DIY

Sexperts Spill 25 Tips For Making Solo Play Feel Even Better

#21 is a real game-changer.

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Female masturbation without a vibrator takes practice.
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Nearly everybody masturbates, yet nobody actually teaches you how to make yourself cum. The good thing is that there’s no wrong way to go about it. After all, masturbation is about exploring your body and finding out what brings you pleasure. Still, going about that might require some trial and error. Where do you even start? Thankfully, we’ve got you covered when it comes to how to make yourself cum. According to Vanessa Marin, sex therapist, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to learn how to masturbate because knowing several ways to get yourself off is a skillset everyone should have in their back pocket.

Maybe you've tried masturbating before but just can't figure out how to do it without a vibrator. Sure, some things feel good, but unless you use a sex toy, you can't reach orgasm with just your hand. This experience can definitely create some negative feelings around masturbation or make you wonder if you’re doing something wrong.

According to Marin, there's no need to feel bad. When it comes to how to masturbate, women typically aren’t taught how to do it (and often aren’t taught anything about it at all), and there are plenty of people who feel just as clueless as you do. "I've been asked this question by almost every female client I've ever had, and it's such a popular topic that I've even created an entire online course called Finishing School, which is dedicated to teaching women how to masturbate," Marin tells Bustle. "I 'prescribe' masturbation to most of my clients, so I've come up with specific instructions for learning how to masturbate."

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1. Examine your feelings. Regardless of how common it is, self-pleasure isn’t something everyone fully embraces. In fact, Marin says, the majority of her female clients feel at least somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of it. “Our society isn't very accepting of female masturbation, so most women feel a mixture of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and anxiety when I suggest that they start exploring their bodies,” Marin says.

2. Identify the root of your judgments. If you're not opposed to masturbating, but still harbor some conflicting feelings about it, it's worth taking the time to explore those further. Start by asking yourself questions like, “Where did these feelings about masturbation come from?” and “Do I want to let these beliefs continue to operate in my life?” Grab a journal and write down your thoughts if it helps.

3. Seek help from a therapist or physician. If you find you have a real mental block about masturbation, then you might want to examine those feelings more closely with a professional. There’s nothing “wrong” about needing a little more guidance from someone whose job it is to help you navigate your own mind and body better.

4. Start with the basics of masturbating. There are many different ways to masturbate, and again, none are right or wrong. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to make yourself cum, go back to the beginning, starting with exploring your body and touching yourself wherever feels good.

5. Remember to take your time. As clinical sexologist Rachel Sommer, Ph.D., tells Bustle, masturbation should never be a “snappy, to-the-point” exercise. It’s something that requires patience—especially if you’re just starting to figure things out. Get in a comfortable position, relax, and don’t rush! According to Sommer, exploring your body will help you elongate your pleasure, and build up to more intense sensations.

6. Touch your erogenous zones. “Instead of descending on your clitoris and vagina all at once, make self-pleasure a full-body experience,” Sommer says. “Explore other erogenous areas in your body, including the neck, shoulders, thighs, breasts, and stomach,” she says. Engaging with them should help you get wet and in the mood—if you weren’t already.

7. Practice makes perfect. Learning how to masturbate is like learning any other skill — it takes practice. You're going to feel a little awkward at first, and it may take some time for you to get the hang of it. "Most women's lives are pretty busy, so I usually tell my clients to schedule in time to practice masturbating," Marin says. “Try to carve out 20-30 minutes twice a week.” (Or more, if you’d like.)

8. Remember why masturbation is important to you. You might be thinking, “Twenty to thirty minutes? Is that really necessary?” It's natural to feel some resistance, and you may have to remind yourself why you're doing it. For example, “I know I feel embarrassed about having to practice this, but I do want to learn more about my body.” Challenge yourself to make this a priority, but don't ever force yourself to do it when you genuinely don't feel like it.

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9. Make it a self-care moment. “To make masturbating feel like less of a chore, I encourage my clients to set their practice sessions up to be as enjoyable as possible,” Marin says. Take a bubble bath, put on some music that you like, or wear a little slip that makes you feel hot. Take your time touching other parts of your body and trying to help yourself feel relaxed and sexy.

10. Repetition is everything when trying to orgasm. Finishing requires repetitive, consistent stimulation, and you’ll need to find the perfect spot to keep hitting so you can reach climax. There’s quite a bit that goes into it, and if you overthink, it can easily become frustrating.

11. Stay in the moment and get rid of unnecessary self-imposed stress. When you first start experimenting with masturbation, try not to put any pressure on yourself to orgasm. “A lot of women get overly goal-oriented about climaxing, which can suck all of the fun out of masturbating,” Marin says. “That goes for sex, too.” The real goal should be figuring out what kind of stimulation feels good for you, rather than trying to learn the quickest possible end route.

12. Switch things up regularly. Spend a couple of weeks exploring a number of different techniques. Try two to four strokes each time you practice, and compare and contrast them to each other. Try different speeds and different levels of pressure. Start building a list in your head of the techniques that give you the most pleasure. You can also switch up positions. For example, women like being on their stomachs, while others like being fully outstretched on their backs.

13. Find your G-spot. Try sitting up with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed. Insert two fingers, or whatever makes you feel comfortable, and go about to knuckles deep. Then hook your fingers up as if you’re trying to tickle your belly button from the inside. “If you’re getting the feeling that you need to pee, keep going!” Maureen Pollack, sex and intimacy expert and co-founder at sexual wellness company, Lovability, says. You probably won’t — you’re on just the right track to pleasure. (Just FYI, while the G-spot has earned a legendary reputation, scientists haven’t found anatomical proof that it exists. Still, though, many people swear by internal stimulation.)

14. The clitoris is more than just the tip and the hood. It runs under the labia as well. Pollack suggests pulling back the hood of the clitoris with a lubricated finger and carressing the exposed clitoris glans with various pressures until it feels just right. From there, you can begin “stroking” your fingers from your other hand down the sides of your labia. “This is similar to stoking the shaft of a penis,” Pollack says. “As you become more aroused, you should feel the entire clitoris become engorged and become more and more responsive to your touch.”

15. Try a diagonal stroke. Imagine that there's a clock over your clitoris, with the 12 closer to your anus, and the six closer to your belly button. Stroke from one to seven if you're a righty, or eleven to five if you're a lefty.

16. Do the “around the world.” Use one finger to run circles around your clitoris, without touching it directly, working your way around the hood. You’ll still be stimulating your clitoris, just indirectly, for a buildup of more intense pleasure.

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17. Experiment with how many fingers you use. Try rubbing your clitoris with one finger, two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, and your entire hand.

18. Do the sandwiching method. Pull your outer labia together and rub your clitoris through the folds of skin. Or, using two fingers, place one on each side of your clitoris and rub up and down. You can also try a side-to-side motion.

19. Tap, tap, tap. Yup, even tapping your clitoris with two fingers is a legit masturbation method. You can also try using the lightest possible touch to gently flick over your clitoris with one finger.

20. Don’t be afraid to keep your clothes on when masturbating. Try keeping your underwear on and rub your clitoris through the fabric. You can also try this with a rougher fabric, like denim.

21. Extra credit. According to Marin, you can also add extras into the mix like using lube to help your fingers glide over your clitoris more easily. You can also add in objects, like everything from stimulating your clitoris with other objects by grinding against pillows, or positioning yourself under the faucet in the bathtub.

22. Engage your bodily muscles when you masturbate. Separately, try tightening your toes, fingers, and abs, Malin says. Then try tightening all of them at once. Try squeezing and holding your PC muscles too.

23. Find your favorites. Try out all of the aforementioned techniques, and take notes on what you liked and didn't like about each of them. Then, see if you can answer questions like: What’s my favorite stroke? My favorite number of fingers? What speed feels right for me? What level of pressure do I like? Am I into lube or toys?

24. Eventually, prioritize orgasm. “Take your time getting your entire body warmed up with light, feathery touches. Tease yourself a bit,” Marin says. Next, try running through a couple of different strokes and picking the two that feel best. Use one stroke for about three minutes, then switch to the other for three minutes. Keep switching back and forth until you notice that one of the strokes feels better than the other. Stick with that stroke for the remainder of your session.

25. Crossing the finish line. Try going a little harder and faster with that same stroke. You'll probably notice your level of pleasure ebb and flow. Don't analyze what's happening — just keep your focus on the sensation in your body. Up the speed and pressure a little more, and see if you can let yourself go over the edge. It may take longer than you expect, so keep going until it stops feeling good.

The bottom line. “Don't expect to reach orgasm the first time, and don't be disappointed if you don't,” Marin says. “It takes a number of tries for most women, and you'll learn a little more each time. Keep trying to get yourself to get a little further each time. More than anything, remember to enjoy the process!”

Experts:

Vanessa Marin, sex therapist

Rachel Sommer, PhD, clinical sexologist

Maureen Pollack, sex and intimacy expert and co-founder at sexual wellness company, Lovability

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