The maxim “He knows me better than I know myself”? Well, it probably doesn’t hold true when it comes to pleasure centers. If you’re like many women, you have had a long-term relationship with a vibrator and, with concentration, can get the deed done during a commercial break—without even muting the TV—if you so choose.
All joking aside, self-pleasure is important because it “lets you take control of your satisfaction,” says Charlie Glickman, Ph.D., a sexuality educator. “It also gives you room to try new things without stressing about a partner’s expectations.” Add to that: Masturbation is a pressure release, a natural sleeping pill, and a plain old-fashioned good time (as if we needed to sell you on it).
Still, even if you and your vagina are so in sync you finish each other’s sentences, your sex life with yourself, like with any long-term partner, has room for improvement.
So put away your vibrator. Not forever—just for a few minutes. Because to improve your self-loving skills, the best place to start is the mind. “Seduce yourself,” suggests sex coach Amy Levine, founder of IgniteYourPleasure.com. That doesn’t mean making a rose-petal path to your bed, but some low-maintenance pampering can get you in the mood. Levine recommends playing soft music and lighting candles. Porn works too, if that’s your thing. So does eyes-closed fantasizing. Says sexuality educator Timaree Schmit, Ph.D.: “Envision a situation that turns you on, and let it fully develop. Never judge yourself or say you should be thinking about something or someone differently. There’s no so-called thought police.”
Once you’ve worked yourself into a mental lather, focus on your body. Levine suggests starting with a slow full-body self-massage. You already know the one or two spots that can send you over the edge, but now is your chance to discover untapped sources of pleasure. Levine says to pay special attention to your neck, the back of your knees, your thighs, and your perineum, which is the stretch of skin between your vagina and anal opening.
After your massage, avoid falling into your time-worn getting-off pattern. Switch up your position, suggests Levine: If you always masturbate while lying on your back, try it on all fours, or sitting in a comfortable chair, or even standing, bent over a table or the bed. Try kneeling as if you’re straddling your partner.
Variety is key to your sex life, so why shouldn’t that extend to your self-love life? If you need more convincing, know this: By masturbating the same way every time, you might have more difficulty getting off when you’re with a partner. So stay flexible.
Speaking of which, consider taking a yoga class and then getting it on with yourself as soon as you arrive home, says Levine. “The breath work and the flow of the poses allow us to be in the moment and out of our head,” she says. In other words, yoga can diminish all those thoughts of your boss, your bank account, or whatever other worries might distract you.
Now, getting back to your vibrator. If yours is a trusty rabbit style, it might be time to introduce vibrator 2.0. Perhaps something that hits the doubted-by-scientists-but-not-by-women G-spot? (A rabbit is tailored to the clitoris.) “Look for something that has a curve,” suggests Glickman. “Stronger vibrations, or ridges or bumps, often help too.”
Glickman recommends using a G-spot wand that’s waterproof, like the Good Vibrations Silky G Waterproof G Spot Vibrator. Draw a bath, climb in, and go to town. Aim the toy’s curve toward your navel when you insert it—the G-spot is a couple of inches inside the vagina, on the front wall. “Try to find an area the size of a dime or a nickel that feels raised, or ridged, or firmer than the tissue around it,” says Glickman. “It’s often easier to find when you’re turned on, because it swells.”
Don’t feel like embarking on The Great G-Spot Hunt? No problem, says Leigh, who is all for clitoral focus. “There’s increasing pressure that you should be able to get off from G-spot stimulation,” she says. “But just do what feels best to you.” She recommends clitoris-specific egg-shaped vibrators for easy use and storage.
“But the Cadillac of vibrators is still the Hitachi wand,” she says of the massage device that resembles a giant microphone. “It’s huge. It often requires an electrical outlet and can be noisy as all get-out. But if nothing else will get the job done, this will.”
Of course, toys aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s fine. All that matters is that you feel good. And if you’re playing sexy music, massaging yourself, and writhing in a chair while feeling good, all the better.