When Trevor (not his real name) came home a little early from a night out with the guys, he expected to climb into bed with his girlfriend. But instead, he was faced with what he described as “a clitoral exorcism” with a stuffed teddy bear.
“I walked into the bedroom and AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ was blasting; it was dark, there were candles and a wine glass, and she was humping this teddy bear so fast and furious to the music with this really intense, scary look on her face like she was possessed.”
He continues: “I kind of wanted to laugh, but I was more freaked out. The teddy bear thing made me wonder if there was something in her childhood that went wrong.”
It might surprise you to know that nothing in this “freaky” scene is really out of the norm.
“Often times, the first thing a woman uses as a little girl to masturbate with is something she’ll continue to use into adulthood,” says Moushumi Ghose, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “Her masturbation practices have been with her longer than her sexual practice with men.”
Since the typical girl didn’t have access to sex toys as a kid, Ghose says, she probably “used stuffed animals, furniture, and an electric toothbrush. It doesn’t make her a freak, nor is it a sign of sexual abuse. It really is more common than most think.”
That said, going fast and furious with a teddy bear to heavy metal music is the least of the oddities when it comes to the habits around female masturbation.
Most have heard about women using vegetables in lieu of a dildo, sitting on a washing machine for the good vibrations, or using the showerhead for clitoral stimulation. Well, it goes way beyond that.
In an informal survey of female masturbation habits conducted by the HealthyStrokes.com website—which bills itself as “a site about masturbation and you!”—some of the most frequently mentioned masturbatory objects, aside from dildos and vibrators, are candles, cucumbers, carrots, bananas, hairbrush handles, bottle tops, pencils, and markers.
Less frequently mentioned—but still cited enough to make the survey—were icicles, teddy bears, wood sticks, hammers, and electric toothbrushes.
“It’s simple—women need to rub it on something. Women masturbate with weirder things than men,” says Ghose.
That’s true for an 18-year-old Hispanic bi-sexual woman in the Healthy Strokes survey, who stated: “Will hump anything.”
(There are so many complicated, awesome things about her sexuality, and you need to start taking notes. Find out What Actually Happens During a Female Orgasm.)
Chris Donaghue, Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture, advises men not to overreact to the discovery that their partners have… let’s say, eccentric tastes in self-pleasure.
“Women’s sexuality is far more complex than men’s,” he says. “And because of this, women have worked to find diverse and creative ways to get themselves off. Use it as inspiration to push the boundaries of partnered sex.”
Before you worry that you need join in on something that’s not quite up your sexual alley, consider this: “How she masturbates usually looks very different from what sex with you looks like—99% of the time. This is her private practice, and it doesn’t mean you have to bring a teddy bear to bed,” says Ghose.
Some of Ghose’s male clients are also threatened if their partner masturbates a lot, fearing that they may not be fulfilling their partner’s needs. But, in the first annual Masturbation Report—a survey of 600 U.S. women, to be released next Monday by sex toy company We-Vibe—3 in 4 women claimed that they were just as likely to masturbate while in a relationship as they would if they were single. And 59% stated that there is no difference in the frequency in of their masturbation, regardless of their relationship status.
As for Trevor’s girlfriend—whose masturbation included a night of music, wine, and candles—this elaborate scene is also a common way that women masturbate. The We-Vibe survey revealed that women were two times more likely than men to listen to music as part of a general routine when masturbating.
“We like to set the atmosphere, infuse candles, music, sex toys, and different hand movements,” says sexologist Emily Morse, Ph.D., the host of the Sex With Emilypodcast who will be teaching “The Master Masturbation Workshop” on May 15th at Hustler Hollywood in Los Angeles.
Another surprising result from the We-Vibe survey: a car was the third most popular destination for masturbation. 19% of women (and 20% of men) claimd that the car was the most unusual place they’ve masturbated.
(Just make sure the car isn’t in motion when you’re doing it. Here’s evidence of why you should Never Jerk and Drive.)
Since there is no “normal”—but a hell of a lot of left-of-center behaviors—when it comes to sex and masturbation, Dr. Morse advises men to avoid passing judgment. Instead, join in. 39% of women in the We-Vibe survey reported that they have masturbated in front of their significant other.
“Mutual masturbation is a great way for partners to show each other the moves that take them over the edge,” she says. “You can even join in by placing your hand over hers, so you can see the exact pressure, speed, and rhythm.”
To that end, The Healthy Strokes survey says that the average woman took only 10 minutes to achieve orgasm through self-pleasure. How often have you given a woman the Big O in just 10 minutes?