Updated: Sep 20, 2021
How to Start Your Journey of Self Pleasure
There's No 'Right' Way to Masturbate
Masturbation is a wonderful thing. It's such an incredible way to get in touch with your body, release tension and stress, and of course, it can be very pleasurable! However, it's not always so clear how to masturbate when you have a vulva.
Learning how to pleasure yourself is 80% self exploration and 20% knowledge and technique. What turns you on and gives you pleasure, is a hugely personal thing and it will differ from person to person, so lesson number 1 is - there is no right way to masturbate!
When you begin to explore your body, listen to what feels good, don't worry about what you think you should be doing, or what others are doing, the only person that matters right now is you.
This guide will give you some fundamental tips to set you on a path of pleasurable self discovery without judgement, fear or shame.
Overcome the Shame of Masturbating
A huge part of the problem that prevents people from enjoying or exploring masturbation is the shame and taboo that surrounds touching your body and masturbating.
If you ever feel guilty, disgusted, or wrong for touching yourself or having sexual thoughts, this is learned sexual shame, and it's something you can unlearn.
Unlearning shame can be a long process and it takes work and patience, but the first step is knowing that you don't need to live with that shame forever, and knowing that it's something you can step away from. Working with a sex positive therapist or a support group that understands your background will help a huge amount, but here are a few actions that can begin to help you reclaim your sexuality.
Limit the people and sources of shame in your life. That may mean spending less time with certain people and restricting or blocking people on social media.
Set boundaries with people. Even if you don't tell someone to their face, just letting yourself know that you are allowed to walk away, block and ignore someone if they are making you feel bad, is a huge step.
Write your own set of beliefs and morals and remind yourself of that every time you feel shamed by someone else's belief.
Be patient and take it bit by bit. Don't overwhelm yourself or push your boundaries too much, just do what feels comfortable and take your time.
Mental Stimulation is Key to Masturbation
One of the biggest reasons people don't enjoy the feeling of touching themselves is because they're only focusing on the physical element of masturbation. Masturbation and all sexual arousal, is hugely linked to our mental stimulation, and for many people, the mental arousal is more important than the physical.
How do you know you're turned on?
It might feel a little strange in the beginning, but being turned on is like being excited or curious. Think about a time when you've seen someone or something and found it strangely arousing. Maybe you were kissing your partner and you felt your body start to become tingly. These are all experiences of being turned on, and unlocking your ability to mentally stimulate yourself will make masturbation so much easier.
How can you turn yourself on?
You may have only experienced being turned on with a partner, but it can be very easy to turn yourself on solo, actually it can be easier. This is your time to explore what is sexually exciting to you, in the privacy and safety of your room, without any awkwardness of having to explain what turns you on to a partner.
A great way to begin discovering your sexual stimulation is through erotica. You can find endless choices, stories and situations on erotic story blogs, check here for my list, and if you like porn, check here for my list of ethical porn sites.
Exploring this is not only great for your solo time, it's great for helping your partnered sex life too. Often people with vaginas cannot orgasm and a big part of that is from lack of mental stimulation, so this is a great chance to discover and develop your sexual knowledge and understanding.
Build your sexual imagination
If you have a well stocked imagination, filled with positive and sexy memories of previous sexual experiences or erotic stories/videos you've watched, it will be much easier to get turned on as you have lots of resources to help your mind get to a place where you feel sexy. You may have heard of the term 'wank bank', which refers to someone keeping an image or thought in their mind to use later when they're masturbating. Although it might sound creepy but it's actually quite useful to do. Sexual arousal relies on your mind recalling sexual experiences or something that turns you on, so the more you have in your mind, the easier it will be. This doesn't mean you need to start watching porn like mad, but purposefully taking time to find things that you find sexually exciting, so that when you're alone or with a partner, your mind will have a quicker time to get in the mood.
A great tip for watching or reading erotica if you're with a relationship, is to select a genre that is similar to something you could imagine yourself doing with your partner. Only watching/reading porn that is about something completely different to what you do with your partner, may end up meaning you're not turned on when you're with them. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy other genres, but find a balance and feed your sexual imagination with images that you can replicate with your partner.
Get to Know Your Body and Your Vulva
We often underestimate how well we know our own body. Would you be able to recognise your vulva out of 10 vulvas? Do you know how your vulva/vagina feels, or really looks like? Well now is the time to learn!
If you haven't already, take our 10 day Vulva Love Challenge, and if you have, continue to work on your vulva love. Looking at your vulva regularly will not only help you normalise it to you, it will help you learn actually where to touch and how to help guide others to touch you better too!
The vulva is the epicentre of sexual arousal. There are other areas on the body that feel great when stimulated too, such as the nipples, but we are going to start with the vulva.
In a private space where you feel safe, start to explore your vulva. Use your finger to lightly discover your clitoris, your outer and inner labia, the entry to your vagina. This might feel strange or unusual at first, but it will become more normal in time.
Spend some time tracing your finger over your outer and inner labia and around the clitoris, slightly touching the entrance to the vagina.
If you feel uncomfortable touching the inside of your vagina, you can focus purely on the clitoris and the general area of the vulva.
Just think of this as exploration time, it's helping you become more familiar with your body and also teasing it a little. If you are feeling comfortable and aroused, you can continue and make things more exciting by changing the speed of your movement, switching positions or movements and you can switch to 2 fingers for more pressure and depth.
Lubrication is Key to Pleasurable and Pain Free Masturbation
The vulva produces lubrication from the Skene's glands when you begin to become aroused. If you are not mentally aroused, or if you experience a condition that causes vaginal dryness, you may not produce enough lubrication, which will mean touching yourself will not feel as good.
If you touch yourself without any mental arousal, it will most likely feel strange, boring or even a little dry and painful, so focus on getting your head in the right place first. Set the mood with some music you like, light a candle, read an erotic story or watch a sexy movie. Feel good about your body by wearing something that feels soft on your skin, or take a bath and give your body some love and attention.
This will usually always give your body, in particular, your vulva, a signal to start producing lubrication, and to direct blood flow to your vulva, which essentially turns on your clitoris and makes your labia a little larger and ready for sexual activity.
Some people have small or underactive skene's glands which can mean they don't produce as much natural lubrication, but luckily there are so many wonderful lubricants out there, that this is nothing to be ashamed of! It's best to use a water based lube as it's body, sex toy and condom safe. Using lube will make masturbating so much more pleasurable. It's also so fantastic to have around when you want to masturbate but don't have much time to spend on it. Check out some amazing lubricants here, and use code UNGIRLS for 10% off.
If you'd like to learn more and challenge yourself to love your body more, join our 1 month of mindful masturbation course here.