HomeWomen's sexualitySexual pleasureWomen do not masturbate as a substitute for intercourse

Women do not masturbate as a substitute for intercourse

Male responsiveness declines very gradually from adolescence onwards. Few men masturbate regularly by the age of 50. At any age most men only masturbate in the absence of an offer of penetrative sex. It is a subtle point but masturbation clearly fulfils quite different functions for men and women. Male masturbation is primarily a kind of safety valve for young men’s sex drive. It can also be a special kind of pleasure that older men enjoy for its own sake. But responsive women use erotic fantasy as a conscious psychological technique for the sole purpose of enjoying orgasm.

The techniques a man uses to masturbate (both the penile stimulation and mental turn-ons) simulate a real-life opportunity for intercourse. A man uses a manual technique that essentially replicates the sensations of penetration. He may thrust his hips forward. His hand grips the penis close to the glans and massages the blood flow within the corpora cavernosa of the penis. A man stimulates the same anatomy that is involved in intercourse.

Male and female masturbation techniques are similar in that men and women massage the body of the phallus, which contains the corpora cavernosa. The difference arises when we compare masturbation with intercourse. Men tend to assume that female masturbation also simulates intercourse. But this is not so. A woman does not masturbate by replicating the sensations of vaginal penetration (assuming that she is aiming for orgasm). Women orgasm alone by massaging the blood flow within the clitoris. [i] Clitoral tumescence can be massaged by pressing either side of the labia.

A responsive woman uses less explicit stimulation techniques than a man does. She starts by rubbing gently over the top of the clitoral glans while she waits for arousal to build. Once aroused, she pushes her fingers down into the clitoral corpora cavernosa by exerting a firm rhythmic pressure either side of the labia majora until orgasm is reached. Orgasm coincides with the peak of the erotic aspects of the fantasy her mind is absorbed in.

Men do not consciously decide to indulge in fantasies. Men are biologically aroused or they respond to real-world triggers. Orgasm is a consequence of stimulation. The mental turn-ons, responsive women use, do not involve visualising everyday opportunities for intercourse. Women have to work much harder at achieving arousal, so they focus on taboo and surreal scenarios that fall outside the kind of loving relationship most women hope for with a real-life sexual partner. This is because a woman needs to identify psychologically with the penetrating male to achieve orgasm.

[i] Some 84 per cent of those females in the sample who had ever masturbated had depended primarily on labial and/or clitoral techniques. (Alfred Kinsey)

Excerpt from Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (ISBN 978-0956-894717)