The Secret to Productivity Is Pleasure, According to this Sex Expert

For “Routine Excellence,” GQ asks creative, successful people about the practices and habits that get them through their day.

Sex expert Emily Morse begins her day like many motivated morning people do: some water and a workout. It’s then that her routine begins to sound a bit different. “Then I try to do my meditate-masturbate-manifest practice,” says the host of the podcast “Sex with Emily” and author of Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure. Of course, it’s not that other people aren’t also meditating, masturbating, and manifesting (independently or in combination). It’s just that they’d be less likely to talk about it. But it’s that openness that has made Morse one of the culture’s most popular sex positive voices, a voice she hopes to use to “reprogram our minds around sex.” One aspect in particular that she wants us to rethink? Pleasure, which, by calming our nervous system, can help us navigate a difficult day. But currently, our relentless pursuit of productivity makes pleasure something we only allow ourselves after we do everything else. “Pleasure shouldn’t be so conditional,” says the woman who likes to begin her day with some.

GQ: What are some non-negotiable practices or habits that you have on a given day?

Morse: When I wake up, I try to have 20 ounces of water with lemon before coffee. I’m a morning workout person. I’ve got to wake up and move my body: yoga, Pilates, weights, a run or hike. Then, I try to do my “meditate, masturbate, manifest” practice—but that’s not always accessible. There have been times where I’ve made that my goal for 30 days and it’s really amazing what happens. But I always meditate, for at least 10 minutes. Then I can do all the other things. I check in with my assistant. We go over the schedule for the day and the outstanding emails that come in. Every day is different. If I’m interviewing guests, I’m reading their book, or I’m prepping for a show, or for meetings with my team.

Can you walk me through the meditate, masturbate, manifest practice?

Meditation is an important part of releasing ourselves from the jail of our thoughts, and it allows me to be more mindful, more aware, and more present. Masturbation is a really healthy practice, whether you’re in a relationship or not. One of the benefits of masturbation is that the orgasm signals our parasympathetic nervous system to start downregulating and calming the body. At that time, the brain’s also pumping out serotonin, which is responsible for our good mood relaxation. So the neurochemistry of having an orgasm is really helpful for calm and clarity. It’s a really great time to manifest and to think about what you want to be happening. What do you want to happen that day? What do you wanna happen in the next month? I often use it to think about my day and I’ll think about the meetings that I’m having or the show that I’m doing. What does that look like when it’s successful? How am I feeling? What am I doing? I picture myself in those moments. Which is so woo. Some people change the channel when you say manifesting. But really it’s about, what’s your purpose? Where do you wanna be clear? What do you actually want to happen? There’s such a clear point of clarity after masturbation. Also, it links your pleasure with your goals.

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