The first thing most folks say when they first hear the words "yoni" and "massage" together in the same sentence is: What the heck is that??

It's a fair question. Yoni massages have only recently become commonly known in the United States. And they're still a fairly unknown and unfamiliar practice.

But despite the obscurity of the yoni massage, it can actually be an incredibly beneficial—and enjoyable—practice. However, before waltzing off to perform your first yoni massage, it's important to know the whats, whys, and hows of this sexy vaginal self-care technique.

What Is a Yoni Massage?

woman touching cut papaya

If you're unfamiliar with the word "yoni," you're not alone. "Yoni" is a Sanskrit word for the female sexual organs.

There are many icons and depictions of the yoni in Hindu art. Oftentimes, it's shown with lingam (or linga), which denotes the male sexual organs.

Yoni massage itself is a tantric practice. According to Merriam Webster, "tantra" refers to Hindu or Buddhist practices that deal "especially with techniques and rituals including meditative and sexual practices."

The actual practice of yoni massage is essentially a massage involving all of the female erogenous zones. Depending on preferences and practitioners, it can involve the vagina, the labia, the clitoris, the g-spot, the uterus, the anus, and the breasts.

The original purpose of yoni massage is not necessarily sexual, and the goal is not to orgasm. Instead, it's about healing, connecting with the body, and exploring tensions, sensations, and pleasure in these regions.

Despite these mostly non-sexual origins, many people do use it as a sexual practice, either by themselves or with a partner. It just comes down to what your intentions are and what you hope to get out of it.

The Benefits of Yoni Massage

woman holding sliced orange fruit

For a wide variety of reasons, many of us are extremely disconnected from our sexual organs and erogenous zones. We may carry shame surrounding our bodies or sexuality, we may have trauma related to sexual experiences, or we may just feel out-of-touch with this part of ourselves.

Yoni massage is the ultimate antidote to all this disconnectedness. It's a practice specifically designed to reconnect us with body, sexuality, pleasure, and sensation.

Just like we hold tension in our shoulders, neck, back, or other areas, the same goes for our vaginas and surrounding body parts. Many of us store stress, pain, or trauma there. And we have very few opportunities in life to release any of that built-up energy. Yoni massage gives us just that.

Another wonderful benefit of yoni massage is that it gets us more comfortable and relaxed with our sexuality in general. If you get nervous or tense during sexual activities, or feel shame about being naked or fully seen, yoni massage is a helpful method for relieving a lot of those feelings. It just gets us more accustomed to being touched, seen, and felt.

Finally, there's the fun and added benefit that it just feels really damn good. It absolutely has the potential to be deeply sexually pleasurable. And it isn't uncommon at all for it to lead to orgasm, even if that isn't the original goal.

The benefits of yoni massage are many, and you might notice emotional, mental, sexual, and physical changes as a result.

Yoni Massage 101: Guide for Couples

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Couples often find—especially first-time yoni-massagers—that it's important to talk about the experience beforehand. Set intentions and boundaries. Get clear on both of your wants and needs. Discuss any trauma, fear, or shame that might be triggered by the massage.

Once you've established these intentions, it can be lovely to set the mood for a yoni massage. Take a bath or shower (with your partner, if you'd like!). Light some candles. Put on some music to help relax you and get you both in the mood. Make sure you have lubricant on hand, such as store-bought lube or coconut oil.

Starting with a breathing exercise helps to ground both people and begin the practice. Lead yourselves through some slow, deep breathing—or find a podcast or YouTube video for some guidance.

To ease into physical touch, start with a tantric breast massage or whole-body massage. Once you both feel ready, move to the yoni and begin massaging.

Massage of the labia and clitoris can involve circling, pushing, pulling, tapping, rolling—really anything you can come up with and that feels good to your partner. Vaginal and g-spot massage similarly has many different possibilities. Try curved and straight fingers. Try slow and fast massage. Try pressure, gentle strokes, or "come hither" movements.

Experiment, have fun with it, and make sure to communicate with your partner throughout the experience. Together, you can discover what feels best.

Yoni Massage 101: Guide for Solo Massage

woman wearing black panty and bra in front of a mirror

Maybe you don't have a partner—or maybe you do, but you'd like to try out solo yoni massage anyways. Well, the good news is that it's absolutely doable to do self-yoni massage, and it's a beneficial and feel-good self-care practice.

Much of the practice of self-yoni massage is the same as yoni massage with a partner.

Create a positive, relaxing, safe, and sensual space for yourself. And definitely make sure you won't have any distractions (or barge-ins!) during the practice.

Breathe deeply or used a guided meditation or breathing exercise. Then ease yourself in to touching yourself, massaging across your whole body, stroking your breasts, getting in touch with how your body is feeling.

Once you move on to the yoni itself, get creative with types and speeds of touch. Take your time and explore what feels best. Sometimes staying in constant motion feels right, while other times finding the right spot and holding pressure there can do wonders.

Yoni massage always has the potential to bring up emotions of all kinds. Remember that this is okay, and do whatever is needed to take care of yourself and deal with feelings that arise.

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