Many women enjoy masturbating, whether they admit to it or not.
In fact, a survey by sexual wellness brand Lovehoney found that 67% of women over the age of 40 years regularly enjoy masturbation. And that figure didn’t change whether the women surveyed were single or in relationships, either. But using one of the best vibrators can make it a whole lot easy, that's for sure.
“The reality is that when it comes to masturbation, there is no magic formula or one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding what works for you,” says Kate Moyle, a sex and relationship expert working with sex toy makers Lelo. “Being comfortable and relaxed is one of the key ways for you to experience more pleasure and achieve orgasm. That's the most important part, rather than getting everything exactly right.”
So, here’s everything you need to know about masturbating if you’re a woman…
1 You shouldn’t feel guilty about masturbation
Want to masturbate, but feel guilty during or afterwards? You need to stop thinking that masturbation is wrong. Masturbation is all about giving yourself some self-care. This should help to clear your mind, rather than filling it with unnecessary anxiety.
“Self-pleasure is a cost-free and drug-free stress-reliever,” says Alix Fox, a sex and relationship expert working with Superdrug. “Masturbation is helpful, healthy and normal. Yet a lot of women are told it’s dirty, wrong or unladylike,” says Alix. “But it’s time to finally move past those outdated taboos.”
2 Masturbation leads to better sex with your partner
Masturbation isn’t just a self-indulgent past-time – being able to take time to explore your body can bring big benefits for your partner, too.
“The benefit of masturbation, aside from the mental and physical health ones, is that it lets us explore our bodies and desires in a relaxed, low-pressure situation,” says Kate. “This, ultimately, makes us more confident to tell our partner what we want and need. And never underestimate the power of indulging in ‘me-time’ to rev up your sexual desire – the more sex you have, including with yourself, the more sex you want.”
3 The bathroom is a great place to masturbate
Just like having an orgasm with a partner, you need to be relaxed if you want to orgasm when you masturbate. So, pick somewhere quiet and away from where you could be disturbed. “The bathroom is good as there is usually a lockable door and mirrors,” says Alix. “In a survey, 76% of females said watching themselves get steamy heightened their arousal. Try aiming the shower head against your clitoris and switch between chilled and warm blasts.”
In fact, another survey by sexual wellness brand We-Vibe found that 17% of Brits admit they regularly use the shower head for sexual pleasure.
4 It’s OK to think about someone other than your partner
“Fantasising during masturbation can increase arousal,” says Alix. “The sexual-wellness brand Tenga recently found the most popular person for British women to think about while masturbating was their current partner. This was followed by a made-up dream character. Celebrities and past lovers were popular, too.”
It’s not cheating, so don’t feel guilty. In fact, since lockdown, We-Vibe found that virtual assistants have become the latest sexual fantasy. They discovered that Alexa's voice turns on Brits the most. Google Assistant came in second place, followed by Siri.
5 Toys and fingers both have benefits when it comes to masturbation
There are always big decisions to make in life and it’s the same with a ménage à moi. “Toys can offer an intensity that even the fastest fingers can’t match,” says Alix. “However, your hands are silent, cost nothing and they’re literally always on hand.”
What you decide to use may depend on how you like to masturbate. “Some women are able to bring themselves to climax by rubbing their vulva against something, such as a pillow or hard surface. This is called grinding,” says Kate. “If you prefer to grind and are looking to intensify the sensation, you can try adding a very strong massager.”
But actually touching your vulva – especially your clitoris – is the most common method of masturbation. “There are many different types of finger motions that women use, so experiment,” says Kate. “A few options or common finger positions including rubbing circles on your clitoral hood. Some women like to rub to the right or left of their clitoris, rather than directly on it. Many have a favourite side when they do. Others like to make large figure-eight circles on their entire genitals. This can involve touching the clitoris, the inner lips and the vaginal opening. Again, see what works for you.”
6 Condoms and lube are an easy way to make things more pleasurable
Want to add fizz to your fiddling? “Try slipping a textured condom over your go-to dildo,” says Alix. “They’re ribbed for added sensation and make clean-up easier if you’re playing on your period as well.”
7 There is no such thing as masturbating too much
Spending more time with your hands in your pants then a teenage boy? Don’t worry, even then you’re not doing it too much. “Masturbating only becomes a problem if it’s affecting your ability to work, socialise or you’re habitually doing it in risky situations,” says Alix. “Talk to a sex therapist if you feel it’s out of control."
If you use very powerful toys a lot, it might be worth using your hands for a while. "You’ll soon become more sensitive again if you put the big boys down for a few weeks,” says Alix.