Like pretty much everything else in life, masturbation techniques vary widely from person to person. Since we don't talk about female masturbation enough, many women worry that their masturbation style is wrong or abnormal. Here's the good news: There's no wrong way to masturbate! And a lot of the
masturbation habits women feel ashamed of are actually very common.
"Women masturbate in a dazzling array of ways," sex therapist Vanessa Marin, creator of
Finishing School, an online orgasm course for women, tells Bustle. "Female masturbation doesn't get talked about very openly, but I think it's truly amazing to learn about all of the different ways that women can experience pleasure. Plus, most women tend to think that the way they masturbate is 'weird' or 'unusual,' so hearing about ways that other women masturbate can help us all feel less alone."
A few masturbation techniques Marin often hears about are grinding against objects like pillows, blankets, hairbrushes, or remotes; using vibrators; stroking the clitoris directly; teasing it through the
clitoral hood or labia; rubbing against furniture; grinding against the heels of the feet; and penetrating the vagina while rubbing the clit.
To get an even better idea of the range of ways women masturbate, I asked women about their favorite techniques. They were just as diverse as I expected, ranging from laying under shower heads (same!) to watching porn until they
orgasm with their minds (jealous!). Here they are. 1 Jessica, 26
"Vibrator (I have a wand and a rabbit) and occasionally manually."
2 Amber, 24
"Vibrators, usually externally but on occasion dual stim or triple."
3 Anne, 32
"Bullet vibrator with erotica (RIP Tumblr)."
4 Liv, 24
"I prefer non-direct contact. It's really hard to pull off when I'm having sex with another person, so I don't try, but when I'm alone and just rubbing really hard against the side of my vagina (maybe even with panties on) it is the best feeling in the world."
5 Riley, 20
"A shower head's massage setting if I actually want to orgasm. I used to have this amazing rabbit vibrator that I only used for clit stimulation and it made me come, but sadly it got lost during a move."
6 Cameron, 26
"My hands! I just rub my clit."
7 Kate, 31
"Mostly my hand for clitoral stimulation (gentle circular motions/flicking/rubbing/etc.). Occasionally toys for penetration but not very frequently! I’ve been doing it the same way since I started when I was 12, so I’m sort of classic about it."
8 Sarah, 24
"I have a collection of vibrators that I use depending on my mood!"
9 Cassie, 25
"My right hand, basically. Sometimes a little vibrator. I started out trying to watch porn but it was almost too distracting. So one time, I went from some sexy fanfic and that got me turned on
to reading erotica, which is pretty much what I use now to get in the mood. I've masturbated with partners, but unless they're really good at edging, I don't find it as satisfying as doing it myself." 11 Jessica, 26
"If I have time, I usually watch porn and can mentally get myself to orgasm with no physical stimulation. If I'm in a rush I just use my vibrator wand."
12 Jess, 25
"I roll my clit and surrounding areas between my index finger and middle finger. Or I use a vibrator. I can get off quicker using my fingers though."
13 Steff, 32
"Hand, pillow, phone call with partner, toys — not usually all at once."
14 Jess, 32
"Typically, I jerk a dildo vaginally; maybe 10 percent of the time, I use a bullet vibe externally either alone or after I’ve gotten off multiple times on the dildo. I find internal stimulation more satisfying than clitoral."
15 Kelly, 25
"I basically always use a vibrator — just a very simple, bright pink one about average size and shape. I'll watch some porn, use the vibrator on my clit, and then after I've had one or two 'big' orgasms, I might switch to using my fingers if I want a few more. (Using the vibrator for too long can sometimes be a little too intense.)"
16 Megan, 41
"I use two [vibrators] at the same time for the most pleasure, one for external clitoral stimulation — one of the designs that 'sucks' — and one for insertion that vibrates and has a nice looped handle, making it easy to slide in and out. It was so worth the experimentation and the money, even on vibrators I didn't end up liking, because I was able to learn what I did want from them. I went from not really caring to masturbate all that much to it becoming a daily event."
17 Rachel, 26
"My magic wand is probably my best friend. I really, really enjoy masturbation, and my magic wand gets me there in five minutes or less."
18 Carlie, 29
"I use my fingers, dildos, and vibrators for masturbating. Sometimes I grind into something (a vibe or my hand) against my bed; other times I throw my legs back and lie down. I like really deep penetration and always orgasm way harder with it, but sometimes I just want to stimulate my clit and have an easy orgasm. Sometimes I just thrust into myself without any goal of orgasm."
19 Sarah, 32
"Mostly I use a clitoral vibrator and caress my breasts with my free hand. Everything else is pure imagination."
20 Lilith, 32
"I like using a simple dildo that I use for penetration and furiously rub my clit with my other hand."
21 Mary, 38
"Magic Wand Original on low over my underwear."
22 Maria, 42
"Fingers, bullet vibrator (mostly vibe now as I've gotten a bit lazy about it, didn't discover vibrator until late 30s). I don't need much motivation, though erotic lit can be nice, and lately I'm into gay porn or male masturbation clips on Tumblr.
As a kid, I would just rub myself against the floor, pressing my hands down flat in front of me (a bit like cobra pose). In addition to laying flat on floor, I'd hang off the wooden railing separating the living room and the stairs of our split level, my arms perched on the railing like a window sill, pressing my vulva/clit against one of the balusters.
As an adult in my 20s, I'd go into the ladies' room at work and lean up against the counter as if checking my makeup. The granite top was at the perfect height. I'd hold my weight in my hands and press my clit against the edge. All through clothes, obviously. Quickly fussing with my hair in the mirror if I heard someone approach the door."
23 Michelle, 35
"I have a wand vibe that I put on my clit. I then roll on my side and squeeze my legs together so it can't move, which frees up my hands to find porn."
24 Gigi, 27
"Friction from clothing/underwear."
25 Randi, 26
"Hitatchi magic wand, humping my own hand."
26 Jess, 28
"I use my middle finger on my clit and move it in an up and down motion consistently until I come. I will usually just use my fingers but regularly use a dildo as well. I’ll fuck myself with the dildo using my left hand and use my right hand to play with my clit."
27 Elle, 29
"Primarily, and to get off fastest, I use my second and third finger on my right hand to rub my clitoris in a circular motion, just above or on the head of my clit. I'm not very interested in penetration, so sometimes, but not always, I will dip those fingers into my vagina to get them wet to help lubricate the rubbing motion. I also will touch my breasts and nipples in particular with my left hand.
Other times, I use a vibrator (Mona 2 for life!) pressed against my clitoris, and move it up and down and turn up the intensity as I approach orgasm. Lastly, sometimes I will use the detachable hand-held shower head on the massage setting."
30 Frankie, 18
"I use my hand, pillows to grind on, as well as sex toys. If I'm using my hands, I tend to just rub my clitoris through my underwear. I like to grind on pillows when I'm getting into the mood, and whenever I use sex toys, I'll have one internal toy and one on my clitoris, and sometimes a butt plug to add to it! Sometimes I'll even strap a dildo in and jerk it off and apply that pressure to my clit."
31 Rachel, 29
"Plain old clit rubbing, using a dildo. My clit is very sensitive so I tend to stick to rubbing the hood and the root. I could never use a vibe on my clit."
32 Valerie, 35
"Either fingers rubbing clit or use of a vibrator, and I sometimes use a dildo in combination with one of the above. And sometimes I add in a butt plug and/or nipple clamps."
33 Jayne, 28
"I do it all. Clit stimulation with hands and toys, penetration of bum or vagina with fingers of toys. I don’t tend to watch a lot of porn. I mostly just use my inner thoughts."
As you can see, there are as many ways to masturbate as there are women! And as long as they make you happy and don't hurt anyone, they're all good ways.