Masturbation is a bit of an art form: There are endless ways to do it, (pretty much) no method is right or wrong, and it can take some creativity to figure out what works for you. But even if you’ve got your solo-sex moves down pat, learning a new technique could teach you something about your body or help you feel pleasure in a new way. And if you’re in the process of figuring out how to turn yourself on and (potentially) orgasm, switching up your masturbation routine could open up new avenues to enjoyment.
“Experimenting with new masturbation techniques is a way to discover important elements of what you like (or don’t), to stretch yourself sexually in a completely safe context, and to stay engaged with your body and desires—which can change over time,” Carol Queen, sex educator and staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, says. Just like you can get into a sexual rut with a partner, your masturbation routine can become stagnant, which may leave something to be desired, Queen adds.
Like we said, there’s no wrong way to self-pleasure, and if you’re happy with your current moves (or lack thereof), you–uh–do you. But for those of you who are turned on by the idea of shaking up your solo-sex routine, we asked 12 sex experts to share their favorite masturbation tips. Consider their advice masturbation inspiration.
Don’t limit lube to partner penetration.
If you like (or want) to incorporate penetration into your masturbation routine, lube can help a dildo or finger go in much more easily, naturally. But a lesser-known fact is that it can also enhance clitoral stimulation, Erica Smith, MEd, sex educator, says.
“When your vulva is slippery, it’s a lot easier to explore with your hands, and it also reduces friction on the clitoris, which some can find painful or unpleasant,” Smith explains. She also suggests using lube with any kind of insertive toy, even if you have natural lubrication and don’t think you “need” it. “It’s not really about needing it, but about adding it as an enhancement,” she says. If you’re using toys, Smith recommends water-based lube, since silicone formulas can break down silicone sex toys. And FYI: If your masturbation exploration involves latex (in, say, a condom you put over a toy), you’ll want to avoid oil-based lube, which can cause the material to deteriorate.
Prioritize foreplay for solo sex too.
Tuning in to your body’s sensations (and getting out of your head) is key for enjoying masturbation—and sex in general—and one way to develop this type of mindfulness is to expand your definition of self-pleasure beyond sexual touch, Bianca I. Laureano, certified sexuality educator, says. This could mean using a scent you enjoy in the bath and paying attention to changes in the temperature of the water, or applying lotion and noting how different parts of your skin feel, she says.
Exploring physical sensations in this way can be particularly beneficial for people in larger bodies, who are often excluded from our culture’s views and portrayals of sexuality. Experimenting with non-sexual self-touch can be an opportunity for larger-bodied people to reinforce the idea that they deserve to feel good and experience pleasure, Laureano says.
If you’re not yet comfortable with masturbation, easing your way in with non-sexual touch can be a non-threatening way to get started, Laureano adds. You can start with small things, like massaging your hand or wearing clothing with textures you enjoy. “Often, masturbation requires a level of comfort and safety,” Laureano says. “Starting from a place that’s less intimidating welcomes more expansion to find that comfort in touching ourselves.”
Put your hips into it.
Since many of us masturbate lying down, focused on what we’re doing with our hands, moving around might sound like multi-tasking—but it can also have huge pleasure payoffs. Moving your pelvis (and your body in general) can get your heart rate up and increase blood flow, including to the genitals, Queen says. “You can writhe, wiggle, or thrust your hips,” she suggests. “That motion will increase circulation, and more blood flow—particularly to sexually sensitive areas—can heighten arousal.”
Late sexologist Betty Dodson popularized this circulation-boosting masturbation technique with her “rock and roll” method, which involves lying on your back, thrusting your pelvis up and down, and squeezing your vaginal muscles in time with your thrusting.
You can also experiment with your own movement method, tuning in to your body—which can help you tune out cultural ideas of what being turned on is supposed to look like—to notice what feels good and natural to you. In other words, masturbate like no one’s watching.
Get to know your clitoris (it bears repeating).
We know this is old news to most people who have one, but the clitoris can be key for solo satisfaction: According to a 2017 survey of more than 1,000 women published in the Journal Sex and Marital Therapy, three quarters of people with vulvas say clitoral stimulation is either necessary for orgasm or enhances the experience. But if you haven’t taken the time to really get to know your clitoris, it’s worth the effort, since different ones respond to different kinds of touch. Some, for instance, might prefer direct pressure, while others may prefer suction, Marla Renee Stewart, sex expert for sex toy shop Lovers and women’s studies instructor at Clayton State University, tells SELF. “When it comes to figuring out what works best for yours, finding the right toy can help in your exploration,” she says.
If you want to experiment with direct pressure, you can try a wand vibrator, and if you’re into suction, you might prefer a toy that uses pulse technology, like the Satisfyer One Night Stand or the Satisfyer Luxury Haute Couture.
Give yourself the full-body treatment.
While the clitoris is the center of many vulva owners’ pleasure, solely focusing on it excludes other body parts that can seriously up your enjoyment—think of the difference between a foot rub and a total body massage. “Exploring different parts of your body—with your hand or a vibrator—can create a slow build to orgasm, or you might find yourself having different types of orgasm that you haven’t experienced before,” Nat DiFrank, sex educator, tells says. “This exploration can also be really helpful for people who experience gender dysphoria or have sexual trauma that might make touching or centering genitals uncomfortable.”
Some body parts you might consider including in your masturbation session: your nipples, chest, neck, thighs, labia, perineum (the space between the vagina and anus), and anus. “Play with variations in sensations like light, medium, and hard touch by fluttering your fingers, pinching, slapping, or grabbing,” DiFrank suggests.
Remember that sex toys can be a lot of fun.
Sex toy shame is, thankfully, at least somewhat lifting culturally in the U.S., but embarrassment isn’t the only reason you might not be embracing them. Maybe you’re getting off just fine without a toy, or you don’t know where to start with one. If your fingers feel better to you, by all means, do your thing, but many people find that toys add to their pleasure both alone and with a partner, Laurie Mintz, PhD, sex therapist and author of Becoming Cliterate, says. One 2009 study on more than 2,000 women in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that participants who used vibrators reported better overall sexual functioning, including increased arousal and more frequent orgasms.
And in case you’re concerned, vibrators are unlikely to become “addictive,” replace your partner, or desensitize your clitoris, Dr. Mintz adds. They can, however, “give you the type of stimulation most likely to lead you to experience orgasm,” she says.
Not sure where to begin with toys? “I strongly recommend starting with a clitoral vibrator, particularly one with multiple speeds and patterns,” she says. “But, if you know you like combining external and internal stimulation, then go with a rabbit vibrator.”
Know that less might be more—pleasurable, that is.
Given all the clichés about the “elusive female orgasm,” it’s no wonder many of us think we need to blast our clitorises with vibration on the highest setting to get off. But clits are super responsive—you may not even have to touch yours directly to feel intense pleasure. “One of the biggest mistakes I see people with vulvas make is thinking they need to make direct contact with their clitoris,” Vanessa Marin, LMFT, sex therapist and creator of online orgasm course Finishing School, tells SELF. “For a lot of people, the clitoris is too sensitive for that.”
And even if you’re feeling just fine with powerful stimulation, experimenting with different levels of intensity can help you get to know your body even better. Marin suggests experimenting with keeping your underwear on when you masturbate or touching the areas around the clitoris with your underwear off. “You can also try rubbing through the labia, or even circling around (but not directly touching) the clitoris,” she says. If you require (or simply like) more stimulation, there’s nothing wrong with that either, but it can help to get a sense of your sensitivity level first, so you can find your sweet spot.
Free your mind; the rest will follow.
Another way to become more dialed in during your sexy self-time is to stop hyper-focusing on reaching orgasm. “Letting go of that agenda allows us to discover new pleasurable terrain and increase our erotic intelligence,” says somatic sexologist Jaiya. She suggests setting aside just 10 or 15 minutes for goal-less masturbation, during which you can stimulate different parts of your vulva and surrounding areas with different types of touch, varying the speed and pressure. “You can explore around the clit, the pubis mons, inside the folds where your inner thighs meet with the pelvis,” she says. When your attention starts to drift, bring it back to your body to tune into the sensations you’re feeling. You might actively avoid orgasming (more on that below) or allow it to happen if it happens on its own; the key is not to force it, she adds.
Know that if you build it, you will (be more likely to) come.
And speaking of orgasms, prolonging the climb can make them that much more intense once you get there, Dorian Solot, sexuality educator and co-author of I Love Female Orgasm, tells SELF. Plus, it can be a fun way to stretch out your me-time. Solot recommends playing what she calls the “game of 10:” “Masturbate until you get close to orgasm but stop before letting yourself climax—that’s one,” she explains. “Pause to let your arousal fall back a bit, then change to a new position and masturbate close to orgasm again—that’s two. Repeat (in a different position each time, if you want) until you reach 10 and finally let yourself enjoy the blissful release!”
Just add water—with a showerhead or not.
The showerhead is a self-pleasure icon, and for good reason: “Detachable showerheads with multiple speeds can be a wonderful way to engage in self-love,” Markie Twist, PhD, marriage and family therapist and certified sexuality educator, tells SELF. “You can control the speed, pressure, and positioning—and there’s no clean-up.”
If your showerhead isn’t up to the task, though, your bath faucet can also offer plenty of pleasure. “You can lie down on your back and put your feet up on either side of the faucet with the water flowing between your legs, onto your clitoris and into your vaginal opening,” Dr. Twist says. A gadget like the Waterslyde ($35), which attaches to your faucet, can help direct the water wherever feels best—like creating your own mini waterpark of self-amusement.
Seduce yourself like you mean it.
You know how meals can be more satisfying when you prep and cook all the ingredients yourself, set the table, and play some food mood music? Masturbation is often better if you can engage more of your senses, too, Janet Brito, PhD, sex therapist, says. So consider making a ritual out of self-pleasure: “Change your sheets, turn on some music, or dim the lights,” she suggests. “Let yourself be taken by the sensory experience and make it all about self-care, self-love, and embracing pleasure.”
To feel each sensory experience more intensely, Dr. Brito suggests applying some of the principles of mindfulness to your masturbation sessions. This can mean noticing and becoming curious about your bodily sensations and erotic thoughts, as well as being non-judgmental about your experience. “Try to let yourself release guilt and shame,” she says. “If negative thoughts arise, imagine yourself placing them on a cloud or in a stream that carries them away, which can help you detach from them.” (And if sexual fears or insecurities are regularly getting in the way of your pleasure, you might need to practice sexual self-acceptance or consider working through these issues with a therapist if that’s accessible for you.)
“Applying mindfulness to your masturbation practice helps you stay present with yourself and shut out pesky distractions that can get in the way of pleasure,” Angel Russell, certified sex educator, says. They suggest starting a basic daily meditation practice (a meditation app can help get you started) to learn mindfulness techniques that you can apply to your solo sex sessions. You might notice how each touch feels against your skin, for example, and try to bring your mind back to those sensations each time it starts to wander.
Explore new sex positions solo.
If you’ve ever had an extra fun time in bed with a partner thanks to a new-to-you sex position, you won’t be surprised to learn that one of the best masturbation tips is to switch up your moves. “Different positions bring different sensations and can create more intense orgasms,” Meka Nicole, LPC, sex educator, tells SELF.
Nicole suggests sitting on your knees for greater range of motion and easier full-body exploration, getting on all fours for increased leg and pelvic muscle tension (which can intensify sensations in those areas), and sitting in a chair for better access to the vulva. “Making love to yourself can be just as adventurous as making love to someone else,” she says. Knowing that you have novel positions to look forward to can also up your masturbation anticipation, so the experience is even more pleasurable when you finally get yourself alone.
Source & Image Credit: www.self.com