Q: For as long as I can remember, I masturbated by rubbing my thighs together. It’s what works for me. I don’t use my hands, just my legs; sometimes there will be a pillow or blanket in the mix too. It’s not a problem most of the time and in long term or more serious relationships, the guys have always been OK with it, but I’m self-conscious when it’s a more casual hook up. I feel like it’s weird or maybe I should work on being able to use fingers and dildos, like everyone else. Is this weird?
When we’re asking what’s weird, we’re really asking about what’s normal. There’s statistical normal – the most likely/common answer to something, there’s social normal – the things that a particular culture considers appropriate, and there’s what is sustainable, healthy and works for you.
It sounds like you have developed a self-pleasure style that you enjoy and is functional. From a sexuality educator’s point of view, that’s what matters. Sure, I can point out that thigh clenching is often the first form of masturbation for most clit-havers and actually super common. I could also go over the history of research into masturbation techniques and share that most people have their own unique twist, whether it involves standing, laying on their backs or stomachs, integrating toys, pressing against a chair or firing up the ole showerhead. And notably, despite what Freud and most straight porn insist, the majority of vulva-owners don’t require penetration.
Because really the point is that humans are delightfully creative about sexual pleasure and find the erotic potential in surprising places, and, as long as no one else is getting hurt, I encourage you to rock it out however you like.
After receiving your question, I put out a call on social media about unconventional masturbation techniques and got a few fun replies. What I realized is that there are very few “conventional” narratives, and a lot of people have their own routines.
Let’s explore just a few of the answers I received.
“Since I’m a sex worker and I film myself when I masturbate, for myself I like to use THC lube and cuddle in my coziest blanket. Then read erotica to warm up and then my favorite part of masturbating for myself is that I can be quiet and I don’t have to put on a show.” – Carly
“I like experimenting with sensations. As a kid I did the whole fruit thing: cut a hole in a cantaloupe, watermelon, peach, whatever. It’s fun to try different textures against my body, especially on the head and shaft. If I find something mind-blowing, it might become part of the repertoire, but there’s a lot of one-offs. I’d try most anything once.” – Trav
“I grew up with lots of siblings and have always had roommates, so I’ve gotten used to stealth masturbation: under the covers, staying almost entirely silent. Now it’s just what I’m used to and I don’t know if I could do it any other way.” – Kat
And one that was extra intriguing, so I sent follow up questions.
“I am a looner and have a fetish for big blown up balloons. Sometimes I use them for masturbation. I lie on my back, spread my legs and rub a balloon over my shorts/push the balloons on my shorts with my hands/feet to create some pressure until I cum, sometimes using a second balloon to kiss/lick/smell it while I ‘get f*cked’ from the balloon between my legs.
“I first tried this technique when I was 12-13. I didn’t know much about sex/orgasms and played more in a childish way with a balloon. And then I had that new feeling between my legs I didn’t know before when I pushed the balloon on my underwear. I pushed and rubbed it again and again and was very surprised/shocked when I had my first orgasm because, as I said before, I didn’t know a lot about sexuality at all. And after that first experience, I did that technique again and again. I enjoy balloons, how they smell and taste, the sound a balloon can make.” – Lars
So the point of this story is that:
I think you’re doing great and so are all these folks and so is everyone else out there who has found a thing that works for them.
Have a question for Dr. Timaree? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.