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Masturbation: going solo

When you masturbate, you touch and caress yourself to give yourself sexual pleasure. Often you do this until you're fully aroused and have an orgasm.

There are lots of ways to masturbate and arouse yourself.

Women usually do it by rubbing their clitoris and vagina with their fingers. And men do it by rubbing their penis up and down. But you can try anything that turns you on, like touching your nipples or your anus.

You can also arouse yourself by fantasising about sexual images or stories. You can fantasise about whatever you like – nothing is weird in a fantasy.

Find out

Masturbating is enjoyable, and useful too. You get to know your own body. You find out what your penis or vagina looks like. How it feels, how it smells, how it works. And if you know what turns you on and gives you an orgasm, you can tell your partner when you make love.

While you masturbate, you'll probably enjoy thinking about things that make you feel turned on. You might think about anything: the clothes you're wearing, a particular person, or a whole story you find exciting. You might fantasise about things you wouldn't actually want to do at all in real life.

Most people masturbate, even if they're in a relationship. It’s perfectly normal to masturbate often. But if you never feel like doing it at all, that’s okay too!

Women masturbating

Rub your fingers around your clitoris or over it. When you get turned on, your vagina becomes wet. Your clitoris gets bigger and harder. You can use the moisture from your vagina to make your clitoris more sensitive. Rubbing or stroking your clitoris can make you have an orgasm.

If you find your clitoris is very sensitive to touch, try rubbing your fingers more slowly and gently around the clitoris. If you find your clitoris needs more stimulation, you can rub your fingers faster and harder around your clitoris or over it. If you like, try putting one or more fingers into your vagina while using the fingers of your other hand to rub your clitoris.

You can masturbate in all sorts of ways:

  • Using a hand-held shower head, direct the stream from the shower head around your vulva.
  • Use a vibrator.
  • Put a dildo or vibrator into your vagina. Some people use suitable-shaped fruits or vegetables instead. It's more hygienic and safer if you cover it in a condom.
  • You might find a variety of things pleasurable, and these things might change over time.

Men masturbating

When you masturbate, you hold the penis in your hand or between your fingers. Stroke your penis in an up and down action. Once you begin to feel aroused, try varying the speed and pressure You can do this until you have an orgasm. When this happens, you ejaculate semen out of your penis.

There are many ways to masturbate:

  • Rubbing or stroking the head of your penis.
  • Long or short movements using your whole hand, or just two fingers.
  • Use spit or lubricant to make your hand glide up and down more easily.

If you’re circumcised, you don’t have a foreskin and the head of your penis is always uncovered. Sometimes this makes the head of your penis less sensitive. Using spit or lubricant can make it more slippery when you masturbate. You can also try rubbing under the rim of the penis head to get extra sensation.

Masturbation in a relationship

Many people continue masturbating even when they’re in a happy and committed relationship.
But why would someone masturbate if they're happy with their partner? There are several reasons:

  • Stress relief: some people use masturbation as a release to relax after a stressful day.
  • They feel aroused but don’t want to have full sex or don’t have the right opportunity for it.
  • They want to try out different techniques and movements, which they can then practise with their partner.
  • They know the rhythm of their own body and use masturbation to help build the excitement.

People who masturbate regularly tend to have more satisfying sex lives, so it's nothing to worry about!
If you feel upset because your partner masturbates regularly, stay calm and ask them why they do it. Then ask if you can watch next time! Both men and women can find it a turn-on to be watched masturbating by their partner.
Just say: ‘I’d really like to watch you masturbate next time, so I can see what turns you on.’

Then your partner won’t feel ashamed of doing something perfectly natural, and you won’t feel excluded. And you may well pick up some tips on what feels good to them for the next time you have sex together.

Masturbating her

Masturbating a woman is also known as fingering. When you masturbate a woman, you touch her clitoris and the area around it: the labia and the opening to the vagina. Fingering can make a woman deeply aroused and can bring her to orgasm. But it’s different for every woman, and it can feel different every time.

How do you do it?

  • You can rub around the clitoris or to the side of it – or even right over it.
  • You can move faster or slower, and stroke harder or more gently.
  • You can put one or more fingers inside the woman’s vagina.

Ask your partner what she likes. You could ask her to take your hand and guide you. Or show you herself – which can be quite a turn-on!

Body language

Pay attention to her body language. How is she responding to your touch? Is her vagina becoming moist? Is she sighing or moaning? Is her body writhing? Then you’re getting it right!

Also listen to her breathing: is it getting faster? That’s also a sign that she’s getting aroused.

Apart from your fingers, you can also use your mouth. Only do it if you’re ready for it yourself – not just because the other person takes the initiative and you don’t dare to say no!

Masturbating him

Masturbating a man is also known as – among many other things –  giving a hand-job. You rub or stroke the penis with your hand, usually back and forth over the head. This can feel very arousing and can bring a man to orgasm. It’s different for everybody though, and even for the same person, it can feel different every time.

How do you do it?

  • You can use your whole hand, or just your finger and thumb.
  • You can make short movements or long strokes – experiment together.
  • You can do it quickly or slowly, holding the penis firmly or more gently.
  • Ask your partner what he likes. Let him show you, perhaps with your hand under his so you can feel exactly where he’s putting the pressure.

Body language

Pay attention to his body language. How is he responding to your touch? Is his penis getting even harder? Is he sighing or moaning? Then you’re getting it right! Is his breathing getting faster? That’s also a sign that he’s getting aroused.

Apart from your fingers, you can also use your mouth. Only do it if you’re ready for it yourself – not just because the other person takes the initiative and you don’t dare to say no!

If your partner is circumcised, the head of the penis is often less sensitive. You can use spit or lubricant to make your hand slide more easily.

Did you learn something new?


Hi Still, there are no known medical adverse effects. However, if you find yourself being unable to carry out your day to day activities because you are taking time out of your day to masturbate, then you might have a problem.

Hello John, thank you for reaching out to us. If you are absolutely sure you want to stop, you should know that it will not be easy. This is because sex leads to the release of endorphins which is better known as the pleasure hormone. Second, masturbation has now become part of your arousal template which is the total amount of thoughts, activities, stimuli, smells etc. that arouse a person sexually.
To stop masturbating, you will need to identify the things that lead you to masturbate like seeing something, or just boredom. Also, when you get the urge to masturbate occupy yourself with another activity.
Please note that it could take you 21 days to 6 months to work on this and it might not work. If you are really committed, try, and find a counselor or a therapist to help you through. Good luck!

Hello Emmanuel, thank you for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts!  We beg to differ with you as the idea that masturbation will cause your hair to fall out isn’t true. There’s absolutely no scientific evidence linking masturbation to hair loss, nor is there any relationship between the amount of sex you have and the thickness or health of your hair.

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 08:08 pm

In reply to by Lameck

Hi I have a problem,my periods can delay for more than 5 months and am not under any birth control measure.where could be the problems?

Hi Stella, thank you for getting in touch and we are so sorry you are going through a hard time. Absent menstruation, also known as amenorrhea, is the absence of menstrual periods. There are two types of absent menstruation. The type depends on whether menstruation hasn’t occurred by a certain age, or whether menstruation has occurred and is then absent. Absent menstruation may occur for a variety of reasons. The most common of these include natural causes, lifestyle factors, and hormonal imbalances. It’s important to see a doctor about absent menstruation, as the underlying cause may require treatment. Absent menstruation often resolves once the cause is treated.

Hi Amos, Partners can choose to have oral sex. It is however important to protect oneself, since unprotected oral sex can get one infected with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/ways-to-make-love/oral-sex-taste-the-pleasure
this girlfriend is a virgin but won't give in to any sexual advances saying that she's not into it,she's just not ready,sex is demanding and addictive.She has however promised me to be patient and I'll be able to break her virginity at the right time,when she will be ready.She has even allowed me to have a side-chic for sex if i can't control the urge.All ma efforts to coax her into it have borne no fruits at all.Plz help.

Hi Carol, thank you for getting in touch and asking a great question. That theory isn't actually true. In fact, one of the ways of treating premature ejaculation is by controlled masturbation. 

Premature Ejaculation is caused by a number of reasons including fear, anxiety or even stress. The anxiety that one will not perform can make him ejaculate much earlier or stress from home or work. In other cases, particularly in young men it could be the result of sexual inexperience, and so as the young man gets older he also gains more experience in controlling ejaculation.

There are a few things you can do to improve control and last longer. In the short term, you can take short breaks during intercourse, you can also apply firm pressure underneath the penis during intercourse to push blood out of the penis hence decreasing sexual tension, distract yourself to think about other non sexual things or use penis desensitizers. Penis desensitizers come in the form of sprays and creams that can be applied on the penis minutes before intercourse and they help to delay ejaculation. Sometimes a condom can help reduce the sensitivity on the penis. 

In the long term you can ensure they eat healthy and avoid lots of processed foods, begin to exercise which improves blood flow in the body, reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol including smoking and more importantly reduce stress during intercourse. Foreplay will also play a critical role in preparing your partner and getting them closer to an orgasm.

The following articles provide more information;-


Love Matters Team.

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 06:49 pm
Tattu, she has been clear and honest to you about sex. If she is not ready at this time to have sex, you will have to respect her choice and wait up until she is ready. The question is are you willing to wait? We wish you well.

Hi TD, What you maybe experiencing is know as Premature Ejaculation, which is caused by a number of reasons including fear, anxiety or even stress. Anxiety that one will not perform can make him ejaculate much earlier or stress from the relationship or even work. In other cases, particularly in young men it could be the result of sexual inexperience, and so as the young man gets older he also gains more experience in controlling ejaculation. Check out this article for tips of what one can do;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/how-to-overcome-premature-ejaculation

Hey Iqrah, there is no relationship[ between Family Planning and Erectile Dysfunction. To read more about ED check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/erectile-dysfunction-top-five-facts

Hey Chris, first, masturbation has no medical effect but if you are doing it to the point you are missing out on important tasks like school or work and that your private parts are sore then it maybe important to reduce masturbation. A good place to start is to look at what could be triggering this behaviour, for some people it could be porn. Start by avoid the trigger you have observed, take one day at a time. You may not experience complete change at once but if you keep at it you will get to your desired change. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/cant-stop-masturbating

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 05:49 pm
I am addicted to masturbation 8 can leave the bathroom without doing it in the morning and I can't sleep without doing it. Can it cause infertility in future when I get married and want to get children?

Hi Stephen, you are addicted to masturbation if it takes alot of your time to the point that you miss out on important tasks like school or work. Masturbation can be a great and safe way to explore once sexuality especially because it has no medical effects. Masturbation will therefore not cause fertility and one should be able to have children when they choose to as long as their reproductive organs are healthy.  Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/masturbation-myths-busted

Hi There, there are no negative medical effects as a result of masturbation. There maybe a problem though if one overdoes it to the point that one sexual organs begin to hurt or as a result one misses out on important tasks like school or work. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/masturbation-myths-busted

Hey Vic, sex is just but one part of a relationship. People will get into relationships for various reasons including love, friendship, intimacy, companionship among other reasons. What sex with another person provides cannot be provided by masturbation only. People who are in a relationship can also choose to masturbate for purposes of releasing sexual tension or when their partner is away. Masturbation may take one away from important tasks like work or school but it may not be enough to make one not to desire an intimate or sexual relationship with another.

Hi, masturbation has no negative medical effect. It is infact a great and safe way to explore your own sexuality and relieve some sexual tension. It doesn't cause impotence, this is just a myth. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/masturbation-myths-busted 

David Osi
Thu, 08/09/2018 - 01:24 pm
I walk in on my girlfriend masturbating and she went all the way. I am wondering whether she is not satisfied when we make love that she needs to masturbate?

Hey David, people in relationship also do masturbate and it may not because they are unsatisfied. Sex and indeed masturbation can be a great stress reliever. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/masturbation-going-solo

Hey Oscar, first, masturbation has no medical effects, it can be a great to explore your own sexuality and a safe way. However, if you feel it is getting in the way of you focusing on important duties at work or school it is time to think about reducing it. A good place to start is to think about what triggers this. Sometimes it could be porn and one needs to avoid the trigger tha leads to the behaviour. Additionally, try fill up your leisure time with with other productive activities including spending time with your friends. Check out this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/cant-stop-masturbating 

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