Today is Valentine’s Day, February four-fucking-teenth and it is the day to finally say no. No to mediocre dates with way too much pressure to be perfect. No to psychotic flipouts when one little thing goes wrong. No to nightlong sob-fests with girlfriends, drowning in self-pity with wine and the burned remains of exes’ favorite t-shirts. Tonight, I’m going to put on my sexy lingerie, drink a big glass of champagne and delicately please – with battery-operated help – the one person I love more than anyone else in the world – me.

It is time for everyone here at UCSB to embrace their inner autosexuality. This term does not apply to the odd sexual fascination that some of you boys have with cars, so don’t go sticking your dick in any gas tanks, you sick sons-of-bitches. Autosexuality refers to people who prefer intimate sexual experiences with themselves over sharing them with a partner. Although most of us prefer a gratuitous sexual romp with a willing and able partner, we have all had our fleeting moments of autosexuality where masturbation would be infinitely better than a botched session of heavy petting. Guys have seen it in the form of a girl yanking around and painfully squeezing their shaft every so often, thinking her drunken googly eyes resemble sexy bedroom eyes when actually she just resembles a possessed demon who might start sputtering in tongues at any given moment. Girls have seen it with the incessant poker, who thinks that as long as he jams his fingers up there hard enough and fast enough a girl might cave in and have sex with him to make it stop, only to find out he does the same thing with his penis.

So you decide that masturbation is your most reliable way to pleasure. There are a few key elements to conquer before you’re mastering your very own orgasm. Relaxation is vital to reach an orgasm, so light some candles, listen to some music, flip through Facebook to find some J.O.M. – jack off material – or do whatever it is that releases your tension. The location is essential to secure total relaxation, especially for you first-timers. I don’t know one guy that hasn’t spanked his monkey, but I do know girls too squeamish to get personally in touch – so to speak – with their sexuality. I find that a steaming hot bath or shower is the best place to start exploring your body – everything is clean, it’s private and relaxing, and the sound of running water is enough to muffle any sounds that may slip out if you find a hot spot.

Even if you’re planning on celebrating this ridiculous hallmark holiday with a partner, masturbation doesn’t have to take a backseat. Touching yourself for your partner is not only sexy as hell, but it also presents a hands-on educational lesson about getting you off. This is especially helpful if your partner thinks that testicles are fun to squeeze, or if they are having trouble telling the difference between your clit and your urethra. Mutual masturbation is also satisfying foreplay – it’s exciting to see the person you like climax. My advice is to slow the process down, let go of your inhibitions and make it a jaw-dropping performance. Not only will this build a mutual excitement, but it will leave your partner so horny that they will be begging to lend you an extra hand. Part of the reason that some people are so, ahem, successful with masturbation is that there is no pressure to please someone else – it’s simply about pleasing themselves. Masturbation with a partner can only lead to an orgasmic finish if the masturbator feels comfortable sharing their most intimate of secrets.

Before having pleasurable sex with a partner, it is crucial to be comfortable and familiar with your own body and know what you like, so that you may be able to guide your partner into helping you to a body-trembling finish. Who knows? You may have so much fun that the desire for companionship will become obsolete and the pleasures of autosexuality will forever be within your reach.