10 Little-Known Ways Women Masturbate

From grinding against furniture to humping pillows.

by Suzannah Weiss and Chika Ekemezie
Originally Published: 
Learn all the ways women masturbate.
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When you think of vaginal masturbation, you might picture manual stimulation, or perhaps a vibrator. But there are actually many more ways women masturbate that are just as valid — and just as fun. Some people feel ashamed if they masturbate in a way that's not typically talked about, but these techniques aren't as unusual as people think. In fact, for many of us, it’s how we learn how to masturbate.

Many ways women masturbate "are not typically depicted in porn (and many preclude penetration), so we may not consider them 'sexy,'" Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly, tells Bustle. "But ultimately, there is nothing sexier than that from which you derive sexual pleasure, so you do you and don’t worry about what others are doing. It doesn’t matter how you indulge in pleasure or how you reach orgasm — physically or mentally. There is no right or wrong way."

Sex therapist Vanessa Marin, creator of Finishing School, an online orgasm course for women, agrees that women masturbate in a "dazzling" variety of ways. "I think it's truly amazing to learn about all of the different ways that women can experience pleasure," she tells Bustle. "Plus, most women tend to think that the way they masturbate is 'weird' or 'unusual,' so hearing about ways that other women masturbate can help us all feel less alone."

Here are some ways women masturbate that are more common than you might realize.

It’s important to note that while we’ll be using the term “women” throughout this article, not everyone who identifies as a woman has a vulva, and not all people with vulvas consider themselves women.


Grinding Against Furniture

A lot of women first learn to masturbate by grinding on objects like furniture, which makes a lot of sense, because furniture provides edges for the clitoris to rub against.

"Whether you sit on the padded arm of your couch or rub your pubic bone against the edge of the bed or chest of drawers, you’re not alone," Dr. Jess says. "When you grind on the outside, you stimulate the clitoral shaft and bulbs underneath."

"Grinding (of any kind) is one of the most common female masturbation techniques," Marin agrees. "Most women who use this technique think that they're the only woman in the world who masturbates in this way, so they're always relieved to know that it's super common! Most women started masturbating this way as children, without fully realizing what they were doing."


Masturbating With Pillows

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Another technique people often learn early in childhood is humping pillows or other soft objects. As they’re easily accessible, it can be pretty intuitive to learn how to masturbate with a pillow or other soft, household objects. These also provide material to stimulate the clitoris, but since they're softer, many find they can be rougher with them.

"Dogs do it and humans do it too," Dr. Jess jokes. "You may lie on top or wrap your legs right around it — either way, it tends to get the job done."


Rubbing A Sheet Between Your Legs

When you're lying in bed at night, you might find that rubbing your blanket or sheet between your legs provides a surprising amount of pleasure.

"You may have noticed that squeezing your legs together during P-V intercourse feels good, and it can feel good around a bed sheet, too, as you provide friction and pressure against your lips and clitoris," Dr. Jess says.


Watching Movie Sex Scenes Or Porn

"We often assume that men are more visual than women, but many women find that visual imagery helps them to be more present and heighten arousal," Dr. Jess says. "Just like men, many women keep their lube and porn handy to rub one off right before bed."

Aside from mainstream porn, many enjoy watching movie sex scenes, sexy GIFS, and other sexual images. When it comes to sexy videos and photos, the internet knows no limits.


Touching The Clitoris Through The Hood Or Labia

You may sometimes think of masturbation as touching the clitoris, but what many are actually touching is the clitoral hood. "Some women like direct contact with the clitoris while others find direct contact to be uncomfortable or even painful," Marin says.

Another common technique is to stimulate the clitoris indirectly by rubbing the labia against it, she adds.


Using Shower Heads, Bath Faucets, Or Bidets

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The bathroom is many women's favorite room to masturbate in, and for good reason. Shower heads, bath faucets, and bidets (if you have one) provide pressure that's ideal for many clitorises.

"Running water can be highly arousing," Dr. Jess says. If your shower isn't set up for masturbation, you can attach a Water Slyde to your faucet or a Femme Fountain to your tub.


Standing Up

Or really any position that doesn’t have you flat on your back. “Every new position allows you to reach orgasm in a different way, and may provide you with new sensations to choose from,” Emily Morse, Doctor of Human Sexuality and host of the Sex with Emily podcast previously told Bustle.

While laying on your back may feel like the way to go, for some people, ultimate solo-pleasure can be reached by standing or on their stomach or knees.


Nipple Play

While a nipple orgasm may elude some of us, for others, their nipples are a major erogenous zone, and a surefire way to get them off. According to Dr. Madeline Castellanos, a New York-based sex therapist, nipple play can add to your sexual arousal and blood flow. Makes sense why it feels so good!



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OK, hear us out. Your breath can have a major impact on your orgasm. “The vagus nerve extends from the bottom of the brainstem to the cervix. We can activate it by using deep breathing to stimulate the nerve which can make for a more intense orgasmic experience” sex educator Lola Jean previously told Bustle.

There’s no right way to have a breath orgasm. It can either be a solo move or an awesome add-on to other ways to masturbate.


Mutual Masturbation

For some, the best way to masturbate is in front of a captivated audience of one (or two. Or three!) Mutual masturbation has a range of benefits and one of the best is that it can help amplify your sexual desire, both for yourself and your partner.

“As humans, we are inclined to be aroused by seeing and hearing other people have sex, hence porn. Watching your partner have sex with themselves is tapping into that” Dr. Jill McDevitt, resident sexologist at CalExotic, previously told Bustle.

Mutual masturbation can tap into voyeuristic and exhibitionist fantasies that can be just the thing that helps some people achieve their orgasm.

If you masturbate using any of these techniques, rest assured that you're not alone. And if you haven't, you might want to give them a try. At the very least, it'll switch up your routine.


Dr. Jess O'Reilly, Astroglide's resident sexologist

Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and creator of Finishing School

Emily Morse, Doctor of Human Sexuality and host of the Sex with Emily podcast

Dr. Madeline Castellanos, a New York-based sex therapist

Lola Jean, sex educator

Dr. Jill McDevitt, resident sexologist at CalExotic

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