU.

Do you take responsibility for your pleasure and orgasms?

Do you accept and love your body?

Do you do things for yourself that indulge your senses and immerse you in pleasure?

Do you flirt for the sake of flirting?

Do you follow your creative impulses?

Do you spend time just allowing yourself to dream and to feel your desire?

Do you do something every day to honor your sexuality?

Do you read a steamy story or watch sexy movies now and again just to enjoy sexual energy?

I love it when clients come to me while single, clear that they want to develop and work on their own sexual power and expression, ready to embrace their sexuality in a new way that isn’t about a partner. I think it speaks volumes to who they are in the world and how they want to be. And really, there are many sexual perks to the single life…I can say that confidently from a place of singlehood I have been enjoying tremendously for the last three years. It’s so much fun and it can be so joyful to connect to your sexuality forYOU, on YOUR terms in the ways YOU see fit!

So this week, do something sexy-fun just for you. You don’t even have to tell anyone about it.