Whether you’re a serious expert when it comes to out-of-this-world solo sessions or you're still learning, it can be easy to get into a bit of a masturbation rut. And that's a shame since, “the research shows sex and masturbation get more and more pleasurable as a woman gets more experience, experiments more, and has more insights,” says Claire Kim, a manager at OMGYES, a sex research company with a literal encyclopedia of new ways to touch yourself. “Unfortunately, many find a routine that 'works' and they think that's as good as it's going to get.”
The reality? The more you know about your body and what feels good, the better your solo sessions will get. “One of the benefits to masturbating in a variety of ways is that your body will respond to all different kinds of sensation, making you more engaged and even more aroused the next time,” says Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., licensed marriage and sex therapist and author of the Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life.
Still not convinced you should cheat on Old Faithful with some new moves? According to research done by OMGYES and the Indiana University School of Public Health, what works for a mind-blowing orgasm actually changes over time.
In other words, it's worth switching it up. “The technique we recommend is something we call 'sifting,'” says Kim. With sifting, you intentionally don’t use any of your go-to’s for getting yourself off. “The goal of this kind of masturbating isn't orgasm, it's exploration and discovery,” she says. “Like sifting for gems, sometimes it will yield something amazing, sometimes not. The new things you try might not build pleasure or orgasm as quickly as your go-to routine ways do. But that's normal—give them time.” In other words, next time you get down with your bad self, set a goal to try something new and follow whatever feels good. Take the pressure off, and you'll eventually find that diamond in the rough.
With the spirit of experimentation in mind, here’s a week’s worth of expert-recommended solo sesh techniques to try:
Breezy Like Monday Morning:
Give your vibrator a break and try a new toy, suggests Van Kirk. “There are toys that use suction or blowing to offer a new sensation,” she says. Consider this your excuse to blow off plans in favour of some alone time.
Temperature Play Tuesday:
If you’ve never experimented with temperature, try heating things up with a warm sensation lube or warm sex wax. Or cool things down with an ice cube, says Van Kirk.
Water Play Wednesday:
“There’s a reason why tub play is so popular,” says Van Kirk. If you normally get frisky on dry land, take things to the shower or bath to explore uncharted waters.
New Territory Thursday:
For as many women who love anal, there are just as many for whom back door action is well out of their comfort zone. If you’re part of the latter group, Van Kirk says don’t knock it til you’ve tried it on your own. “Many women are shocked by how much they enjoy vibration against the perineum and anus and even insertion.”
“Using masturbation ‘fodder’ is always helpful,” says Van Kirk. What works for you might surprise you. Play with watching porn, reading erotica, sending a steamy sext, or even exploring a new fantasy during your next solo session.
Not all masturbation exploration has to involve wild toys or props. If you stick with good old-fashioned touching, try touching a new spot. To hit the G-spot, “focus two inches into the vagina on the upper wall,” says Van Kirk. Try a new kind of clitoris stimulation, too, switching between direct and indirect touching by going “around the clitoris and down into the labia,” says Van Kirk.
Tried the G-spot and the C-spot? Bet you haven’t hit the A-spot—“a separate glandular area all the way to the back upper left of the vagina above the cervix,” explains Van Kirk. It's a whole new way to O.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.