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A Young Woman's Guide to Masturbation

What is masturbation?

Masturbation is stimulation of the genitals for the purpose of advancing sexual arousal. Most people masturbate until they have an orgasm.

How do females masturbate?

Most females rub the area around the clitoris, the clitoris itself, or the inner labia. Some females insert fingers or objects into the vagina.

How many girls masturbate?

Half of teenage girls masturbate regularly, and 75 percent will do so before their 18th birthdays.

When do girls start to masturbate?

Most start during or soon after puberty. A few start before puberty. Many don't start masturbating until their late teens, and some females never masturbate.

How often do females masturbate?

Most females masturbate once or twice a week. A few do it daily. Many females masturbate once a month or less.

Why do people masturbate?

The main reason is that it's fun. Some females also masturbate to relieve menstrual cramps or to help them sleep. Males also masturbate because they produce sexual fluids that need to be eliminated frequently.

Where do people masturbate?

Most females masturbate in bed.

Where is the clitoris?

The external female genitalia are called the vulva. The part you can see is the outer labia (lips). If you open your outer labia, the clitoris is right at the top. It's surrounded by a hood and is very sensitive to the touch, so many girls touch only the hood. Below the clitoris are the inner labia.

What does an orgasm feel like?

The main feeling is a series of muscular contractions inside the pelvis that lasts for about eight seconds. People usually have other feelings resulting from these contractions, like an overall feeling of warmth, and pleasure spreading throughout the body. Many people need to moan or scream as a result of the tension.

If I masturbate, am I no longer a virgin?

Masturbating does not make you not a virgin. You need to engage in sexual intercourse with another person to do that.

What about my hymen? Does masturbation hurt the hymen?

The hymen is a thin piece of skin that covers the vaginal opening in young women. It breaks and tears with sexual activity (and occasionally by non-sexual activity), generally over a long period of time. Masturbating with objects will tend to erode your hymen. Most women have small pieces of hymen left until they give birth for the first time. The hymen has little to do with virginity. You can be a virgin and have almost no hymen left, or you can have a nearly intact hymen and not be a virgin.

Can I hurt myself by masturbating?

For most females, masturbation is healthy. There are three methods of masturbating that should be avoided:

  1. You can hurt yourself if you stick anything into your urethra while masturbating (or any other time, for that matter). (The urethra is the tube in the opening where urine comes out.)
  2. You should exercise care when inserting objects into your vagina for the first time. Inserting something before your vagina is relaxed enough can cause injury.
  3. You can hurt yourself if you masturbate in a face-down position. Masturbation should be performed on your back, although you can try it sitting or standing once you've learned it on your back. Masturbating face-down might cause problems when you someday try to have sex with a partner. This is a troublesome condition documented in males called Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome, or TMS. There is some evidence that TMS is a problem for females too.

What is a dildo? What is a vibrator? Should I use them?

A dildo is an object shaped like a penis that some women use for masturbating. A vibrator is an electric appliance that some women use for masturbating. Dildos are usually inserted into the vagina, while vibrators are usually used on the vulva (clitoris and labia). It's a good idea to masturbate with your hands for a few years before using objects or vibrators.

If I use an object anyway, what should I do to be safe?

Only use objects that are smooth and not sharp. Only use objects big enough to hold firmly. And be sure to clean them before and after each use.

Do adult women masturbate?

Yes. Once people start to masturbate, they will do it for the rest of their lives, whether or not they have sex with partners too.

How do males masturbate?

Nearly all males form a loose fist around the erect penis and stroke in an up and down motion.

Do all males masturbate?

By their 15th birthdays, close to 100 percent of males have masturbated to orgasm. It is extremely rare to find an adult male who doesn't masturbate.

How often do males masturbate?

In the teen years, the majority of males masturbate at least once a day. Eight times a week is probably the most common statistic. It's not uncommon to hear of teenage males, especially younger ones, masturbating twice a day. The average male will masturbate over 1000 times before he ever has sex with a female.

Why do girls masturbate less than boys?

Because it is a biological necessity for males to eliminate the sexual fluids their bodies produce. It is also believed that masturbation keeps a male's sperm in better condition for reproduction. But females mostly do it because it's fun. So it makes sense that more males masturbate, and that they are more likely to make a daily habit of it. Masturbation has been observed in every species of mammal, but there is no species where the females masturbate more often than the males. There is also no society on earth where the women masturbate more than the men.

No one has ever told me anything bad about masturbation. So why do I feel guilty about it?

In the old days, young people were told all sorts of crazy things about masturbation that weren't true. But just because those things aren't told anymore, that doesn't mean no one feels guilty about masturbating. The reason is this: If everyone were happy and satisfied by masturbating, there would be no reason to mate with other people and produce offspring. So feeling a little guilty about masturbation from time to time is normal and perhaps good for the human race.

While you're free of that burden that earlier generations had to deal with, your generation has a different burden. In the old days, people used to get married and form families about the same time their bodies were ready for sex and masturbation. Today's young people have developed bodies earlier than ever before, and at the same time, they have to postpone marriage and families later than ever before. This means masturbation is more useful both earlier and for a longer time than ever before.

How can I masturbate if I've never done it before?

When you feel aroused, try to figure out if there's something you thought about or saw that brought it on. Then think about that while you lie on your back and rub the area around your clitoris.

What can I do if I have more questions?

Your mother, older sister or other older female relatives are the best resources. Asking an older female friend whom you trust might also be good. Other adult females, like doctors, teachers, clergy, and counselors might have good information, but they're likely to be less frank than your mom or older sister will be. It's probably not a good idea to trust someone your own age to answer your questions about masturbation. is not designed to provide medical advice and does not provide medical advice. All material is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Please review the information contained on carefully and confer with your doctor, psychologist, or other health care professional as needed.