How to Masturbate

young couple kissing in bed

Masturbation may seem self-explanatory to some people but it isn’t to all. And frankly, there are many ways to masturbate or to self-pleasure one’s body so there’s always room for exploring new or different-than-your-typical-routine ways of doing it.

Women sometimes aren’t quite sure how to go about masturbation at all. It’s not uncommon, for example, for women to ask for tips about how to masturbate or how to use a vibrator. Let’s start with women, then, and turn to men another day (men more often know how to masturbate but are more likely to get stuck using only a, um, handful of routines).

So for women, some ideas:

- Try reading erotic stories to inspire both your fantasies and to enhance your feelings of sexual desire and arousal. Rachel Kramer Bussel has edited a variety of erotic story collections that reflect the fantasies of a diverse range of women’s experiences.

- You might dim the lights in your bedroom, light some candles if that’s your thing, and settle down under the covers (where it’s warmer as warmth can promote your sexual arousal response) with or without your clothes on. As you fantasize about whatever it is that turns you on (e.g., making love with your partner, going down on your partner, masturbating while a stranger watches you, sitting on a sex toy, group sex, making out and teasing each other but not actually having sex), try touching your body in pleasurable ways. You might touch your breasts, you might put a finger in your own mouth and kiss or suck on it, you might possibly touch your vulva (such as your clitoris or inside your vagina) or the area around your anus, noticing what feels good and pleasurable.

- Consider exploring your body both with your clothes on and off. Genital touching, for example, feels enormously different with clothes on versus off. Some women appreciate the way touching feels with a pair of jeans on or they like to first be touched over their underwear before they decide to remove them.

- Imagine a situation that turns you on. Is it kissing in the corner of a dark, romantic bar? Having sex in a bathroom stall? Having passionate sex in a hotel bed? Spooning, with your partner holding you from behind, moving against his increasingly erect penis? Making love in the morning, with morning breath and messy hair (becoming messier) and all? Taking a shower or bath together and soaping each other up? Watching your partner pleasure you with his or her lips and tongue? Sprinkling body dust along his penis (or her vulva) and licking it up slowly with not an ounce of rush or haste inside of you?

- If you’re using a vibrator, consider the possibilities. If it’s a small vibrator and appears to be designed for clitoral stimulation, it can be used for that and other things. You can hold it against your clitoris or the area around your clitoris very gently or more firmly. You can also touch it to your breasts or the area around your anal opening. If it’s an insertive vibrator, you can hold it to your clitoral area or you can insert it inside your vagina. Depending on its size, shape, design and texture, you may also be able to safely and pleasurably insert it into your anus. There are also a range of anal play toys (butt plugs, anal beads, anal vibrators and dildos) that you may find pleasurable as well.

- Back to fantasies, which are an enormously important stimuli for many women’s and men’s masturbation. What would you like? Pictures of your partner naked? Would you like to take photos of yourself and send them to your Someone Awesome? Do you wish you could be together, touching each other over or under your clothes? Would you like to kiss to the point where your lips feel chapped the next day? Or have sex until your vagina feels a little sore the next day? To not be able to walk home without stopping to kiss on every street corner? Or to touch each other in scandalous ways in the back of a taxi? To tease each other for so unbelievably long that one of you is begging for some type of sex? If you could have anything – any kind of kisses, touches, licks, penetration, orgasm, pleasure, sensual experiences together – what would you suggest to your partner? It’s your fantasy, so give yourself permission to let go.

Learn more in Dr. Herbenick’s book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction, and follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor

Related MSP Posts:
- An illustrated history of sex toys
- Love and desire in an instant
- The art of sex and being an attentive lover

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.