Illustration by Lauren Park

When I quit my job to become a full-time sex and wellness journalist, my Manhattan-sized bedroom became an office… one that just so happened to have a bed.

I like to think that my 300-square-foot space is cozy with its modern farmhouse vibes, big ‘ol desk that overlooks 3rd Avenue, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. But the truth is that my bedroom-office is stifling.

Working from home has transformed my sleep sanctuary into a place that reminds me of work: upcoming deadlines, unanswered emails, unsent pitch emails.

As a single woman who’s currently taking a dating sabbatical, I have no one to stop me from falling asleep with my laptop on Friday nights. But because I love my job, I always end up neck-deep in my latest assignment even when I intend to spend time doing a little R & R.

After over a year of this hustle, my friend said — in the way only true friend could — “Dude, when was the last time you got off? You seem really on edge.”

I’m a sex writer, so of course I practice the art of masturbation — right? Well, not exactly

When I stopped to think about it, I realized I didn’t make time to intentionally masturbate. Sure, I might occasionally rub the nub, but I’d do it while checking my email. Even when I’d take out a vibrator, I’d do the deed while listening to a podcast that my entrepreneurial friend said was a must for freelancing females. Yikes.

While it may sound like a clever multitasking hack, it wasn’t. It was a problem. I don’t think I was even physically able to get off while working. Is anyone? I’m going to go ahead and say no.

Given that my lack of self-love was noticeably affecting my mood — and totally not in line with what I advocate for as a sex writer — I pledged to masturbate more.

Because I knew I was never going to actually fight the urge to work, I decided to schedule time to jerk off. Yep, between the deadlines and conference calls on my Google calendar, I have 30 minute blocked out to whack-a-mole twice a week.

The idea of setting aside time to masturbate isn’t totally out there. By now you’ve probably heard that sex and relationship experts recommend scheduling time for sex in long-term relationships.

Jill McDevitt, PhD, CalExotics’ resident sexologist is one of those experts: “Scheduling sex is something I've advocated people do for years. When people hold onto the limiting belief that sexual activity has to be spontaneous, the truth is that the sex doesn’t usually happen.”

And she recommends scheduling unpartnered sex, too. “It’s beneficial when you know realistically you won’t otherwise prioritize your pleasure.” If it’s in your calendar, you know it will happen, she says.

Sex educator Amy Boyajian, CEO of Wild Flower and sex educator adds, “We schedule everything else in our lives, why not schedule some stress-reducing, sleep-improving, happiness-making form of self-love, too?”

The first time my rubba-dubba alarm went off, I felt a sense of shame. Surely, getting last month’s invoices out is more important than a little H-on-V action — and didn’t I have to confirm email receipt from that one expert? For a few minutes, I kept working. But then the second alarm dinged…

If I hop on a call a few minutes late, I’m normally deeply apologetic. And I very rarely reschedule a meeting once it’s in the books. So why wasn’t I treating my masturbation time the same way?

It wasn’t until I finally reframed masturbation time as a legitimate appointment, one just as important as all the other meetings in my Google Cal, that I was able to put work away.

I shut down my computer, hid my three planners, put my phone on do not disturb, and plopped down onto my bed.

Then for 30 uninterrupted minutes, I touched myself

It was the first time that I’d prioritized my pleasure in months. It was the first time anyone had prioritized my pleasure in over a year. And damn, did it feel good.

Another unexpected benefit? When I returned to the article I’d been writing pre-jerk, the words flew out of me. I was in the zone! Boyajian confirms that masturbation can have this positive effect: “Masturbation helps with concentration and boosts self-esteem.” Turns out, these benefits also did wonders for my writing. It was a win-win.

When the second and third appointments came, I didn’t hit snooze on the first alarm. I stepped away from the paragraph I was working on or shot off that email I was typing and jumped into bed.

After many of these masturbation meetings, I learned a rather revelatory lesson: Taking care of myself needs to be part of my job, because it makes me better at my job.

As a woman, it’s also been a powerful reminder that my pleasure matters. As a single woman, it’s been sexy and empowering to take that pleasure into my own hands.

Now, my masturbation appointments are something I look forward to — and now when I get a vibrator from generous PR folks in the mail, I actually use it! That’s how I discovered how awesome the Satisfyer Pro 2 External Stimulator and the Hop Trix Rabbit Vibrator are.

Who knows, maybe I’ll meet someone soon who I also have to schedule time with into my busy calendar. Regardless, my blocks of masturbation are here to stay.

The experts say I’ll be a better partner for it, too. “Masturbation is the best way to learn the physical stuff like where you like to be touched, with what amount of pressure, which type of vibrator gets you off the fastest, how you know you're about to have an orgasm, how to have multiple orgasms, and so on,” says McDevitt.

So, if you’re wondering whether you should also reserve time to masturbate in your calendar, TBH, I can’t recommend it enough. It gave me the opportunity to experiment with new toys, reclaim my bedroom as a haven, and most importantly: It reinforced that blocking out 30 minutes to pleasure myself twice a week essential for my well-being.

I may not have a perfect work-life balance (yet), but I’m one step — or should I say hand — closer.


Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She's become a morning person, tried the Whole30 challenge, and eaten, drank, brushed with, scrubbed with, and bathed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.