“Masturbation is just sex with someone I love” ~ Woody Allen

According to statistics, 90% of men and 65% of women masturbate. It’s said that the others are all lying. Either way, masturbation is a big part of our sex lives and is generally the first sexual experience that most of us have – whether in our teens or early adulthood. We learn through masturbation how our body responds to certain touches and pleasure, and what we like and don’t like. ‘Solo sex’ teaches us a great deal about our sexual style – perhaps hard and fast, or initially quick and gentle– and offers us an avenue to enjoy sexual pleasures with or without a partner. It’s not true that only single people masturbate; couples do it too, either alone or together and it can be a very sexy and enjoyable experience to see your partner touching themselves. The key in a relationship, like most things in life, is communication.


In the 18th Century, masturbation was believed to be a mental illness and disease. People thought that it caused blindness and insanity. Thank goodness that’s been cleared up because without masturbation we’d probably all be a lot more cranky and on edge. Why do we masturbate then? Well we do it not only to experience pleasure through orgasm, but also to relax, get to sleep, pick ourselves up and relieve period pain or a headache. Aside from sex, masturbating is the next best thing since we can do it alone or together and at any time (although I wouldn’t suggest knocking one off in the office, it won’t help productivity).

Talking the talk

There are numerous slang terms for masturbation, including ‘wanking’, ‘knocking one off’ and ‘jerking off’. Most of these terms refer to when men masturbate but when it comes to women, the terms are a bit softer, and the term most often used is ‘touching myself/ herself’. Generally, men start to experiment with masturbation much earlier than women, but women masturbate much more than most people think. It’s more acceptable to hear or talk about men doing it, but not so much for us girls. People also seem to struggle with using the word masturbation and talking about it openly due to the privacy around the act itself. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If anything masturbation teaches us to be more sexually connected to ourselves (and a partner) and enables us to get what we want during sex by knowing what we like.

Men vs. Women

So what are the differences between men and women when it comes to masturbation? And what exactly do we do when we touch ourselves?

Well firstly, society generally deems men masturbating as more acceptable than women, especially in a more conservative society like South Africa. Most men have similar masturbation styles – using a firm grip and lots of lubrication for a smoother experience. Research has found that being uncircumcised means that a man might pull his foreskin back and forth with his fingertips during masturbation for pleasurable sensations; whereas a circumcised man would generally use the full shaft and a hand pumping action. If you’re giving your man a hand job and ‘jerking him off’, why not try a twisting motion up and down his shaft (with lots of lube on hand as our genital skin tends to be dryer and therefore needs a bit more care). Women, however, are quite different… some like vaginal stimulation, some like clitoral stimulation, and some like both at the same time. Generally women rub their clitoris in a circular motion with their fingers or they use a toy to stimulate themselves. Women learn from experience how they like it and what feels the best for them, and masturbation is not always about orgasm for women. Partners shouldn’t assume their new lady will enjoy what they’ve experienced with other girls in the past. Touch, try and talk about how it feels for her, and for him as well.

If you know for sure what you like when you touch yourself, it’s not only much easier to tell your partner, but it’s also easier in getting the pleasure that you want from sexual experiences! Masturbation is a very normal and natural part of adult life, and talking about it with your partner will open the door for further sexual pleasure and experiences. And if that doesn’t convince you, regular masturbation helps build stamina and leads to more powerful and prolonged orgasms…

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