33 Queer Women and Non-Binary People On Their Early Masturbation Experiences

photo in feature image by Autumn Goodman

We already knew that queer women masturbate more often than straight women and, in that post I just linked, we have quite a few theories regarding why that is. The results of the most recent Lesbian Stereotypes Survey suggest that not only do we masturbate more often than straight women, we also started masturbating earlier than straight women. This is a very general “we,” by the way, I personally was a very late bloomer w/r/t masturbation, which surely I have discussed before on this website where I store all my secrets. Anyhow, here’s how you all turned out:

According to the University of Michigan, around 25% of girls and 100% of boys have masturbated to orgasm by the age of 15. Other research shows 95% of males doing it by age 20, compared to 60% of women. We didn’t ask about orgasm but I think the above chart strongly suggests we were getting down to it earlier than the masses.

Anyhow, there was a “comments” section under this multiple choice question, and boy did you ever comment! For example, I got a lot of comments about Catholic guilt. Let’s get into your stories of your first masturbation experiences, ripped mercilessly out of context and presented here for educational and entertainment purposes.

33 Queer Women & Non-Binary People On Their Seminal Masturbation Experiences

1. Probs I got started in the womb

2. oops and it was because i was attracted to barbie’s sister skipper

3. …at that point, after a long period of occasional embarrassed Google searches to figure where exactly everything is down there (thanks, Catholic sex ed), it was a revelation, let me tell you.

4. I was afraid to, but once I discovered it, justifying it would help me someday know how to have sex, I had a new hobby

5. June 15th 2014 what a day!

6. …and it was to thoughts of Wonder Woman

7. I also didn’t watch lesbian porn until my freshman year of college because I felt like I was intruding ?? On the women?? Idk, catholic guilt is weird!!

8. i thought that the clit was the vagina oof

9. I honestly had never considered that women could just masturbate with their HANDS.

10. I was 19, on Valentine’s Day lol

11. It was mind blowing and I had no idea what was happening and couldn’t believe no one would have told me about this if they had known it existed

12. I was 14, it was shortly after I got my first period and felt my body had betrayed me. I learned about the existence of masturbation from a Focus on the Family Dr. James Dobson book, “Preparing for Adolescence”, and promptly got down to business trying to figure it out. AHAH. Don’t think the intention of the book was to introduce teen girls to their first orgasms. But in a roundabout way, it did.

13. My mom had a Hitachi I think? My older sister and I both admitted to each other that we used it when we were both very young.

14. I started regularly visiting AOL chat rooms where sexual role playing was occurring — often involving people in hot tubs? wtf I don’t even know why

15. Good ol’ electric toothbrush

16. Keen wanker 4 lyfe!

17. I used to spend a lot of time engaged in elaborate kidnapping fantasies

18. Shoutout to being a late bloomer and to Barbarella.

19. Later I watched the british show Sugar Rush and saw the main character using an electric toothbrush… and now I have a penguin vibrator.

20. Only after reading “It’s Perfectly Normal” did I realize that the thing I’d been doing was called masturbating.

21. pool water jets are my root

22. Harry Potter erotica fan fiction…

23. learned thanks to f/f fanfic

24. Probably accidentally at childrens’ gymnastics when we climbed poles

25. I remember being little and climbing up one of those poles in a playground and it feeling really good but not understanding why so i just kept climbing up the pole and sliding back down and later realized i was actually masturbating.

26. I was 15 and I didn’t realise it was a thing until I read it on the PostSecret forums

27. I had no idea how people with vaginas masturbated. I asked a guy friend and he said they stuck two fingers in their vagina. That didn’t do anything for me so I’m like “fuck this” and never tried again. Come one night when I was 21 I had a dream where I came. And that’s how I finally discovered my own clitoris. Sex Ed people.

28. i think i used a tampon? lol.

29. I had to read about it in a book! Probably good ol’ Judy Blume.

30. I was so inexperienced about sex that I broke my own hymen with a tube of toothpaste, trying to masturbate because I thought it was a thing you did. It was… a thing.

31. I surely do not remember, but it was a while ago. My “prefer not to say” answer just means “I don’t remember and I’m amazed that other people can.” You know what first I can’t remember that I’d like to? First pizza. That would be really something.

32. I first masturbated after watching Black Swan because it was the first time I saw it depicted and felt like if Natalie could do it, I could do it. wow, this survey is helping me get some stuff off my chest. you’re welcome.

33. I masturbated to a Girls Gone Wild infomercial on Comedy Central at like 3 in the morning when I was 11. I’m so sorry.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3179 articles for us.


  1. shout out to Ready Or Not, the second book in the All-American Girl series by Meg Cabot for teaching me how to masturbate in the shower!!!!!!!!!!!!! ily meg cabot

  2. I was 17 (and very well informed, so it wasn’t a lack of sex ed) and it was truly unremarkable and pretty disappointing.

    I had a mortgage and wore wedding ring before I had my first orgasm. Over 30 and the owner of a luxury vibrator before I ever actually gave myself an orgasm.

    I just really like to be different I guess!

  3. I am LIVING for this survey content. I didn’t know for a long time what it was that I was doing, but I remember really enjoying humping a sippy cup while watching Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) swoosh around in her cool cape when I was a tot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Oh, wow, I had no idea how much I actually needed that.
      Somehow I ended up remembering two distinct “first times”, one of which involved a strap-on and a gruesome amount of blood (also a panicked girlfriend carrying me to the bathtub, good times). Thus, the infamous deflowering moment feeling weirdly accurate, although I loathed the idea.
      Thanks for lifting the veil on this matter, I will henceforth refer to this moment as “my bloody coronation day” which makes me feel a little British and a lot better.

    • I heard, that my former biology teacher has just retired. I‘ll send this to him nonetheless. I think he’s in for some surprise.

  4. I was nine and I watched a YouTube video entitled “how to masturbate a woman” in which a man used a plastic vagina to, uh, literally mansplain female masturbation, I guess? I remember having my first orgasm then and being like I’M GOING TO DO THIS ALL THE TIME THIS IS WONDERFUL so, I guess YouTube guy did something right

  5. Combine 22 and 23 and you have my first time. I think I was already looking things up on the internet (shout out to the Wikipedia entry for “sexual positions”) but Hermione/Ginny fanfic (on fanfiction.net no less!) finally put me over the edge.

  6. I have to agree with many that sex ed was pretty bad with this stuff and I went to public school in the L.A. area where one would assume it be above average when it came to this stuff. Nope, I didn’t even know what I was doing the first time I tried it. I just knew it felt odd at age 11. I thought something was wrong when I stopped halfway through cause I was worried I was going to urinate.

  7. Aw poor #33 I use to do that too and sobbed in self-hatred afterwards each time. I hope grown up you is in a good place emotionally etc and found the good real queer porn.

    If not please forgive yourself: you were a child, that was a very private act and you don’t need to apologize to people for it.

    • honestly those videos were SO homoerotic. i was actually in college during their heyday and they were on ALWAYS on tv in every man’s dorm room and every frat house like just as background noise. which was like, one of the first times i saw lots of girls making out in a way that people seemed to enjoy? it was a weird time.

      • A horny baby queer in full hormonal soup of puberty with no other same-sex porn access didn’t stand a chance.

        I kinda remember they started out with the cartoon text box shapes just covering the nipples with bouncing occasionally, some making out and then progressing to censored sex between women and toys over time and with competition between the original and the knockoff.

        Those videos were the first time I ever saw sex toys until my bestie at the time raided her mom’s toy chest and we debated which toy might do what for which part. She thought some anal beads were for lashing.

        But yeah those soft core porn info-merical videos were a weird time that ended with a lot of lawsuits and has adult me wondering how those even got put on TV in the time of Nipplegate moral panic.

    • Haha heyyyy that was me. Yeah, I was raised baptist and had a whoooole lot of shame about masturbation in general, but I am doing just fine in that regard now. ;)

    • LOL I was #33 and developed a pretty healthy relationship to sex and masturbation and my queerness in spite of it all, thank goodness. I kind of just think it’s hilarious because oh, little honey me, why?

  8. Whooo the Catholic guilt! I used to give up masturbation for Lent every year. Never once made it all 40 days though…

  9. I’m amazed no one mentioned it, but I will step forward and say that like a good 1 in 3 women globally, I was molested. Starting very young. So since I was sexualized, sexualization happened to my world. I did not associate it with pleasure at all, but more of a compulsion, a confusing and shameful mix of love and touch and hate and disgust. Because the people who molested me, also hated me, and that was the only time they were remotely nice to me. It was the only time I got affection in a very lonely little life. So I in turn did a lot of not-very-consensual things to my stuffed animals, and to the stupid Barbies that I didn’t want, but people kept insisting I play with anyway. As a woman and the ultimate childhood sex object, Barbie got a lot of my hatred, and also was given a lot of imaginary plastic orgasms.

    But, I myself did not have an actual orgasm until I was 18, and with a dude at that! It was terrifying, I had flashbacks, and I thought I was having a heart attack. Because my body was so tense, the orgasms were very painful, which my partner did not know how to relate to. Thanks to a very conservative upbringing, I did not have the words to adequately talk about my many assaults growing up, nor did I even know women were capable of orgasm (a word I associated with male ejaculation for the sake of procreation)! He had to explain to me what had happened. I didn’t even know women got lubricated, because that had never happened to me before that moment. I also didn’t know what the clitoris was. As a child sexual stimulation felt like a little death – I understand the French phrase so well – so that’s what I thought happened. I didn’t know there was a word for it, or that it should be pleasant.

    I am much more comfortable dating women, but I must say that that first serious relationship really helped me work through all the sex issues, a lot of body stuff, and thanks to him insisting I see my first therapist I also dealt with a lot of the PTSD. Things aren’t perfect now, but my relationship to sex and orgasms is no longer only about victimization, and I can be very sexually active with a trusted partner without having flashbacks or bad feelings. I can feel love, and connection, and relax while naked with another person. I still prefer giving another person orgasms, to getting them, but I can do both comfortably. Casual sex however remains out of reach for me, because the trust needed is still astronomical compared to that offered by the typical one-night stand with a stranger. So now being single, embarking on all this again is a bit daunting. But doable.

    I’m writing this because I know I’m not the only kid who came to sexuality and masturbation through inappropriate touch, and through the concept of rape/force/nonconsent being the most sexually exciting way to do things, and the only way you can get love/attention from somebody – as a victim. That people only like you when they’re using you. I still struggle with this now, and still feel guilty when in times of stress, those fantasies of being used by someone I’m not really attracted to who is totally inappropriate for me, are the only way I can get off. But I want to say, that through a lot of work on myself, wide reading, and support from therapists who specialized in trauma processing, I am doing way better. And am very capable of love and social stability now – the way I never could be as a kid feeling awkward and confusing feelings of both attraction, and hate, for the Barbie in the weird sparkly peach dress. Staring at those big boobs and shiny straight blond hair I could never have, and the high heels I would never in a million years wear, I played a lot of things out on her that were not her fault. And then felt guilty because I knew what I was thinking about, was not exactly how you were supposed to “play Barbies.”

    I thought I was the only one on Earth who felt any of these things. It was only when I went to college, that I realized unfortunately none of what I experienced was all that unique. And that very fortunately, the feeling of helplessness I associated with sexuality, wasn’t a permanent condition. That my body belongs to me, and not anyone else, and that it is not inherently evil simply because it responds to external stimuli. I learned that it is ok not to always be in control of it at every single moment in life. Masturbation is not about little deaths now. It’s a way of embracing living, and imagining all the wonderful ways that my life and relationships could be, that they haven’t yet become. I know many others who have healed from the way they were first introduced to sexuality as kids, so healing is possible. It just takes a lot of work, and willingness to trust the right people when it is time. :) Hopefully something I wrote here will help somebody else, who either didn’t know they were not alone, or didn’t have the words to explain what they were feeling. Life can get so much better when you find the courage to learn about yourself.

    • [ ]

      It took me a hot minute to find the words, “thank you.” My experience was not like yours, but thank you for your honesty and your vulnerability and your strength in sharing your story so that others may feel seen and understood.

      I’m reminded of this poem, that asks (and answers) the question: Why Bother?

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