Your recipe for masturbation is pretty simple: A bottle of lube, a browser tab open to PornHub, and a five-finger grip deliver results in no time flat. But female masturbation is a bit more complicated.
They can’t do it wherever they want, they don’t always care about reaching orgasm, and they definitely aren’t flipping through Fifty Shades as much as you’d imagine. So what happens behind closed doors? Read on to discover the secrets of female masturbation.
She's Quicker Without You
On average, women take longer to orgasm than men do. “For a woman’s nerve endings to be stimulated and for the blood flow to get down into her genitals, it can take up to 15 or 20 minutes of foreplay,” explains Dr Sadie Allison, author of The Mystery of the Undercover Clitoris: Orgasmic Fingertip Touching Every Woman Craves.
But she might be a lot faster going solo than she is with you in the sack. That could be because she’s more focused on her own pleasure (instead of yours) or because she knows exactly what she wants. “Many women can be there in 2 to 3 minutes on their own, but will take 10 or more—or can’t get there at all—with a partner,” says sex expert Carlyle Jansen, author of Sex Yourself, a book about women’s masturbation.
She Doesn't Do It Quite As Often
How come? She might see self-pleasure as more of a production, not just a quick rub-and-go activity. It could also be because of the stigma associated with female masturbation, which can follow many women into adulthood. “Most boys begin before they’re 10,” says Jansen, while “women start later, often in their 20s.”
She Preps Differently
Her Touch Is Softer
“Think about if you had an eyelash in your eye and you were trying to rub it out,” says Allison. “You’d pull your eyelid back and gently use your fingertip to rub around. That’s how soft you should touch a woman’s clitoris. Yes, that soft.”
The clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the head of the penis, so it’s super-sensitive to even the softest touch. Some women like it rougher—and they’ll tell you if they do—but most need to be eased in gently before they can stand too much contact with their clitoris.
She Explores Her Whole Body
She Doesn't Always Care About Orgasm
...But When She Does, She's Going For Seconds
“It takes a lot of energy for the body to actually push all of that fluid from the prostate, through the spiral tubing, then through the testicles, up and out of the penis,” explains Allison. “That’s why when [men] are finally done, it’s over. They’re like, ‘Whew, I need a nap.’”
Women's orgasms are physical, too, but they don’t have the same “refractory period” after climaxing, which makes it more likely for them to go for multiple rounds. So while some women aren’t necessarily vying for orgasm at all, others don’t stop at just one. Lucky ladies.