When you think of female masturbation, you might picture manual stimulation, or perhaps a vibrator. But there are actually many, many more ways women masturbate that are just as valid — and just as fun. Some women feel ashamed if they masturbate in a way that's not typically talked about, but these techniques aren't as unusual as people think.
Many ways women masturbate "are not typically depicted in porn (and many preclude penetration), so we may not consider them 'sexy,'" Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly, tells Bustle. "But ultimately, there is nothing sexier than that from which you derive sexual pleasure, so you do you and don’t worry about what others are doing. It doesn’t matter how you indulge in pleasure or how you reach orgasm — physically or mentally. There is no right or wrong way."
Sex therapist Vanessa Marin, creator of Finishing School, an online orgasm course for women, agrees that women masturbate in a "dazzling" variety of ways. "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," she tells Bustle. "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."
Here are some ways women masturbate that are more common than you might realize.
1. Grinding Against Furniture
A lot of women first learn to masturbate by grinding on objects like furniture, which makes a lot of sense, because furniture provides edges for the clitoris to rub against.
"Whether you sit on the padded arm of your couch or rub your pubic bone against the edge of the bed or chest of drawers, you’re not alone," Dr. Jess says. "When you grind on the outside, you stimulate the clitoral shaft and bulbs underneath."
"Grinding (of any kind) is one of the most common female masturbation techniques," Marin agrees. "Most women who use this technique think that they're the only woman in the world who masturbates in this way, so they're always relieved to know that it's super common! Most women started masturbating this way as children, without fully realizing what they were doing."
2. Humping Pillows
Another technique women often learn early in childhood is humping pillows or other soft objects. These also provide material to stimulate the clitoris, but since they're softer, many women find they can be rougher with them.
"Dogs do it and humans do it too," Dr. Jess jokes. "You may lie on top or wrap your legs right around it — either way, it tends to get the job done."
3. Rubbing A Sheet Between Your Legs
When you're lying in bed at night, you might find that rubbing your blanket or sheet between your legs provides a surprising amount of pleasure.
"You may have noticed that squeezing your legs together during P-V intercourse feels good, and it can feel good around a bed sheet, too, as you provide friction and pressure against your lips and clitoris," Dr. Jess says.
4. Watching Movie Sex Scenes Or Porn
"We often assume that men are more visual than women, but many women find that visual imagery helps them to be more present and heighten arousal," Dr. Jess says. "Just like men, many women keep their lube and porn handy to rub one off right before bed."
Aside from mainstream porn, many women enjoy watching movie sex scenes, sexy GIFS, and other sexual images. When it comes to sexy videos and photos, the internet knows no limits!
5. Using Shower Heads, Bath Faucets, Or Bidets
The bathroom is many women's favorite room to masturbate in, and for good reason. Shower heads, bath faucets, and bidets (if you have one) provide pressure that's ideal for many clitorises.
6. Touching The Clitoris Through The Hood Or Labia
You may sometimes think of masturbation as touching the clitoris, but what many women are actually touching is the clitoral hood. "Some women like direct contact with the clitoris while others find direct contact to be uncomfortable or even painful," Marin says.
Another common technique is to stimulate the clitoris indirectly by rubbing the labia against it, she adds.
If you masturbate using any of these techniques, rest assured that you're not alone. And if you haven't, you might want to give them a try. At the very least, it'll switch up your routine.