There’s No Wrong Way to Masturbate, but There Are Techniques to Make It Even Better

May 15, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images

The conversation around female masturbation (otherwise known as masturbation) is changing. For instance, sex toys are being made with ladies who enjoy getting off in mind (finally!). But for all of the headway that’s been made, it’d be remiss to not acknowledge the silence that still exists.

“Male masturbation is everywhere,” says Tiffany Yelverton, a sex educator, sex coach and founder of the sexual wellness company, Entice Me. “There’s slang for it, moms know their sons do it in the shower, fathers tell their sons about it. But women are taught that sex has consequences, like pregnancy and shame, not pleasure.”

As a result, there are questions that even those of us who have embraced masturbation as part of our daily lives might have. Like, is there a wrong way to do it?

More: 6 Masturbation Positions That Prove You Don't Need a Partner to Have a Good Time

The good news is that while it’s hard to deprogram ourselves out of thinking we don’t deserve pleasure, the answer to the question of “can I do it wrong?” is a resounding “no.”

“The ‘right’ way to masturbate is whatever feels good to you,” says Jill Whitney, a marriage and family therapist in Connecticut.  “That may change from day-to-day, and that’s fine. We all have different moods, and different kinds of touch feel better at different times.” It might seem like every woman you know has a best friend in their vibrator, but if you prefer using your hand or a dildo or your brain, great!

There are some things to keep in mind, though, the next time you’re having some quality sexy time with yourself. These four things aren’t about masturbating "correctly," but rather how you can feel even better about self-love.

Keep it clean

“Your skin, especially your sensitive lady parts can absorb toxins,” says Maureen Pollack, an intimacy coach and the inventor of the WaterSlyde.

Before you get started, make sure everything you’re going to use — your hands, your sex toys, whatever — are clean, and if you’re going the sex toy route, follow the instructions for how to sanitize your favorite tool.

More: QUIZ: What kind of masturbator are you?

Don’t copy what you see in porn (unless you’re into it)

Experts, such as Dr. Jess O’Reilly, sexologist at Astroglide (yes, that Astroglide), are emphatic about women learning what works for them, not what we’re told is supposed to turn us on.

“There exists no universal sex education system that focuses on pleasure; accordingly, we sometimes emulate what we see in porn, which tends to be more male-centric and less focused on female pleasure,” says O’Reilly.

“I’ve worked with women who have tried masturbating using only insert-based techniques (they push a toy or finger in and out and in and out… as they’ve seen in porn) to no avail; many complain that they can’t seem to reach orgasm using these techniques, so they need a reminder that there are many other pathways to orgasm (e.g., rubbing, grinding, vibrating, humping, fantasizing, pulsing — to name a few). It’s not that they’re doing it 'wrong,' but simply that they need to experiment to find out what works specifically for them," she adds.

You don’t have to have an orgasm

While an orgasm might be the end game of masturbation for many, it doesn’t have to be (remember, you don’t have to do anything when masturbating but enjoy yourself).

“This time is a moment just for you to be free and experience pleasurable sensations however you see fit,” says Dr. Nikki Goldstein, a relationship expert & sexologist. “There is no right or wrong to this and it doesn’t even have to end in an orgasm to be considered finished or even masturbation. Self-pleasuring is about experiencing pleasure by your own hand no matter how, when or if the big O is there or not.”

In other words, don’t stress yourself out thinking that you have to come or thinking making yourself feel good was a waste of time. Just have fun, no strings attached.

More: Take your masturbation skill level up a notch tonight

Stop thinking that masturbation is only for desperate single people

Do whatever it takes to evict this notion from your mind immediately. Masturbation is for everyone, whether or not you’re in a relationship, and the idea that people who are having sex in the context of a partnership are somehow superior to you is just going to make you feel bad about masturbation, which is so not the point.

“A lot of times when we talk about sexuality, we do so in relational terms — like someone’s sex life with their partner — but each individual has their own sexuality that belongs to them,” says Shula Melamed, a relationship and wellness coach based in NYC. “Another person doesn’t hold the key to all of our pleasure. Of course partnered sex is an amazing way to explore one’s sexuality, but many people in relationship still masturbate. I think this stigma affects women more than men because women have been traditionally discouraged from exploring their sexuality.”

Don’t let stigma or shame take away your ability to get pleasure from your own body. You deserve it.

By Chanel Dubofsky

Originally published on HelloFlo.