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Rachel, 21, shares her experience of masturbation and why taking things at her own pace was the right decision.
I was probably in year 2 when I realised sitting on my leg and rubbing on it felt good, so I would do that whenever it was possible: in class, at home in the living room, in the car… I didn’t think it was wrong, so I just did it. After a while of this, my mum sat me down and told me not to do it anymore. I didn’t understand why. So, I stopped doing it. In public. I would still rub my legs together whenever I was in my room or in the bathroom. No one was there to tell me not to!
After a lot of reading and spending a lot of time in sex positive communities online and offline, I have realised that it’s not unusual for people to discover masturbation from a young age but have no clue that what they’re doing is sexual. All they know is that it feels good. This was definitely the case for me.
I was probably around thirteen when I had my first orgasm.
I’d realised what masturbation was when I was about eleven and had heard that a lot of women (and vulva-owners) did it by putting their fingers inside their vagina. I tried that, but it had felt weird and squidgy and honestly a little bit gross to me at the time. So, I continued with the rubbing, and that was a lot more pleasant. But I’d learnt a while before this that when something feels really, really good, you have an orgasm. I’d had moments before where I’d thought I’d had an orgasm, but it wasn’t quite it, and I stopped because I got bored halfway through since it was taking so long. From there, I began googling masturbation tips, and stumbled upon a Cosmo article that said directing the water from a showerhead to your vulva was a good way to do it, so I tried that for about half an hour, and woosh! I had an orgasm. That makes it sound way easier that it actually was – it wasn’t exactly difficult, I was sat down for all of it, but for me, it took a lot of perseverance.
Around this time, I admitted in a game of ‘never have I ever’ that I masturbated. Maybe a week after, people started asking me questions: “Hey Rachel, I heard that in a game of ‘never have I ever’, someone said that they did something and you said that you did it too?” And, my personal favourite: “Oi Rachel, what do you do in your spare time?” The second one was asked to me multiple times by the same boy. He was a lovely person that had a reputation for having a really good understanding of personal space (sarcasm).
This actually didn’t bother me, and I continued to masturbate in my spare time. When I got a little older, I realised that if I held my pee in for a really, really long time, inside of my body it would feel kind of nice. I felt weird about it though – did this mean I was into pee stuff? The thought of that made me feel really embarrassed and uncomfortable. After a while, I realised that the bladder and the internal clitoris are actually really close to each other, so when the bladder’s full it can actually stimulate the internal part of the clitoris. That made a lot more sense to me. (Though side note: no kink-shaming here. You do you!!!)
I also still felt weird about how the inside of my vagina felt; despite my strong hatred for these films, the American Pie description of the inside of a vagina feeling like “a warm apple pie” isn’t actually entirely inaccurate, but thinking about it in association with those weird, slightly soft pornographic films makes me throw up in my mouth a little.
Anyway. I went onto using vibrators, and I realised that penetration helped me orgasm far, far easier that clitoral stimulation did, which I realised was a little bit of a statistical anomaly (but not completely) – I found direct stimulation of the clitoris way too intense and it mostly just made me giggle.
I didn’t actually get used to the feeling of the inside of the vagina until I touched someone else’s, and for some reason that made me feel way more comfortable with it.
It was almost as though feeling it on someone else helped me to notice that it wasn’t that weird of a feeling, and that other people felt the same as that. (Side note: you don’t have to have vulva-on-vulva sex to figure this out, however if you’re into that I definitely recommend it.)
Masturbation helped me become way more comfortable with my body and figure out what I enjoyed in terms of physical stimulation, and the fact that it took me a while to get fully comfortable with it doesn’t bother me at all – taking things at my own pace was definitely a good decision.
So, my review of masturbation is: great stuff. Would recommend doing it reasonably regularly. Good for stress relief. Rated 10/10.
Demi, 22, talks about their relationship to masturbation as a gender diverse vulva owner, and how masturbation has changed for them in the last year.
Demi, 21, explains how buying their first sex toy allowed them to work through their own internalised misogyny in relation to pleasuring themself!
Zoi, 21, shares her story of how body disassociation has affected her relationship with masturbation and sexual intimacy.
Charlotte, 20, shares her journey of becoming comfortable with masturbation and understanding what pleasure means to her.
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