How can masturbation possibly be this difficult?
August 4, 2011 8:45 AM   Subscribe

[female masturbation filter] I think I am perfectly healthy, so why can't I bring myself off?

I am a female who has never managed an orgasm. For the most part I don't feel a lot of sexual interest/attraction, and as far as I'm concerned that's one less complication in my life.

The problem is that on occasion, maybe a couple times a year, I'll wake up aroused and have no way to deal with it. The theory is simple enough, and I'm pretty sure I understand what's going on with my anatomy. I think the problem is that I can't seem to get wet enough, so rubbing is generally kind of painful.

I've tried it in a bathtub without much more success. I guess the next step is to invest in some astroglide and a magic bullet, but at this point my feelings about masturbation in general are pretty negative. After repeated nights of frustration and embarrassment, the last thing I want is to initiate a state of arousal unnecessarily. What if I can't bring myself back down again?

One more complication: I'm dating at the moment, and he's confused as to why I'll happily do him, but balk at him trying to return the favor. My instinct is that if I can't manage my own body parts, it won't be any easier for him.

Does anyone have any advice, either for reaching completion or for making arousal go away? Should sex really be this difficult to figure out?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

No need to invest in lube. Olive oil will work just fine when protection is not an issue. If you have an empty travel-sized shampoo bottle handy, fill it with the oil and keep it by your bed (makes a good general-purpose skin moisturizer too). Otherwise, when you feel the urge, run to the kitchen.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:51 AM on August 4, 2011

Here's a good place to start.
posted by mareli at 8:51 AM on August 4, 2011

I'll add that if you care about your relationship with the person you're dating, eventually this issue will complicate the relationship. So it's great that you're working on it. I'd add that you might be pleasantly surprised if you just relax and let him try his best.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:54 AM on August 4, 2011

My instinct is that if I can't manage my own body parts, it won't be any easier for him.

I'd normally agree with this, but it sounds like there's an even chance he knows more about how to do this than you do.

Sounds to me like stress is a big part of the problem and maybe drinking a little bit and letting the boyfriend try to do his thing might help. And don't expect miracles the first time. Sometimes it takes a few nights before he'll figure out what works for you, and even then it might take hours... Just relax and don't rush things....
posted by empath at 8:54 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Should sex really be this difficult to figure out?

It shouldn't be, but it often is.
posted by empath at 8:57 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some women simply plain old just cannot get off without accessories. Buy a Hitachi Magic Wand!
posted by DarlingBri at 9:16 AM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]

This would be an awesome time for anonomous comments.

Try porn or erotica until your quite worked up then the vibrator/lube. Being really worked up will help. Orgasms get easier over time, I've er heard that once you manage with a vibrator it can become easier by hand after.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2011

Basically you just have to find out how to stimulate your clitoris in the way most pleasing to you whilst thinking really dirty thoughts.
posted by h00py at 9:27 AM on August 4, 2011

Everyone's body is a bit different. Don't be harsh on yourself. Sometimes these things take time. You don't say how old you are, or how long you've been trying this, and I get the impression you're still working out how your body works.

I'd wholeheartedly suggest you get some lubricant. It doesn't have to be special. The olive oil is not a bad suggestion, though commercial lubes will stop you from smelling like a greek salad. I've got similar issues with lubrication - the head will be willing but the body will be a good half hour behind, and the difference between lubed and unlubed is huge.

You don't need to buy a vibrator if you don't like the idea of it, and really working out how your genitals operate is going to make that easier in the end anyway. Explore yourself, the different parts of your genitals and the way they respond to touch. Try different types of touching. Light, feathery touchest across the belly and mons pubis as well as more direct stimulation of the clitoris and labia. Take time with it. Enjoy the journey. If it feels good, the way you touch your own body, your own beautiful body that houses your soul, then it doesn't matter if you don't make that magical o. Worship it. Cover yourself in that slick liquid and probe your body, gently, finding the places that feel good for you. Make it as much about the journey as the destination. Stress can make it harder to climax, so if you can take that pressure off yourself all the better.

If you do go for a vibrator, I'd suggest something from Fun Factory, especially their rechargable lines. They're soft and flexible and each toy has a good range of vibrations, starting from a gentle purr to a thunderous roar. Unlike a bullet you can use them both outside the body and within, for g spot play or anywhere else on the body that you think a vibration would be appreciated. Their minis line are toys that are about as long and broad as two c cell batteries, so they're fairly compact and easy to store.

Some women just need stronger stimulation that what human hands can provide. It's common to the point of being normal, and there's a massive industry that supports this simple fact. There are heaps of good online retailers out there who can ship to wherever you are. Given you quote Astroglyde as your standard idea of lube, I'm guessing you're in the states, and Babeland is one of the best of the American online retailers. They have a fairly comprehensive advice page to help you pick out something right.
posted by Jilder at 9:28 AM on August 4, 2011

If you're feeling aroused, you probably are wet enough to masturbate, but lubrication inside your vagina won't necessarily spread to the vulval area (this being the area where you may want to concentrate your rubbing) unless you reach down there and smear it around with your fingers. Spit works, too.
posted by milk white peacock at 9:32 AM on August 4, 2011

Vibrators are popular for a reason, but you may go through a few false starts before finding one that really works for you. Different women enjoy different levels of sensation; vibrators that take AA batteries give a different sensation from those that use C batteries from those that use household current; price doesn't necessarily correlate with how effective one's going to be for you.

Lube is cheap. Astroglide thick gel comes in containers that are easy to open with one trembling hand, and won't spill all over you and the covers and the floor and the cat.

You might try masturbating with your partner, while he involves himself with other parts of your body or whispers arousing things in your ear or what have you.

Solo masturbation with no accoutrements can be physically and mentally hard work, even for women who have no trouble achieving orgasm in other ways.

What exactly did you try in the tub? Just masturbating is harder under water. The point of a tub is the stream of water out of the faucet. Better: Jacuzzis.
posted by endless_forms at 9:34 AM on August 4, 2011

Do you have fingernails that are even slightly longer than complete nubbins? I can't believe I'm writing this on the internet, but when I stopped biting my fingernails I had to switch to using a vibrator.

You might get one of those vibrating shower duckies. They're extremely cute, so maybe you'd be less annoyed about having one around. Also, they have a pretty good variety of curves and pointy shapes to experiment with.
posted by anaelith at 9:37 AM on August 4, 2011

Try pot or the day you start cramping during your period.

(Exo- and endocannabinoid time.)
posted by jamjam at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you decide to go the vibe route try the pocket rocket before something as unwieldy and intimidating as the wand. I'm a little confused about the dryness comment--lots of women focus on indirect rubbing of the clit/upper hooded area to get off, not the vagina/opening at all, which doesn't require wetness provided the rubbing isn't directly on naked clit so much as the area right by it pressing in towards it (the cheap tiny rocket is great for this), say even with undies still on. Also totally recommend the aforementioned "get mentally aroused before you touch yourself" advice, though you sound at risk of stressing/psyching yourself out. Relax. In that vein, I have read many women have their first orgasm/"learn" how to on grass and then don't need it after that, they just needed to be relaxed enough the first time to break out of the distracting anxiety over never having had one feedback loop (a loop that seems similar to the ED one some men face). I don't have firsthand experience with the pot thing, just throwing it out there.
posted by ifjuly at 9:52 AM on August 4, 2011

After repeated nights of frustration and embarrassment, the last thing I want is to initiate a state of arousal unnecessarily. What if I can't bring myself back down again?

I guess I don't understand what this means. You're worried you'll then be stuck in a state of arousal for... hours? days? I get that you're frustrated to find yourself amped up and feel like you can't achieve "completion" but I think you're putting too much emphasis on that one bit.

I mean, it's a great bit, but the other stuff is good too.

My equipment is different than yours but I remember back to the dark ages when I was 16-25 and the similarly-aged women I dated often hadn't yet figured out how to get themselves off or get off with a partner. My experience was that their getting successful with orgasm followed getting comfortable with general sensual touch and the rest of their bodies; amusingly this is one where Monty Python is dead on. "You don't have to leaping straight for the clitoris." So while you may be reluctant to get yourself worked up and then not be able to get the release you desire, it may be that you're putting the cart before the horse here and need to spend more time being worked up.

I don't know how you feel about video, but I've enjoyed Tristan Taormino's stuff which tends to be a mix of educational bits and performance. If that's a plus for you over the ton of stuff written out there about the pursuit of the female orgasm then you might want to get her DVD.
posted by phearlez at 9:54 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

What ifjuly said. You may prefer indirect rubbing, quite possibly even through your underwear.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:54 AM on August 4, 2011

Shower massage. It's still the only thing that works for me.
posted by wwartorff at 10:00 AM on August 4, 2011

When I was younger, I had no idea what masturbation was like, or what it was good for. I think I wondered if I was actually doing it when I was, say, in the shower or whatever, because (unlike most guys the same age, HELLO) I wasn't really getting "good feelings" and had no real comparison.

The same thing kind of happened when I was with my first real adult partner (i.e. had time and privacy from living on my own). We were touching and stuff, and I managed to convince myself that I had had an orgasm because, again, I had no comparison -- and thus no idea of how to get there.

Only when I got a vibrator did I have an actual orgasm. Even then, it took me a while to figure out how I got there, what I liked, etc. And even THEN, it still took me a while to admit to some things that I had enjoyed but didn't want to admit, but which now are nearly essential.

But again, I wasn't really trying, or focusing on having an orgasm or whatever. I was just trying to feel good and have a good time with my partner. No biggie.

When you pick out a vibrator, get one that has variable speeds. Using it through your underwear is great because of the extra friction (and it can be a little less sloppy). Bonus: if you get a magic bullet, particularly one that is about as wide as your little finger, you can put it between yourself and a partner and have a grand old time.

Really, you're lucky you're female. I think there's a lot less pressure on women to "prove" they had an orgasm as a sign of being satisfied. Don't fake what you feel/show, but also remember that there are plenty of ways to be good to yourself and relax without the Big O. (And then you'll get there, and it'll be great!)
posted by Madamina at 10:32 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

The most useful thing my mother ever told me about sex (actually, the only thing she ever told me) was "It's like learning to walk -- you're born with the ability to grow to be able to do it, but you have to learn how." It is often quite difficult, and I don't think anyone should beat themselves up for not having it all come naturally (pun only marginally intended).

One other thought: some people find that rather than having something (hand, vibrator, whatever) moving against them, they prefer to move against something (so, straddling a pillow or the arm or a chair or your partner and then moving up/down/back/forth yourself).
posted by newrambler at 11:03 AM on August 4, 2011

Vibrator and lube and some private time.
posted by radioamy at 5:53 AM on August 5, 2011

Relax. This isn't unusual. There is a lot of good advice here, so I'll just chime in with my experience. I was sexually active with other women for at least 4 years before I could masturbate and get anywhere. Could find everyone else's clitoris but not my own. I thought I was deformed. Of course, I was far too embarrassed by all of this to actually talk with anyone, even the women I was having sex with.

So, if I could find the little bugger and figure out what to do with it, you can, too. Life is too short to not feel pleasantly carbonated in the innards now and then.
posted by QIbHom at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2011

« Older Can you help me still my busy mind in Swedish?   |   Help me get in shape for my upcoming kid. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.