How to Masturbate: 6 Tips for Vulva Owners
Sexual Wellness

How to Masturbate: 6 Tips for Vulva Owners

06/03/2023

Maybe you’re curious about the benefits of masturbation, but no one ever taught you how to do it. That’s normal! Or maybe you have your tried-and-true technique but want to expand your repertoire. Also normal! Either way, it never hurts to learn some new masturbation methods. In fact, you may be surprised by the range of techniques that can enhance your self-pleasure.  


“As cheesy as it sounds, masturbation is an opportunity for self-love,” says clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon. “How you approach solo sex makes all the difference in the quality of your experience. We all want a partner to treat us well in bed, but both solo and partnered sex are so much better when we treat ourselves with love and affection, too.”


Here are a few things to try if you’re looking to develop a masturbation routine or improve the one you already have. 

 

1. Engage your mind.


“Consider your entire body a sexual organ, as well as your mind and emotions,” Melancon advises. Where your mind is when you’re masturbating is just as important as what you’re doing with your body. “Get in the mood mentally and emotionally, whether through memories, fantasies, movies, erotica, or porn,” says Melancon, adding that you might even take note of whether you have different fantasies or desires at different points in your menstrual cycle. If you have trouble getting out of your head during sex, she suggests engaging in practices such as yoga or meditation beforehand to bring your focus to your body. 


Another way to focus your mind on the task at hand (no pun intended) is to pay attention to your breath. “Use slow and deep breathing to help you relax and increase your pleasure,” suggests certified sex therapist Aliyah Moore. You might even imagine your breath traveling to the part of your body you’re stimulating. Some basic scene-setting — close the blinds, lock the door, and consider using candles, scents, or relaxing music — can also help put your mind into sexy mode, says Tami Rose, sex educator and owner of Romantic Adventures.

 

2. Touch your whole body.


While you will likely find yourself most responsive to touch on your vulva, particularly your clitoris, involving the rest of your body can intensify the experience. “Building up with touch elsewhere (all over the body, wherever it feels good) will allow arousal to build so that clitoral touch feels better,” says Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen. “Honing right in on it, for some, can feel too intense or even irritating. Taking more time to build up will reward you with more voluptuous feelings and a higher likelihood of orgasm.”


Areas that you may enjoy touching include erogenous zones such as your neck, breasts, nipples, abdomen, inner thighs, outer labia, inner labia, and anus, says Melancon. As you touch your body, move slowly and linger on each sensation to let it grow and tease yourself before moving to the next. “Research demonstrates that positive anticipation enhances our experiences of sexual pleasure and satisfaction,” says Melancon. “What matters most is listening to and allowing your body’s desires to build. When you finally touch yourself in that spot, the anticipation will tend to lead to greater satisfaction and pleasure.”

 

3. Conduct an experiment.


Different people enjoy different types of touch, so Queen recommends touching yourself in different ways and taking note of what you like best. When you’re focusing on your clitoris, you can try making up-and-down or side-to-side motions with your finger, moving your finger in circles, or rolling your clitoris between your index finger and thumb, says Sasha Linch, sex educator and founder of Furnpeak.com.


You might also try stroking or flicking your clitoris, grasping it and moving the whole thing, pulling on your labia, or touching your clitoris while you also stimulate your vagina, nipples, or anus, says Queen. “The right way and place to touch yourself is the way that feels good to you,” she explains. “You won't know what that is unless you explore.”

 

4. Work your way up to penetration.


The clitoris actually extends inside the body, Melancon explains, so many people experience sexual pleasure through vaginal penetration. Penetration can also allow you to access the pelvic nerve inside the vagina as well as the hypogastric, pelvic, and vagus nerves via the cervix. Just make sure to engage in clitoral stimulation or other arousing touch before penetration so that you are warmed up and aroused.


Some people experience sensitivity in an area known as a the G-spot on the upper wall of the vagina, about an inch or two in. “The more turned on you are, the easier it is to find,” says Linch. “You can start by inserting your finger into your vagina and moving it in a come-hither motion: ‘Come here, G-spot. You don't have to hide.’ When you find the area that creates the right stimulation, experiment with different motions and amounts of pressure.”

 

5. Invest in sex toys and lube.


A few simple products can make masturbation more exciting and pleasurable. “You can have amazing sensations and orgasms masturbating by hand,” says Queen. “But also: Sex toys! Explore them for more sensation and pleasure options.” If you’re new to sex toys, Melancon recommends starting off with a bullet vibrator to introduce yourself to the sensation of vibration. 


If you’re engaging in vaginal or anal penetration, lube can prevent discomfort and enhance pleasure. “Using a water-based lubricant can enhance your pleasure and reduce discomfort or irritation,” says Moore. “Apply the lubricant to your vulva or vagina and your fingers or sex toy before you start masturbating.”

 

6. Relax and have fun.

Remember that masturbation is a time to explore and feel good, not to put any pressure on yourself to orgasm or feel anything in particular, for that matter. “There is no right or wrong way to pleasure yourself,” says Rose. “It is just important to take time out for self-love. Even if you just relax and get some deep breathing done and take the time to see yourself as a goddess who is worthy of worship, you will walk out into the world in a different kind of energy. And it is the kind of energy the world needs more of.”

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