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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Pillowtalk: Remembering Betty Dodson: Advice on Masturbation


Dear Pillowtalk,

I know masturbating is the safest form of sex right now, but I’ve never really been taught how to masturbate? I don’t know if this is a dumb question or not, but I’m just kind of at a loss.

What a great question! You’re in luck—you’re not the first (or the last!) person to ask this. At some point, everyone who masturbates goes through a learning curve.

I’m sure you’ve tried this, but there’s some great articles out there for different body types about masturbation techniques! There’s also some really incredible books. Sex for One by Betty Dodson is a really foundational book in the field of female masturbation. Betty passed away on October 31st of this year, and it was a loss that the whole field of sex education felt deeply. She wasn’t perfect, but she sure did fuel a movement of second wave feminism that encouraged sex positivity and masturbation for women!

If you find books and articles dense and inaccessible, or just don’t have the time, there are lots of instructional videos and audio out there. Most of them can be found on your favorite porn site! JOI (jack off instructions) are usually centered on people with penises, but there are ones for vulvas too. Essentially, you just follow the directions of the person instructing you! It might take a little bit to find one that you actually find arousing.

Another option is to just explore by yourself. In vulvas, the clitoris is located near the top, underneath a “hood.” Take a mirror and see if you can find your clitoris. Your clitoris is your most sensitive tool for sexual pleasure! The labia minora (the flaps or lips that are thinner, hairless and sometimes wrinkly) are also really sensitive. If you like penetration, you can try to find your “g-spot.” Not everyone has a g-spot that feels good, so be patient with yourself, but it’s generally located a few inches into the vagina on the side closest to your stomach; put your finger(s) inside just a bit and curl until you feel a rough, sensitive spot. It might make you feel like you have to pee.

With penises, the glans (or head) of the penis is the most sensitive part. Stroking the shaft of your penis can feel good, especially if you use lube or a toy. Try twisting as well as stroking, and find a pattern that works for you. There’s a spot called the frenulum, on the underside of the penis where the glans connects to the shaft, that tends to be pretty sexually sensitive, too. So can the scrotum (the skin covering the testes)! You can also try prostate stimulation by pushing upwards on the perineum (the “taint,” the space between your scrotum and anus) or using a LOT of lube and slowly working your way up to anal stimulation of the prostate. The prostate is often referred to as the “male g-spot.”

Using your hands may not be your ideal method of masturbation, but it’s usually helpful to poke around and see where things are and what they feel like. From there, you can try using your hands, rubbing against something, or investing in a toy like a dildo, stroker, or vibrator. Some people find that they like visual or auditory stimulation like watching or listening to porn! Some people really like the feeling of a detachable showerhead on their genitals. Some people find their nipples really sexually sensitive as well!

The moral of the story: be patient with yourself. Explore. No one else can tell you what feels good to you! Don’t focus on orgasm at first, focus on pleasure and let that guide you. Try new techniques. Don’t be scared that your form of masturbation is weird or wrong. Use lube and have fun!

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