Could Touching Your Cervix Help With Grief?

May 20 10 min read

Since landing in the hands of pleasure advocates like Betty Dodson, and gaining more prominence in the mainstream thanks to scientific research, masturbation has received a marketing makeover. Phrases like self-loving, self-pleasure, and self-cultivation have served to elevate the act from mindlessly getting off to a practice that helps us develop deeper relationships with ourselves. Developing this relationship with the self can improve self-esteem, reduce stress and tension, elevate mood and alleviate pain along with a host of positive side effects when we have a healthy relationship with masturbation. Furthermore, understanding our bodies and what turns us on benefits romantic relationships by allowing us to communicate our wants and needs with our partners. 

While all these reasons alone make the case for practising the art of touching oneself, what if I told you we could take it even deeper? What if I told you masturbation could be a powerful tool for working through grief?

We’re all working through some degree of grief right now and figuring out how to move forward as the ground shifts beneath us. Whether you’re ill or not, the effects of COVID-19 have penetrated every facet of life as we know it. On one level there's collective grief for what's lost, yet these changes affect us on a deeply personal level. When those feelings become overwhelming, we may shut off our heart space. Shut off our genitals. Cut off the spark of life force within us. 

Okay, "spark of life force" sounds like some esoteric, woo woo jargon, but it actually means arousal. We usually attribute this to sexuality, but arousal is anything that activates your body or mind. What revs your engine? What gets you excited? Grief suppresses those sparks like sand on a bonfire. We may not be “in the mood.” We may be overwhelmed with the stress of uncertainty. Touching ourselves may help unlock layers we need to shed. The dopamine hit won’t hurt either.

While the positive mood and physical effects of masturbation may be an obvious help to working through grief, I want to talk about something a little deeper than that. In my own practice, I’ve found that stimulating the cervix specifically has allowed for some profound emotional releases, especially when I haven’t been able to cry or release my sadness in other ways.

As a deep-feeler and dedicated cryer, when I feel unable to cry, I know I’m in a bad place. The cervix has time and time again proven to remedy the freezing of my emotions by providing a deeper release for those stuck emotions. While working with the clitoris is fun and essential, moving deeper into the vaginal canal can unlock the deepest melancholy layers that have made a home of our hearts.

I have no studies to corroborate this as the science of pleasure has a limited body of work when it comes to female anatomy. Therefore, I can only speak from anecdotal and personal experience, but I would venture there’s a combination of factors at play as to why this has worked so effectively for me and how it might for you, too.

It forces us to slow down

The cervix needs care and attention before stimulation starts to feel good. Many of us require a gentle warm-up when it comes to that deep little doughnut - poking or prodding it might cause discomfort. It might also take longer to climax that way. Good. Pay attention to the journey. Notice yourself soften and unfold into the warm blanket of your being.

Slowing down also forces us to confront parts of ourselves we might shove away with media, food, drugs, alcohol, work and less connected masturbation and sex. When we are quiet with ourselves, the deep drakes come out. Our shadows become clearer. Any parts of ourselves we are uncomfortable with, and that can include grief and shame, are thrown to light when we are naked and in touch with the deepest parts of our anatomy.

As a ball of nerve endings, the clitoris is a magical haven of pleasure. When we take it out of the front and centre, we’ve got to get subtle and notice the nuance of deeper sensations.

It connects us to our breath

The respiratory system and nervous system share a direct link. Heightened states cause quicker, sharper breaths which in turn exacerbate stress and anxiety. Slower, deeper breaths are essential to softening the cervix enough to feel pleasure. While slow breathing benefits every road to orgasm, the acute sensations of clitoral stimulation can slip us into unconscious shorter breaths. We want to engage is diaphragmatic breathing in order stimulate the vagus nerve into calming the body.

Another benefit of diaphragmatic breathing includes incorporation of pelvic floor movement. A deeper physical connection with the pelvic floor through breath can heighten sensation and ease pain. When these muscles work with the breath, energy can flow, orgasm can build slowly, and release can feel more powerful when the muscle contract from a place of flexibility and relaxation.

It activates our vulnerability

There is nothing more vulnerable than slowing down our breath and attention to greet our shadows. Or slowly building stimulation in the deepest and most sensitive tissue of that vagina. On an emotional level this seems obvious and there are a few explanations why.

From Taoist sexual reflexology to traditional Chinese medicine and Western anatomical studies, we can find various links between the heart and the cervix. In an article on integrative views of Eastern and Western medicine, the authors explain how “anatomically, the nerve supply of the heart is derived from the vagus nerve, cervix, and thoracic sympathetic ganglia 1-5 by way of superficial and deep cardiac plexuses.”

In TCM, the lungs are the key to grief, so combining the breath with physical stimulation of the heart meridian can open the heart and allow grief to flow with more ease.

*These techniques can work on male bodies with slower breath, mindful stroking, and stimulation of the perineum or prostate, but as I don’t have a male body, I can’t speak to the experience.

Eventually, we can release

It may take a long time. It may take a few attempts. It may still require some clitoral stimulation, but eventually, a release from that quiet space can open up the deepest waters of our grief. The mix of pleasure and tension-release can unleash pent-up emotion like a dam breaking - if we have the willingness to show up for ourselves. 

Alessandra Calderin
« Alessandra is the mentor, educator, and writer behind Boneseed, a private practice devoted to deep self-inquiry through a range of physical, energetic, and mental modalities. Throughout her career, she has held space for confronting the taboo, cultivating authenticity, and finding creative freedom from private clients to public classes and her variety show, Sex Magic. With over 500 hours of yoga, mentorship, and facilitation training, Alessandra can be found slinging knowledge on her website, newsletter, and instagram. » All posts →