12 Secrets of Sensational Solo Sex

Am I doing this right? When it comes to sex, it's the most asked question of all time, and masturbation is no exception. That's where expert advice from Anne Semans comes in. In her book The Many Joys of Sex Toys, 12 tricks are spelled out in buzz-worthy detail.

The key to your enjoyment is your ability to relax and stay in the moment, so check your anxieties or frustrations at the door. Stop thinking about work, the kids or the dirty laundry. Take a warm bath or get a massage beforehand.

Turn yourself on.
Think about what things have turned you on in the past and focus on them now to jump-start your arousal. Fantasize about a steamy sexual encounter, replay a scene from a sexy movie or imagine yourself naked with your favorite celebrity. If you enjoy additional stimulation, put on some sexy music or read some erotica.

Have a look.
If you've never really looked at your genitals before, take out a mirror and hold it with one hand while you use the other hand to locate the parts of your genitalia. Look for the clitoris under its protective hood at the top of your vulva; identify your labia, vagina and anus. It might help to have an anatomical diagram next to you if you're having trouble figuring out what's what.

Let your fingers do the walking.
Use your fingertips to explore all the parts of your genital anatomy. Notice the smoothness of the labia folds, and the hardness of the clitoris. Peel back the clitoral hood and touch the glans so you are familiar with its sensitivity. Insert a finger into your vagina and notice the different textures as it moves in slightly. As you explore, pay attention to the parts of your vulva that feel especially good when stimulated.

Play with yourself.
Put the mirror down, lie on your back and touch yourself all over. Begin by running your hands all over your skin, lingering on the spots that feel particularly sensitive -- including the breasts and the sides of your thighs. Try a variety of movements on your labia and clitoris, pulling, pinching and rubbing along the smooth skin. Focus on the clitoris, paying attention to any erotic sensations that certain moves generate. Some women like to use two fingers to rub over the clitoral hood in a circular motion; others place a fingertip on either side of the clitoris and move from side to side.

Feel the buzz.

Turn your vibrator on and explore in much the same way that you did with your hands. Try running the toy over different parts of your body, including your genitals, but saving your clit for last. Lightly place the tip of the vibrator on your clitoral hood. If the vibration is too intense, place a washcloth or piece of clothing between your body and the toy.

Add your Kegels.
Slowly rock your hips back and forth, contracting your PC muscles (what you squeeze when you want to stop a stream of urine) in time to the motion.

Mix it up.
Vary the speed on your vibrator or apply pressure to get a stronger vibration on your clitoris. If you're moving the toy around, try changing the direction of the motion. As your arousal builds, try stopping and starting the vibration. By "teasing" your clit you coax it along -- when you withhold the stimulation, your body jumps back after it when it's resumed. If you have a hard time getting over the top, stop the toy for longer periods and relax your muscles. Try using the vibrator in a different position -- squeeze it between your legs or lie on top of it.

Breathe deeply.
Resist the urge to hold your breath; instead, take long, deep breaths. With practice, you can coordinate the rhythm of your breathing to your mounting arousal. When you feel yourself close to orgasm, inhale, then time your exhale with the onset of the orgasm, and you'll feel the sexual contraction flow through your body to your toes.

Stay with it.

One of the frustrating and magical things about orgasm is that it can feel very elusive up until you're actually seconds away from having one. Once you hit the point of no return, your orgasm will sweep over you in a matter of seconds, and your body will be wracked by several contractions.

Go for multiples.
Vibrators are tireless -- they can keep going and going long after hands or penises tire out. After your first orgasm, remove the vibrator if your clit is too sensitive, but return after a few seconds to try for another orgasm. You might be surprised at how easy it is to go for more than one, or two, or three...

Try and try again.
Don't worry if you don't make it on your first go-round. Just pick up the toy again later and give it another try. Sometimes it can take several weeks before your body becomes accustomed to the stimulation. Try to learn from each attempt, paying close attention to which types of stimulation feel best and building on those.

Reprinted with permission fromThe Many Joys of Sex Toys. Copyright © 2004 by Anne Semans. Used with permission from Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Watch Video: Will I Ever Have an Orgasm?
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