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7 Tips for "Thinking Yourself Off"

To make an already long post a bit shorter, I’ll just start by saying: I can think myself off. I started doing this when I began fantasizing, around age 12 or 13. I was actually a sophomore in high school when I learned that masturbation typically involves touching yourself. I had no idea. For me, orgasm was more intense if I didn’t move at all whilst partaking in my “mind trick,” so I never even tried masturbating with touch until I was in college. While I’m not a sex therapist or biologist, I have been thinking myself off for a long time and have a bit of expertise. Everyone is different, and this is certainly coming from my view as a bisexual female. But here are 7 things I would tell people who would like to explore the possibility of “psycholagny” or “thinking themselves off” via fantasy or sexual energy alone and no physical/genital stimulation. 

1. Give yourself some space.
Most people want to think themselves off in order to have orgasms all the time, randomly, in front of other people who have no idea. On the bus, in the doctor’s office, at work, etc,, etc. Unfortunately, in my experience, things aren’t so easy. I can’t think myself off in front of other people. I have to be alone, or my husband has to be in a deep sleep. I also cannot drum up my mind trick if I’m having sex and it’s just not working. So my advice to people is to begin by yourself, in a comfortable place, with no distractions. You might even venture to keep it a “secret” for awhile, so you don’t have another person constantly asking, “Did it work yet?” Also, strengthening your fantasy skills might help you reach climax more often during sex, but don’t treat “thinking yourself off” as a tool for always having orgasms during sex.

2. Make sure your mind and body are well.
I have tried my mind trick while I was stressed out, but it failed. I find when I’m not feeling the best or my mind has a lot going on, I don't have the energy to reach an orgasm. So keep in mind that even though you aren’t moving, your mental and physical energy will be taxed when you think yourself off. Of course, I am disabled and deal with things like nerve pain and fatigue. Thinking myself off has led to relief during long stretches of chronic pain and I've even gotten off when sick. But I've had a lot of practice. If you have a lot of pain, fantasy may help you relax and feel good so begin with that goal. Don't focus on orgasm so much you lose the benefits of relaxation and pleasure. Go for the gold when you are feeling well, whatever well means for you personally.

3. Follow your body’s natural sexual response.
Even when I think myself off, my body follows the same sexual pattern: I get aroused then I plateau two or three times. Sometimes I keep the same fantasy, but often I switch fantasies two or three times before climax. Though I’m not moving, my body will be very tense at orgasm so I have to mindfully tell my body to relax. I imagine all my joints are coming unhinged (a tip I read in a magazine once that has been highly effective). My mind trick generally takes about 15 minutes. Learn your own responses. If it takes you longer to climax during sex or masturbation, it will take just as long when thinking yourself off. I find my mind trick works best if I’m laying on my stomach, which in a way mirrors some of my favorite sexual positions.

4. Use kinky fantasy or very strong sexual triggers.
While some people can think themselves off by channeling sexual energy through meditation, I use fantasy. My suggestion for those just starting out is to use one of two potent fantasies: A kink/fetish or an early sexual experience. For many, these two things are great catalysts for getting them turned on and usually have the stamina to get them through to climax. Also try different scenarios in your mind: having things done to you, doing things to others, or “watching” people do things to each other.

5. Use other senses.
This is *kind of* cheating, but sometimes thinking yourself off in the shower or bathtub helps because your senses are being stimulated by heat and the scent of soap or lit candles. One thing I used to do was put body lotion on before bed because the scent ALWAYS turned me on and made it easy to get in the mood to think myself off. I have also revved myself up by eating ice cream or tea spiked with vanilla vodka. These tastes made me feel very sexy and devious. Which helps immensely when thinking yourself off.

6. Practice with porn or erotica.
Since I’m a fantasizer rather than a meditater, strengthening my fantasy skills was paramount. Luckily there’s lots of erotica and pornography to help you strengthen said skills. If you have only watched porn or read erotica, switch it up and practice masturbating or getting turned on by a different medium. Even if you masturbate with touch, use the time to be mindful of your responses and the senses you are using to set a good precedent to look back on when you start going hands-free.

7. Look into neo-Tantric sex or energy play.
There are great resources regarding Tantric sex and energy play through BDSM. Many couples in BDSM play implement orgasm control and on-command orgasms so practicing thinking yourself off might have roots in this dynamic. You can also practice thinking yourself off with a partner while in a scene, having an orgasm via dirty talk or after you have built up energy in a scene. Even if you aren’t kinky, researching the elements of kink can be very helpful.

Do you have any other tips and tricks? I would love to hear of other's experiences relating to the "phantom" orgasm.

Also, I wrote about this in my book Trophy Wife: Sexuality. Disability. Femininity. Check it out here.


  1. Hey :) I'm guessing you're already familiar with Barabara Carellas' discussion of the same phenomenon in her book Ecstasy is Necessary. If not, I'll just leave this here:

    1. I had heard discussions of this variety from other authors (also involving fMRI) but not Barabara Carellas. Thanks so much for the link! I have added the book to my wish list, the excerpt was fantastic :)

  2. First of all, it's so freaking cool that your early masturbatory experiences were hands-free. This is clearly your superpower!

    And I love the notion of really getting to know my own particularly orgasmic cycle. I can already think of ways that that will be helpful to me, as well as to my clients. And what fun homework!

    Thanks, Leandra.

  3. Have you written or would you write more about getting to know one's usual sexual pattern. Are you just super awesome at tracking yourself?


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