15 Things Every Girl Needs to Know About Masturbation
Masturbation: not just for gross teen boys. In fact, a lot of people do it, and enjoying it doesn’t make you weird. In case your sex ed class skipped a lesson on masturbation, we got you covered. Ellen Kate Friedrichs, a health and sexuality educator in Brooklyn, NY breaks down what you need to know.
1. Masturbation refers to touching your own body for sexual pleasure. Like your vulva, clitoris, labia, vagina, breasts, or anus.
2. It involves more than just your vagina. Your sex ed classes might have glossed over the clitoris, but most people actually experience pleasure through clitoral stimulation, not vaginal penetration.
3. It’s totally normal. One study in 2011 found that 58 percent of girls ages 14-17 had masturbated at least once.
4. Guys do it, too. That same study found that 80 percent of guys ages 14-17 had masturbated at least once.
5. It doesn’t make you a bad/weird/gross person. You’re not a freak or a pervert. It’s not weird or gross. On the flip side, if you don’t masturbate, that doesn’t mean you’re a prude or there’s anything wrong with you. It’s a totally normal thing that can help you explore your body and get more in tune with it.
6. It’s a helpful way to learn about your body. No two bodies are the same, so no two people like the exact same rhythms or movements. It’ll take some trial and error to figure out exactly what works for you, and it’s easier to do this without the pressure of having a partner right in front you. “You can learn about your body before you ever have sex with a partner and then, down the line, you can show a partner what you like,” Friedrichs says.
7. You might have an orgasm. When a person is aroused, their muscles tense up. An orgasm is the release of all that tension, plus a rush of an endorphin called serotonin that spills into your blood stream. “These chemicals can cause intensely pleasurable feelings and can make someone feel happy, giddy or sleepy,” Friedrichs says. “It can be hard to tell if you have had an orgasm since every body will experience orgasm a bit differently. But if you think of it like a roller coaster ride, with the moment before you descend being the peak of orgasm, it can help.”
8. Orgasms don’t happen instantly. “Don’t give up, even if you think it isn’t working,” Friedrichs says, estimating that it might take you anywhere between a minute or an hour (or more) to have one.
9. But an orgasm isn’t necessary to enjoy the experience. “While orgasms are nice and most people can learn to orgasm, if you like masturbating and aren’t orgasming, that’s fine too!” Friedrichs adds.
10. It’s the safest form of sex. Yep, masturbation is a form of sex — solo sex. And since there’s no risk whatsoever of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, you can enjoy it without worrying about your health or safety.
11. You should wash your hands first. Clean hands prevent introducing bacteria into your body. When you’re getting intimate, clean hands = the best kind of hands.
12. Make sure to pee when you’re done. The most common cause of urinary tract infections (which can make you feel like you need to constantly pee and potentially lead to more serious complications) is when bacteria from the anus accidentally travels into the urethra. You might have heard that you can get a UTI from wiping the wrong way when using the bathroom — back to front, instead of front to back — but they can also occur if you touch your anus before touching your vagina (even if your finger just grazes the area accidentally). Peeing helps flush out any potential bacteria.
13. You can masturbate and still be a virgin. “Most people believe that a virgin is someone who hasn’t had sex with another person, not someone who has never had anything in their vagina,” Friedrichs explains. So if you insert a finger inside your vagina, but haven’t had sex with a partner, you’re still a virgin.
14. Masturbating won’t make you looser down there. Unless you’re doing it so frequently it’s interfering with the rest of your life, it’s absolutely healthy and fine to enjoy solo sex. You won’t suddenly become looser down there and it won’t ruin your ability to enjoy being with a partner — those are both myths.
15. If your boyfriend or girlfriend masturbates, it doesn’t mean they’re not into you. You can be totally satisfied with your relationship and still touch yourself. “Sometimes people worry about this out of insecurity or because they have a misunderstanding about what masturbating is all about,” Friedrichs says, noting that a lot of people report masturbating more often when they’re happy in their relationships. So if anything, take your partner’s actions as a compliment.