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20 Female Masturbation Tips – How to Masturbate for Women


Beyond just feeling good, masturbation has loads of benefits that can impact many areas of your life, from how well you sleep to how fulfilling your sex life is. Yet for some reason, despite the fact that most people masturbate or will at some point, it’s still a taboo topic—especially for people with vaginas. Which means knowing how to masturbate in a way that can not only get you off (more on that later) but also help you tune into your body isn’t widely taught or talked about outside of porn or the occasional sex scene on TV.

“Enjoying sexual pleasure in our own bodies as women has long been a taboo, banned and stigmatized as a practice, and as recently as now, something that’s not even shown in the media,” says Irene Fehr, MA, CPCC, sex and intimacy coach. “Aside from religious reasons, for a long time, women’s sexual pleasure has been seen as something that we give to a partner—rather than something that we enjoy for ourselves.”

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Well, gone are the days of putting your pleasure last. Masturbation is normal, powerful, and while having an orgasm is a delightful benefit, it’s far from the only one. “Using masturbation to fill your cup with sensual pleasure, not just release tension, impacts how good you feel about yourself, how confident you feel in your body, and how open you’re wanting and willing to be with a partner,” says Fehr.

Below, we’ve consulted experts and researched all the best tips on how to masturbate so that you can feel your absolute best and reap all of its magical benefits.

1. Pamper yourself

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but foreplay isn’t just for partnered sex. In fact, it’s necessary to relax you and put you in the headspace to enjoy your body. “Many women struggle with staying present with the process and body, and instead get distracted by their to-do list and whatever is pulling them in all other directions,” says Fehr. “Create a transition period before masturbation with something pleasurable and relaxing for the body, such as a long shower or a bath. Focusing on the body allows for the mind to calm down and become an ally in the process, not a distraction.”

So just like you would with your significant other, get yourself “ready” for the occasion. Take yourself out to dinner or for swanky drinks, light some candles and take a bath while playing some Michael Bublé, or slip on your sexiest lingerie and just stare at yourself in the mirror. Making yourself feel special will help you feel even better (and more in the mood) when you start to masturbate.

And again, just like with partnered sex, you’re also going to want to make sure you’re turned on and/or lubed up. Whether you have a Tinder match you can sext with to get your sexy thoughts started, or you want to subscribe to an audio porn site, warming up is going to make the process so much hotter.

2. Practice mindfulness

      Masturbation 101: Avoid spectatoring, aka looking in on yourself masturbating from an outside experience instead of enjoying the physical sensation itself. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in your surroundings and distractions, which is why you should practice being present and in the moment, says Myisha Battle, a sex coach and educator for Allbodies.

      Take deep breaths by holding your breath for 10 seconds at a time. Close your eyes and zero in on what you’re feeling instead of what’s going on around you. (I promise, that grocery list can wait.)

      3. Don’t make orgasming the goal.

      Not to get all new age on you, but sometimes the more you want an orgasm, the harder it is to get one. This is why Battle suggests you stop putting pressure on having an orgasm all together. “Some people orgasm during masturbation and others don’t—or they may experience orgasm more sporadically,” explains Battle. “Physically, you will get the same benefits from masturbation, like stress reduction and production of feel-good hormones like dopamine, just from self-pleasure, without orgasm.”

      She suggests viewing an orgasm as the cherry on top and not the whole sundae. By eliminating some of the pressure and just enjoying the experience, you actually have a better chance of actually getting off.

      Plus, focusing less on an orgasm and more on your body can be a major learning experience. “By removing the goal of orgasm and focusing on slowing down and exploring sensual touch, you learn about your body’s responses—what feels good, how your body responds to different kinds of touch, and what your body craves more of,” says Fehr. “This self knowledge feels good—it’s empowering to be able to create these in your own body. It gives us sovereignty over our pleasure and how we experience it. And this feeds into being able to articulate what you want and need with a partner.”

      4. Avoid jackhammering your clitoris and let yourself get handsy

      Jess Wilde, Lovehoney’s bondage and fetish expert, recommends going in circular motions around the clitoris. Make the circles as tight or as wide as you like, to vary intensity. This is a particularly good move if you find direct contact with your clitoris is too much for you and also makes it easier to maintain rhythm when you need it most.

      Sex and relationship educator Kate Kenfield recommends some more low-key playful touching, like running your fingers along your inner labia and along the sides of your clitoris, all the way down toward the entrance of your vagina. It’s just a good starting point to get some blood flowing down there, which helps increase pleasure and arousal.

      Don’t be afraid to explore the rest of your body. “Caress yourself with one hand whilst the other one is getting busy on the clitoris,” says Florence Barkway, half of Florence and Reed, the online sex educators and occasional porn directors behind the sex and body positivity YouTube channel Come Curious. “Touching certain parts of the body can make your orgasms even more intense.”

      Carol Queen, PhD, coauthor of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone recommends bringing nipple stimulation into masturbation or grabbing your butt or upper thighs, just to see if any of that feels good to you. Plus, by finding spots on other parts of your body that feel really good, you’re increasing your arousal, which will make touch feel different, and probably better.

      “For some women, it might be the breasts and nipples, for others, the stomach! It may look silly but if you rub your tummy like you’re hungry, with just a little bit of pressure on the lower stomach, it can lead to a tremendous orgasm,” says Reed Amber, the other half of Come Curious, who also recommends getting creative with where you do it and what you do it with. “You can masturbate standing up in the kitchen, lying in the bath—be experimental.”

      5. Play around with different techniques, from temperature to speed.

      There are loads of masturbation techniques, and taking the time to try each one can help you pinpoint exactly what works for you. Take your time here—you don’t have to try them all in one session. If you need an excuse to masturbate several days in a row, well, this is it. (It’s called ~research~.)

      First, try playing around with different temperatures. According to sexuality educator and researcher Ashley Townes, PhD, it can actually help arouse and relax you. If you prefer colder sensations, try rubbing ice on your nipples or lips. If you prefer something warmer and spicier, invest in a heated sex toy. Just be sure to do a check on another sensitive part of your body like the wrist before moving to the genitals to ensure you’re comfortable with the change.

      The speed with which you approach masturbation can also impact your session. Brush up on tantric sex tips if you want to have an indulgent, all-night self-f*ckathon, or have a pretend quickie by keeping some of your clothes on.

      Sometimes the best way to improve your masturbating session is to introduce new playthings into it. If you only use vibrators, try using your fingers for a while. When you reach for your trusty bullet vibe, experiment with adding internal toys to the mix.

      Timing is also a biggie. If you regularly masturbate at night or right before you go to bed, try doing it as soon as you wake up. There are tons of benefits to masturbating in the morning. One Cosmo writer wrote that it’s “The key to dealing with dick bosses everywhere” and just sets your day on the right tone.

      6. Get outside inspiration through a dedicated masturbation workshop.

      If you’re more of a “learn by doing” kind of person, there are classes out there designed to not only help you have better sex and orgasms, but to also learn more about your body, which in turn can lead to better sex and orgasms.

      “Working with a trained coach is a powerful way to also learn to masturbate in a safe setting,” says Fehr. “Many women don’t feel safe with themselves to explore their own body due to past traumas or patterns of disassociation. Getting support from a professional who can help you go at a pace that feels safe and productive is really important to opening up sexually with yourself.”

      For one, you could sign up for an Allbodies class, which outlines everything from pleasure anatomy, to arousal, to sexual response, and also includes activities and peer-to-peer guidance and support.

      You could also try your hand at guided masturbation by audio-porn app Dipsea. There, you’ll find instructions and suggestions on how to touch yourself. (One Cosmopolitan writer actually experienced her first-ever masturbating orgasm from using their instructional guides.)

      Search Google for nearby sex therapy workshop classes. Experts Tyomi Morgan and Kenneth Play both offer virtual courses. These can help you breakthrough whatever is hindering your orgasms.

      Dr. Fehr also recommends the OMGYes website and calls it “one of the most revolutionary resources out there today. You can read and watch about things that other women have learned about their bodies and start to use these as ideas for exploring your own.

      And if you’re on a budget, fear not. We interviewed 14 anonymous women on exactly how they orgasm alone, and all their techniques are pretty unique. Try some of them out for yourself and see if you stumble upon a game-changing tip.

      7. Ask for professional help if you need it.

      While masturbation can be used as a strategy or tool to cope with sexual difficulty or trauma, it’s important to know when to ask for help and seek guidance from a pro. If you can’t seem to reach orgasm, Dr. Townes suggests diving deeper into what might be going on.

      “Individuals may need to take some time to explore themselves and their identities if certain mental roadblocks are standing in the way of orgasming,” she explains.

      Remember that masturbation should, above all, feel good, and constantly being in your head isn’t going to help with that. “For someone who has a history of disassociating from their body and spending time in their head, the experience of masturbation can feel disconnected, like going through the motions but not feeling much in the process,” says Fehr. “Someone struggling with this would benefit from professional help working with a trauma-informed coach or therapist, who can help you feel safe in your body. With a slow but intentional process, you can become more aware of the body and enjoy it for yourself.”

      8. Try dry humping

      Dry humping likely hasn’t been on your mind for a while, as it usually gets its most play in your sex life when you’re younger or as an entree to penetrative sex. But dry humping can actually be uber-pleasurable. If you’ve got a sensitive clitoris, it can be a great way to stimulate your clitoral hood (kinda like the foreskin of your clit) giving you all the sensation without the ow-ow-ow-intensity of direct clitoral stimulation.

      “Keep the panties on—less wet mess and more clit friction—and find something soft like a pillow, a stuffed animal, or a stack of neatly folded laundy,” recommends Trisha Borowicz, orgasm equality blogger and director of the Science Sex and the Ladies blog. “Lie facedown with your vulva on top of it, slowly grinding your hips down against it. Adjust the pressure, your position and shape of the object until it feels really good. Once you get to that point, keep your rhythm consistent, take some deep breaths, and ride that stack of laundry straight to orgasm.”

      9. Use your hands and sex toys interchangeably

          Queen says that while you might have a better orgasm success rate with a toy, using your hands in the beginning can be a great way to learn about your body. Plus, it’s also more comparable to the sensations caused by a partner’s hands, so if you have any interest in partnered sex, it’ll help you transition from one to the other more smoothly and gives you information for your partner about how you like to be touched.

          When you’re ready to try using a vibrator, you’ll experience (delicious) sensations your fingers probably wouldn’t be able to deliver. But remember: Using a toy doesn’t make you ~lazy~. The fact of the matter is, nowadays vibes and sex toys have so many different functions that focus on unique ways of making you orgasm that it’s well worth it to explore all of them and gain a better understanding of what makes you tick.

          10. Pick a sex toy based on what already works for you when you masturbate.

          There’s so much to be said on vibrators (here’s an abridged version of the 65+ best vibrators we stand by and more detail on all the “types” of vibrators and how to use them), but for the sake of service, we’ll keep this short! When it comes to masturbation, there are generally a few types that each have their ~preferred function~ of pleasure. If you’ve never had a sex toy before, think about how you most reliably orgasm and pick a toy that does exactly that, but on a rechargeable battery that lasts 80 minutes without any hand or neck cramps.

          • Clitoral vibration: This can include everything from bullet vibrators to the mammoth wand-type vibrators. The larger the “head” of the toy, the more precision you have over controlling vibration. Bullet vibes are more precise, whereas wands give broader sensation. Wands give you the most power (some of them literally have to be plugged into the wall, but many are rechargeable), but they lack the convenience of bullets, which are smaller, can be waterproof, quieter, and more discreet all around.
          • Clitoral suction: This is a newish category of sex toy that includes toys like the Lelo Sona, Womanizer, Satisfyer, and more. Basically any toy that looks like it has a little crater for your clitoris to fit into. These toys all use different names for their tech (including lingo like “air” and “sonic”), but the mechanics of it are generally the same. Your clitoris goes into the little dent, the toy creates a vacuum, and vibration or pulsing mimics the feeling of getting your clitoris sucked on. It’s like a machine that feels like the best head of your life. Needless to say, they’re pretty popular.
          • Internal toys: While the G-Spot has been debunked, internal simulation for those with vaginas can feel pretty good for some people. While the majority of those with vulvas probably orgasm or masturbate through clitoral stimulation, adding an internal element can add to that. Anything with a shaft that’s meant to be inserted inside you counts here, like dildos, or vibrators with a pronounced curve (the curve gives you leverage to hit areas where a partner’s penis might not.).
          • Combo internal/clitoral toys: The most classic example of an internal toy is the Rabbit, which has a shaft for penetration and dedicated Rabbit “ears” to stimulate your clit at the same time.
          • Butt toys: This includes anything from butt plugs, anal beads, or anal dildos. You can always tell a butt toy from a vaginal toy because the butt toys have a pronounced flared base, which is crucial so it doesn’t get sucked into your anus and send you to the ER with a story you have to whisper to the admitting nurse. Combining butt toys with clitoral stimulation can be extremely pleasurable for some. Whether it’s wearing a butt plug for a feeling of “fullness” or removing one anal bead at a time as you have a clitoral orgasm, butt toys add a new level to masturbation.

            11. Take your time and practice regularly.

            Try to carve out time to masturbate every day and see what happens. It can be a real game-changer, but make sure you have enough time to not feel rushed and enough privacy not to be interrupted. If you only have five minutes, odds are you’re going to be way too stressed to allow the kind of no-pressure chill vibe you should ideally have when you’re masturbating, at least in the beginning. So shut your phone, put on some music that turns you on, and go slow.

            12. Experiment with edging to see if tweaking with the urgency of an orgasm can give you an even bigger O.

            By incorporating edging, aka the act of delaying orgasming a bunch of times until you have one huge one, you might give yourself the most dramatic climax of your life. “Don’t just race for the orgasm. Tease yourself,” recommends self-love coach Caitin Grace. “Caress every inch of yourself long before you dip between your thighs. Once you finally move to your clitoris, slow everything down. Use soft gentle strokes amongst some hard and fast. Bring yourself to the edge of orgasm and then slow everything down.”

            13. Bring in some props that aren’t necessarily sex toys.

            Yes, sex toys and vibes are great, but you could also mix things up by using what you already have around the house. Lucky enough to have a shower with a removable head? Use the water pressure to stimulate your clit (or just slide down in your tub and let the spray from overhead do the same thing).

            14. Watch yourself and embrace your bod.

            You know how you get hyped up when you put on lingerie? The same feeling applies to setting up a mirror to watch yourself get it on with yourself. Why not do both? If masturbate to her own masturbation video, you sure as hell can too.

            Plus, a study from the University of Texas at Austin found a link between positive body image and sexual satisfaction. In other words, focus on loving and touching those perfect curves and crevices on your body, not dwelling on the areas that you wish were more toned. Know this: Your bod lets you experience these amazing Os and feelings, so worship it, girl.

            15. Turn on the bops.

            Just like how music helps your workout, it also has an amazing effect on setting the mood for your ~sexy~ time too. Create a Spotify playlist with all the songs that get your juices flowing (lol, ew, sorry) or check out Cosmo‘s solo-time playlist for when you’re ready to get down at your party for one.

            16. Switch positions.

            While you’re probably used to lying on your back and using your fingers or toys to stimulate your clitoris, try moving around and masturbating in different positions. Sit up on your knees and press your clitoris up against a vibrator or try moving your body into doggy and simulating the position.

            Another alternative: Wilde recommends lifting your legs as high as possible (we’re talking knees on your shoulders here) to help you reach the internal parts of your clitoris, or turning on your stomach and seeing if that feels good to you.

            17. Test out anal play.

            If you’re curious about butt stuff, there’s really no better way to experiment than alone. You can do everything from circling your anus with a lubed finger and then slowly working your way in, or experimenting with butt plugs. Start with a small plug about the size of your finger. Vibrating plugs can add more sensation than you could give yourself manually, or you can check a weighted plug that helps you achieve a feeling of fullness.

            Just remember: Safety first. “With anal play, there are additional things to consider to make it safe and pleasurable,” says Fehr. “Use lube. Do not force entry and go slowly. And practice various relaxation techniques that work for you to relax and even get aroused before attempting entry to avoid tearing. Lastly, be sure to wash hands between anal and vaginal play to avoid the transfer of bacteria.”

            18. Use lube

            Kenfield recommends putting a quarter-size amount of lube onto your index and middle fingers and gently massaging it around your clitoris and inner labia (the folds inside the larger folds that make up most of your vagina). Sure, you might have enough natural vaginal lubrication to start with, but if you don’t, extra lube (no matter where it comes from) will make it a lot more comfortable. You can also experiment with arousal gels that give your labia a tingly, warm, or cold sensation after rubbing it in.

            19. Use visual aids

            Rachel Venning, Babeland’s co-founder and the co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex, says, “The biggest sex organ is between the ears, so engage your brain as well. Remember sexy times from your past, check out arousing online images, or read erotica. Whatever you need to do to fuel that fire.”

            20. Work some penetration into the mix if that feels right for you.

            Some women don’t use penetration at all when they’re masturbating, but if you want to try that, try slowly—or quickly, if you prefer—moving your fingers in and out of you while you continue to play with your clitoris. Venning recommends this as a starter move: “Slide a finger between your lips to open things up, and then get a little lube on your finger tips if more slickness would feel good. Slide your fingers back and forth from your vaginal opening to your clit. Don’t go inside yet, just tease yourself a bit. Try a stroke that is one finger at a time and then slide a couple fingers into your vagina, curling them slightly. Slide them in and out.”

            You can also just move your fingers in and out without touching the clitoris: It’s really up to you. Basically you’re just feeling around for what you like, and if that’s penetration with clitoral stimulation, do more of that.

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