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Ask the Resident (Sex) Advisor

The Resident Sex Advisor answers sex-related questions from college students

Dear RSA,
How do females masturbate? I thought it was a stupid question until I read an article saying that 50% of American women actually don't know how to masturbate, and I realized I am one of them.
Lauren, U.S.

Don't feel bad for being in the dark. Although masturbation is a healthy activity that humans engage in naturally, when we're growing up, we're often discouraged from touching ourselves "down there" and that inhibits natural exploration of masturbatory techniques. And it's not like they teach it in school. At least not since Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders got fired.

Most guys figure out pretty easily what to do to get themselves off, but the female body is more complicated and mysterious. There are a lot of different methods for women to use to stimulate themselves to orgasm, and what they choose to do depends on what feels best to them. Some women discover when they're young that it feels good to rub their genitals against sheets or blankets, or an object like a teddy bear, pillow, or furniture. They may continue using this method into adulthood. Others prefer to use manual stimulation, caressing the clitoris (the buttonlike nub protruding above the vagina) with the fingers to bring on a climax. Some people use objects, anything from hairbrushes to hot dogs, to stimulate the clit and insert into the vagina. Some women like to use a vibrator or a stream of water from a shower or faucet to hit their hot button. People can be very creative.

When you're exploring self-love, keep in mind that it can take a while for a woman to reach orgasm - depending on how turned on you are and how your body works, it can take anywhere from two minutes to twenty or more. Just relax, do what feels good, and when you find something that feels really good, do it more. If you want some ideas, there are web sites that offer masturbation tips and instructions on how to make your own sex toys.

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