One of the best things about masturbation is that there's no "wrong" or "right" way to do it: as long as it feels good and helps you feel sexually connected to yourself, it doesn't really matter how you choose to masturbate. But even if you feel like you know exactly what works for you already, that doesn't mean you can't still improve the way you masturbate. Taking the time to learn how to masturbate to have stronger orgasms is a super valuable skill that can seriously improve your sex life, both solo and with a partner.
"When we think about having hotter, more fulfilling sex, we tend to focus on partnered sex alone," Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly tells Bustle. "That’s a shame considering the fact that self-pleasure is often our first foray into sex, and most of us orgasm for the very first time while masturbating."
However, while orgasms can certainly feel amazing, for many women, it's difficult (and in some cases, impossible) to reach orgasm. As such, having an orgasm shouldn't be the end-all-be-all goal of masturbation — particularly when there are many other benefits of masturbation that shouldn't be discounted. "When it comes to sex, we tend to be an orgasm-focused culture," sex educator Lola Jean tells Bustle. "When constantly aiming to achieve a goal, one may forget about the journey along the way. Masturbation does not have to culminate with an orgasm. Stress reduction, aiding boredom, cramps, and finding new pleasure pathways can all be results of your self-love."
If you're looking to improve your solo sex life and learn to have bigger, stronger orgasms along the way, here are 11 expert masturbation tips that can help you enjoy the experience of self-love, from start to the big finish — and every step in between.
1. Get Familiar With Your Genitals
Before you can learn exactly how to pleasure yourself, you need to feel comfortable with what you're working with — which means getting familiar with your anatomy.
"I strongly recommend that women take the time to take a look at their genitals and get to know their own genital anatomy," Dr. Laurie Mintz, LELO sexpert and author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters — And How To Get It, tells Bustle. "Knowing what you have... will help you play with it more thoroughly and well! I suggest getting a good simple diagram of a vulva and using a mirror to identify your parts."
2. Watch Videos Of Others Masturbating
Another excellent way to improve how you masturbate? Look for resources that can show you how other women do the deed — and follow their lead if you see something that appeals to you.
"I also strongly recommend that women look at some realistic (i.e., not porn) masturbation models," Mintz says. "Seeing someone else pleasure themselves can be arousing (regardless of your sexual orientation) and you will also learn a thing or two. I recommend the videos at OMGYes or this Betty Dodson video."
3. Fantasize Freely
What you fantasize about is a huge part of the process of masturbation, so don't be afraid to free your mind and indulge all of your fantasies, whatever they may be.
"The brain is the engine of orgasm, so kick yours into high gear by letting your mind wander totally unchecked," Dr. Jess says. "Whether you fantasize about a romantic evening on the beach beneath the stars or a group sex scene in the back of a van in a dark alleyway, give yourself permission to indulge in your most erotic thoughts, scenarios and scripts. Oftentimes, we allow our fantasies to be censored by shame and cultural scripts that dictate what’s un/acceptable, but in thought, absolutely anything goes."
4. Make Some Noise
It's one thing to be quiet while masturbating because your walls are thin and your roommates are home; it's quite another thing to masturbate in silence simply because you feel weird about making noise.
"Most of us muffle or alter our sexual sounds to reflect what we hear in porn and this can impact orgasmic tension," Dr. Jess says. "As we soften our groans and grunts into moans and sighs, the rhythm of our breath becomes unnatural. This breath holding impacts blood flow and oxygenation of muscles which can impede orgasmic response... If you feel like grunting, go ahead. If you want to moan at a high pitch, let it out! Your sounds are an essential part of sexual response and you’ll likely find that when you stop censoring them, your pleasure and orgasm intensify."
5. Give Sex Toys A Try
If you're someone who's stuck to manual masturbation until now, give a sex toy a chance next time you want to pleasure yourself — because there are so many ways sex toys can enhance your sex life.
"Whether you’re with a partner or on your own, sex toys make the experience more exciting and many people report that their most intense orgasms are aided by vibrating sensations," Dr. Jess says. "If you like G-Spot and clitoral stimulation, try the We-Vibe Nova — it’s the next generation of the 'rabbit vibe' that actually stays in place against your most sensitive spots. The dual stimulation activates multiple nerve pathways, which can lead to more powerful orgasms; the clitoris communicates pleasure to the brain via the pudendal nerve and the G-spot communicates via the vagus nerve."
6. Change Positions
Changing positions isn't just something you can do during partnered sex: you can also experiment with different positions while you're masturbating, too.
"Just as switching up positions when you’re with a partner helps you to discover new angles and pathways to pleasure, so too does changing positions during self-pleasure lead to more exciting self-love sessions," Dr. Jess says. "Try rolling onto your stomach or using pillows to play with the angle of your hips. Move into the shower, sit on the edge of the tub or simply let your legs hang off the side of the bed. Novelty and experimentation are among the most simple of sexual aphrodisiacs, so be sure to change things up whether you’re on your own or with a partner."
7. Use Lube
There's this harmful stigma out there that using lube is something women "have" to do only if they're older or can't get physically aroused — which couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, lube is an amazing tool you can use to have better sex, even if you have no issues with arousal.
"Lube makes sex hotter by expanding the number of positions, toys, and techniques you can play with whether solo or partnered," Dr. Jess says. "Add a few drops to the tip of your favorite toy, slather your palm until it’s soaking wet or simply apply it sensually to your fingertips according to your personal preference."
8. Tone Your Pelvic Floor
Another way to help yourself have better orgasms? Exercise your pelvic floor muscles — but don't worry, there's no gym involved.
"If you have access to a pelvic floor physiotherapist, take advantage of this privilege," Dr. Jess says. "They can help you to identify where your strengths and weaknesses lie and as you learn to tone your pelvic floor, sexual response, pleasure and orgasm will reach new heights. You might also want to try a product like the We-Vibe Bloom, which helps you tone with Kegel exercises and offers vibrations for pleasure when you’re not 'working out.' It’s a win-win in and out of the bedroom."
9. Use Your Free Hand To Your Advantage
Masturbation doesn't have to be solely genitals-focused: with your free hand, try exploring your other erogenous zones and seeing what added sensations feel best for you.
"What’s your non-dominant hand doing [during masturbation]?" Lola Jean asks. "Try stimulating your perineum or nipples or other parts of your body with that hard."
10. Focus On Your Breathing
Believe it or not, the way you breathe can have a big impact on your orgasm, so try focusing on deepening your breaths the next time you masturbate.
"Deepen your breath taking long, shallow inhales and exhales," Lola Jean says. "The vagus nerve extends from the bottom of the brainstem to the cervix. We can activate it by using deep breathing to stimulate the nerve which can make for a more intense orgasmic experience."
11. Try "Edging" Yourself
If you have time to spare, spend a whole day "edging" yourself — aka bringing yourself almost, but not quite, to orgasm, then cooling back down before building up again.
"Getting close to the precipice of orgasm and not allowing yourself to get there can intensify the orgasm once you finally push yourself over that edge," Lola Jean says. "You can tease yourself the whole day or within your solo session."
No matter how you choose to love yourself, the most important thing to remember is that the goal of masturbation isn't necessarily to orgasm, but rather to connect with yourself in a sexual way, and learn about your body and what you want and need in bed. If you focus on making yourself feel good, with a little experimentation, you'll be on the fast track not only to better orgasms, but to more sexual pleasure all around.