Dear Maxxters,

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I am a female in my mid twenties who was raised in a strict religious community. I remember when I was very young, around 4 or 5 years old, my mother got very angry with me when she caught me masturbating (of course at the time I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew it felt good). I left the community several years ago, and I have a more open and accepting view of sex. I still have a problem with masturbating. I have a good sex life with my boyfriend, and I like to masturbate with him, but I can’t get myself to come when masturbating by myself. How can I learn to make myself come?

-Repressed as a child

I first just want to say that I’m really sorry that you were made to feel ashamed of experiencing pleasure at such a young age. You might be interested to know that it is considered to be normal sexual development for toddlers of that age to be masturbating. And you’re right- they don’t actually know what it is that they’re doing. They just know that it feels really good! Unfortunately, many parents don’t know that this is a healthy part of growing up and they tell their children to stop the behaviour.


So back to your question; what thoughts are going on in your head while you’re masturbating? Do you still have some residual shame/guilt around the act or are you able to fully relax into it and stay aroused? Also, make sure that you’re not fixating on orgasm. The more you think about whether or not you’ll cum, worry about how long it’s going to take, and just gun it to orgasm, the less likely it is to happen. While easier said than done at times, it’s about allowing yourself to get lost in the pleasure. So focus more on what actually feels good. Play around with different types of stimulation (speed of your movements, what parts of the vulva/vagina you’re playing with, etc), as well as positions. You can do it on your back or front (approximately 1 out of 10 women need to masturbate on their stomach to reach orgasm). You can add pillows under your hips to make the angle easier for your hands, you can keep your knees bent or straighten them out… those minor changes can sometimes make a big difference.

What are you doing to turn yourself on when you masturbate? It’s essential that you’re actually aroused and in the mood to experience sexual pleasure. Whether that means you’re fantasizing about something on your own, reading erotica, looking at erotic images, or watching porn; make sure you’re feeling turned on the entire time. Lastly, have you tried using toys? Many individuals find that using them (especially vibrators) can really help to increase their sexual pleasure (both alone and with a partner). They can also help to train you to reach orgasm easier and experience more intense orgasms. It may be important to note here that there are so many different types/intensities of orgasm. So really pay attention to what your body is experiencing while you’re pleasuring yourself. Many women don’t realize they’re actually reaching orgasm (with or without a partner), simply because most of us don’t experience those earth-shattering types of orgasms that are constantly portrayed in the media.