8 Women Share The Stories Of Their First Time Masturbating

People with vaginas share their early experiences with self-pleasure, vibrators and orgasms.
Women reveal their first experiences with masturbation.
Women reveal their first experiences with masturbation.

I can’t specifically recall the first time I ever masturbated. Though, if I had to guess, it was probably in middle school after watching an episode of MTV’s “Undressed.” During those years, I remember a few instances of curiously gliding my middle finger in and out of my vagina, feeling around a little and wondering: What’s all the fuss about?

The first time I really masturbated in a hot-damn-give-yourself-an-orgasm kind of way was a lot more memorable. I had recently turned 18 and a couple of friends had bought me a vibrator from Spencer’s named “Ever-Ready Freddy” as a gag gift for my birthday. Freddy had an intense, menacing face and if you pressed him a certain way, he’d say one of his signature catchphrases, like: “Hell, can’t you get a real man?”

All of this to say, I doubt my friends thought I’d actually use this demonic-looking sex toy. But boy, did I use it. And thanks to Freddy, I was introduced to the magical power of the clitoris in unlocking orgasms and enlisted his help multiple times a week until the sad day he eventually went kaput.

We asked women to share their first experiences masturbating. From the sensual to the shame-filled to the silly, here’s what they told us.

Responses have been lightly edited or condensed for length and clarity.

Preschool Playtime

“The first time I masturbated I was barely able to crawl. I started rubbing myself on the carpet when all the kids were sitting in a circle at preschool. I remember it feeling really comforting and wanted to keep doing it, but I’m pretty sure the teacher made me stop.” — Hayley Jade, sex worker

Showering In Pleasure

“Like many girls, I discovered masturbating in the shower with a handheld shower head. When I discovered that the persistent, insistent stream of water directed at my clitoris made my thighs quiver, I learned to lie down in the tub, plant my feet on the cold tile and ride wave after wave of orgasm. I was about 7 or 8 years old. Masturbation was the time in my life I felt most safe, most joyful in my body and most alive, in an otherwise rocky childhood.” — Chris Maxwell Rose, sex educator and host of “Speaking of Sex” podcast

Jungle Gym, FTW

“I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but at some point in elementary school, climbing up the jungle gym poles became EXTRA fun for me! It wasn’t until I started training to become a sex therapist that I realized that it’s quite common for girls and women to masturbate by grinding against objects. I thought I had just discovered some incredible secret! So many women think that this is a ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ way to masturbate, but in my experience teaching thousands of women how to orgasm, it’s actually one of the three most common techniques.” — Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and creator of the online course Finishing School: Learn How To Orgasm

Shrouded In Shame

“The first time I remember masturbating I was about 6 years old. I figured out pretty quickly what worked and what didn’t. I remember it feeling really good up until I turned about 10 years old when I started to feel guilty for being sexual and ashamed for objectifying women. I knew pretty early on in my life that I was gay but denied it for a few more years. It felt like if I said it out loud that I liked women that I would be rejected by everyone I love and everyone would know my private thoughts and feelings. I was lucky enough to have supportive gay and lesbian cousins who were out first, and it gave me the courage to come out at 14. Now I’m sex positive, many of my illustrations and work are LGBTQ-focused, and I’m engaged to the love of my life!” – Tevy Khou, illustrator

Summer Of (Self) Love

“I was 15 and was in my bedroom. It was summer and I was in the house by myself because everyone else was outside at the lake. I was reading pamphlets about becoming a personal trainer that I had stashed between my mattresses. When I was hanging off the side of the bed to shove them back into their hiding space, I reached back to brace myself and ended up with my hand under my bits. Surprisingly, it felt pretty great, so I finished squirreling my stuff away and scooched back onto the bed, face down and put my other hand down my pants to get both involved.

I do remember going over my underwear because I didn’t want my hand to get wet, which is still my go-to to this day. I wanted to be quiet so I stayed face down and shoved my face into my comforter to quiet any noise. Which is probably why I love a good asphyxia sesh now. I didn’t cum. I thought I did, but I definitely didn’t. It just felt good. It only lasted as long as I could hold my breath, then I took the best nap of my life!” — Mara Marek, comedian and host of “The Happy Never After Podcast”

What’s Up, Doc?

“The first time I masturbated, I had no idea that’s what I was doing. And I didn’t do it alone. I must have been 10 or 11 and every time I would hang out with these three girls in particular we would play ‘doctor.’ One at a time, we would pull our pants and underwear down to our knees and lay on the bed on our stomachs with a pillow between our legs. One of the girls would put a popsicle stick between our cheeks to “take our temperature.” Then we would move our hips until we ‘felt all better.’ For some reason we called it bra-ing. ‘OK. Time for the bra-ing. You’ll feel all better when you’re done!’ we’d tell one another.

We were very methodical about it and ridiculously giddy when we were done. I never, ever did it alone back then. No clue why. And it wasn’t until I was in college that I really made the connection. Suddenly all of the rubbing against pillows alone in bed throughout my later high school years made sense! – Jenny Block, author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex

Gandalf, Gratification And Guilt

“I remember my first time masturbating quite vividly. I was around 14 or 15, sitting in the living area, watching ‘Lord of The Rings.’ I just finished my biology project about nuclei or something and decided to watch some television before going to bed. I remember being so enamored by the sound of Gandalf’s voice ( I later learned in life that I’m an auralist) that I felt my pussy tingle for the first time. I didn’t understand what my body was trying to tell me. I felt warm. My body simmered with anticipation. My body started to ache and I honestly didn’t know what to do. I was so consumed by so many foreign feelings.

I was taught at a very young age that young women do NOT pleasure themselves. Pleasure is a privilege of marriage. Only married women get to enjoy their bodies with their husbands. The more I watched the film, the stickier my thighs got. The more I watched the film the more ashamed I felt. I felt very torn. I shut the TV off, I went to my room and prayed until I fell asleep. Three hours later, my body woke me up with a vengeance I’d never known before. I turned onto my stomach and placed my hands between my thighs to soothe the discomfort. For the first time in my life, I felt pleasure in my toes. Dizzy with fear and desire, I felt the need to understand the aching. I began to trace every part of my being until I shuddered and came. The high was as instant as the immediate low. I began to repent for taking away pleasure from my future husband.

I felt so terrible about pleasuring myself that I took a purity vow. I didn’t masturbate again until I was 19 years old, the same night I lost my virginity.” — Brittany G.

Sex Ed for Grown-Ups is a series tackling everything you didn’t learn about sex in school — beyond the birds and the bees. Keep checking back for more expert-based articles and personal stories.

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