Masturbation helps you get to know your own body, relieve stress & even bond with a partner. Learn about techniques, toys & more from Dr. Jenni.

Chapter 4: How to Masturbate for Maximum Pleasure

Chapter 4: How to Masturbate for Maximum Pleasure

Sigmund Freud claimed that many human behaviors are rooted in sex. While this may or may not be the case, he was spot on when he said, “The only shame in masturbation is the shame of not doing it well.”

Historically speaking, masturbation has a somewhat unsavory reputation – one that’s completely undeserved. When you look at its root, masturbation once meant “to defile with one’s hand.” This originated in the 18th century, with a fear that masturbation would cause illness or create out-of-control behaviors.

Today, masturbation has been reclaimed for personal pleasure and fulfillment. It has absolutely nothing to do with defilement or debasing yourself. Many people today even view masturbation as an essential element of self-care.

Most people discover the fine art of masturbation in their younger years and continue masturbating for the rest of their lives. Make no bones about it, masturbation is a healthy and normal behavior that plays a critical role in sexual development. It’s a great method for exploring your body and learning more about your sexual desires and sensual pleasures.  Masturbation also provides a vital outlet for relieving stress and tension when other forms of partner sex are not an option.

Given the large role masturbation plays throughout our lives, very few people take the time to learn about it. Just spending a few minutes reading about masturbation could make your next self-care session sexier and more enjoyable than ever.

What is Masturbation?

Ménage à moi. Finger painting. Launching the rocket. Putting on a finger-puppet play. Cranking the shaft. There are countless euphemisms for masturbation. But they all come down to manipulating, touching, or teasing yourself for sexual satisfaction.

Masturbation can include stroking your penis or rubbing your clit. It might mean pinching your nipples or playing with your balls. It can also include anal play, whether you’re fingering yourself or using a toy. In its most basic form, masturbation can include any activity that makes your body feel good sexually.

There are a lot of myths and misinformation about masturbation. Let me start by saying that masturbation doesn’t make you go blind or grow hair on your palms. It also doesn’t cause infertility or shrink your genitals.

Myth one is that only single people masturbate. Plenty of people in committed relationships masturbate for a wide variety of reasons. While partner sex has its time and place, solo sex can be a relaxing way to decompress. Lower libido partners might masturbate to inspire desire for partner sex. Higher libido partners might masturbate to fill in the blanks when not having partner sex. Many people in long-distance relationships masturbate because they can’t be with each other in person. These same couples may masturbate alone or with one another on a screen. Some couples even encourage their partner to masturbate during foreplay as it can be a fun “show-and-tell” experience.

Another myth is that masturbation can ruin partner sex. This is generally false, but worth speaking to the potential pitfalls. Masturbation and partner sex are very different experiences. Sex with another person can have a strong emotional component that masturbation can’t replace. Masturbation, on the other hand, allows you to focus entirely on yourself for pressure-free pleasure. It's a place to learn about your body, discover your turn-ons, and even teach you how to orgasm. When taken together, all those things can help you become a better sexual partner! However, some people can run into problems when they use the same technique or only know how to orgasm with porn.

Let's talk technique. For these folks, orgasm alone may be easy, but converting the practice to partner sex can be a challenge. With a penis, you can amend this by varying your pressure, motion, and technique to introduce more variety to your masturbation routine. You can include a lube to simulate partner sex and even masturbate in different positions, like sitting, standing, or laying down. With a vulva, you can amend this by playing with toys on different settings or even taking a short toy sabbatical and getting more acquainted with your hand.

If you only orgasm with porn, then introducing some screen-free time to your masturbation routine is key. It helps your brain develop its creative potential for fantasy. Tapping into fantasy is way easier to utilize during partner sex. Screen-free time also allows for you to be in better touch (literally) with all your senses and gain a deeper appreciation of how arousal happens in your body. As you develop some screen-free time with your masturbation practice, watching porn or erotica with your partner can be fun as well.

As a side note, regularly defaulting to masturbation can happen when partner sex feels too difficult (as in feeling like you must perform for your partner), too embarrassing (if you struggle with a sexual dysfunction), or too triggering (if you have a background of sexual violation and/or trauma). Find a certified sex therapist to help with any or all of these!

How Often Should I Masturbate?

Among all the questions I get about masturbation, this is the one that comes up the most often. It’s also one of the hardest to respond to, because there is no right or wrong answer to how often you should masturbate.

Many Americans (84%) have tried masturbation, according to sex toy manufacturer Tenga’s 2020 Self-Pleasure Report. Men report masturbating several times a week, while women masturbate slightly less than once a week. It’s worth noting that all of these are averages. There are plenty of men stroking away once or twice a month, and plenty of women buttering their biscuits every night before bed.

In the end, how often you masturbate really depends on your personal sex drive. It will naturally vary from week to week depending on other factors, including how often you’re having partner sex, overall health and hormone cycles, and even your diet. If you’re feeling frisky multiple times a week, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a little private time. If you’re only in the mood every few weeks or every few months, that’s perfectly fine too.

Now comes the million-dollar question, “what is too much masturbation?” “Too much” is not a particular number. It's a pattern that gets in the way of daily living — like work, social commitments, or relationship intimacy. It ceases to be an experience of leisurely pleasure with yourself and becomes a place to cope with shame and negative emotions. If you find yourself masturbating in a manner that feels out-of-control, it's worth exploring why. For many who feel this way, the orgasm is a way to experience a dose of dopamine and adrenaline. However, this feeling leaves quickly and is replaced with old messages of shame. To alleviate the shame, one must masturbate again to access the orgasmic benefits of dopamine and adrenaline. Hence begins the negative feedback loop of shame-dopamine-shame-dopamine. This is not an addiction, or something to feel ashamed about. It's a pattern of human behavior for which there is help. Find a licensed professional who specializes in out-of-control-sexual behavior (OCSB).

How to Masturbate with a Penis

man looking at phone pulling his pants down

Penile masturbation can be pretty straightforward. Most men can simply grab their shaft and start stroking while thinking sexy thoughts. And there’s a lot of things you can do to make it more enjoyable.

One of the top things I recommend is using lube. Some guys might enjoy going “dry,” but the slick feeling allows for much smoother and more enjoyable stroking. You can apply a generous amount of lube up and down your shaft, making sure it’s covered from top to bottom. This has the dual benefit of helping you become aroused while lubing up your hand (or hands) at the same time.

Once you’re all lubed up and ready to go, wrap your hand snugly around your shaft. You don’t want to squeeze it too tight at the beginning, but it should be just tight enough for you to feel and enjoy the sensations. Then start pumping your hand up and down the shaft. Start slowly at first before gradually picking up the pace. Make sure to stroke your tip where the most sensitive nerves assemble!

While masturbating, it’s important to vary your rhythm and speed for different sensations. Most people don’t have sex as fast as they can go, so you shouldn’t stroke that way either. By interspersing long and slow strokes with short and fast ones, your masturbation experience will feel more like partner sex. Try also squeezing your shaft as you stroke so it feels like your lover clenching their muscles around you. If you give your tip a little squeeze, this can help you last longer.

Continue stroking away until you feel your balls start to clinch. That’s a good sign that you’re about to orgasm. Don’t be disappointed if you didn’t last long. Most people climax pretty fast when they’re masturbating, especially if they’re new to it or don’t do it very often. Grab something soft and disposable like Kleenex or toilet paper, which are much more effective and a lot less laundry than the proverbial “crusty old gym sock.” Hold the Kleenex near the tip of your shaft and ejaculate into it. This allows you to catch everything and makes cleaning easier.

After you finish with your climax, wipe off your tip and wash the lube off your shaft with warm, soapy water and a clean cloth. Then urinate to “flush out the pipes” for good hygiene.

Masturbation Toys for Men

You can easily spice up your masturbation experience (and give your hand a break), with a stroker or masturbator from Adam & Eve.

Super Head Honcho Masturbator

The Super Head Honcho Masturbator makes a great stroker for beginners. This soft and stretchy sleeve is lined with dozens of stimulating ticklers and teasers to work every inch of your shaft. It’s the ultimate massage for your rod! The double-ended design fits guys of all sizes and makes the stroker easy to clean. This stroker is even famous! The legendary Sue Johanson made the Head Honcho her sex toy of the year on her award-winning TV show.

Fleshlight Masturbator

If you’re looking for a little extra stimulation, then Fleshlights are another great option. This world-famous stroker comes in a hard plastic case that creates a stimulating sucking sensation as you use it for a blowjob-like experience. The soft inner sleeve is filled with rows of stimulators to tease your shaft. There are over a dozen different Fleshlights to pick from. Several are molded from popular adult stars like Riley Reid or Jenna Haze to make your wildest fantasies come true. The Stamina Kit even comes with a specially shaped Fleshlight (and a whole lot of accessories) that can act as training tools to last longer in bed.

Bangin Betty Stroker Kit

If you want something that feels as lifelike as possible, it’s hard to beat the Bangin’ Betty Stroker Kit! While most strokers fit in your hand, this masturbator is much too large for that. This full-sized booty comes with both vaginal and anal entries for you to enjoy – not to mention a pair of jiggly cheeks made for spanking! Just lie it on your bed or other flat surface and hang on tight for a wild ride! 

How to Masturbate with a Vagina & Clitoris

“Different strokes for different folks” tends to be the truest expression when it comes to the vagina and clit. All vulvas vary, as does how one might want to pleasure their genitals. Instead of a standard set of masturbation instructions, I’ve developed several approaches from which to choose. Just keep in mind that you might need to combine some of these methods or even alter them slightly, so they work better for you.

Start by finding a comfortable and safe place such as your bed or a cozy couch. If you’re a private person, make sure the door’s locked and you won’t be disturbed. If the thought of your partner catching you or watching turns you on, leave that door open! Next, you might need something to help get in the mood. While some people are perfectly happy looking at sexy pictures or even adult movies, others might prefer thinking about their favorite fantasy or even reading an erotic novel like the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

I encourage exploration of the whole body before jumping to the genitals. This approach can cultivate a more full-body arousal and potentially a stronger orgasm. You can use your hand or a toy to explore your body. Try rubbing your inner thighs, gently teasing your breasts and nipples, and/or softly scratching the mons pubes (the top part of the vulva where pubic hair grows). As you work towards your clit, you might want to wet your finger with saliva or lube to allow for easier access to clit and/or vaginal stimulation. From here, try a few of the following techniques.

Technique #1 – Grinding
This is an old classic. Depending on how sensitive your clit and labia are, you can climax with the pressure that comes from rubbing and grinding. Many women like using a soft pillow, oftentimes laying on their belly. Some use harder objects for pressure, and of course, just cupping your hand can work too.

Magic Massager Deluxe

If you like grinding, you could also use a wand massager like the Magic Massager Deluxe. This is an extremely powerful vibrator made for external stimulation. It features a large, soft head that feels great rubbing against your body. It also makes one heck of a neck & back massager when you’re not masturbating! Be careful though as many masturbation beginners find that wands can be too powerful. If that’s the case for you, lay a small towel on your vulva as a barrier to dampen the vibrations.

Technique #2 – Clit Circles
Many women enjoy clit stimulation. However, the clit has 8,000 nerve endings and direct contact might be way too overwhelming. Instead, draw small circles (or figure eights) around the clit as a way to tease yourself. If that is still too much sensation for this sensitive, little pleasure point, try soft circles over the panties to muffle the intensity.

Technique #3 – Water Play
Many women love the feel of running water over their genitals. If using a bathtub, place your legs upward on the wall while you spread yourself under the running faucet. Start with a light trickle of water to tease yourself, then increase the pressure of the faucet as you get more turned on.

If you have a hot tub or a bathtub with a jacuzzi setting, you can straddle the jets for another type of pleasurable stimulation. You could also swap your overhead shower head for a handheld sprayer from a nearby home improvement store. Installation is usually pretty easy – just unscrew your old shower head, wrap the threads with silicone tape, and then screw the new one into place. This gives you a sure source of water play pleasure.

Technique #4 – Toy Time

Copper Cutie

Adam & Eve has a lot of options when it comes to toys for the clit. You could get a small, travel-friendly vibe like the Copper Cutie. This metallic vibe slips easily into your purse or pocket, so you can carry it almost anywhere. The slim shaft focuses vibrations directly on your clit (or nipples) for more intense sensations. It’s even rechargeable for your convenience.

The Satisfyer Breathless by Adam & Eve is another great option for your clit. This stimulator uses Satisfyer’s innovative air-powered technology to gently blow on your clit. It feels like someone going down on you! The Breathless even includes vibrations to double-down on your pleasure… and orgasms!

The Fingo Nubby Vibe is ideal for masturbation and foreplay. This little bullet slips easily on your finger for effortless direction stimulation. It’s covered with pleasure nubs for extra thrills too!

Red Hot Spark Clit Vibe

Or you could try the Red Hot Spark Clit Vibe. This vibe has an opening at the top that can engulf the clit or nipples. You can use the soft and flexible tip to tease your parts, or you could slip them inside the loop and ride the rollercoaster of vibrations.

Technique #5 – Vaginal Stimulation
Playing with the inside of your vagina can be its own stand-alone technique. Make sure your finger is wet before gently inserting the tip inside your vagina. Wait a few seconds and start moving the tip of your finger in a small circular motion like you’re stirring something. This gives your body time to adjust to the new sensations. Slowly move your finger deeper, while continuing to make the stirring motion. You can also try thrusting with your finger, starting with a slow and steady pace. If that feels good, you can pick up the pace and maybe even add another finger or two to the mix. If it feels really good, you might even explore G-Spot stimulation. Check Chapter 2 to learn how to find your G-Spot

All American Whopper dildo

When it comes to pure vaginal stimulation, it’s hard to beat a good ol’ dildo. Since they never need batteries or charging, dildos are always ready to play. The All American Whopper looks and feels like a real penis for a more lifelike experience. At 8 inches long, it’s a nice hefty size that’s sure to please. But don’t be afraid to go smaller or even bigger if you want.

For the ultimate sensory experience, try combining vaginal and clitoral techniques. You can use one hand to caress your clit, while using the other hand for finger play inside your vagina. This dual combo technique can help create a stronger orgasm.  It’s also why rabbit vibrators are so good at what they do. Rabbits stimulate your vagina (and sometimes your G-Spot too) with their shaft, while their vibrating bunny ears work their magic on your clit.

Greedy Girl G-Spot Rabbit

The Greedy Girl G-Spot Rabbit is Adam & Eve’s most popular bunny. This sleek and elegant rabbit packs a ton of power for intense thrills and maximum stimulation. The G-Spot tip has its own motor with 12 vibration speeds and patterns from which to choose. There’s a second motor in the bunny ears, allowing for diverse sensations on the more sensitive clit.

Another great rabbit is the Silicone G-Gasm. This vibe is a lot easier on the wallet than the premium Greedy Girl, and it still delivers tons of fun. The Silicone G-Gasm also has two motors – one in the G-Spot tip and one in the clitoral stimulator – for targeted vibrations. It doesn’t have quite as many vibration modes as the Greedy Girl, but you’ll be too busy playing with this bunny to care about anything else!

In summary, masturbation is a great way for you to explore your body and your sexuality. There are so many methods with which to experiment, mix, and match. Do you like a teasing, soft and gentle touch? Or perhaps something firmer and more powerful? Do you like it fast and hard? I suggest trying them all to see what feels best for you.

Great Ways to Spice Up Masturbation

Even masturbation masters and mistresses need a helping hand now and then. These fun ideas are just what you need to take your next self-care session from good to great!

Work ALL your erogenous zones
Most people just focus on one erogenous zones (usually the clit or penis) when they masturbate. But you can greatly enhance your pleasure by opening the party to include other erogenous zones. Including a secondary erogenous zone like the nipples or inner thighs can dramatically enhance your masturbation experience. Men can enjoy hotter and more intense orgasms by teasing their prostate while masturbating. Some women require dual stimulation of their clit and G-Spot before they can have an orgasm.

Use both hands

Use both hands
Most people masturbate with their dominant hand, while their other hand doesn’t do much. Simply switching hands can create a whole new mood. Your non-dominant hand doesn’t have the hardwired muscles or reflexes as your regular hand, so it can make masturbation feel surprisingly different. At the very least, you should use your other hand to tease your nipples or play with your balls while working those other erogenous zones.

Switch things up
If you usually masturbate while lying in bed, then it’s time to branch out. Next time, get your groove on while in the shower or sitting in your favorite chair. If you usually use pictures or videos for inspiration, look up some erotic stories to go with your favorite fantasies or listen to short, sexy stories on a phone app.

Find a masturbation buddy

Find a buddy
Most people think of masturbation as something you do by yourself, but it doesn’t have to be. Many couples masturbate next to or in front of each other. It’s a fun way to tease your partner and set the mood for more. If you’re single, you could find a masturbation buddy online and use video chats to put on sexy shows for each other. If you've already got a partner, then you're ready to roll. Masturbation shows can even make great foreplay!

Try edging for stronger orgasms
If you’ve never heard of it, edging is all about delaying your orgasm to luxuriate in the pleasure and/or cultivate a stronger orgasm. You can do this by bringing yourself to the very brink You can do this by bringing yourself to the very brink and then slowing down or stopping altogether before you climax. Wait for a little bit to cool yourself off (and reset your orgasm countdown clock) before starting all over again. Do this several times in a row before finally letting yourself hit the Big O. When you finally finish, the delayed gratification makes your orgasm much stronger and more intense than usual.

Go Shopping
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