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Writing by Kate Pagan // illustration by Daria Litvinova

I like to think of myself as a fairly practical and independent woman. Cultivating skills where I can, I try to learn before I outsource because let’s face it, the world’s getting expensive, unreliable and confusing.

After a series of mediocre sexual experiences, costing my body and mind and leaving me vulnerable and not feeling held, I realised I was handing over my power and pleasure to men who often didn’t know what to do with it. I was taught that in order to feel real intimacy and deep pleasure I needed to go to someone else.

The famous quote “if you want something done, do it yourself” would run through my head whilst on YouTube watching “how to” videos on fixing sinks and building veggie boxes. I thought about how my default in these situations is to help myself first, yet with something as sacred as my own body, I’m going elsewhere first and then wondering why a lot of the time I’m left feeling unsatisfied with the job half done.

This realisation sparked a yearlong erotic journey into self and celibacy from sexual intimacy with another person. Surrounded by mantras like “ you are your own best friend,” and “befriend yourself, you’re all you’ve got” I decided to one up it.

My new mantras would be “I am my number one lover” and “Getting hot and heavy with myself is all I need for deep satisfaction.”

I immediately subscribed to my favourite sexologists and erotic internet sites, bought erotic books, explored self pleasure, practised self-massage and took myself on dates. Alone in bed I changed my fantasies to images of myself. I took photos, videos, danced naked in my room and masturbated in front of the mirror.

I felt cheeky, alive and for the first time in a while, full. On those nights I did go out, deep conversation was all I needed before returning home, excited to see what sexy adventures I’d get up to next. I felt creative and inspired.

Being predominantly single for my 20s, I’ve definitely had my moments feeling lonely and questioning my worth and my ability as a lover and as a partner. We live in a society where we’re taught that without a special someone, we’re incomplete so naturally, we start looking for someone to complete us. Dressed up pretty, we hit the dance floors and dating sites looking for love and if it doesn’t work out, we crash, insecurities and self-doubt circulating our brains until we find someone to fill the hole the last person left.

I want to feel complete before meeting someone. I want to feel as though when I meet them, they are my mistress and I, my main lover. They have to compliment my life because I have everything I need.

Sure, I still get lonely sometimes but since cultivating this relationship, I have a tool box full of neat tricks for when I’m watching my favourite Rom Com on my period wondering why I haven’t met that “special someone.” Now I’m able to quickly remind myself that I’ve already found her and I go to bed feeling held and satisfied.

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