Updated: Jun 26, 2020
May is one of our favourite months – the sun begins to shine again, the nights are longer, and, of course, it’s masturbation month. 31 glorious days dedicated to one of our favourite things – the pursuit of self-pleasure.
While masturbation month should be a fun journey of self-discovery, we also want to take the opportunity to highlight the importance of masturbation and break some taboos. Research has found that 35% of heterosexual women are having fewer orgasms than anyone else and we think masturbation is the key to addressing this problem.
Once you get to know yourself and what gets you going, it’s much easier to get your kicks – or get your partner to do what you want.
Women can sometimes be shy about self-pleasure, so it’s our mission this month to get everyone talking about it, doing it, and enjoying it!
So, get ready to learn all there is to know about female masturbation – you can thank us in June.
Female sexuality and masturbation taboos Watch any film about teenage boys and we can guarantee you there will be a joke about, or at least a reference made to, masturbation. It’s a common subject and one that most men are completely fine talking about. However, when it comes to women, the truth is almost the exact opposite. In fact, a recent study found that women communicate with each other about sex much more than men on all topics, except masturbation.
Female masturbation is hardly ever talked about in popular culture, and a large number of women have reported feeling embarrassed, guilty or ashamed of themselves if they enjoy masturbation. There is still a massive taboo around the experience, even though it’s entirely natural, healthy and should be encouraged.
Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist based in Los Angeles, said: “These really smart, successful, super-accomplished women would come into my office and say, ‘I’ve never really masturbated, and I feel very embarrassed. I should have figured it out, but I haven’t’. “We need to create more resources for women who are struggling in this area. The main reason women give for not doing it is “I don’t know how.”
In fact, masturbation month was strongly influenced back in 1995 by Joycelyn Elders, the US surgeon general. She’s one of the most prominent figures to bring female (and male) masturbation into the mainstream – claiming it’s part of human sexuality and that children should be taught that it’s okay.
Of course, because this was the US in 1995, she was promptly fired from her position as US surgeon general after her views outraged the religious right.
We think Edwards’s views were incredibly progressive, and want to help continue her legacy by encouraging women to understand the physical benefits of masturbation, the positive mental effects, and the right techniques too, so everyone can get to know themselves intimately.
What’s “normal”? According to journalist Mona Chalabi (of Ask Mona), one of the most common questions she gets asked about masturbation is: “Am I normal?”
Concerns about the amount we do it, how long it should last, if we’re doing it right or if we should be doing it at all, plague so many of us.
The reality of the matter is that masturbation is not only normal (92% of women confessed to masturbating in our 2015 Sex Toy Survey), it’s good for you. Some women now masturbate as part of their self-care routine – making it as normal as getting a manicure or going the gym. In regards to how you do it, there’s absolutely no wrong way – it’s all about whatever gets you off. Whether you prefer just clitoral stimulation, internal stimulation, a mix of both, fingers, toys, different positions, wild fantasies, watching porn, reading erotic fiction – there’s absolutely no wrong way to masturbate.
Masturbation myth busting
Remember at school when you were told about the boy who went blind because of his intimate relationship with his hand? Or the girl who grew hair on her arms because she enjoyed her me-time a little bit too much? Hopefully, these fables haven’t stuck – but there are some total myths about masturbation that have somehow crept into common beliefs.
If you masturbate, your relationship is not sexually satisfying This is a common one we’ve heard over the years, but we can promise you it’s entirely untrue. There are many different reasons people choose to masturbate, whether they are in a relationship or single. It can be a form of stress relief, it can be used to manage differences in sex drives in a relationship, can be great for pain relief – there are many different reasons people choose to masturbate. It does not signify lack of satisfaction in a relationship and shouldn’t be seen as this.
Masturbation should always lead to an orgasm For some people, the end goal of masturbation is to reach orgasm, which is fine, we think orgasms are great. However, this doesn’t have to be the sole purpose of intimate time with yourself. Masturbation is a great way to learn about your own body. You can discover what feels good, what you don’t like so much and can let your mind wander to whatever turns you on most – without having to worry about anyone’s pleasure except your own. If this ends in an orgasm – great. If not, that’s totally cool too. Intimate pleasure comes in all forms, not just the big O.
If you do it too much, you won’t enjoy sex with a partner anymore While many people enjoy masturbation and find is sexually satisfying, it can be hard to match the deep sense of connection and intimacy that sex creates. Enhanced stimulation through masturbation can actually increase arousal and overall sexual function in both men and women. In fact, women who use a vibrator have been proven to have an improved sex drive and increased natural lubrication. What’s not to love?
It has some harmful side effects Masturbation isn’t unhealthy or bad for you, at all. There is a small chance of chafing or tender skin in a small number of cases, but this is rare and any damage will heal in a few days. In fact, self-love can help to ease pain, especially from headaches or period cramps, and has a whole host of other physical and psychological benefits. So don’t worry about hurting yourself – you’ll be doing the exact opposite!
The benefits of masturbation
Masturbation feels great, obvs. This alone is enough reason to add it to your regular schedule, but there are also loads of really great benefits of masturbation. You don’t have to take it from us. These benefits have been proven by science – so what more of an excuse do you need?
It releases all the best hormones When you masturbate, your body releases dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin (also known as “the love hormone”). These are released through physical stimulation of the clitoris, vagina, cervix, and breasts. So even if you don’t reach orgasm, you’ll still feel amazing. The increase in these three lovely hormones leads to a decrease in cortisol, which is the main stress hormone. If you have high levels of cortisol, you can be at increased risk of inflammation, insomnia and will find it harder to lose weight.
It’s a pain reliever Self-loving increases blood flow to both your brain and reproductive organs. This, in turn, helps to soothe both headaches and period pains and helps to relax you in general if you’re feeling stressed or mad thanks to PMS. You’re also a little bit more sensitive when you’re on your period, so even if you don’t feel in the mood to get down with a partner, you’ll find new levels of pleasure through masturbation.
You’ll sleep better The sexual release that masturbation brings, along with the decrease in your cortisol levels, will clear your mind and help you relax before bedtime. If you often find yourself lying awake at night, grab the lube and have some fun before drifting off.
Body Positivity One of our favourite benefits – women who masturbate regularly are more likely to feel great about their bodies! Regular masturbation leads to higher self-confidence and a positive spiral of self-care. When you understand what you want and need, you strengthen your connection with your body. An exploration of the self – understanding how your body works – helps you make decisions and stronger boundaries around how other people treat you, specifically sexual partners. If you can bring yourself sexual pleasure, you don’t need anyone to validate your sexuality.
You won’t get as many cravings for bad food (yes, really!) We know this sounds too good to be true, but regular masturbation can actually lead to a decrease in junk-food cravings. Higher levels of oxytocin help us feel happier, which keeps emotionally triggered food cravings at bay. So if you’ve had a bad day, put the chocolate away and grab your vibrator instead!
It’s a great way to release sexual tension If you feel uncomfortable having penetrative sex, masturbation is a great way for you to relieve sexual tension and understand what works well for you and your body.
Female masturbation techniques As we’ve discussed, there’s no right or wrong way to masturbate. You may have a tried and tested method that always gets you off but fancy mixing things up a bit, or you might be new to masturbation and need a little guidance. Either way, we can help.
Get to know your clitoris The clitoris is one of our favourite things. Known as the centre for female pleasure, it can unlock a whole new world of sensations. Lot’s of women can only achieve orgasms through direct clitoral stimulation. This is usually discovered through masturbation first (and once you know this is how you work, it can help you orgasm through sex as well). There’s no right way to get yourself off, but there are a few techniques that work for lots of different people.
The unlimited benefits of lube It’s a common misconception that lube is only useful when you’re with a partner – lube can help take you to new heights of pleasure all by yourself. It increases sensitivity and heightens arousal, and heated or tingle lubes will help you experience all different types of sensations.
Teasing Start by rubbing or stroking the area around your clitoris, building up the pressure and speed slowly. Teasing is a big part of female masturbation – the longer you hold off on direct stimulation, the better the final pay off!
Use both hands When you feel like you’ve built up enough tension, spread your lips apart with two fingers so your clit is exposed. Take your finger from your other hand and begin by stroking your clit up and down slowly. This is where personal preference comes in – some people like stroking the sides of the clit, others feeling like directly rubbing it gives the best results.
G-Spot Clitoral stimulation is just the beginning. Masturbation is a great way to find the elusive G-Spot, which can bring you waves of pleasure. However, it is notoriously difficult to find, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get much from it at first. After you’ve warmed yourself up with some clitoral stimulation, insert one or more fingers, depending on what you’re comfortable with. Then, you can either use thrust like motions to get you going or gentle massaging of your vaginal wall until you hit your sweet spot. Get to know what works for you, and don’t be scared to move around – lying on your front, over the side of the bed, legs propped up on the wall – whatever works for you. Vibrators and dildos can really help with hitting the G-spot and can help you experiment with speed, angle and pressure.
Play with toys Sex toys are absolutely perfect for clitoral stimulation. Bullets are small and ideal for beginners, or rabbits are amazing for dual stimulation.
Why mutual masturbation is super hot Throughout this guide, we’ve waxed lyrical about the benefits of getting to know yourself through masturbating alone, but this isn’t the only way to have fun with it. There’s a lot of pressure on couples to have amazing, intense, mind-blowing full contact sex (especially at the beginning). As well as this, some women find it difficult to have penetrative sex or don’t enjoy it that much. Contrary to popular belief, penetrative sex is just one of the ways couples can get intimate (just ask any lesbian couple!) and there are a variety of different ways you get down and dirty or sweet and romantic with each other. Mutual masturbation is a great way to increase intimacy in your relationship, change the pace or to just add something new to your routine. We’ve got some top tips to help you add this super hot activity to your routine.
Just a touch A great way to get off together is to stimulate each other’s erogenous zones. These are areas of the body packed with nerve endings, so feel great to be touched. Some of them are located below the belt, but others are places as innocent as the neck, ears and lips. Take the time to run your hands all over each other and see what works.
Communicate If you don’t yet know what works for you, you and your partner can explore together. But if you do, now is the time to speak up. If you have a tried and tested way to get yourself off, having a partner doing it for you will add a new level of pleasure to your routine.