For some of women, we have a whole situation going on down there that can be a lot harder to figure out. To help bridge that gap, here are sex educators and sex toy store employees giving their best advice to get to the bottom of how to get you off by Cosmo.
1. Try a little pillow humping. Grind your vulva against something, recommends Trisha Borowicz, orgasm equality blogger and director of Science Sex and the Ladies, noting that it’s the way many women first experiment with their bodies. “Keep the panties on — less wet mess and more clit friction — and find something soft (a pillow, a stuffed animal, a stack of neatly folded laundry…). Lay face down with your vulva on top of it, slowly grinding your hips down against it. Adjust the pressure, your position and shape of the object until it feels really good. Once you get to that point, keep your rhythm consistent, take some deep breaths, and ride that stack of laundry straight to orgasm.”
2. Try back off right before you orgasm to make it even better. The concept is called ‘edging.’ “Don’t just race for the orgasm. Tease yourself. Caress every inch of yourself long before you dip between your thighs,” recommends Self Love Coach, Caitin Grace. “Once you finally move to your clitoris slow everything down. Use soft gentle strokes in amongst some hard and fast. Bring yourself to the edge of orgasm and then slow everything down. Go through this cycle a few times and just ride the waves of pleasure as long as you can.”
3. Let yourself get hand-y. “Caress yourself with one hand whilst the other one is getting busy on the clitoris,” says Florence Barkway, half of Florence and Reed, the online sex educators and occasional porn directors behind the sex and body positivity YouTube channel Come Curious. “Touching certain parts of the body can make your orgasms even more intense. For some women it might be the breasts and nipples, for others the stomach! It may look silly but if you rub your tummy like you’re hungry, with just a little bit of pressure on the lower stomach, it can lead to a tremendous orgasm.”
Get creative with where you do it and what you do it with. “You can masturbate standing up in the kitchen, laying in the bath, be experimental,” says Reed Amber, the other half of Come Curious.
4. Don’t masturbate like it’s something you have to accomplish or else. Kate McCombs, 31, who works as a sex and relationships educator, makes a very important point: Make sure you have enough time to not feel rushed and have enough privacy to not be interrupted. If you only have five minutes or you’ve set aside a day like you need to get this figured out, odds are you’e going to be way too stressed to allow the kind of no-pressure chill vibe you should ideally have when you’re masturbating, at least in the beginning. So shut your phone on, put on some music that turns you on, and take your time.
5. Use some lube, because why not? McCombs recommends using a quarter-size amount of lube onto your index and middle fingers, and gently massaging it around your clitoris (the little button-shaped thing at the top of your vagina) and inner labia (the folds inside the larger folds that make up most of your vagina). Sure, you might have enough natural vaginal lubrication to start with, but if you don’t, extra lube (no matter where it comes from) will make it a lot more comfortable.
6. You don’t have to focus on the vagina and nothing but the vagina. Carol Queen, PhD, co-author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone, 58, recommends also bringing in nipple stimulation into masturbation, or grabbing your butt or upper thighs, just to see if any of that feels good to you. Part of that is just to get a sense of where you’re the most sensitive and what kind of touch feels best for you. Plus, by finding those spots on other parts of your body that feel really good, you’re increasing your arousal, which will make touch feel different (and probably better), which is always great.
7. Don’t feel like you have to start out by jackhammering your clit. McCombs recommends some more low-key playful touching, like running your fingers along your inner labia and along the sides of your clitoris, all the way down toward the entrance of your vagina. It’s just a good starting point to get some blood flowing down there, which helps increase pleasure and arousal. Plus, you’re getting a feel for what you like and you can always keep repeating whatever is working for you from there.
8. You can use a vibrator, but you shouldn’t necessarily start with that. Queen says that while you might have a better success rate with a toy, using your hands in the beginning can be a great way to learn about your body. Plus, it’s also more comparable to the sensations caused by a partner’s hands, so if you have any interest in partner sex, it’ll help you transition from one to the other more smoothly, and gives you information for your partner about how you like to be touched.
9. If you need visual aids, get those visual aids. Rachel Venning, Babeland’s co-founder and the co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex, says, “The biggest sex organ is between the ears, so engage your brain as well. Remember sexy times from your past, check out arousing online images, or read erotica. Whatever you need to do to fuel that fire.”
10. If you feel like you need someone to literally tell you what to do, here you go. Venning recommends this as a sample starter move, “Slide a finger between your lips to open things up and then get a little lube on your finger tips if more slickness would feel good. Slide your fingers back and forth from your vaginal opening to your clit. Don’t go inside yet, just tease yourself a bit. Try a stroke that is one finger at a time and then slide a couple fingers into your vagina, curling them slightly. Slide them in and out with gusto.” Jess Wilde, 28, Lovehoney’s bondage and fetish expert, also recommends going in circular motions around the clitoris, rather than back-and-forth straight strokes. Make the circles as tight or as wide as you like to vary intensity. This is a particularly good move if you find direct contact with your clitoris is too much for you and also makes it easier to maintain rhythm when you need it most.
11. Work some penetration into the mix if that feels right for you. Some women don’t use penetration at all when they’re masturbating, but if you want to try that, try slowly (or quickly if you prefer) moving your fingers in and out of you while you continue to play with your clitoris. You can also just move your fingers in and out without touching the clitoris; it’s really up to you. Basically, you’re just feeling around for what you like and if that’s penetration with clitoral stimulation, do more of that!
12. You don’t have to just lie on your back. Wilde recommends lifting your legs as high as possible (we’re talking knees on your shoulders here) to help you reach the internal parts of your clitoris, or turning on your stomach and seeing if that feels good to you. It’s harder to reach in that position, but some really love it, so why not try?
Now go forth and masturbate a lot! You’re ready.