SEALED SECTION: A hands-on guide to the 4 most popular ways women masturbate.

Everyone knows how to masturbate, right? Wrong!

Lots of women know the basics but are too shy to ask friends about specific technique.

We talk about partner sex with our friends but the nitty gritty of solo sex still isn’t something we share.

That’s why I’ve written this blog. Here, you’ll find the four most popular female masturbation techniques in a step-by-step format.

Ideally, you’ll try all of them and be able to orgasm by more than just one method. The more ways you can orgasm, the more orgasms you’ll have.

Using a vibrator or dildo

Roughly 15 per cent of women who masturbate use dildos or insert objects but a huge majority of us own a vibrator and use it regularly.

There are some very good reasons why – nothing is more effective at stimulating the clitoris than vibration (though a soft tongue comes close) and vibrator orgasms take no time or effort.

Having an orgasm with a vibrator is simple: hold it firmly against the genital area and most of us will climax within minutes! For this reason, many sex therapists recommend you don’t use a vibrator to masturbate every single time.

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For a start, it’s restrictive since you won’t always have it with you. Secondly, it doesn’t teach you any of the sexual skills you can use readily with a partner. At least try to masturbate to orgasm by rubbing or using your fingers (keep reading), even if you use the vibrator most of the time.


Having said that, vibrators are a terrific, quick and convenient way to orgasm if you’re tired or don’t have much time.

Contrary to what the porn industry believes, most women don’t use vibrators inside their vaginas but use them outside to stimulate the clitoris. Even if you’ve got a penis-shaped vibrator, chances are you use the tip rather than insert it.

Position and technique: If you’re using a dildo, you can sit or lie while inserting it or hold it firmly at the base and ‘lower’ yourself on top – the positions are as varied as they are for intercourse. If you don’t have a dildo but would like to insert something, try a not-too-ripe peeled banana; they seem to simulate the hard but soft feeling of a penis and are totally harmless to insert. Since clitoral stimulation is usually necessary to orgasm, you’ll also probably need to use your hands to stimulate the clitoral area directly, using any of the techniques listed above.

Positions and techniques with a vibrator are limited only by your imagination. The standard technique is to press it firmly against the closed labia (lips of the vagina) and hold it there, varying the pressure, until you orgasm. Try it standing up, sitting with legs apart, or lying down. Another technique is to stand with your legs apart, hold the vibrator still in front of your genitals and move backward and forward, grinding against it. Moving it in a circular motion is also popular as well as kneeling on the floor and squatting over it.


Timing: If you’ve only got two minutes to spare, masturbating with a vibrator is the technique for you! Unless they deliberately ‘tease’ themselves and hold off, most women can orgasm with a vibrator within 60 seconds to three minutes. To make it last longer, try setting it on the lowest vibration speed, applying pressure and moving it in a circular motion, lifting it away if you feel yourself too close to climaxing.

The climax: If you’re using a dildo, inserting it right before you’re about to orgasm may be the most satisfying. It gives your vaginal muscles something to contract around and makes you feel pleasantly ‘filled up’. You might want to thrust deeper or faster when you feel yourself about to orgasm.

Sitting up or lying down with legs apart and using fingers 

This is the most traditional way to masturbate, which is why it’s nicknamed the ‘masturbation missionary position’ by some sexperts.

Position: Lie on the bed with your knees up and legs apart or sit up, cross-legged, with your back against the bedhead or wall.

Try pressing the soles of your feet together to increase tension in the groin. You might like to read an erotic book or look at some porn/erotica while masturbating even if you do discard it and let your imagination take over once you’re close to climaxing.

Technique: Some women are so sensitive, they’ll stroke themselves through their knickers; some like direct clitoral stimulation, others indirect. All but 1.8 per cent of women use some kind of clitoral stimulation to climax. The middle right-hand finger is often a favourite.


Experiment with an up and down movement on the clitoris or do slow circles around the edge if it feels too sensitive. Start by stroking lightly, though you might want to increase the pressure later. Alternatively you can rub side to side or ‘flick’ the clitoris, strumming it the way you would a guitar.

The rhythm varies – most women prefer it regular, though a few stop and start. Try slow and light or fast and heavy to find the rhythm that you decide is most pleasurable. Most settle on a rhythm that suits and continue right through their orgasm, others bring themselves to the brink and then wait a few moments before recommencing.

Some start off slow, then build up to their previous speed, others simply continue what they were doing before they paused. Another popular technique is to simply place one finger on either side of the clitoris and move against them.

Comparatively few women insert things into their vagina, for good reason! The clitoris, which gives us orgasms, is outside the vagina. However it’s a good idea to include the odd ‘dipping’ movement inside, not just because it feels good, but because it helps transfer your natural lubrication from the vagina to the clitoris. The clitoris gets dry very easily, so apply more lubricant as you go along or lick your fingers regularly.


Stimulating the same area constantly can make your clitoris feel numb, so shift your hand slightly, now and then, to a different area to maintain the feeling and restore sensitivity. If your clitoris starts to feel irritated, stop direct stroking and instead manipulate the little hood of skin that protects the organ. Most women do this naturally anyway since the clitoris is extremely sensitive.

Timing: There’s no ‘normal’ time span to reach orgasm; it depends strongly on your mood, stress level and how turned on you are. Sometimes you’ll find yourself climaxing within a few minutes; other times it might take fifteen.

The climax: As you approach orgasm, press the heels of your feet together to increase the tension in the groin. You could also try squeezing your vaginal muscles in and out or deliberately clenching your buttocks to create pressure. Some women find moving sensually or moaning helps push them over the brink; others will sit or lie perfectly still without uttering a sound.

Rubbing against something

This is another favourite masturbatory position. Instead of applying direct stimulation to the clitoris with your fingers, you rub against something, using the effect of pressure and friction to climax.

Position: Most women who masturbate this way lie on their stomach with their genitals pressed firmly into the bed with a pillow or cushion between their legs to rub against. Others lie on their backs with a blanket or pillow between their legs and use their hands to hold either side of the pillow to keep the pressure firm. One woman I know thrusts against a rolled up sock, another the arm of her teddy bear (!) Some women still use their fingers but use a pillow or crunch their legs tightly together to increase the pressure. You can also sit on the floor and thrust against the leg of a chair.


Technique: Remember when you were too young to go ‘all the way’ but used to hump against your boyfriend’s leg and hip for stimulation? This is the same technique. Generally, you hold the object still and move against it, rather than the other way round, though some women will pull a sheet or blanket through their legs rhythmically.

Again, you’ll need to experiment and maybe ‘arrange’ your genitals so the thrusting feels pleasurable. Most women thrust quite hard, keeping up a steady rhythm until they climax. Placing a cupped hand over the entire genital area and moving it while you’re pushing against the pillow is also popular.

Timing: Again, there’s no ‘norm’. Lots of women start with this technique, then move onto direct clitoral stimulation with their hands to finish themselves off.

The climax: Increase the pressure as you approach orgasm by clenching your thigh and bottom muscles. Most women also do ‘Kegel’ exercises (rhythmically squeezing the same vaginal muscle that you’d use to stop yourself urinating) as they continue thrusting. Again, fantasy plays a large part and because you’re thrusting against an object, it’s relatively easy to imagine the object is the person you’re fantasing about!

In the shower

It’s soapy, slippery, wet and totally private, which is probably why the shower is the place where many women either masturbate or at least get the urge to!


Position and technique: Unless you have a detachable hand-held shower hose, you probably won’t masturbate to climax in the shower, though lots of women will stimulate themselves while soaping their genitals to get in the mood.

If you do have a hand-held shower, try sitting in the bath or kneeling (if the bath’s full, make sure your genitals are above water level), then turning the shower to maximum pressure and directing the jet so it runs over the clitoral area. You might want to use your hands as well. One word of caution: it’s fine to use soap as a lubricant outside the vagina but don’t push soapy fingers inside (again, it can lead to an imbalance and cause things like thrush and cystisis). If you’re lucky enough to have a spa (or access to one), you’ll no doubt have discovered the pleasure of positioning yourself so a strong jet of water stimulates the clitoris.

Timing and climax: Some women can climax using their hand-held showers but most use it more as preparation, to get themselves in the mood, rather than to actually bring themselves to orgasm. Many switch to one, or several, of the other three techniques to finish the job.

This post was originally published on, and was republished here with full permission.

You can read the original story, ‘How do Most Women Masturbate? A Hands-On Guide to the Four Most Popular Techniques’, here.