how to masturbate and have an orgasm

Masturbation 101: Why You Should Be Touching Urself (And How To)

Ages ago—when we could still do group exercises and go to gyms—a yoga teacher said something while we were in a deep stretch that has stuck with me to this day: “Isn’t that feeling great? Guess what. You can have it anytime. It’s free.” You know what else is free? Masturbating. And here at Syrup, we really feel like we could all be doing more of it, talking more about it, and sharing a bunch more about the tools, sex toys and techniques that help facilitate the highest quality nuts.

Pleasure and access to pleasure is political. When we’re taught about sex, so much of it is mired in conversations that only explore biological processes related to fertility and avoiding unwanted pregnancy. When in a PDHPE class have you ever heard someone explain how to talk to your partner about how they’d like to be touched? Or about how to prepare for anal sex so you actually feel comfy and *enjoy* it? 

Plus, in much the same way that women’s voices get sidelined in political and social conversations, women’s pleasure also gets sidelined when we talk about sex. Our Netflix teen drama fav Sex Education does a really nice job of highlighting the ways women’s pleasure is so often completely ignored and decentered, while showing how taking matters into your own hands (literally) can be truly empowering. 

Aimee, a character who is portrayed as as a sex-positive and sexual being, admits that actually she’s actually never masturbated to an orgasm before—she actually says “yuck” at the idea. She explains to Otis that she’s always had a boyfriend around and so has never “needed” to. It gets to the unfortunate core: so often we prioritise a (male) partner’s pleasure over our own, and in worst case scenarios absorb the incorrect view that masturbation is somehow something to be ashamed of.

When she does finally start masturbating, first with hesitation and then with enthusiasm, she’s not only rolling on what we can only assume would be the best dopamine high of her life, but also able to assertively ask for and receive pleasure from her angel boyfriend Steve. It’s why talking about sex and sharing our experiences is so important. We are getting slightly better at it though: from pubs like yours truly to honest podcasts like Flex Mami and Bobo Matjila’s Bobo And Flex, the conversation is opening.

We sat down with the absolute legend Chantelle Otten, Director of the Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine and Womanizer Ambassador to chat about some of the benefits of masturbating and how to get started.

Why is masturbation a perfectly healthy behaviour that we should stop being so weird about?

Masturbation is healthy and normal as it has many health benefits, is natural for our bodies and feels great! It’s completely normal to want to try masturbating and we should never feel shame or guilt for wanting to explore our own bodies. Yet I know so many people do so unfortunately sex, as self intimacy, is shunned in our society. It’s rarely spoken of and not usually in positive lights. Meaning most people have learned throughout their life that they should feel bad about masturbating, so it might take a while to unlearn those beliefs. 

If we want to move away from feeling weird about masturbation we need to remind ourselves that it is normal, allow ourselves to feel pleasure at our own hands (or toys) and embrace the freedom of being able to do whatever we want with our own bodies! Masturbation can be hugely empowering if we let it. 

What are the benefits of masturbation?

Masturbation has a multitude of benifits besides those amazing orgasmic sensations, releasing sexual tension and exploring our erogenous zones. Masturbation can be great for stress relief, as arousal, excitement and potential orgasm can be perfect for producing endorphins or our happy hormones. Masturbating can also work as a sleep aid, masturbating before bed can help relax our bodies and mind so we more easily slip into sleep. 

Masturbation can also be hugely empowering and help our sexual confidence and esteem. Having an in-depth understanding of our own bodies and what we find pleasurable will allow us to also communicate this to future or current partners to enhance our partnered intimacy as well.  

How do I masturbate if I have a vagina?

For people with vaginas the first step is to connect with your body. As much of sexuality education people are exposed to is centred around reproduction very little is usually known about female pleasure. So let’s get out our trusty hand mirror and get up close and personal with our vulvas! Get comfortable with your body, this might involve stroking or touching our whole body as we make our way down to our vulvas. As we look at our beautiful vulvas we can find our clitoris, a seemingly small bundle of nerves at the top of our vulvas designed purely to give pleasure. 

We can use lubricant or spit on our fingers to do some exploring of the area, using our fingers in stroking motions or making small circles around our clitoris. This may be a new and very strange sensation at first but keep at it! Our only goal is pleasure, so if things are tingling in all the right places we are doing well. 

You might feel a build of tension which releases into orgasmic sensations (that big O everyone talks about), but go slow. It’s just you so there’s no race. You can then experiment with inserting a finger inside your vagina for added sensation or possibly look into an internal or clitoral vibrator. The possibilities are endless with self pleasure! But remember this is a guide, do what feels good for your body.   

How do I masturbate if I have a penis?

For people with penises, let’s start by grabbing a good silicone based lubricant, we want to make sure things aren’t getting dry or chafing as we explore ourselves. We can put the lubricant on our hand and then wrap our hands around our penis. The stroking motion may seem obvious, up and down until we hit pleasure town, but we can change up our stroking technique. 

Experiment with the pressure of our hand, the tempo of our strokes, we can tease ourselves and touch the rest of our bodies as well. Stay open and again, there is no one way to masturbate, using our hand or a toy or rubbing against a pillow could all feel amazing! Just have to start trying.

How do I masturbate if I’m intersex or trans?

A small note from the Syrup team, because of the variation in anatomy that intersex people can have, it’s hard to say definitively what style of masturbation will work best for you. What we’ve gleaned from talking to various sexual health experts and doctors, is that it’s probably best to take your cues from the configuration that you have and what makes you feel the most comfortable. 

For transmen, particularly those who’ve undergone or are undergoing testosterone therapy and are seeing physical changes to their genitals, we’ve also heard good things about the Shotpocket Sleeve. The stroker has been made specifically with transmen, who might want a masturbation experience more akin to how a cis-man would jerk off, in mind.

For transwomen, this is largely going to depend where in your journey you are. If you’re pre or non-op, and potentially experiencing dysmorphia, the advice we’ve been given from trans Syrup honeys is to try to focus on butt stuff, or self-touch in a way that doesn’t narrow your mind down onto the thing causing dysmorphia. You start with just your fingers and (lots of) lube, or try any of the wealth of toys/beads/plugs on the market.

If you’re a post-op transwoman, the first and foremost thing we’d suggest is a healthy amount of lube, especially if you’re still in a dilation-training phase. Otherwise, there are a bunch of vibrators that cater to trans and gender non-conforming folks. We’re into the (slightly unfortunately named) Womanizer Premium, if you want to try precise stimulation on a brand new clit, and we’re really into the sound of the Enby from Wild Flower, which is designed to be used alone or partnered and can be held, grinded on and slipped into a harness.

Will masturbating make it harder for me to have an orgasm with a partner?

Not necessarily, and working out how our bodies like to be touched, how we like to orgasm, can actually make it easier to orgasm with a partner. As once we know what we like we can explain, or it may be more fun to show them how we like to be touched. 

The only time I could see it interfering with partnered orgasm is if we always masturbated in the exact same position and way that we then could not do with our partner. As if our body is trained to only orgasm in a certain position and with specific stimulation it may be harder to do with a partner. But that’s why we should keep our self intimacy as varied as our partnered sexual experiences. 

Monisha is a writer with a background in publishing and digital media. A chronic Pisces, she’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.

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