There are many slang terms used to describe the act of masturbation, such as “touching yourself,” “self pleasure,” “jerking off” — the list goes on and on. Regardless of what you call it, masturbation is 100% natural, normal and healthy.
There is no right or wrong way to go about this amazing process; what feels good differs for everyone. You can touch many different pleasure spots on your body, such as the inside of your legs, breasts, neck and genitals. Masturbation techniques may vary based on your body and your unique preferences. A person with a penis might stroke it, or play with their testicles whereas a person with a vulva may touch their labia minora and circle the clitoris. Getting to know your own body in an intimate way can open up different feelings and pleasures that are exciting to explore.
How long should you masturbate?
All up to you! Teasing and playing can last anywhere from one minute to whenever your hand gets tired. Usually, masturbation comes to a cease when orgasm happens — but it doesn’t always cum (wink wink), so don’t try to force it. Get to know what you like, and enjoy the ride.
Do I need anything?
The best part is that the only thing you need is you! To start getting to know your body, we recommend just using your hands. Personally touching your body will give you insight on how you feel directly with your own touch. If you aren’t comfortable getting too intimate with yourself just yet, you can always masturbate through your clothing. Again, this activity is all about YOUR self-pleasure, so stick to what feels good and makes you feel comfortable.
Environment is key to an enjoyable masturbation sesh. Try turning down the lights, playing some slow jamz, or watching porn. Just remember, what you see in porn is not real. Porn represents fantasy; and it should be viewed as such. You can also try masturbating with a partner. This can be a lot of fun, and a great way to get to know what your partner enjoys.
A little lubricant also goes a long way in adding pleasure to your masturbation experience (and sex with a partner!). Of course, as you become more "advanced," you can also involve products such as dildos, vibrators, nipple clamps — whatever gets you going.
Remember, masturbation is all about self-pleasure, getting to know your body, and understanding what helps you reach your climax. These are all great things to learn and communicate with a partner for maximized mutual enjoyment (and proof that you definitely don't need a partner to have a great time).
For people with a vagina, here are a few techniques to try:
- Use your middle and pointer finger to tap and touch your clitoris varying pressure and speed. This can make your inner labia and clitoris excited, increasing pleasure. The inside of your vagina may produce a natural lubrication that you can incorporate into your tapping and touching. You can also use your saliva for added lubrication (just make sure you don't have an active mouth infection, such as inflamed gums, a sore throat, or an oral herpes lesion).
- Place your index and middle fingers around the clit. While gently gripping your clitoris with your fingers, use the fingers of your other hand to stroke the clitoris while varying the pressure and speed. You can also slide your two fingers up and down around the clit.
- Lay on your bed, back down with your legs spread, knees up and feet flat on the bed. Use your middle finger to penetrate your vagina. As your finger enters, softly but seductively contract your leg muscles such that your pelvis gently pulses in a rhythm similar to when having sex with a partner.
- If you are uncomfortable with penetration, you can try lying on your stomach and grinding against the bed (or couch, or wherever you are lying down) with your legs together, while your hips move up and down. You can also simply rub your vulva (with, or without, clothes on).
For people with a penis, here are a few techniques to try:
- Grab your penis with your stronger hand placing your fingers underneath and thumb on top. As you move your hand up and down the shaft, experiment with pressure, speed, and finger position to determine what feels best. You can also try lightly rubbing the head of the penis. If you need extra lubricant, you can use your saliva (just make sure you don't have an active mouth infection, such as inflamed gums, a sore throat, or an oral herpes lesion because it may spread).
- Give your balls some love! You can caress, stroke, or tickle your testicles to heighten your orgasms. You can also try pulling them slightly downwards while masturbating. This is also great because the better you get to know your testicles, the quicker you will notice any unusual lumps.
- Try stimulating other sensitive parts of your body. For example, your perineum - the area between your anus and scrotum, your nipples, the inside of your thighs, or anything else that feels good!
Side effects? Benefits?
Masturbation doesn’t cause any physical or mental harm, even if you do it often, but your genitals may feel sore if you masturbate a lot in a short span of time.
The benefits of masturbation are endless, including better sleep, enhanced mood, feelings of happiness, and best of all, the knowledge of what you enjoy. Oh wait, there’s more? A major upside of masturbation is that there is zero risk of pregnancy or STIs, and you still get a whole lot of pleasure.
While there are many myths around masturbation, most are simply not true. No you won’t go blind, stunt your growth, go to hell, become a slut, get freckles or whatever other crazy story you have been told! You will, however, be able to feel really good pretty much whenever you want to (in privacy of course), and maybe even resist texting your ex for that late-night hookup. Ain’t nothing better than that! If you have any remaining questions, don't be shy! Submit a question for one of our sexperts to answer.
Masturbation not only feels good, but it provides a wonderful, healthy opportunity to learn what feelings/touches you like and dislike. Knowing your own body before trying to add in another person is a great approach to navigating sexual pleasure. Once you know how to pleasure yourself, you can better communicate with your partner what turns you on, as well as what you don't enjoy, leading to significantly more pleasurable sexual experiences for everyone.