Help me learn how to orgasm/masturbate!
August 2, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

I need to learn how to masturbate. If you're a female who learned how to orgasm/whatever after becoming aware of the fact your body can do that, come tell me how you figured it out.

So I'm 20, anorgasmic. This has got to change. I know that "thinking about it will make it not happen" but obviously I'm doing something wrong and obviously I'm just missing something.

I've read stuff on the internet about masturbation, in theory I know how to do it, but in practice it's just... boring. I have a boyfriend, sex is not boring with him. So... I'm thinking I might just be doing it wrong. So what finally made it click for you? I need tips please. Explain it to me like I'm in third grade or something. Do you rub your clitoral shaft thing up and down or side to side or whatever? I'm not trying to make this into some erotic porn question, I just need detail because whatever I try doesn't work.

I suppose I'm open to vibrators but I really want to learn to orgasm by hand. Or at least feel sexual pleasure by my own hand. Any resources you want to suggest would be good, books, websites, whatever. I'm asking women who were old enough to know what an orgasm was to tell me about it because I figure that would be more useful to me than women who just kinda stumbled upon orgasm accidentally.

And a bonus question: How do I tell my boyfriend what I want him to do during oral sex? We've been together a while but just recently I've noticed ways that it could be improved... This just seems embarrassing for both of us.

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

A lot of women can't orgasm without a vibrator or other mechanical stimulation. I'd suggest buying one, or using one of those removable shower heads or something, figuring out how to make yourself orgasm, and then after you know how it feels, try again with your fingers or with oral.
posted by kpht at 7:21 AM on August 2, 2010

Read this article.
posted by colfax at 7:25 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree with kpht.

I would encourage you not to consider a vibrator to be your last resort. I tried for literally years to orgasm by hand with no success. A (small) vibrator quickly did the job. After I learned with the vibrator, I became able to do it by hand. I'm not sure why that was - some sort of training of the sexual response? but it worked for me.
posted by Ladysin at 7:29 AM on August 2, 2010

Re: masturbation... I was aware of orgasms before I had one and I had to learn what to do.

I understand that you want to masturbate manually, which is probably of greater utility to you in the long haul, but it might be helpful to start out with a vibrator.

The reason I suggest that is because you can focus on becoming familiar with the bodily sensations leading up to (or away from) your orgasm. Then, you can learn how to get yourself halfway there with the vibrator and finish manually, etc.

Practically speaking, you could try different positions. One "mistake" I made (there are no mistakes, just opportunities for better orgasms) was to only masturbate while lying on my back with my legs open. I've since learned that my body reacts well to other positions, like on my side, or front, or on my hands/knees.

If sex turns you on, but masturbation does not, you may want to buy or download some erotic material, like stories or some porn. I am sure other Mefites have good erotica/porn suggestions - in fact, there may be questions in the archive; and if there aren't, you could ask next week :)

Finally, don't worry about being wrong or abnormal. Most girls I know achieved orgasm between 15 and 25 and a few are still optimistically working on it. The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep an open mind to what turns you on :)
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:29 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Maybe don't focus so much on the mechanics? Try fantasy! Make up a scenario in your head, and don't be embarassed or put limits on it. You can fantasize about anything you want, even if you'd never do it in reality. Or try photos, erotic lit, videos, cartoon porn (don't laugh, some of it's really good), whatever. Maybe getting into the space mentally will help make the physical part happen more naturally. Just my 2 cents!
posted by frosty_hut at 7:30 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and, could you get your boyfriend to help you work on it?

Maybe once you get more attuned to your body, he could penetrate (from behind?) you while you use vibrator or your fingers on your clit. I know a ton of hetero people who swear by this.
(Ahem. Including myself.)
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:34 AM on August 2, 2010

This website has tons of ideas for masturbation and sex. It has tips and hints, reviews of toys, erotic stories, and all kinds of other things. The thing I love about it is that it's a collaboration of a whole community of women, so it has a lot of different perspectives on what feels good.
posted by chatongriffes at 7:42 AM on August 2, 2010

I was 22 when I figured it out! Don't worry, you'll get there.

Now I can do it by hand, but I first figured it out by using a vibrator, the rabbit kind. Also, LUBE! My god, this is so important and no one ever told me! Even if you're just using your hand! It is a revelation.

(Also... I hear from certain reliable sources that weed can help, if you're into that.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:42 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I asked my girlfriend (who doesn't happen to have a MeFi account) and her answer was quite simple. "Hitachi Magic Wand". Speaking from experience, the device is.. umm.. magical :P

Good luck!
posted by darknemus at 7:47 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Manual does absolutely nothing for me, but toys are va-va-va-voom! Hitachi Magic Wand, as some have said, but my absolute treasure these days is The Cone.
Rabbits and other penetration devices are 50/50 for me - they do the trick but I often grind too hard and up with a urinary tract infection, so I tend to prefer non-insertable media.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:57 AM on August 2, 2010

Beyond Hitachi, try Lelo toys (pricier), or a handheld showerhead. And yes, lube. MetaFilter is a community well populated with lube enthusiasts, and a quick search for lube here will give you plenty of info to go on.
posted by kch at 8:12 AM on August 2, 2010

When I was younger and still trying to "really" get into masturbating enough to actually like it and not see it as something I still wasn't confident about enjoying every time, I found a lot of it was mental prepwork beforehand. But YMMV of course; sometimes I feel a bit unusual in how strong a mental response it is for me (if I'm super focused on sexysexy thoughts, like intensely so all day, I can actually orgasm without touching myself if I'm in the right part of my ovulation/hormone cycle). Anyway, it would be a matter of having a day free for myself where I could read sexy stories, perhaps look at porn to see if anything got me going, fantasized, looked at my ladybits in a handmirror, let myself moan or say things out loud that would get me going, etc. intermittently but throughout the entire afternoon or whatever. I wouldn't just at the first thought go "hm, I guess that's vaguely hotmaking, I'll finish this off or nip it in the bud." No. I'd let myself stew and simmer a while, let it ebb and flow for hours while I did other stuff, and only later once it'd built up all day and taken firm subconscious root at the back of my mind would I try anything physical. It's like subconsciously priming my body and letting it get used to the idea first, with plenty of time for it to.

And different women's tips and tricks are helpful just to provide novel ideas, but it really REALLY does vary what works physically. You might be interested in reading The Hite Report, the one on women, plus Nancy Friday's books on women's fantasies and masturbating habits. The former has lots of detailed anonymous survey answers about exactly how women touch themselves to get off, and the overwhelming message of the thing is "wow, it varies a lot." Myself, I have a small, ridiculously sensitive clitoris, which I know some guys complain isn't much fun because you can't stimulate it directly without it hurting or just pretty much being so intense it shortcircuits my nerves and I end up numb immediately, overstimulated. And I'm also one of those chicks for whom vaginal orgasm really really seems to exist somehow as a distinct and awesome entity from clitoral. So I like to use my fingers to rub the clit area indirectly, using the padded fat around the hood as a buffer that softens the sensation as well as spreads it to a wider amount of skin, and then once I've come a couple times that way--those clit orgasms alone often feel like brief, tense shakes, more like relieving oneself of pressure than the deep all-over glow a hearty PIV orgasm provides me--and then maybe fingers in vagina while also still rubbing up north indirectly, or a small vibrator right around the vaginal lips, pressure right there on the outside boundaries.

Lots of women love the Wand and the rabbit vibes, but the only ones that have ever done anything consistently, reliably, and comfortably great for me is the Pocket Rocket (so versatile and convenient for clit and labia stim) and variations on the bullet/egg vibes--something small and intense but not jackhammer-ish. On the plus side, they're cheap too.
posted by ifjuly at 8:13 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

For me, manual or mechanical is irrelevant. I have to have mental assistance, by way of erotica. Sometimes pictures, and sometimes video beforehand as inspiration, but mostly the written word. It lets me put myself into the situation more easily if it's not visual, you know? Then it comes naturally, what to do with my hands and so-on. But I only really achieved satisfaction after first reading about other people masturbating - and I only got the gumption to try certain things that way, too. There's a huge difference in orgasm for me between just masturbating and making a thing of it with a story and a fantasy and an idea, so if you're just focusing on the physical aspect, maybe you need to incorporate some porn in your experiments. There's so much out there in every possible variety, you can dabble until you find something that works for you and pushes the right buttons.
posted by Mizu at 8:14 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

I second the handheld shower attachment. Starting off in a warm bath might also be good. If you've had one, try to bring back the memory (like actors' sense memory training). If you've never had one--don't use movies as a guide--you're not going to convulse into cardiac arrest.

And your fantasies can be as wild as you like/need--don't censor yourself.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:19 AM on August 2, 2010

I should also mention, since you say sex with your boyfriend is good but solo isn't so much, do you come easily with him when you're on top grinding sort of in a lurching-forward way? Because if so, that's a sign you get off on indirect clit stim similar to the technique I mentioned above where you're rubbing and pressing against the soft padding around the clit hood, not the clit or vagina itself directly. I come like a rocket when I'm in the girl on top position, and I know it's because of that indirect clit stim that works without fail for me alone as well. And while I come reliably that way alone, this sounds weird but those orgasms can be "boring" to me--on a low libido day they can be hardly different from, say, peeing when you need to really bad. Just sort of boring release. Combining it with vaginal teasing with a vibe or full on insertion tends to be more emotional satisfying.
posted by ifjuly at 8:20 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

You're so right that "thinking about it will make it not happen". I've been getting myself there on my own since before I can remember, but it took me forever to learn to orgasm with a partner because of performance anxiety. Nothing ruins the mood like "Did you come yet? Are you close?" You can't be goal-oriented about this. It's not a race to the finish, it's more like a nature walk. You need to do some exploring, try different paths, learn what your body responds to without focusing on the destination.

Porn is useful because it keeps your mind busy on relevant things while your fingers do their thing. I'm not sure about toys. I love mine, and for some women it's the only way to go. Maybe a quick machine-assisted orgasm would get you over the "I can't" psychological hurdle, but it also might get in the way of the really important "getting to know you" experimentation part.
posted by Freyja at 8:28 AM on August 2, 2010

I am pretty sure I orgasmed before I even knew what an orgasm was, so I think I'm lucky there. I think I can still help you, though!

I can only orgasm with clitoral stimulation. When I was much younger and more sensitive, I started with water. The flow from the shower head was... heaven. I can also orgasm is if I rub my clit side-to-side in a vigorous motion. If I take my time I can still orgasm with water, it just takes a bit longer. Oral would probably work, but it'd be A LOT of work on the part of my partner and I haven't been willing to torture my dude. Maybe soon. :D You may still be really sensitive, so if the vigorous back-and-forth motion on your clit is painful, start with water.

Those kegel muscles are KEY for my orgasms. Try to squeeze your kegel muscles during masturbation. Like, if it starts to feel really amazing and you have a great fantasy going, get them really tense and let it carry you through to orgasm.

I personally like touching myself while I'm having sex with my partner, usually while I'm on top. It's especially nice if your dude is strong enough and willing to hold you up during sex. I don't know why, but it's really hot and he seems to love it. Anyway, the vaginal stimulation makes my orgasms approximately 100 times better. Especially if you can time with it with your partner's orgasm. I know sometimes when I orgasm the extra stimulation from me (spasms, etc) make him orgasm shortly after. It's fun!

Also, if you haven't seen Shortbus, you should check it out. One of the major plot lines is a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm. Great movie!

Take your time with it, and have fun! :D
posted by your mom's a sock puppet at 8:38 AM on August 2, 2010

In my experience with different women, I have found that it's rather easy to rub the clitoris too soon during manual stimulation effectively numbing it out.

Indirect stimulation as has been suggested was the only thing that worked for two of my exes. Laying on their stomachs and grinding against their hand, perhaps with the aid of a pillow was their preferred method.

Best of luck.
posted by BishopFistwick at 8:43 AM on August 2, 2010

Also, for what it's worth, do realize that your body is still maturing physically (according to some sources I've read, it'll continue to do so through your mid-twenties), and that some of your sexual wiring may still be in the process of coming online. Just because it's not happening right now doesn't mean it won't ever happen, and you may find that things will "click" in a year or two even without heroic interventions on your part.
posted by Bardolph at 9:09 AM on August 2, 2010

women are so different in the ways they get off. for instance, i love toys, think they're a blast - but it took a really long time to learn how to get off with them. vibration is too intense for me usually and just numbs me out and it was years before i really enjoyed solo insertion.

for some visual ideas on how very different orgasming can be - [nsfw]ifeelmyself - i'd even say start with the earlier stuff before they became popular and started branching out to girl on girl and the occasional boy on girl. you'll get to see girls who do it through clothes, in the water, with toys, on their stomach, with a pillow, with a blanket, pinching their nipples, not touching anything, squirming, staying perfectly still, etc. it's a big world out there and practice and trial are the only things that'll show you what works for you.
posted by nadawi at 10:13 AM on August 2, 2010

How do I tell my boyfriend what I want him to do during oral sex? We've been together a while but just recently I've noticed ways that it could be improved... This just seems embarrassing for both of us.

I don't know if you've talked to him in general about being anorgasmic. You pretty much have to have that conversation, and just accept that it might not be the most fun conversation ever. If he's a good boyfriend he should be totally understanding and eager to help you with this. That conversation should happen when you are not in the heat of the moment; maybe bring it up in the middle of a general sex conversation. Later, during oral sex, go ahead and give him direct verbal suggestions, even though you'll be far from certain they'll achieve the desired goals. Never overtly express exasperation at him even if you are a bit exasperated. I'm not saying any of this is going to be incredibly easy, but it'll be harder the longer you put it off.

I was going to recommend the site nadawi links to. I disagree that you should just look at the old archives. Look at the newer ones, as they're more professionally done. It's easy enough to skip over the ones with two people in them, since you can generally see this from the thumbnail still shot. As a straight man, I find them a turn-on but have no idea if you'll find them useful or irrelevant or a turn-on or a turn-off. However, they're worth a look. They're basically the exact opposite of conventional porn meant for straight men. They might still be the main audience (I don't know), but the site's pretense is to be totally devoted to genuinely showing women masturbating to orgasm. It's a pay site; you could sign up for a month, download a few videos, then cancel your subscription (otherwise the monthly fee will recur forever).
posted by jejune at 10:36 AM on August 2, 2010

Reading the right erotica helped keep me from getting bored while trying to masturbate when I finally figured it out at age 17ish.
posted by Eshkol at 10:39 AM on August 2, 2010

ifeelmyself dot com.

It's an erotica site (paid subscription, but there are a few freebies) focused solely on female masturbation. Watching what other women do might be very helpful in getting a few ideas. There's a "friends" section that has partnered masturbation if you find watching one woman going at it isn't turning your engine.

(On Preview: what nadawi said.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:30 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

(nsfw)This site + vibrator = changed life, age 36.
posted by SamanthaK at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2010

I learned to orgasm when I was 18. For a few years before that, I had been attempting on and off to masturbate, but I always found it boring and figured I was doing it wrong. What changed for me? I finally acknowledged to myself that my turn-ons were deeply kinky and looked nothing like the "romantic lovemaking with a handsome man on a tropical beach" fantasies I'd assumed I was supposed to be masturbating to. When I started allowing myself to indulge fantasies that seemed dark and scary and often weren't even about intercourse per se, but that really got me tingling down there, orgasms followed in short order.

Just tossing it out there, even if kink has nothing to do with it in your case -- make sure you really know what mental images get you the hottest! It might not be "sex with my boyfriend" or "sex with a movie star," and that's ok.

And since you're collecting anecdotal details about the mechanics of it: my most reliable approach is to rub the shaft of my clit in little clockwise circles, through the clit hood and just a bit to the left of the center. I tend to tense my butt muscles and thighs together while I'm doing it (a habit that made it difficult for me to transfer my new orgasm skills to partnered sex, by the way). As I got more familiar with it I added g-spot stimulation and toys, both of which I love. Practice practice practice! I've been orgasming for five years and I still love practicing new masturbation skills with myself.

One final thought -- be generous in your interpretation of whether or not you're orgasming, at least at first. My orgasms have a huge range of intensities, to the point where I can still be unsure sometimes about whether or not I came. Tell yourself you orgasmed when you feel sexual pleasure that reaches somewhat of a peak, even if you suspect it wasn't reeeeallly an orgasm. Enjoy how it felt good, consider it your reward for pleasuring yourself, and be excited about trying to make it a bit stronger the next time you try. I couldn't pinpoint the first orgasm I ever had because I went through a prolonged gray area between "definitely didn't come" and "mind-blowing".
posted by ootandaboot at 2:08 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

I had my first clit orgasm at age 11, discovered by accident. But I actually kind of had to relearn how to orgasm after I turned 40, as good old fashioned clit-diddling just didn't work so good any more. Apparently I lost some sensitivity due to age, or diabetes, or something. Unless I'm already dying of the horny when I go to masturbate, I could rub my clit for an hour now and get little to nothing out of the experience. Boring as hell.

After some trial and error I discovered that I'm all about the penetration now. I have a thick, nicely-curved dildo that works magic on my g-spot, and once I get that feeling going suddenly my clit springs to life and wants in on the action. I get amazing orgasms now by combining g-spot and clit stimulation at the same time.

Nthing lube. Seriously, some extra slickness makes everything feel MUCH better. If you're hung up on doing everything the "natural" way you're going to be tempted to blow off the suggestion of lube, but seriously give it a try. Many many many women use it and love it. Aloe vera gel is cheaper than Astroglide or KY and is less likely to irritate your girlie bits.

Also nthing porn, erotica, fantasy, etc. It definitely helps if you can focus on something that gets you hot and takes your mind off the fact that you're working towards a goal. is a really good website for learning how to masturbate. Among many other things they publish women's stories of masturbation in which many of them describe exactly how they do it. You will definitely find a lot of ideas for things to try.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:23 PM on August 2, 2010

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