Before we get started let's get one thing clear: masturbation is perfectly normal, it's good for your health and almost everyone does it. Learning how to pleasure yourself also relieves stress, reduces pain and teaches you more about your own sexual desire than anyone else ever could, so if you feel like touching yourself then you absolutely should!
To hep you get started on your journey to sexual self discovery we spoke to psychotherapist Christine Webber and sex therapist at Emjoy Mia Sabat about the benefits of masturbation plus 37 tried and tested tips on how to pleasure yourself:
What is masturbation?
Masturbation is often the first sexual experience people have. It means to stimulate yourself in a sexual way by touching and rubbing your genitals and other parts of your body for sexual pleasure. Masturbation usually (but not always) leads to an orgasm.
'Masturbation can be done by hand, or with a sex toy – some women can even do it by rubbing their thighs together. And a small minority of women can do it with no genital contact at all,' says Webber. 'Such stimulation often leads to orgasm, but not invariably, as many women enjoy stroking themselves and experiencing pleasure that does not necessarily culminate in a climax.'
If you feel embarrassed about masturbating, it may reassure you to know that most women do it. In fact, research shows 78 per cent of British women pleasure themselves regularly and the average women masturbates around 4.1 times per week, so you are certainly not alone.
How do women masturbate?
Masturbation is a great way to boost your mood and ease tension in your body. If you're a first-timer and have no idea where to start, or you've masturbated before and just want to improve your technique, try Carlyle Jansen's Sex Yourself: The Woman's Guide to Mastering Masturbation for an in-depth knowledge of the history, tricks and tips of solo play.
Alternatively, OMGYes is a site dedicated to educating females on how to create better, more enjoyable orgasms. The site uses videos, touch-screen tutorials, demonstrations and honest discussions to help teach women ways to intensify their pleasure through clitoral stimulation. Masturbation, like most things, takes practice. And the only way to learn about your own sexual response is to try it, so get stuck in!
Different types of masturbation for women
The most common ways for women (and people with vaginas) to masturbate includes the following, but mix it up and try whatever feels good to you:
❤️ Clitoral stimulation
The clitoris is a tiny hot spot for pleasure. Most women use their hand or fingers to play with their clitoris but you can also use sex toys, such as vibrators.
❤️ Vaginal penetration
Use your fingers or a sex toy, such as a rabbit vibrator, to penetrate your vagina.
❤️ Anal play
Believe it or not your anus is packed with nerve endings and stimulating this area can be seriously arousing. Use your fingers or try a sex toy for anal play.
Stimulate your vagina and clitoris simultaneously using both hands or a combination of sex toys and fingers and see what works for you.
❤️ Erogenous zones
Playing with other areas of your body, known as erogenous zones, such as your nipples, inner thighs, ears or neck can also be pleasurable.
Benefits of masturbation
Aside from the fact that it feels good, from stress reduction to improved sleep and even help with menstrual cramps, masturbation comes with a number of health benefits. Research has also found that masturbation can protect against cervical infections, as orgasms regularly flex the cervix.
According to Webber, learning to pleasure yourself comes with a number of proven health benefits:
Masturbation can ease abdominal cramps during your period.
Pleasuring yourself at bedtime can help to send you off to sleep.
Masturbating for sexual pleasure can boost your mood and reduce stress.
Lots of people enjoy masturbation as part of foreplay with their partners.
Many women touch themselves during sex to reach orgasm too.
If that's not enough to convince you to double-click your mouse, masturbation also benefits your relationships. Think that self-love is a selfish act? Think again! People who masturbate regularly are more in-tune with their own sexual desires, which translates into great sex in the bedroom with your partner too. You can learn a great deal about your own sexual response through masturbation, and then pass on what you have discovered to any partner – male or female – to benefit your shared sex life.
Most women can learn to masturbate and to reach orgasm – and our 37 tips below should help you to achieve this. If you don't yet know exactly what it is you enjoy sexually or what it takes for you to reach orgasm, now is the time to start practising!
37 masturbation tips for women
For advice on getting started, try our masturbation tips for women and people with vaginas. But anyone can read them to gain a greater understanding of female sexuality. And if it turns you on in the process, bonus!
To put these tips into practise and maximise your pleasure and satisfaction, find a quite place where you won't be interrupted such as your bedroom or the shower:
1. Think of masturbation as self-care
The first step to sexual gratification? Stop thinking about masturbation as a dirty little secret. 'It’s a perfectly healthy thing to do, with a myriad of health benefits,' says sex therapist Mia Sabat. 'By framing masturbation as part of your self-care routine, instead of something to feel embarrassed about, you can explore your body with comfort and confidence.'
2. Relax and caress yourself
The next step to enjoying self pleasure is to relax, so begin by taking a shower, or a long, scented bubble bath. We suggest investing in some luxurious bath foam or shower gel, such as the Neom organics luxury bath foam. Soap your body all over and enjoy touching your breasts and your clitoris and vagina in particular.
3. Set the mood
While you're experimenting, it's important to feel relaxed and set the mood. 'At this point, as long as you know that you're in no danger of being disturbed, move to your bedroom,' suggests Webber. 'Make sure that it is warm and comfortable. Put on some relaxing music if you like. And just enjoy yourself.'
4. Get to know your body
Once you're nice and relaxed and you've explored yourself in the shower, dry yourself carefully, then rub your favourite lotion all over your body. 'Keep touching your body everywhere – it might be a good idea to stand in front of a mirror while you do it, so that you can get into the habit of looking at it and getting used to the sight and feel of it,' suggests Webber.
5. Romance yourself
Just because you’re going solo, doesn’t mean that you have to skip the romance. Light some candles, put on your favourite perfume and dim the lights to really set the mood. 'This is your own personal adventure, and something to enjoy, so don’t rush it or sell yourself short – this is about treating yourself in exactly the way you want to be treated, and you deserve the best,' says Sabat.
6. Watch yourself in the mirror
If you're not familiar with your own body, spend some time getting to know yourself by using a mirror. Watching yourself can be incredibly arousing and empowering as well as informative. 'Lie down on your bed and use a mirror to look at your private and intimate places,' suggests Webber. Alternatively sit in front of a tall mirror and see how your body responds when you touch yourself.
7. Lube up
We produce lubricant naturally when we become aroused, so if you feel slippery and wet this is perfectly normal. However if you feel a bit nervous it may help to add some lubrication to get things going. 'Gently spread your labia and use a spot of lube. There are very nice modern ones that increase the sensuousness of the occasion – such as Liquid Silk. But if you don't have any lubrication, saliva also works,' says Webber.
8. Find your pelvic floor muscles
While exploring yourself, get to know your pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles which support the womb, bladder, and bowels, but also play an important role in sex. 'Try to tighten and relax the muscles at the base of the pelvis,' says Webber. 'If you find it difficult to know whether you're doing this successfully, try inserting a couple of fingers inside your vagina. That way, you'll be able to feel whether you're tightening and relaxing the muscles or not.'
9. Explore your vaginal lips
Because the opening of the vagina is often seen as an entry point, it’s not unusual for this area to be neglected. For some, playing with your lips can often be even more pleasurable and intense than deeper penetration. 'Experimenting with your vagina is called shallowing,' says Sabat. 'Try exploring your vaginal entry by moving your fingers or preferred sex toy with gentle, soft motions. Be patient, and stay within the first inch of your vagina to build increasingly intense sensations – and yes, this can lead to orgasm.'
10. Explore inside
Some women and people with vaginas prefer masturbation if they can feel something inside at the same time as they stimulate the clitoris – so try touching yourself internally or use a rabbit vibrator. 'If you now tighten and relax the muscles in rapid succession you will feel contractions of the kind that many women experience when having an orgasm,' says Webber.
11. Go at your own speed
You might notice a warm sensation in your abdomen as you proceed. Don't worry about speed, just do what feels natural to you. 'Try touching yourself all over your body, including the breasts and your genitals where you will quickly find the most sensitive spots,' says Webber. 'In particular, experiment near the opening of the vagina and clitoris and stimulate yourself in whatever way feels best. So long as you do not rush, and you are keeping relaxed, then your own fingers will automatically do the right thing and will move with the right amount of speed and intensity for you.'
12. Focus on yourself
This is your moment, so try to familiarise yourself with exactly how touching yourself makes you feel and empty your mind of everything around you. Try thinking about what is going on inside you, or fantasise about making love with someone you care for or a celebrity you quite fancy, or imagine you are in a film, a romantic place or any scenario that makes you feel relaxed and sexy.
13. Try erotic fiction
While you touch yourself, you might like to look at something that turns you on such as pictures, a porn film, or a sexy book. Some people like to look at graphic pictures of people having sex, while others are more turned on by words – so try reading just a few pages of an erotic novel to seriously turn the heat up.
14. Take your time
As the sexual tension rises, keep going. But do what feels right for you, as there's no hurry. 'If you have never previously masturbated to orgasm, you might suddenly feel tired and want to stop. Or you may be nervous about the build up of excitement in your body. Don't worry about this. Just take your time. And if you don't want to go on right now, then that's fine. You can always try again another day,' says Webber.
15. Enjoy the orgasmic rush
So what happens next? 'Eventually, the pleasant feelings will build up and you'll be comfortable with this and increasingly excited and you won't want to stop,' says Webber. 'When that happens, you will almost certainly suddenly experience a huge rush of ecstatic feeling and you will bring yourself to orgasm.' Bingo!
16. Invest in great sex toys
Lots of people like to use sex toys to masturbate, with good reason! There are so many great sex toys available these days and with the right tools for the job you can almost guarantee an orgasm:
Small vibrators such as bullets work well for first-timers.
You could try a Clitoral Suction Stimulator and imagine you aren't alone.
Or a Mantric Rechargeable Clitoral Vibrator to help you to reach orgasm.
Magic Wands are also great for clitoral stimulation.
Or try a G-Power Extra Quiet Silicone to explore your G-spot.
17. Nipple play
Nipples are a very sensitive area of the body, and one of the key erogenous zones. When masturbating, experiment with your breasts and nipples to find out how (and if!) you like them to be touched. 'Relax, take your time and enjoy exploring this often under-appreciated part of your body,' says Sabat. 'In time, you may even find that you can reach orgasm through nipple play alone.'
18. Try dry humping
If the idea of going straight into touching yourself feels a bit intimidating, start by placing a pillow between your legs and rolling around on the bed. The soft gentle arousal of dry humping can work as foreplay and build up to more concentrated clitoral or vaginal stimulation.
19. Map out your erogenous zones
If this is your first time then you will likely enjoy stroking and rubbing your clitoris. But as you will discover, sex and masturbation can be about much more than just the clitoris. 'Everyone has unique parts of their body which they love being touched, or gain arousal from,' says Sabat. 'You’d be surprised where you can find them – but the best places to start are often sensitive areas like your earlobes, neck and inner thighs, so experiment and see what works for you.'
20. Find your turn-ons
Once you've discovered what feels nice to touch, have a think about what turns on you. 'Do you dream of dominating your partner, or are you most aroused in a submissive role? Are there certain situations that always get you going?' asks Sabat. 'Knowing your turn-ons is important and masturbation is a great way to explore them with your own mind. Take time to figure out what really makes you horny: doing so will make your self-pleasure sessions even more climatic.'
21. Women watch porn too
Porn can be incredibly arousing, but not everyone enjoys mainstream pornography, with good reason. Most porn films are made with men in mind, which involves sex from the male perspective. If you are curious, don’t be afraid to experiment as it's perfectly normal to feel sexually aroused by watching people having sex. 'Consider trying out audio erotica, sexy and erotic novels, magazines, or even different types of films and genres, like female-focused, female-made pornography,' suggests Sabat.
22. Make your own erotica
If you're reluctant to watch porn but the idea of erotic imagery turns you on, make your own. Simply balance your smart phone on a stable surface and take photos of yourself. Try focusing on your body, your breasts and your vagina and see how it looks. You could even video your fingers sliding in and out of your vagina or film yourself rubbing your clitoris. Watching yourself can be incredibly erotic and empowering too! But keep your footage safe or consider deleting it afterwards.
23. Arouse your mind
Did you know your brain is your most valuable sex organ? Next time you consider self-pleasure, try stimulating your mind before even touching your body. 'Engaging with alternative forms of pornography that start with your brain, such as audio pornography or erotic literature, or even spending some time crafting your own sexy fantasy, can lend a totally new experience to your personal time,' says Sabat.
24. Delve into your wank bank
If you have a vivid memory of an intimate moment you shared with someone or a sensual scene you saw in a film or read about which made you feel tingly, store it in your mental bank and revisit this memory when you want to feel sexually aroused. Memories and fantasies play a vital role in sexual experience and the best thing is you can revisit them again and again!
25. Don’t shy away from anal play
Once you've established what turns you on and what feels nice to touch, you might find you enjoy anal play. 'While anal play is burdened with some of the strongest stigmas, it’s important to understand that exploring your butt can result in an incredibly pleasurable experience,' says Sabat. 'Next time you feel the urge to venture out of your comfort zone, get some lube and try exploring your more taboo erogenous area. Start by slowly caressing the outside of your anus, and move at a pace that makes you comfortable and excited - it could lead to your best orgasm yet.'
26. Try your hand at edging
Once you've worked out how to orgasm, you will no doubt be keen on making them feel stronger and last longer. The best way to achieve better orgasms is by edging. 'Edging is the act of repeatedly leading yourself to the edge of an orgasm, and stopping stimulation just before you climax,' says Sabat. 'For some, doing this repeatedly will make the final orgasm absolutely explosive. Edging also offers a great opportunity to experiment with different techniques, toys, methods and positions to help you discover something new every time.'
27. Experiment with pressure
Another important aspect of sexual experimentation is learning how your body responds to touch, and testing out different ways of touching yourself can be exhilarating. 'Experiment with the amount of pressure you use on your body and clitoris, to see what suits you best,' says Sabat. 'You may discover a new-found sensitivity, or pressure points that you like to be a little rougher with.'
28. Take it to the shower
Masturbating in the shower is one of the most tried and tested masturbation techniques, particularly if you struggle to find quiet time alone. 'Begin by using your hands to caress your body and breasts,' suggests Sabat. 'Next, bring the shower head close to your skin and let the water run down your body, towards your vulva. Enjoy the pressure of the water on your genitals, but never direct the jet of water directly into your vagina. Don't be afraid to experiment, either – change the temperature, adjust the pressure and let your imagination run wild!'
29. Try different positions
Once you've found your sweet spot, try to mix things up a bit. 'Consider trying a new position for masturbation, and venturing outside of your comfort zone,' suggests Sabat. 'Sitting, standing, lying on your front or side, or watching yourself in the mirror can all be great, so see if you can find new positions that drive you wild.'
30. Can you achieve multiple orgasms?
Some lucky people can achieve multiple orgasms, which involves coming more than once! 'Use the time after orgasm to establish how sensitive you are, and if other forms of stimulation can keep you aroused enough to achieve a second orgasm, or more!' says Sabat. 'The key here is using a variety of different ways to stimulate yourself, and to find out which parts of your body are the most responsive after orgasm number one. Who knows how many more it could lead to!'
31. Play with different breathing techniques
Breath control is an important aspect of yoga practise and tantric sex, and applying similar breathing techniques to masturbation can help you relax, contribute to the sensory experience and increase your orgasmic pleasure. 'To get started, experiment with the rhythm of your breathing and the deepness of your breaths to help you centre your mind and focus on the pleasure you’re giving to yourself,' says Sabat.
32. Try sensory deprivation
Human beings have five senses, all of which play a part in arousal, and depriving any one of these sensations can sharpen the rest. 'Winding yourself up with audio erotica while denying yourself touch, can be a way to make the main event seem all that more exciting,' suggests Sabat. 'You could even try using a blindfold or closing your eyes – so that you are entirely focused on the sensations you create when you do decide to touch yourself.'
33. Discover your G-Zone
The G-Zone (also known as the G-Spot) is another potential route to orgasmic euphoria. 'It's an area located at the front of your vaginal wall, behind the pubic bone,' explains Sabat. 'This area is most commonly located between 2-5 centimetres within the opening of the vagina, internally.' While some report mind-blowing orgasms from stimulating their G-Zone, it varies from person-to-person and everyone experiences sexual pleasure in different ways, so if you have zero sexual response, just switch your focus to your clitoris.
34. Engage with sensory play
The skin is a highly responsive organ, and finding new ways to stimulate it using textures and fabrics can be very arousing. 'To take your self-pleasure sessions up a notch, consider investing in new materials that will play on your sense of touch,' says Sabat. 'This could be anything from feathers and silk to lubricants. Decide what excites you most, and get experimenting! Just be careful of any allergies and introduce objects to your body in a responsible way.'
35. Try self massage
Massage can be incredibly relaxing and learning how to rub yourself can add to your masturbatory pleasure. 'Try marking your personal pleasure points with body oil or lotion, creating a map for you to explore,' says Sabat. 'Experimenting with different levels of pressure and kinds of caress can be tantalising! This practice will not only help to turn you on, but assist you in understanding what you do and don’t like. It’s truly the perfect blend of self-pleasure and self-care to spoil yourself with at the end of a long day.'
36. Pretend you're not alone
If the idea of being with someone really turns you on, then simply pretend! Try squatting on your bed over a pillow, a well-placed sex toy or use your hands. Crouch down and gently slide your fingers or sex toy such as this realistic dildo into your vagina. Experiment with a range of motions, from stroking your clitoris to pumping your fingers or sex toy in and out.
37. Arouse your mind and body with music
Do you have a sexy song that always gets you in the mood? Music is immensely powerful and can help you to tap into your senses, so turn on your favourite playlist and let the rhythm take you. 'Fantasise as you move and really commit to letting yourself go while you dance or touch yourself,' says Sabat. 'Let your body lead, and your mind follow!'
Last updated: 15-04-21
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