I’ve always found it fascinating to listen to boys talk about their penises. From a young age, it seems like they are taught to be very well-acquainted with their junk. Whether it’s bragging about how far they can pee, coming up with questionable pet names, or just letting the world know how many times they’ve wanked today, dick conversations are always on the table.

Maybe it’s because our bits tend to be less *ahem* out there, but girls don’t seem to have that kind of openness. Talking about our vaginas, especially about masturbation is seriously taboo. You might even be surprised to find out that girls masturbate just as much as guys.

Masturbation is a time-killer, a stress-reliever and a great way to get to know your body. And if you’re not sure where to start: never fear! You don’t need a novelty dildo or anything complicated, just a good attitude and a little patience.

self lovePic by DerbyBlue on Flickr


Find a time and a place

When you’re just starting to experiment, it’s important you find a place that is private and comfortable for you, maybe with a locking door if possible. If not, think about “semi-private” places, like under the covers of your bed so that you’re not likely to be run in on. Find a time that works for you, – like early morning or night – to minimise interruption from outside sources. Your sexy alone-time is much less fun when you can hear your entire family watching The Big Bang Theory through the bathroom door. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing. Bazinga!)

Get cosy with your clitoris

Quick anatomy lesson: for most people, if you look down below you’ll be able to see your vagina and vulva. The vagina is the internal passage leading to the cervix, and the vulva is the fleshy outer area. Some people mistakenly refer to the whole genital area as the vagina, but it’s better to call it like it is. Vulva. Sounds fancy.

The sides of your vulva are made up of fatty tissue called the labia majora, or “lips”. I’ll give you a hint: they look like lips. Part them, and you’ll be able to find a firm little nub nestled up the top. This is the clitoris, which is what you’ll be focusing on. It’s super sensitive and packed with about 8,000 nerve endings. (For more info on your gal bits I recommend this excellent video).

There are a lot of myths about how girls get off, and one of the biggest is that there needs to be some sort of vaginal penetration. This is definitely not necessary unless you want it to be! Most girls can get off using clitoral stimulation alone. In fact, I’ll tell you a secret: I have a vagina and I don’t even use it during masturbation. It’s basically just a great-looking accessory.

marnie - girlsMarnie from HBO’s series GIRLS


Experiment with different types of touch

So this is the fun part; working out exactly what you like. It goes without saying that different girls like different sort of pressure on their clitoris. Some girls like to rub directly on their clit, but for other people this can feel too sensitive or uncomfortable. They might prefer to focus on the clitoral hood, which is the piece of skin covering the clitoris.

You could try rubbing back and forth with your fingers, or making “swirly” movements around the shaft of the clitoris. You might even like to use your knuckles or palms to give a different kind of sensation. For all of these methods, I highly recommend getting yourself some water-based lubricant.Lube reduces friction by making things nice and slippery, and as a bonus, you can buy it cheaply from the supermarket.

If you feel embarrassed about getting lube, you can always buy it at the same time as tampons so the checkout chick doesn’t suspect you’re about to spend the next 6 hours gettin’ jiggy with yourself. Other ways of masturbating could include rubbing your vulva up against a pillow or a couch cushion, or even sitting up against a washing machine. Yes this is for real. Excellent, eh?

Levelling up

Once you’ve become comfortable with the basics, it’s nice to add a personal touch to your self lovin’. Here are some extra things you might like to try:

  • Kick things off with some reading material to set the mood. This could be a sexy book, your favourite piece of slash fiction, or a life-size cutout of Harry Styles.
  • Run the water from a detachable shower head or bathtub directly on your clit. You may need to do some bathroom calisthenics depending on the setup of your tub.
  • Get yourself a stick of vibrating mascara. Apparently you can crack open the handle, take the vibrating bullet out, and use the mascara like a normal mascara.

A Final Note…

Don’t Get Hung Up On Having An Orgasm

I’m going to level with you – if you’ve never had an orgasm, you probably won’t have one the first time you experiment with masturbation. But that’s okay, there’s plenty of fun and relaxation to be had even if you don’t come. Focus on getting comfortable and enjoying yourself first, and let the orgasm come later.

Happy wanking!


Patsy Niklas Patsy Niklas is a sex educator who has worked in the youth sector since 2007. She is passionate about feminism, intersectionality and good access to sex ed for everyone. Patsy has worked for YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) and The Oaktree Foundation, and now sits on the board at SYN media. In her spare time Patsy attends reggaeton dance classes, researches sex toys, and buys lurid patterned dresses (pictured). You can follow her on Twitter: @apatsy.
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