Female masturbation: how to get it right, doing it in front of your partner and why it's empowering for women

Female masturbation is no longer a taboo. Here's how to improve your technique and do it with your partner watching...

Female masturbation
(Image credit: Getty Images / Crispin la valiente)

Female masturbation is not a taboo subject. Well, that's what we like to think anyway. Sure, it might seem slightly embarrassing for some at times, but it's definitely empowering for women. That's why we're always raving about the best vibrators or declaring why every woman should have a rabbit vibrator

But even if you are already open about female masturbation, there may be some things you haven't thought about yet. This could include how to improve your technique, or even start doing it in front of your partner. 

And female masturbation is not just good for your sex life. "Studies also show that women who masturbate tend to be more confident both in and out of the bedroom," says Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert with the sexual wellness brand Lovehoney. "Plus, they have better overall vaginal health and suffer from colds and bugs less frequently."

Here's everything you need to know about female masturbation, but perhaps were too afraid to ask...

Why is female masturbation empowering for women?

“Masturbation has been shown to improve both body and sexual confidence," says Annabelle. "The more familiar you are with your own being, the more comfortable you’ll be sharing yourself with another person."

And that's not all. "You’ll also learn about your own sexuality and stimulation preferences, meaning you’ll be able to communicate what you like more easily with your partner, boosting your chances of being able to climax,” adds Annabelle.

Female masturbation: here's what to do if you've never done it before

Never masturbated before and unsure what to do? It's actually easier than you think as there are no "rules", just a good place to start.

“Clitoral stimulation is the key," says Annabelle. "There are more than 8,000 nerve endings in the tip of the clitoris alone. That’s double the number of those in a penis. A clitoris is made up of 18 distinct parts – a mixture of erectile tissue, muscle and nerves. All those little pieces are working together to create the amazing sensations that anyone with a clitoris feels when they are having orgasms."

Feeling ready to give it a try? "The key with clitoral stimulation is to start off soft and slow and then apply more pressure or speed as the body asks for it," says Annabelle. "A little teasing can ramp up the pleasure and save on hand cramps. Begin, stop for a few seconds, and then delve back in. Repeat as necessary.”

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How to get female masturbation right – using a mirror

Need some extra tips to help improve your female masturbation technique?

“Placing a mirror in front of yourself to watch as you touch your most intimate parts can be quite erotic but also therapeutic," says Annabelle. "Masturbation itself is a powerful form of intimacy and it has been proven to boost self-esteem. With a mirror, the experience becomes even more heightened as all distractions are removed and you and your pleasure take centre stage." 

"Take the opportunity to gaze upon yourself in all your glory. Be open to exploring what is there for you. Be open to experiencing yourself in all your raw beauty, and remember to leave all self-judgment and shame at the door. This is your safe space."

Why sex toys are key when it comes to female masturbation

"Sex toys really are the icing on the cake when it comes to masturbation," says Annabelle. "There are thousands of toys available so if you’re a beginner it can be fairly daunting. My advice is to start small and work your way up if you want to."

Not sure where to start? "Slimmer vibrators are perfect for those new to sex toys and ones with rabbit ears provide dual stimulation of both the clitoris and the G-spot," says Annabelle. The Lovehoney Jessica Rabbit Slimline is a great, petite vibrator that has a variety of settings designed to suit everyone. For a slightly more experienced user, I would recommend the Lovehoney Magic Wand – wand massagers are one of the fastest growing sex toy categories, rivalling traditional vibrators in popularity. They give very powerful vibrations and many women report more intense orgasms using them. Another toy worth trying for regular users is the Desire Clitoral Vibrator – voted the best vibrator in the world.” 

How to masturbate in front of your partner

Always been too shy to masturbate in front of your partner? Now's the time to change that. 

“Even though we've come a long way in our journey to sexual empowerment, many women still have a stigma attached to masturbation," says Annabelle. "It's a private activity that is certainly not talked about, let alone performed in front of another person, so I understand why some women might feel a don't a bit self-love-shy."

So, don't worry if you feel that way. "Yes, giving your partner a front row seat to such an intimate experience might feel a bit intimidating at first," says Annabelle. "But keep in mind that this is not just a treat for them; sharing your solo sex sessions with a partner can actually be a sensual and stimulating experience for you too."

Masturbation can be a great tool for creating more intimacy between you and your sex partner.

"Men are visual creatures," says Annabelle. "Seeing you in the throes of such a sensual act will give him a voyeuristic rush, like he's witnessing something that no other man gets to see. Granting him the privilege of letting him watch is sure to get everyone's juices flowing, helping you feel closer and more connected than ever before."

And that's not all. "On top of the numerous erotic benefits, giving your partner a sneak peek into your self-love routine can be a pretty great learning experience." says Annabelle. "If the goal of sex is to have the hottest and most satisfying experience you can have, then who better to teach them how to please you, than you?”

Why do some people still think female masturbation is wrong?

“Women have had such a rough deal when it comes to sexual pleasure," says Annabelle. 'We’re not taught about masturbation at school, and anything to do with sex is discussed with the view that it’s for procreation and nothing else. This delivers a potentially damaging message to women that their pleasure is not only unimportant, but also not to be expected. This means that many women struggle with issues such as shame surrounding sex and pleasure that transfers into the intimate relationship they have with themselves."

But it's about time that all changed. "The fact of the matter is this: for the majority of your life you will have sex for fun, for pleasure, and yes… for orgasms!" says Annabelle. "This is why masturbation is important, it’s as vital to a happy and healthy sex life as lime is to a G&T! It allows you to explore your own sexuality and get to know your body.”

The best technique for female masturbation

While there are many ways to masturbate, there are a few moves which are great for stimulating the clitoris.

“There are countless ways to masturbate effectively and I urge everyone to try as many as they can," says Annabelle. "You will probably settle on five or six methods you know deliver for you. But the masturbation can become boring if you use the same techniques every time. Variety really is the spice of life when it comes to sex. So mix it up. Maybe play with a sex toy one day, the next try some erotic literature and then mix it up further on another occasion by remember some of your most memorable sexual encounters while rubbing your clitoris with your hand.”

And don't worry if something doesn't work for you. "Masturbation is like all sex: it is a question of trial and error," says Annabelle. "Experiment with various techniques and toys and establish what works better for you. No two women are the same.”

No sex toy? Here's what else you can use

Don't have a sex toy to hand? Then your, er, hand is the next best bet!

“The best substitute for your a sex toy is your fingers," says Annabelle. "You know your body better than anyone and can apply exactly the right amount of pleasure to bring about the most intense pleasure. Magic Wand Vibrators are one of the most popular new types of sex toys – they have a big bulbous head, perfect for the very best clitoral stimulation. But these toys evolved from massagers which were used by athletes to treat aching limbs. So, yes, household objects can be adapted to be used as sex toys. Lovehoney sells an attachment to the electric toothbrush which turns it into a great sex toy. 

So, what are you waiting for? Give it a go...