A Step-by-Step Guide to Masturbation for Women
Flick the bean. Diddle your Skittle. Pet the bunny. Whatever you call it, masturbating is a normal part of most women's lives. Additionally, it's one of the best ways to get to know your body, understand how you orgasm and increase pleasure in all areas of your life.
Regular masturbation is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves as women. [...] Masturbating every once in a while is a great way to practice self-care.
Sometimes, though, you need more than a quickie. We mean it: Properly making love to yourself is important whether you're single or in a relationship. And if you don't believe us, listen to sexologists and sex therapists to guide you and find out how to achieve the best self-pleasure session ever.
Is masturbation important?
"We know masturbation is one of the key ways women reach orgasm," said Rebecca Johnston, a Massachusetts-based sex and relationship therapist and coach.
Masturbation gives us an intimate knowledge of our bodies, which translates to better experiences with partners, she added.
Self-pleasure also releases endorphins, the "feel-good hormones" in your brain. Research suggests masturbation can help lower stress levels and improve the quality of sleep, and orgasms can serve as a natural painkiller to help you cope with menstrual cramps, as well.
An expert guide to making love to yourself
So masturbation's great—no huge surprise. But how do you make it the best ever?
1. Find the right time
The best time to masturbate is when you don't have time constraints or other obligations, you're not anticipating unwelcome interruptions, and you can fully indulge yourself. This could be after work or on the weekends when you have a whole morning or afternoon free. Take advantage of those few spontaneous moments when the house is finally empty.
2. Choose your favorite setting
Find a place where you won't be disturbed. "The body has a hard time getting into a place of pleasure if it doesn't feel safe," Johnston said.
Some people might masturbate only in their own bedroom and couldn't possibly enjoy masturbating anywhere else. Others might enjoy experimenting on the couch, kitchen countertop or back porch (given you have a high enough privacy fence and no peeping neighbors).
"You want to pick a place that will allow you to lean into the things that excite you and reduce any elements that would have your inhibition brake pedal slamming against the metal," Johnston said. "The ideal place is one that's a good mix of exciting and comfortable."
3. Get prepared
There's work to do beforehand. Make sure to pull out everything you need from your hiding places, whether that's the nightstand drawer or the back of the closet. This should include lube so you're not chafing or irritating your skin, any sex toys you have, and a towel or tissues to clean up any mess.
Aside from objects in your physical space such as furniture to rub against, pillows and toys, consider your mental space. According to Johnston, you should ask yourself a few particular questions: "Are we able to get out of our head and into our body? Do we feel shame about what we're doing? Are we trying to scratch a particular itch, or is this just pure fun or a way to cure boredom?"
Being intentional about the reasons behind each masturbation session will make it all the more powerful.
4. Extend foreplay
A self-massage with oil—for example, raw coconut oil—is one of the best ways to begin. Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., LMFT, CST, and resident "sexpert" for the Adam & Eve adult toy company, suggests putting on sensual music and rubbing yourself down slower than usual. She also recommends using the mirror to help turn yourself on.
"If you tend to be a critic of your body, ask that part of you to go on a 30-minute sabbatical," she advised.
5. Get down to business
After you've warmed up your body with a sensual massage, it's time to get to the matter at hand (specifically, fingers). Use your index and middle fingers to make slow, circular motions on your nipples and clitoris. You want to start slow, then pick up the pace for the best possible orgasm. If you enjoy penetration, you can use your other hand to insert your index and middle finger into your vagina, or use a toy.
Great toys for penetration include rabbit vibrators and dildos. For clitoral stimulation, you can use a bullet vibrator, air pulsator or vibrating wand. Johnston recommends getting as creative as you want.
"Perhaps that unused flyswatter becomes a paddle, or the feather duster a tantalizing skin toy," she suggested.
To prevent immediate orgasm, Skyler also suggests edging, which means taking yourself to the edge of orgasm, or a few steps before that, and stopping or slowing down the process before starting over. She suggests thinking of your arousal on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is orgasm. Get yourself up to a 7, then take a breath or stop until you come back down to a 3 or 4. Repeat the process as many times as you want for a much more intense orgasm.
6. Indulge in aftercare
Many women make the mistake of immediately getting up and dressed after finishing mastubating. Take time to caress yourself and relax, enjoying the post-orgasm glow.
"Self-aftercare is important and can include reclining for a few minutes to absorb and integrate the experience, as you might do after a yoga class," Skyler said. "We deserve this essential time with ourselves and our sexuality."
Regular masturbation is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves as women. While you might not always have time for an extended session, masturbating every once in a while is a great way to practice self-care. Try to find deep relaxation and resist the temptation to fixate on having an orgasm.
Once you nail down everything, from the timing to the setting to the foreplay and, finally, the main event, you'll understand your body and sexuality on a much deeper level.