Sex & Relationships

8 Expert-Approved Tips For Masturbation Without A Vibrator

Female masturbation can be tricky, so here are 8 steps to figure out what works for you.
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Nearly everybody masturbates, yet nobody actually teaches you how it’s done. Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. After all, masturbation is all 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. 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. No one ever gets taught how to masturbate, 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."

Let's go through the steps.

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,” she says.

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?" If you find you have a real mental block about masturbation, then you might want to examine those feelings more closely with a professional.

Learn The Basics of Masturbation

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There are many different ways to masturbate, and again, there are no right or wrong ways to go about it. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to make yourself cum, go back to the beginning and start by exploring your body. As clinical sexologist Rachel Sommer, Ph.D., tells Bustle, masturbation should never be a “snappy, to-the-point” exercise.

“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.”

Take your time with it, and don’t put any kind of pressure on yourself. According to Sommer, exploring your body will help you elongate your pleasure, and build up to more intense sensations.

Take Time to Practice Masturbating

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."

You might be thinking, "Twenty to thirty minutes? How the hell am I supposed to fit that into my schedule?" 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.

"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.

Focus On Exploring First

On average, it takes women about 20 minutes to orgasm. According to Marin, most women masturbate by stimulating their clitorises, and usually need a fair amount of time to warm up. It 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.

"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 route to orgasm. You have an entire lifetime to masturbate, so there's no rush to hone in on a foolproof method immediately.

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.

Specific Masturbation Techniques To Try

So, let's get down to the real nitty-gritty. How exactly are you supposed to touch yourself? Marin has compiled a list of strokes to try below.

  • Try a diagonal stroke. Imagine that there's a clock over your clitoris, with the 12 closer to your anus, and the 6 closer to your belly button. Stroke from 1 to 7 if you're a righty, or 11 to 5 if you're a lefty.
  • Use one finger to run circles around your clitoris, without touching it directly.
  • Try rubbing your clitoris with one finger, two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, and your entire hand.
  • Using two fingers, place one on each side of your clitoris. Rub up and down. You can also try side to side.
  • Tap your clitoris with one or two fingers.
  • Use the lightest possible touch to gently flick over your clitoris with one finger.
  • Keep your underwear on (you can also try this with a rougher fabric like jeans) and rub your clitoris through the fabric.
  • Pull your outer labia together and rub your clitoris through the folds of skin.

Extra Credit

Per Marin, here are a few other experiments to try:

  • Use lube to help your fingers glide over your clitoris more easily.
  • Try masturbating in different positions. Some women like being on their stomachs. Others like being fully outstretched.
  • Stimulate your clitoris with other objects. You can try grinding against pillows, or positioning yourself under the faucet in the bathtub.
  • Try holding your breath for short periods of time as you masturbate.

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

Find Your Favorites

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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 these questions:

  • My favorite stroke is:
  • The number of fingers I like using is:
  • The speed that feels right is:
  • The level of pressure that works for me is:
  • This extra credit technique feels great:

Bring Orgasm Into The Picture

"After a few weeks of experimentation, start seeing if you can reach orgasm," Marin says. "Give yourself 30-40 minute blocks of time, so you don't feel rushed. Take your time getting your entire body warmed up with light, feathery touches. Tease yourself a bit."

Next, Marin says to try running through a couple of different strokes and picking the two that feel best in that particular moment. 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.

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.

"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

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