Sex Advice

The 5 Most Common Manual Masturbation Mistakes People Make, According to a Sexologist

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images

Many have explored their own body in a hands-on way at some point or another, but those who have mastered the art of the climax without the help of a vibrator or other sex toy are true masturbatory artists. And while I have the deepest admiration for those who have magic fingers (you can picture me fluttering my digits as you read that), we can’t all be so blessed. What we can do, however, is recognize which manual masturbation mistakes are pulling a five-finger discount on your pleasure.

According to Sadie Allison, PhD, sexologist and co-founder of GoLove CBD lubricant, one mistake in particular stands out: forgetting to ravish the entire vulva. “With manual masturbation, it’s often clitoral-centric with tons of advice on how to rub it, squeeze it, circle it, tap it or even gently slap it,” says Dr. Allison. “Or there’s vaginal fingering techniques, with feelings of fullness to enjoy along with G-spot stroking for maximum pleasure. These are great ways to play, but all too often, the entire vulva or external portion of the genitals [is ignored].”

So her best advice? Go broad with a full vulva massage, which utilizes the flat of the hand to help awaken the pleasure centers that are so often ignored when you’re down there. “Vulva owners not only have 8,000 nerve endings on the clitoris alone, but there are thousands more pleasure-receiving nerve endings all over the vulva,” says Dr. Allison. To conduct a full vulva massage, the instructions are super simple.

  1. Use the flat of your hand and finger pads: Have several fingers side-by-side.
  2. Lube up and massage all around your vulva in a gentle circular motions: She suggests covering the entire surface area from the very top under the clitoral hood, all the way down to the perineum (think similarly to how you’d circle facial moisturizer all around your face).
  3. Use a good lube with high-quality ingredients for this special vulvar massage: Our go-tos are the magnificent Sliquid Sassy, the not-coconut-oil-but-better Coconu, or a water-based, pH-balanced lube like GoLove CBD (specifically if you desire something to relax your mind and reduce any anxiety you may be experiencing surrounding masturbation).

And wait, there’s more! Below, Dr. Allison shares other common masturbation mistakes she wants pleasure-seekers to avoid.

Below, find 4 other manual masturbation mistakes you may just be making

1. Using only one hand

It’s easy to assume that manual masturbation is the handiwork of your most dominant hand, but if you can, use both to savor your many erogenous zones. “One can be used to stroke your clitoris, while the other is offering nipple stimulation or gentle G-spot stroking with your middle finger,” says Dr. Allison “The combination of multiple pleasure sensations can be quite exhilarating.”

3. Rushing for the gold

Look, you’re often going to enjoy your orgasm more if you take all the deliberate steps to warm your body up beforehand. “Use your hands first to warm up, tease, and touch yourself,” says Dr. Allison. “Gyrate your hips while doing gentle kegels to get blood flowing to the area, while playing with your breasts. Squeeze your upper inner thighs—right at the crease where your leg meets the outer labia—while you fantasize about something that turns you on. Whether that’s your lover, a past lover, or a crush, anything goes.”

3. Having icicle hands

I mean, unless you think the sensation will get you going, because we give two thumbs up to temperature play. If that isn’t your intent, it may take you even longer to (literally) turn up the heat and get the blood flowing to your genitals.

“Going in with cold hands could put a damper on things,” says Dr. Allison. “Run them under hot water first to get them nice and toasty.”

4. Attempting penetration if you’re simply not into it

Penetration is a valid pleasure preference as well—don’t get me wrong! If people want to explore the depths of the vaginal cavern to reach the mystical cervical orgasm, that’s totally fine. Put on your khaki fedora and go wild down there, you adventurer.

That said, it’s not necessary to practice if penetration doesn’t do it for you. “Manual masturbation doesn’t mean you have to ‘finger’ yourself,” says Dr. Allison. “Many vulva-owners are completely satisfied with clitoral stimulation only, and that’s 100 percent okay.”


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