Polishing Your Skills: Methods of Female Masturbation

This article was scientifically fact-checked by Human Sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz.

Female Masturbation Techniques

After our article focusing on methods for masturbation involving a penis, we received a lot of feedback asking how women masturbate.

Masturbation for vulva-having folks is something LELO has always been dedicated to enhancing through our pleasure products, but the techniques are not always described in explicit terms. With slang such as ‘fingering’ and ‘polishing the pearl’ (not to mention frequent references to removable shower heads) it’s no wonder it can all be a little bit confusing for some. Here, we explain some of the most common methods of female masturbation, so even if you’ve had plenty of practice, you might learn a fun new way to experience solo pleasure!

Why Do Women Masturbate?

Women masturbate for exactly the same reason as men; it’s pleasurable and can help with everything from insomnia, boredom, or good-old fashioned feelings of sexual frustration.

Percentage of women who masturbate can vacillate from just 38% to 92% depending on who you ask and how, but that really isn’t too terribly important. What is important is that masturbation is healthy and normal, however you really shouldn’t be concerned if you’re doing it twice a day or twice a month as long as you’re happy with your personal sexual experiences.

And that is one of the most important part of masturbation to focus on, as part of your personal sexuality. While we can (and do, and do recommend) masturbating with your partner, masturbation is an important part of your personal relationship with your own sensuality and pleasure. It is self-care and sex* combined, and shouldn’t be treated as less important than other aspects of your sex life.

How Do Women Masturbate?

Erotic Inspiration

Female desire is a little understood (and until recently, little studied) phenomena, but it does seem apparent that we can be quite flexible when it comes to what turns us on. It can be a sexy yet not necessarily explicit sex scene in a movie that makes our imaginations run wild, or intensely kinky written erotica.

Thankfully, things like the overwhelming popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey and vocal women who are creating feminist-porn, the taboo toward consumption of erotic content by women is being broken down. Advice for masturbating and reaching orgasm is no longer just suggestions of lighting scented candles or taking a bath (though these do certainly work for some people, and it’s always nice to treat yourself) and we are able to talk much more explicitly about female pleasure.

Equipped for Pleasure

Now, let’s start with the most important tool we have for pleasure: our own bodies. While there are a ton of erogenous zones all over the female body that may be involved in your masturbation, we are going to focus specifically on the primary sexual anatomy.

Because we don’t have to touch our genitals when we urinate like men do, we don’t always have the same familiarity with our genitals as men unless you are one of those lucky women who was given a mirror and a copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves  when you were younger.

This is a shame, because our genitals are beautiful. While we often use ‘vagina’ to refer to our entire genital anatomy, by doing so we are ignoring (some even say linguistically erasing) some of our most erotic parts. Technically, the vagina is just the canal on the inside, while the outer part is the vulva.

The vulva is made up of the vaginal opening, the clitoral hood, the clitoral glans, and the inner and outer lips.  Both the clitoris (including the hood and the glans) and the inner lips are made of the same tissue as the penis. Both start out the same in a fetus, and all are densely packed with nerve endings. Also important, while the outer lips are on the outside, , the inner lips can be bigger than the labia majora and can be visible from outside.

Methods of Stimulation

There are three common ways women begin to masturbate. Some learn when they are quite young that pressure feels good―before they even understand what or why they’re doing it; some first have a sexual partners and then start exploring on their own and some learn about the concept of masturbation before actually trying it.

While we discuss different methods of masturbation below, one of the most important parts of masturbation that so often gets neglected is the use of lubricant. Unlike saliva or lotion, a good water-based personal lubricant is specifically designed for use with your body and sex toys, and it is helpful in getting you aroused and avoiding discomfort.

The Ultimate Female Masturbation Guide


Whether it be on a pillow or a harder surface, some people are able to bring themselves to climax by grinding or rubbing their vulva against something.

If you prefer to grind and are looking to intensify the sensation, you can try putting a very strong massager such as the Smart Wand Large in the middle of a folded pillow or towel and move against its flexible head.

2.Clitoral Stimulation

While grinding is a less direct way to stimulate the clitoris and other sensitive parts of the vulva, actually touching your vulva—especially your clitoris—is  the most common methods of masturbation. There are many different types of finger motions that women use so experiment with what works best for you!  A few options or common finger positions including rubbing circles (with one, two of four fingers) on your clitoral hood.  Some women like to rub to the right or left of their clitoris rather than directly on it, and many have a favorite side when they do.  Some women like to make large figure-eight circles on their entire genitals, touching the clitoris, the inner lips and the vaginal opening.  Again, these are just a few options.  See what works for you!

(A helpful guide when buying your first vibrator and trying to decide between more pinpoint stimulation like MIA 2 or more diffused like LILY 2 is to note whether you use 2 fingers to focus directly on the clit, or more fingers to make wide circles around the whole vulva.)

Also, some women like to pleasure themselves through their undies or a cloth as their clitoris is too sensitive to direct touch. If you find your clitoris is too sensitive for this direct contact, you may enjoy a product like ORA 2 as it has subtle sensations that you can control the pressure of.

Using the tub faucet or shower head to run water over your clitoris and vulva is another method of masturbation, though depending on your bathtub it can get a little tricky to maneuver.

We also encourage you to try SONA the World-First Sonic Clitoral Stimulator which stimulates 75% more of the clitoris (including the part of its structure you can’t see)!

3.Fingering, G-Spot Stimulation & A-Spot Stimulation

Some really interesting research finds that almost 98% of women stimulate their external vulva when masturbating—some do it alone and some couple it with internal, vaginal stimulation.  Of course, if you are a woman who likes to pleasure herself just with vaginal stimulation, that’s ok too!  Whatever gets you off is totally fine!

So, if you want to try internal stimulation, with or without clitoral stimulation, you can use your fingers  to massage within the vaginal canal  itself. Some people greatly enjoy pressure just within the opening of the vagina, and some like to massage higher up, on the G-spot.

Methods for stimulating these internal areas can vary. . Any of our G-spot stimulators can ably stimulate these internal areas, though if you are looking for to combine clitoral and vaginal stimulation, try the SORAYA or INA Wave.

4.Anal Play

Just because the you don’t have a prostate doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy anal stimulation in the same way.

During masturbation, this can involve use of fingers, butt plugs, or dildos combined with any of the above techniques or on their own. What is most important to remember when incorporating anal play into your self-pleasure is to use lubricant, never to use something vaginally after it has been used anally unless it has been thoroughly washed (or covered with a condom) and to only use products anally that have a flared base, lest you’re keen to make an awkward trip to the emergency room.


The benefits of masturbation, aside from the mental and physical health benefits, are such that the let us explore our bodies and desires in a relaxed, low pressure situation, which ultimately makes us more confident to tell our partner what we want and need. As well, never underestimate the power of indulging in ‘me-time’ to rev up your sexual desire.  The more sex you have, including with yourself, the more sex you want!

*In this article, for ease of reader understanding, we are using the words sex and intercourse as synonymous, as is done in popular culture in general. Similarly, we use the word “foreplay” the way it is used in popular culture (i.e., the sexual acts such as oral sex that come before intercourse). However, as aptly pointed out by our sex expert Laurie Mintz, we would also like to acknowledge that such language exalts men’s most reliable rout to orgasm and linguistically erases women’s most reliable route to orgasm—clitoral stimulation, either alone or coupled with penetration. Indeed, only between 4% and 18% of women reliably orgasm from penetration alone. We look forward to the day when such language is not commonly used in culture.

Facts checked by:

Dr. Laurie Mintz

Dr. Laurie Mintz, Ph.D.Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Florida, teaching Human Sexuality to hundreds of students a year. She has published over 50 research articles and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Mintz also has maintained a private practice for over 30 years, working with individuals and couples on general and sexual issues. She is also an author and speaker, spreading scientifically-accurate, sex-positive information to enhance sexual pleasure.

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Written by: Katy Thorn

Katy Thorn
Katy Thorn is a post-grad writer with a passion for writing about sex, sexuality, and all things rated R. She received her degree in Women’s Studies with a focus in Intersectionality at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). She has a cat named Yoko, drinks too much black coffee, and hates writing bios.


  1. Women do have a prostrate, the female prostrate!! The G-spot!!!

    • Katy Thorn

      Hi Anna,
      While we sometimes call the prostate ‘the male G-spot,’ we make this comparison to point out the pleasure potential of the prostate. However, it doesn’t make sense to refer to the G-spot as a ‘female prostate,’ as unlike the prostate, the G-spot doesn’t perform a function analogous to the prostate’s main function, which is the creation of the prostate fluid which helps make up semen.

    • Of course, it’s spelled prostate. No “r.” You’re welcome.

    • You have a few typos in here. Great content tho. Ta!

  2. Masturbation is a pure element of a healthful sex life.
    In reality, we all understand to masturbate
    at an early age and this act results in being more recurrent as we get older.
    The act of masturbation permits males and women of all ages worldwide to comprehend their own sexuality
    and what does or does not convert them on. Nevertheless, around masturbation, particularly male masturbation, can lead to a reduction in penis sensation and penis sensitivity.

    How does male masturbation result in decline of penis feeling?

    Male masturbation in surplus damages the nerves and little capillaries in the
    skin of the penis and this, then, minimizes the sensitivity.
    It can also lead to the pores and skin of the penis to come to
    be thicker and harden so that it has a lot less sensation.

    In addition, around masturbation can trigger the body to over make
    hormones, and this, in transform, can guide to hormonal worry and
    end result in erections that are not as really hard or are complicated to manage, and orgasms that
    are not as enjoyable.

    A healthful life-style is a well balanced lifestyle and this suggests that just
    about anything in extra is not a excellent factor.

    Like over having or consuming foods that are higher in energy
    day to day, which leads to body weight achieve and compromises your wellness, above masturbation can lead to reduction of penis sensation and also
    compromise a balanced way of living.

    How much male masturbation is much too substantially?

    Masturbating 2-three moments a week is thought of normal, any a lot more than this
    could direct to a reduction in penis sensation and penis sensitivity, and physiological harm.
    On the other hand, this also is dependent on how male masturbation is carried out.

    Sexual habit or the addiction to masturbating is typically connected with the hurry or euphoric feeling that is expert
    when achieving climax. This is attributed to the actuality that the human mind releases endorphins and other chemicals into the
    entire body when it orgasms and this feels pleasurable.
    Even though it is a natural higher, the habit to male masturbation can be compared to
    a drug addiction. Male masturbation dependancy can have adverse affects to sexual efficiency, in particular when for most males masturbation is a somewhat rapid,
    extreme sexual experience that effects in a speedy climax.

    This, of study course, can lead to equivalent actions in the course of sexual
    intercourse, which is not all that enjoyable for a partner.

    Also, if no lubricant is utilised for the duration of masturbation then even masturbating 2-3 instances a week could harm
    the very-sensitive erogenous pores and skin of the penis.
    Thus, it is vital to use lubricant for the duration of male masturbation to avoid
    damage and also to support in the repair service of any pores and skin cells that may well have seasoned trauma all through past masturbation periods.

    It is also recommended that a every day penis well being care software be
    carried out to steer clear of penis skin destruction and to improve penis sensation and
    penis sensitivity around time.

    How can penis sensitivity and penis sensation boost for the duration of male masturbation?

    Limit male masturbation to 2-3 times a week and make masturbation a time of exploration and
    understanding get to know how to raise penis feeling and pleasure
    by getting time to take pleasure in the experience. Masturbating in a hurry, using too much drive, or just masturbating for the thrill of it, can all lead to
    penis skin damage.

    Study to use male masturbation as an aide to intensifying sexual pleasure
    and gratification. Use oil when masturbating, as this will maximize penis feeling and sensitivity.
    Use light strokes to implement the oil, get started from the base of the penis and transfer slowly up
    the shaft to the head. Feel the penis and just take time to arrive at orgasm, this will lead to improved penis sensitivity and penis sensation all through intercourse, no matter whether masturbating or
    getting sexual intercourse.

  3. lovely posting, great ….

  4. I masturbate regularly – sometimes up to three times a day.
    I use a very strong vibrator – it’s motor is powerful and I
    hold it particularly long directly on My clitoris!
    When I come – it is extremely intense – my whole body literally convulse with waves of blissful ecstasy!
    It’s insane – the total euphoria of coming I have no words really to explain!
    It is so beautiful that I have to do it again and again even though I have a husband!

  5. I agree I Masturbate at least twice a day in the morning in the shower and at night before I go to sleep I hold my vibrator directly on my clitors and my body shakes and I have a great orgasim . It good that woman explore there body’s to know what they like and what make them Cume .thank you for the article

  6. I mean, you have to laugh (at least a little). I don’t believe this article is even remotely special or useful to those who are sexually inquisitive, but it is a little hilarious that a male “reader” feels the need to stumble upon it due to his own inadequacy with pleasing women and attempt to make himself feel just a little better by ranting about how to treat a penis during masturbation.

    This is how you do it, girls: if you want to have a good personal sesh, don’t forget to moisturise the penis. I’m amazed he didn’t try and tell us how to discard a used tampon in a pleasing way to him. One can only imagine that this is a clear warning to never go to bed with men like that, and least of all to breed with such folk.

    For a seemingly forward-thinking site, I’m rather surprised that comment wasn’t deleted due to both irrelevance and sexism; idiocy aside.

    Anyway, please yourselves just exactly how you please. No guides are needed. Just do what feels good to your own body and enjoy what you have. Just leave men like that to lubricate their own little pricks.

  7. I’m curious as to why you have completely ignored syntribation in an article about female masturbation, would you explain why?

    • Donna Turner

      Hi Crystal, there are so many more types of female masturbation techniques, we just listed the most popular. We are happy to hear syntribation works for you and we are all for sexual exploration!

  8. Thank you for writing this article it was easy to understand and visualize the concepts. I know that my vagina and vulva will not be the same as a natural one, but I hope to train my nervous system in the gental region to be more receptive. So that when I do transition my genitals from penial to vaginal it won’t entirely be my first rodeo.

  9. I have a multi faceted very powerful massager.
    I attach the somewhat lengthy part To the front of the
    massager, apply a generous amount of lube and switch
    it on very high.
    The powerful most awesome orgasmic vibrations
    I experience Is truly inexplicable
    It’s like even my brain vibrates
    I love masturbating on my own
    I could masturbate up to 5 times daily

  10. I’m 66 and very active sexually with numerous partners. However, I have an extremely difficult time achieving orgasm…even with manual stimulation…it takes forever…plus once I climax I can’t orgasm again (usually) for about 2-3 days! Frustrating for me and my partner(s). This only started sometime this year…as prior to that, I could come at will with no problems, either with manual stimulation or vibrator…never with direct penis penetration…although that helped with the overall climax and enjoyment.
    Do I need to see my GYN or are there some exercises I can do to recapture this very missed function? Thanks.

    • Donna Turner

      Hi there! If it’s due to a weakening pelvic floor, kegel trainers can be a big help. We recommend bringing this topic up to your gynecologist. Are there any other physical changes happening with your body (dryness, fluctuating libido, etc.), or life changes that may be affecting you on a more emotional level?

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