We could all use a little celebration right now, and luckily, there’s a holiday happening the entire month of May that’s just the ticket—Masturbation Month. Masturbation is a great way to learn more about our bodies, what we enjoy, and there are many physical and emotional benefits. But the party doesn't ever really stop—you can always work on your self-pleasure technique, any time of year.
People with vulvas (more on that in a minute) may find it intimidating to masturbate well. Many women and femmes are told masturbation is shameful, and it can be a taboo subject. Masturbation is actually healthy for us, and the history of Masturbation Month is full of empowering figures and activism.
You don’t need to be an activist to enjoy masturbation, but there are some steps you can take in preparation that will help you get the most out of your session. Let’s talk about how to masturbate, from clitoral stimulation to masturbating without sex toys and more.
Pleasure Isn't Goal Oriented
First and foremost, remove the pressure to orgasm before beginning to masturbate at all. Feeling obligated to orgasm can bring down the mood, so enjoy masturbation as a time for self-discovery and pleasure that could result in an orgasm.
You don’t need to look a certain way—like laying on your back with a cinematic arch as you hit an energetic climax—so remind yourself to stay in the moment in order to appreciate and observe your body just as it is. You also don’t have to use sex toys, which can be intimidating or confusing for beginners. If you already have a collection of the best sex toys, that’s great, but it’s important not to feel pressured to use sex toys if you aren’t ready.
What Is A Vulva?
Vulva is an all-encompassing word. The vulva is the area of your body that includes all the parts we might typically label as part of the “vagina”, but it’s important to understand the proper term and everything it includes.
The vulva encompasses the pubis, the region above your vaginal opening where pubic hair grows, the labia, or lips of the vagina, the clitoris and the clitoral hood, the vaginal opening and the perineum, or the stretch of skin between the vaginal opening and the anus.
Understanding your anatomy is important for learning how to masturbate, and it also demystifies the process a bit. When talking about masturbation, many people swear by clitoral stimulation, and for good reason. But the clitoris isn’t just a little nub, it’s a network of sensitive nerve endings that extend into the vaginal walls. It sort of looks like a wishbone, and the clitoral head, or glans, is only the tip of the iceberg.
When you experience pleasure from penetration or G-spot stimulation, many times your clitoris is being stimulated at the same time. As you become aroused the clitoris swells and the portion below the surface, near the vaginal entrance is also stimulated by penetration, adding to the sensations and thrill. Some experts say because of this, there’s no difference between vaginal orgasms and clitoral orgasms although opinions differ. Some, like the author of the book “She Comes First” theorize that the G-spot may actually be “the root” of the clitoris.
A Proper Warm Up Is Key
Now that we know a bit more about our bodies, let’s talk about how to masturbate! At the beginning of your masturbation and self-pleasure session, experiment with positions to find some you like. You can lie on your back, stomach, or on your knees. You can stand in the shower or try anything else you like. This is your time to experiment.
To help yourself feel more aroused, feel free to experiment with watching porn or using your imagination. Some people need visuals to get their imagination going, while others enjoy fantasizing about people they know. Both are okay!
Once your mind is running wild, begin touching your body with gentle strokes. You can try running your hands down your hips, touching your breasts, chest, or nipples, and stroking your hands toward your vulva. No need to rush; it can take time to feel thoroughly ready.
Once you feel the desire or readiness for genital stimulation, bring your hands to your vulva. Experiment with different strokes outside, on, or around the labia. You can apply gentle pressure with a finger to the outside of the vagina (no insertion yet!) and begin to gently stroke your clitoris using a finger. Experiment with pressure, strokes, and speed. You can use circles, back and forth motions, or any movement that feels good to you.
Clitoral stimulation preferences are different for everyone and may be gentle or intense. The clitoris enjoys stimulation when you’re aroused, so start slowly if you’re a beginner.
Ready, Set, Go!
Once you feel ready, you may want to experiment with penetration. If you need a little help, grab some lube before inserting a finger or two into the vagina. Many people enjoy a “come hither” motion which can help you locate the G-spot for stimulation. The G-spot often feels like a raised area or nub on the front wall of the vaginal canal. The texture might feel rippled like a walnut, and is located anywhere from just inside the vaginal entrance to 3 inches (76mm) inside.
Some people may enjoy more or less penetration, and you should never feel embarrassed for either one. If you like, speed up the come hither motion or try the classic in-and-out motion. You may want to use both hands, using one inside the vagina and the other to stimulate the clitoris or other parts of the body.
To Toy Or Not To Toy
As mentioned, sex toys aren’t a requirement. You can certainly enjoy masturbation without sex toys, but they can add to the fun! There is a sex toy for anything and everything, so as you discover the sensations you like best during masturbation you can find the best toys to mimic and enhance those sensations.
As a beginner, try sticking with sex toys that are simple and moldable. It’s totally normal to start out with smaller, soft silicone dildos versus those that are intimidatingly large or made from hard materials. A simple vibrator can be very powerful, as can those that mimic human touch. Find what works for you!
Masturbation Month is a great time to celebrate our bodies and pleasure. It’s a time of learning, experimentation and enjoyment, no matter if you’re a beginner, or if you have or have not had sex, or are feeling a little shy.
There’s nothing shameful about solo play, and it can truly bring dozens of benefits. Remember to start slowly, avoid pressuring yourself, and have fun! If it’s your body, it’s your rules, and that is an empowering feeling everyone can enjoy.