What Women Need to Know About Masturbation
Women masturbating may ponder numerous questions: Am I doing this right? Why haven't I come yet? What's normal and what isn't?
At the same time, self-pleasure can boost overall confidence and your sense of well-being. You know you don't need another person to take care of your sexual needs—you have it in your back pocket, which can help you choose better partners, as well as be a form of self-love and self-discovery.
Since masturbation isn't something taught in sex-ed, there's an argument to be made that every woman could stand to learn, or improve, a thing or two. Let's take a look at a few "must-know" topics for women who masturbate, including using hands vs. sex toys and staying safe.
Set and setting—what happens?
"Masturbation is when a woman uses her fingers, hands, sex toys and fantasies to stimulate herself," said Joni Ogle, LCSW, CSAT, a licensed clinical social worker, a certified sex addiction therapist and CEO of The Heights Treatment based in Houston, Texas, and Los Angeles, California.
"Some women can reach orgasm through masturbation within eight minutes, [but] the amount of time it takes for a woman to become aroused and experience sexual pleasure can vary depending on her level of comfort and experience," she added.
Masturbating should never be rushed, especially if you're learning (or re-learning) what turns you on. The best time to masturbate is when you know you won't be disrupted and have a stretch of free time in front of you.
If you want to go all out, you can put fresh sheets on your bed, clean your room and light a candle. If you're going to use sex toys, have them nearby, along with a towel and lubricant.
A little preparation goes a long way on your journey to orgasm.
How do you do it? Hints and tips for manual stimulation
Masturbating with sex toys is a shortcut to orgasms. Or at least it can be if and when you find a device you enjoy.
However, there's something to be said about knowing how to get the job done without toys. You might not have access, or perhaps you're traveling and didn't think to bring anything with you. (Yes, we've all made this mistake).
First things first—let's go over the basics of using your hands to masturbate.
For women (and men to some extent), the whole body is an erogenous zone. Touching your face, shoulders, arms, waist and legs before laying a finger on your vulva can be a good way to warm up. Once you feel yourself start to get wet and excited, you can move on to your clitoris and vagina.
- Fingertips. Lightly drag the tips of your fingers over different areas of your body. This is a great way to get started.
- Tapping. Close your hands in a loose fist and tap on your chest, arms and legs. This will help you release stress and come into the present moment. Tapping your clitoris can be a nice sensation, too.
- Full palm rubbing. Pass your flattened palm over your skin at different speeds and levels of pressure.
- Massaging. Knead different areas of your body with your fingers or the palm of your hand. This is also a great technique to stimulate your clitoris.
- Fingering. Put your index and middle finger inside your vagina, using a "come hither motion" or pulling out and pushing in. Always be gentle, go slow and use a safe lubricant.
Keep switching up these different types of touch, increasing pressure and speed until you feel a good, big build-up and release of energy.
"What may contribute to a more intense and satisfying orgasm for one woman may not for another," Kanusha YK, M.Sc., a clinical psychologist and sexual wellness therapist at Allo Health, India's first dedicated sexual health clinic, based in Bangalore, Karnataka. "Some women can achieve an orgasm by engaging in clitoral or vaginal stimulation, while some find more pleasure when they combine both."
Resources, toys and lube
How to choose and use sex toys is a big topic in and of itself, but here's a quick overview:
These devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can look realistic or non-realistic. If it's your first one, select something on the smaller side. Your G-spot is thought to be only a few inches up from the vaginal opening, so you don't need a huge toy to orgasm.
"There is no scientific evidence of the existence or [G-spot's] location," Kanusha YK said. "It is said to be an area inside the vagina that some women find to be 'sexually sensitive,' but this isn't necessarily the case for every woman."
From teeny tiny bullet vibrators to rabbits designed to stimulate both your clitoris and G-spot, we're spoiled for choice when it comes to this kind of toy. Err on the side of caution with size and power. Try different types of toys at lower price points to see what resonates with your body before any major investment.
Air suction toys
Popularized by the Satisfyer Pro models, air suction toys have now become a category of their own. These toys have a small mouth-like opening that pushes and pulls air out rapidly to stimulate your clitoris.
Masturbation is a (mostly) safe way to figure out what pleases you. But here are a few pointers to help you stay safe:
When possible, buy toys made from body-safe materials like silicone or metal. These are non-porous and are less likely to harbor bacteria and give you an infection.
"Use lube or water-based products to reduce friction and irritation," Ogle said. "Keep any items used for masturbation clean to prevent the spread of bacteria and other germs."
Though tempting, avoid products that are not specifically marketed for masturbation.
"Household items like electric toothbrushes, kitchen utensils and scouring pads are not designed for sexual stimulation and can cause irritation or injury if used," she added.
Following these tips and masturbation will be a positive experience that allows you to explore your sexuality. Giving your body some much-needed love and attention has many benefits, and is well worth all the awkward figuring-out process in the beginning.
If it's been a while since you enjoyed a solo session, it's like riding a bike, it'll all come back to you.