Sex researchers estimate that around 80 percent of women of all ages masturbate, and that means most of us are doing it. Unless your religion is against it, masturbation is a healthy way to consciously learn more about your body and what turns you on. If you'd like to give masturbation a go but haven't done it in a while (or at all), here are some simple steps to get you started.
What solo sex does for you
Masturbation is a perfectly natural outlet for satisfying ourselves sexually. It doesn't sap your sexual energy for sex with your partner, as is commonly believed. Quite the opposite: Self-pleasure actually makes for better sex with your partner. How? When you know how to turn yourself on, you can point your partner in the right direction. Most women learn how to orgasm through masturbation, and it's also the primary means of learning other ways to get off. You can teach yourself to come with penetration and with a partner.
1. Arrange a private time to get in the mood
Set aside some uninterrupted time in a private space and treat yourself to something sensual to help you get into the sexy mood for self-touch. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the bathtub, light some aromatic candles, turn on some soft music. "Take time to indulge all your senses," says Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, sex expert and author of Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need and Deserve. "The goal is to make you feel pampered, sexy, and sensual."
2. Get familiar with your own body
Women are often in the dark about their genitals, simply because they're out of view. If you're one of them, taking the time to explore your body and learning about your erogenous zones can greatly increase your sexual pleasure.
Sit in front of the mirror or use a handheld mirror to take a good look at your genitals. Use your hand to locate the parts of your genitalia and get acquainted by touching them. "Observe the complexity, color, texture, shape, scent, moisture, and beauty of your vulva and the opening of your vagina," says Hutcherson. Vulva is the term for the visible sexual anatomy between your legs, including your clitoris, vagina and vaginal lips. The idea is to familiarize yourself with your own anatomy for pleasure, and become comfortable with your unique natural taste and scent.
3. Explore your hot spots
Now that you're familiar with your own body, it is time to get in touch with how it feels. Lie on your back, side or stomach, whichever is most comfortable for you. Start by lubing your hands with some natural oils, give your neck a gentle, sensual rub, working your way to your shoulders, breasts, then down your abdomen, back and butt. "Revel in how it feels to have your hands glide across your slick skin," says Hutcherson. Take your time to explore every inch of your body, all the way down to your thighs, calves and feet. Experiment with what feels good and concentrate on the pleasurable sensations.
Then, spend a few minutes stroking and massaging your breasts. Use your fingertip to slowly circle each nipple. Gently squeeze them between your index finger and thumb and pull slightly. Focus on the different sensations, the warmth of your flesh. Experiment with different types of strokes, pressures and speeds. "As you stroke your body, take note of any extra-sensitive spots and the type of touch that elicits the most pleasure," says Hutcherson. Once you've got your pleasure zones mapped out, you can rely on those parts to bring arousal, whether you're alone or with a partner.
4. Zoom in on the intimate bits
Apply a generous dollop of water-based lube such as KY Jelly to the clitoris and the opening to your vagina. Now slowly massage the entire area. Breathe slowly and concentrate on the sensations, taking time to linger on the spots that feel good.
Next, slide your fingers up and over the hood of your clitoris. Rub along each side of your clitoris, and along its length. Make circular motions to include inner lips and clitoris, slowly sliding your fingers to the opening of your vagina and back. Try varying the pressure, speed and direction of your strokes. Make a mental note of which areas tingle at your touch and which strokes give you the most pleasure.
If you want to use a vibrator, set it on low speed. Many women find direct stimulation over the clitoris feel too intense, so try running it over your pubic mound and outer labia.
Keep going until the pleasure around the clitoris builds. If you prefer something inside your vagina to give you a sense of fullness, insert one of two fingers into your vagina. "Be aware of the moisture and warmth as you move your finger along all of the walls of your vagina," says Hutcherson. Explore the opening, the sides, front and back.
5. Keep practising
Remember, your goal is to feel good. Even if you don't orgasm, you're giving yourself pleasure. Some women need more time than others, so be patient with yourself. Think of each session as a journey of sexual self-discovery, not a destination for orgasm. Relax and enjoy the pleasure of the moment, and your Os will follow.