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When I was growing up sexual health was discussed in three ways; puberty, avoidance of pregnancy and STDs, and the consequences of pregnancy and STDs. In the small British town I grew up in, even in the 90s, there was a puritan streak that has only recently started to fade.
And of course, I remember the time of dial-up internet, and the time before it (vaguely), so information was much harder to find by far.
So I grew up, as many others did, not with the idea that masturbation was wrong or unnatural, but with the feeling that it was private, embarrassing, and not to be discussed. That, of course, is complete horse shit. Since the early 90s there have been plenty of articles in magazines like Men's Health which lay out the facts of it all for men, but even today (literally today) articles geared towards women are much harder to come by. In fact, I had to actually specify that I was looking for information regarding women for this first section.
The Health Benefits of Regular Masturbation
Believe it or not, regular, effective masturbation has benefits for your physical, emotional, and mental health that cannot be ignored. Physically speaking they are:
1. Prevention of Cervical Infections and UTIs:
Masturbating flushes old, unfriendly bacteria from the cervix when it "tents" during orgasm. Not only this, but orgasming relieves pain, and lubricates the vagina (this we all knew, right). This means that it can also relieve the discomfort and symptoms of these issues, too!
2. Improved Cardiovascular Health and Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes:
Studies have shown that a satisfying sex life, whether through masturbation or sexual intercourse, reduces the chance of cardiovascular issues and type 2 diabetes significantly.
3. Stronger Pelvic Floor Muscles:
During orgasm the uterus 'lifts' off of the pelvic floor, increasing the tension in the area while your heart rate and respiration increases. This not only increases future sexual satisfaction, but spells good things for the future in terms of recovery from childbirth and bladder control in old age.
4. Improved Sleep;
Masturbation can help to relieve symptoms of insomnia, but more importantly, improve quality of sleep in the long run thanks to its psychological and emotional benefits!
In emotional and mental terms the benefits are just as wide-spread and tantalising. Effective masturbation can contribute to stable moods, an improved self-image, generally raised happiness due to an improved relationship with your body, and greater sexual satisfaction in your personal relationships, too. After all, knowing what you like can only help you to inform your partner (of course, you need to communicate what you learn to your partner, but that's a discussion for another day).
So, with all that in mind, how do you do the solo tango with any degree of skill? I have a few tips that might help you there.
Getting Off Good
The truth is that everyone is different, and so no-one can tell you exactly what will work for you. However, you should listen to what people have to tell you about how you can learn what does work for you.
Learning what you like is a steady process, but it begins with relaxation and time; you need to find somewhere that you feel safe, get it to a comfortable temperature, and generally set yourself up for comfort and relaxation. Next, you should set about getting yourself in the mood; whether this means porn, literature, or just thinking about something (or someone) in particular for a while is up to you.
Don't dive right in for the kill; masturbation isn't all about what's between your legs. Touch your whole body, focus on the sensations and what feels best, know your anatomy, and what feelings do the most for you. Hell you can even experiment with things like feathers. Don't be afraid to let your mind and senses really go wild.
Your options, when it comes down to vaginal stimulation, are varied. Here are the main ones:
1. External Stimulation:
Touching, stroking, or otherwise stimulating your vaginal lips, mons, or clitoris is a good place to start. Small side note; make sure your hands are clean, and that you are well lubricated. You don't want to irritate the most sensitive part of your body, after all.
Many people find that a side to side motion over the hood of the clitoris, a circling motion either under or over the hood of the clitoris, or a gentle pinch and roll of the whole clitoris is very effective.
2. Internal Stimulation:
Pretty much what it says on the tin; start with one or two fingers and ignore all other advice—just feel around to see what sparks joy (so to speak). Once you know what works in a general sense check out the Bad Girls Bible or OMGYes for more detailed suggestions.
Few women can cum with purely penetrative stimulation, and there are a dizzying array of toys and gadgets on the market to help you get yours. Whether you're into anal, girth, edging, or you just like to have something inside you while you stimulate your clitoris, you will be able to find something that works for you, but do your research, and don't jump in over your head to begin with. Once again, the Bad Girls Bible is a wonderful resource for this endeavour.
There are other, more basic, ways to get off that could seem a little rudimentary, but which are effective because they fire off the sensitive parts of your brain. If you're a story-teller or lover (like so many) acting out certain scenarios can be a huge turn-on—when you're alone this is harder but not impossible. After all, people simulate auto-erotic asphyxiation themselves. I'm not suggesting you try that (you should only foray into that kind of thing with hefty research and someone you trust), but riding a pillow or pushing back on a dildo in the shower to simulate sex is not a terrible way to get your blood up.
Just remember; it doesn't always have to end in orgasm, if you can't get off don't get stressed about it. The key thing is that you stay calm and relaxed, or your end goal will only slip further away!