Female masturbation techniques for mind-blowing orgasms - and why getting off empowers women

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

Red tangerine on pale pink and red background to represent female masturbation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Female masturbation is no longer taboo - well, that's what we like to think anyway. While some people might still feel a little embarrassed doing it or discussing the topic with others, and society is still very much focused on male pleasure, we've come a long way. 

Whether you're letting your hand do the work or enlisting the help of a vibrator, there are hours of fun to be had and it's a great opportunity to explore your body and get to know what turns you on. Plus, when it comes to introducing another person into the mix, you're more able to express what you like in the bedroom and what you don't. 

Not everyone knows the top tricks and tips for masturbating though, which is why we've enlisted the help of two sex experts to outline the best techniques for masturbation. Plus, why introducing one of the best sex toys or a vibrator is always a good idea and the benefits of mutual masturbation with a partner for spicing up your sex life.

How is female masturbation empowering for women?

Masturbation can be hugely empowering if you enjoy it. Not only does it feel amazing thanks to the millions of tiny nerve endings stimulated in the clitoris, but it's been proven that masturbation can help women be more confident and boost their sex drive. 

“Women have had such a rough deal when it comes to sexual pleasure," says Annabelle Knight (opens in new tab) Bsc Dip, a sex expert with a diploma in psychosexual therapy. "This means that many struggle with issues such as shame that transfers into the intimate relationship they have with themselves."

"Masturbation itself is a powerful form of intimacy and it has been proven to boost self-esteem," says Knight. As a study by Tehran University of Medical Sciences (opens in new tab) points out, masturbation triggers the release of adrenaline from the pituitary gland and higher levels of this hormone have been linked with an improvement in personal growth and a great sense of life purpose. 

Plus, she says, "The more familiar you are with your own body, the more comfortable you’ll be sharing yourself with another person." 

On a physical level, masturbation can also improve your sex drive by allowing you to explore your body in a relaxed and low-pressure setting. "It makes us feel more able to tell our partner what we want and need," says Kate Moyle (opens in new tab), a UKCP Registered psychosexual and relationship therapist. "And never underestimate the power of indulging in me-time to rev up your sex drive and help you learn how to have better sex. The more sex you have, including with yourself, the more sex you want."

Woman sitting up in bed with white bedsheets in the morning smiling

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How do I masturbate? 

If you're new to self-pleasure, the first thing to know is that it's easier than you think, and there are no "rules", it's all about finding what feels great for you.

A nice starting point is focusing on clitoral stimulation with either your fingers, hand, or a clitoris-focused vibrator like the rose sex toy. "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," notes Knight. "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 experienced during orgasms."

If you're using your fingers or a bullet vibrator, which has a pointed tip at the end for targeted stimulation, there are many different motions you can try out. "A few common finger positions including rubbing circles on your clitoral hood, rubbing to the right or left of the clitoris rather than directly on it, making large figure-eight circles on the entire area," says Moyle, who is also sexual wellness brand LELO (opens in new tab)'s sex and relationship expert. "This can involve touching the clitoris, the inner lips, and the vaginal opening. Just see what works for you.”

Want more female masturbation tips? Try these from Annabelle Knight...

  • Start soft and slow: "A little teasing can also really ramp up the pleasure and save on hand cramps."
  • Gradually increase intensity: "Begin, stop for a few seconds, and then delve back in. Repeat as necessary." 
  • Use a mirror: “Placing it in front of yourself to watch as you touch your most intimate parts can be quite erotic but also therapeutic. The experience becomes even more heightened as all distractions are removed and you and your pleasure take center stage." 
  • Be open to exploring: "Remember to leave all self-judgment and shame at the door. This is your safe space."

What are the best sex toys for female masturbation? 

Using your fingers is just fine when it comes to masturbating, but sex toys can offer an intensity that even the fastest fingers can't match. In fact, whether it's a love eggs that target the G-spot or a body wand massager, like the LELO SmartWand, some women can only climax with one. 

"They really are the icing on the cake when it comes to masturbation," says Knight. "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, weigh up rabbit vibrators vs clitoral stimulators to find what works best for you too." 

Just because they help, doesn't mean you have to use a vibrator or sex toy of any kind. Using fingers and palms of the hand are the two most common methods of self-pleasure and along with being silent, cost-free, and literally always available, most people will have better control over them than they ever would a toy. 

For a third, in-between option, some women like to bring themselves to orgasm by rubbing their vulva against a pillow or another hard surface as it stimulates the clitoris all the way down to the vagina itself. 

Black plastic vibrating love egg with remote control on pink background, one of the toys for female masturbation

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Could I be masturbating too much? 

If you're worried you might be enjoying yourself a little too much, fear not - there's no such thing as too much "me" time, unless it starts to impact how you live your life.

“Masturbating only becomes a problem if it’s affecting your ability to work, socialize or you’re habitually doing it in risky situations,” says Moyle. “Talk to a sex therapist if you feel it’s out of control." Additionally, if you use very powerful sex toys a lot, it might be worth using your hands for a while. "You’ll soon become more sensitive again if you put the toys down for a few weeks."

How do I masturbate in front of my partner?

If one of your sexual fantasies is to bring masturbation into your partnered sex, chat to your partner about it first. While masturbation is totally normal and no one in a relationship should feel threatened by their partner fulfilling their own sexual desires, consent is important and like anything else, if it's not something you've done before, then it's worth talking about - either in the throws of the moment or you could suss out the situation when sexting. 

From there, you can talk about how you want to incorporate it. As part of foreplay? When trying out one of the best sex positions to use with a vibrator? It's up to you - decide together when and how you want to include masturbation in the bedroom. 

It's perfectly natural to be nervous masturbating in front of your partner for the first time though. Regardless of how far we've come to promote sex positivity and female sexuality without shame, there's still a stigma around it. 

"Many women also feel that masturbation is a private activity, and sex is shared with a partner," notes Knight. "Yes, giving your partner a front-row seat to such an intimate experience might feel a bit intimidating at first. But sharing your solo sex sessions can actually be a sensual and stimulating experience for all."

What's more, it can be a great way to create more intimacy between you both. "Seeing you in the throes of such a sensual act will give your partner a voyeuristic rush, like they are witnessing something that no one else gets to see," continues Knight. "Granting them the privilege of letting them watch is sure to get everyone's juices flowing, helping you feel closer and more connected than ever before."

Faye M Smith is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience in the magazine industry. Her continued work in the area of natural health won her the coveted title of the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) Journalist of the Year Award 2021. Currently Health Editor across several brands including woman&home, Woman and Woman’s Own, Faye specialises in writing about mental health, the menopause, and sex and relationships.