Single & Satisfied: How I had ‘relationship sex’ while flying solo.

I was once one of those people who was chronically partnered.

I hopped from boyfriend to boyfriend. There was always another one lined up before the end of whatever current relationship I was in.

After a particularly tough breakup a few years ago, though, I decided to take a sabbatical from dating.

No partners, I decided. Not until I could stand on my own two feet. Not until I was sure that I wasn’t using a relationship to get love I couldn’t give myself.

I got a therapist, bought some books, and started journaling.

But, of course, there was a problem…

Having Sex While Single

Photo by cottonbro

Which is harder: being single or being sexless?

Sexless relationships are hard, no doubt about it. But seeking and having sex as a single person has its challenges, too.

One of the biggest struggles of being single for me was not having a regular sex partner. This was especially tough while doing all that emotional inner work.

Sure, I could swipe my way to a hookup via Tinder. But even when I found someone to have regular sex with, it never seemed as good as relationship sex.

There’s something about emotional intimacy that makes relationship sex more intense.

By swearing off relationships for a while, I’d inadvertently sworn off one of the best kinds of sex.

And then the pandemic happened.

Sex While Social Distancing

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

I mentioned in an earlier post that during the pandemic I once screamed my own name when I orgasmed.

I’ll share the details about that night below. But first, I want to explain the context that made it possible.

The pandemic hurt my self-work journey in some ways. But it weirdly helped it in others.

I’ve lived with depression most of my life, and the solitude of living alone and working from home during lockdowns really got to me.

I also live with anxiety. However, I was one of those people who felt less anxious during the pandemic.

Don’t get me wrong: I was definitely SCARED. But my clinical anxiety symptoms eased. My brain seemed to interpret the events as ‘I was right to be anxious.’ Finally having a mental I-told-you-so moment, my anxiety symptoms took a break.

So there I was: no longer anxious, but certainly depressed.

How did I deal with that depression? Mostly by blasting soca on full volume and dancing in my living room:

Oh yeah. And masturbating.

Self-love to Self-lovin’

I’ve never had a problem with masturbation. It’s a private activity that feels good, harms no one, and costs nothing.

Engaging in regular self-lovin’ is a regular part of my bedtime routine. However, I’d soon discover that solo sex can do so much more than just help me fall asleep.

One night during yet another lockdown, I joined a Zoom meeting held by a licensed massage therapist. She offered to show us some personal massage techniques to help with our touch starvation.

I was dubious but willing to try. To my surprise, it worked! I don’t know if it was touching myself in unfamiliar ways or being guided by the voice of a stranger, but something about it made me feel less lonely.

I realized in that moment that I could take care of myself. I could nurture a relationship with myself. I could love myself.
And I could fuck myself.

I’d already been doing self-love work before the pandemic hit. So it wasn’t hard to expand on this idea.

I asked myself: If I had a partner, how would I treat them?

I wrote down all the lovely things I would do for a partner. Then I started doing those things for myself.

I bought myself chocolates. Treated myself to nice meals. Wrapped myself in warm blankets with a warm cup of tea in the evenings.

Perhaps most importantly, I started speaking more kindly to myself. As kindly as I would speak to someone I loved. If I truly loved myself, I had to do so with my whole heart and head.

If I caught myself feeling like I’d done something stupid, I’d pause and remind myself that it was okay. I was surviving an apocalypse, after all. Mistakes were bound to happen.

It was this self-love that eventually extended into my self-lovin’ sessions.

Reframing Solo Sex

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

By the time I brought my self-love into my solo sex sessions, I had developed a sense of self that involved a sort of dual persona.

In order to be kind to myself, I had to be both the person being kind and the person receiving the kindness.

With a little practice, this concept became very comforting. It helped me see that I had everything I needed within me to self-soothe and problem-solve my way through just about anything.

Once I was comfortable with this dual persona, it was easy to bring it into my bedtime routine. I was both the person giving the pleasure and the person receiving the pleasure.

A key component of solo sexual satisfaction is understanding that masturbation is having sex with yourself. It’s still sex!

Before this dual persona, my routine was to ‘flick the bean’ for the quickest possible orgasm so I could sleep.

But now that I was deeply engaged in self-love work, I had to be honest about what I really wanted.

I was craving SEX. Amazing sex. Exhausting sex. Can’t-take-any-more sex.

I wanted to get fucked, as we say at Esoterotica.

And I was going to have to do it myself.

Why I Screamed My Own Name

Photo by Wilson Vitorino

Playing both roles of giver and receiver takes work. What I wanted would be high effort even with a partner. To do it alone, I’d have to do twice the work.

It was worth it.

I settled in with a favorite toy. Instead of focusing on the toy and the hand holding it, however, I focused on where I was feeling the toy against my body.

It was an exercise in sensate focus. I tuned into the sensations of the toy exclusively, homing in on my role as a receiver instead of a giver.

The toy rubbed and buzzed against me. The thought, ‘the toy is fucking me’, came to mind.

But then I remembered who was holding the toy. It was Shannon. Shannon was fucking me.

I liked Shannon. Loved Shannon. Shannon had been treating me very well, with chocolates and blankets and tea and meals and kind words.

And now she was fucking me and it felt AMAZING.


Orgasm. Amazing, exhausting, can’t-take-any-more orgasm. The same kind I could get from partnered sex.

You can do it, too!

Photo by lucas da miranda

If I break down the entire journey to complete sexual satisfaction while single, it looks a little like this:

  1. dismantle the myth that singlehood is bad
  2. practice radical & erotic self-love
  3. practice sensual meditation
  4. love your body
  5. become a solo sex master
  6. use sex toys / pleasure devices

Following these steps can absolutely lead to what I like to call orgasmic self-actualization.

Orgasmic self-actualization is sexual independence. It’s the ability to confidently say yes to the sex you want and no to the sex you don’t.

This ability comes from knowing you can completely rock your own world. That gives you power. It saves you from settling for mediocre sex with others because you can always have mind-blowing sex on your own.

Try Orgasmic Self-Actualization for Better Sex & Relationships

I eventually did wind up in a relationship again. It took four years of singlehood to get comfortable by myself. Once I was comfortable, it was time for the next thing.

This is the healthiest relationship I’ve had in a long time. I tell my partner often that I’m glad he met the best version of me. I don’t think I would have been ready for him otherwise.

You can’t start a self-actualization journey with the goal of attaching yourself to someone else.

But once you do commit to the work of becoming your best self, it really does get easier to connect authentically with the right partners for you.

Interested in the journey? Sign up to be the first to know when my orgasmic self-actualization course, Single & Satisfied, goes live. I’ll send you a free eBook as a thank you.

Get Your Orgasm eBook When You Sign Up!

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Published by Shannon Burton

Erotic Ignition Coach by day, poet and flash fiction author by night, I occasionally manage to get out of the house and enjoy New Orleans as it's meant to be.

3 thoughts on “Single & Satisfied: How I had ‘relationship sex’ while flying solo.

  1. wow amazing – i also love to masturbate and edge – but i also love to be watched so am rather naughty and do it on xhamsster / stripchat and Fab. my favorite is to be controlled on line – preferably by a Dominant Woman – i just love Dominant Ladies. i was sorry to read about your depression but i am trusting that you are now conquering that as well – You seem to be so well rounded (if you forgive the terminology??) and understanding of Your own needs. very best wishes alan

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