The nature of things is that life isn’t fair, and different circumstances of life can either be a benefit or a difficulty for us. When considering masturbation, whether your family is more anxious, or more religious, or whether you have your own room or not, or even being born a girl rather than a boy, contributes to if, when, and how you may learn to masturbate.

The reality is that men tend to have nature on their side because they have much more occasion to touch their genitals than girls. When they go to the bathroom, they touch themselves. When they get an erection and have to adjust their clothing, they touch themselves. Even just finding a comfortable position to sit or lay down, they may need to touch themselves. This brings many more opportunities for a boy to discover the pleasurable sensations he can experience from rubbing or stroking himself. Oftentimes, infants or toddlers discover this early on and engage in some form of masturbation without any instruction or direction from the outside world. We know that it is a natural activity and should not be viewed in a negative way.

For adolescent boys and men, one of the difficulties related to learning about masturbating is time and location. Many times, a man does not have the privacy that he wishes to explore his fantasies or his physical sensations, and instead rushes himself to finish the job before he is discovered or interrupted. Because of this, sometimes men teach themselves to masturbate in an anxious way that can translate to anxiety around orgasm and ejaculation in later sexual relationships. When masturbating, it is beneficial for a man to have times in which he allows himself the opportunity to explore different sensations, different intensities, different speeds, and also focus on how it feels physically in addition to focusing on his fantasy material.

With women, it is a little trickier. Women do not usually touch their genitals throughout the day except when involved in personal hygiene – and that doesn’t usually bring any sexy thoughts to mind. Some girls find that certain objects or ways of sitting can produce pleasant sensations, and some even explore with their hands and fingers. Regardless, these are also a natural part of growth and development and are best approached as such.

For adolescent girls and women learning to masturbate, patience and curiosity are the keys. Nothing interferes more with sexual arousal and pleasure than performance anxiety. There is so much variation in what can bring a woman pleasure – from different materials, to different positioning of fingers or toys, to different speed and intensity. In some instances, it is a matter of time. When learning how to masturbate, it is not uncommon for a woman to be touching herself for 20 minutes or more before reaching a point where she finds an orgasm. But with women, orgasm does not have to be the goal, and many women enjoy the pleasure of masturbating for long periods without reaching orgasm. The curiosity about one’s own body, the sensual nature of stimulation, and the eroticism of the exploration are the most important points. You will increase your pleasure if you allow yourself to explore your fantasies as well as your entire body, because your mind and your body work together for sexual satisfaction and pleasure.

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