Watch All About Masturbation with Shelli Nicole: Recording and Transcript

It seems like only yesterday that Shelli led the Queer Sex 101: All About Masturbation workshop and taught us all about what to do if you want to come without a vibrator and can’t, whether multiple orgasms are possible for everyone, how to handle fluids with suction vibrators, and a staggering amount more. And yet it was actually an entire two days ago, as of assembling this post! Thank you so much to everyone who came to the live facilitation of this educational workshop led by Shelli! If you missed it, you can still watch the recording right below and refer to the provided transcript:

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Product Recommendations

+ Dildo dilators – set of 5

+ Hemp rope

+ Glass Dildo

+ The Puff

+ Dame

+ The Lioness

+ The Tickler

+ Spike

+ BumpHer

Some other products great for lots of kinds of bodies:

+ Magic Wand Rechargeable

+ Kiss-X Stroker

+ Jack 2-in-1 Stroker & Packer

Other Resources Shelli Recommends

+ Ari Elle is a sensual educator over on Instagram at @sensuelleyoga

+ Ashleigh Nicole Tribble Instagram over at @ashleighchubbybunny

+ Ev’Yan Whitney is a sexuality doula over on Instagram @evyan.whitney

+ Cuffhouse over on Clubhouse


Rachel: …live video workshop series! If you were part of A+ during the holidays, you may remember we did a fisting workshop, which was super successful, and we had so much fun doing it, and we were really pleased with the outcome because we had such a good response and so much great participation and connection with our members, we decided to explore continuing this series, and to really capitalize on some of the great experience and energy that a lot of our staff and larger network have around really talking about and getting into the details of how queer sex actually works. Because it can be so hard to kind of get a sense of that, just trying to Google and read articles on the internet. You know? So thank you for being here for this space, and thank you for being A+ members. I’m not sure if some of you have been A+ members for a while or some of you recently joined as part of this fundraiser and membership drive, but we appreciate you so much and want you to know that your support and the continued support of our readers is what really makes this project possible and we’re really excited to have readers to make things like this happen. So I want to get started tonight. I know Shelli has a lot to talk about. I want to introduce you to Shelli, who has been one of our most amazing writers for a while now, who has such a great voice, and insights on dating, sexuality, lots of different aspects of pop culture. She’s excited to be here tonight and talk to you about a lot of things related to masturbation and to answer your questions. Shelli, take it away!

Shelli: Let me know when you can see me. Maybe I’ll be able to see myself. Hi! I guess everyone can see me. I can, because I realize that it’s happening! And the very amazing closed captions. Thank you for that super dope introduction and also super big thanks to all of the A plus members who are here, who are helping us. And we just really appreciate yoau. And I’m super excited to bring you this next installment. This is all about masturbation. I’m super excited to talk to you all about all of this. The first thing I did want to say is that… Well, the first thing is: You’re gonna see me… Looking over. It’s because I’m trying to be organized, y’all. I have a whole doc that’s, like, ready for you. But I also want to let you know that I’ll be talking about my experience from one as a cis woman. That’s what I am. That’s the perspective I’ll be speaking from. There will be others that I won’t be able to, but the good thing is: Autostraddle can. If you head over to, there’s gonna be so many different articles and videos and stuff like that, that you can look up, to get all the information you need, and after this, we’re gonna have a bunch of little links and stuff, along with this video, for you to rewatch it and get all of that going. So… I assume you’re here because you’re interested in it masturbation. Maybe you enjoy it. You want to enjoy it. Obviously you have questions about it. Et cetera. But I’ll start with introducing myself. I’m Shelli Nicole. I am a writer here at Autostraddle. I’m gonna move this over, because it’s better for me.I’m a writer for other places too, I’m extremely terrified of mermaids and teenagers and think other people should be as well. And I’ll give you a little bit about my journey to masturbation. I wrote about this a little while ago, when I wrote an article for Database called Data Driven Vibes. I told a little bit about my background, masturbation, where I found it and explored it. I’ve been masturbating from a very young age. A lot of it started wanting to explore myself, my body, different feelings I was having, and then later on as I grew up, I wanted to discover the importance it had to myself, my sexuality, and my sexual experience. I realized that it was something that was very important to me. I used to have a lot of shame around it. But I’ve done a lot of growth around that, and that’s been super dope. My emotions around it have also changed. Like I said. I come from a very religious background. So I had to do a lot of unpacking when it came to masturbation and sexuality, as a whole.

But now that I’ve done that work and continue to do that work, I feel so much better around it. And it allows me to write on sites like Autostraddle, to share my very lived experience with people. Like… You! So… We’re gonna get into it. So I do want to start by saying that when I first started having sex, with other people, like, partnered sex, I couldn’t get pleasure from others, because I didn’t know how to please myself. Or what that took. So I had to make it a point to do that. I had to make it a point to learn how to please myself first, before seeking pleasure from other people.

And in any realm of finding yourself, if it’s spiritual, if it’s mental, if it’s physical, or in our case right now, sexual, it is not always gonna be fun. Sorry, y’all. I live in Chicago. I’m so sorry. It’s loud out.

(car zooming by)

Or not always gonna be fun. Sometimes it was boring. Sometimes I got really mad. Oftentimes I thought something was… Like, wrong with me. But this is all gonna sound a combination of trite and hard, but I had to choose to keep on trying. Right? So sometimes I would get so mad that I wouldn’t try to learn my body for weeks. And other times, I would be so bored that I would fall into this pattern of… I had before. Of trying to rely on someone else to discover it for me. That means I would go fuck someone and hope they would make me come so I would be like… Oh my God! That’s it! That’s right! So… Um… I just wanted to say that it’s gonna take a little bit of time sometimes. But that’s totally okay. And I also want to say: If you find that it doesn’t feel right, like… It doesn’t interest you, you’re trying it, and all that stuff, and it just isn’t working for you, not physically, but it just isn’t something you like, that is totally fine too. You shouldn’t let your society or your partner or your friends or whoever make you feel like you’re weird or something is wrong with you, for not wanting or enjoying masturbating. I promise you, you’re super dope, and it just simply isn’t your wave. You know? That’s totally okay.

So the first thing I think we’ll do is go into a little talk about premasturbation stuff. Like, we’re just gonna get into the… Not the nitty-gritty, but sort of like the first and foremost. Right? So there are so many parts to our anatomy that we can use to bring ourselves pleasure. Right? When touching ourselves. There’s not just — I think people a lot of times assume that it’s just, like, one part that gets you off. Or that you can touch during masturbation, or that masturbation is just this one ride all the way to an orgasm, and that’s not the case. I’ll go to a few different parts and things like that. We have our G-spots, which you can find if you take your two little fingers — I’m gonna say dip into the kitty. That is an Arrested Development reference. If you know that. And you should be in my DMs. And then if you take your hand — place your hand facing up, you’ll feel a little wrinkly spot that you can tickle with this little “come here!” motion. You’ll probably find teenagers doing this on TikTok to, like, Drake songs or something like that. But that is gonna be your G-spot. Not everyone is the same. You’re gonna have to feel around. That’s one part.

(siren blaring)

Oh, I’m so sorry! I’m sorry! It’s live! Don’t be mad at me. And then there are some women who have prostates, which you can find safely by putting and properly lubricating your finger in the bum and making that same sort of “come here” motion, facing up, give it a tickle, you’ll feel like you have to pee and that means you’ve found it. You can also put pressure from the outside by getting in touch with the perineum. Sorry. That… The name just threw me off. I’m so sorry. And some of us have vulvas and clitorises, which by the way — is only a little bit visible to us. It goes far deeper and wider than just the peekaboo plain clitoral gland that people think are the entirety of the clit. There’s labias, nipples, all sorts of erogenous and non-erogenous zones that play into masturbation. I was gonna say that — in the chat, I’m sorry, I’m just looking at the chat. Okay. If you have any thoughts about anything, or if you’re agreeing with something, you can drop a bunch of 1s in the chat. I think that’s super dope. Or if you’re not on board, you can drop a bunch of 0s. I’ll probably cry. But… It’ll be okay.

So I’m feeling a little better now. It’s not as loud outside. Thank you, Shuli! So I’m gonna slow down a little bit. Right? Because we have, like, an hour. But I’m still gonna take it slow. So now we’re gonna get into… Different ways to masturbate. Right? A lot of folks have been trained, me included, for a while, to think that… Masturbation could only include a vibrator. Or it could only include toys. Or it had to make myself come with my fingers all the time. There was so much. Man, I’m so shiny! And a narcissist. It’s okay.

But I do want to say… That I’m speaking, again, from my very lived experience. But I am aware that there are those of us who are differently abled, and though I can’t speak to that, again, can. We’re gonna link to some dope articles and resources that include some pieces by Autostraddle favorites A Andrews, who wrote this super and very dope A Quick and Easy Guide to Sex and Disability. So there’s gonna be so much stuff on, again, that you may not hear me speak to, when it comes to masturbation, but you’re gonna be able to find so much of it there.

So! Let’s start! Okay. So… One way, which is the way that kind of I started and many of us start masturbating, that we kind of think is past us, once we get older and grow up, is humping, grinding, and squeezing. Like, squeezing your legs together. These are also very, very valid ways to masturbate, and different ways. Another different way to masturbate. That means, like, I mean, if I can go back to my middle school days, that’s me humping on the side of the couch. Or grinding on a pillow, or rubbing my leg, my thighs, back and forth to feel that sensation, that would ultimately or eventually get me to orgasm. So just because it happened when you were younger or those were ways that you masturbated when you were younger, that worked for you, doesn’t mean they can’t play into your adult practices either. Those are super great ways to masturbate.

Then there’s things like external play. And that could be with fingers, and that can also be with toys. Those are things like… Your suction vibrators. Which are super popular now, and we’re gonna get into some of my favorites later on. Those are things like bullet vibes. Or Hitachi Wands. Stuff like that. And it’s also things like just finger play. Rubbing your vulva, rubbing your clit, playing with your labia, grabbing nipples and boobs and erogenous zones. That’s another way people masturbate. Then there’s internal play. Internal play is gonna be the same. You can do your own fingers, internal play is inserting into different erogenous zones, genitalia, to make yourself turned on. Please yourself. Come. Things like that.

But then there’s also internal toys. Like… Dildos that vibrate, and that don’t. And other, like, insertable toys. Different dilators, which is something that we’re also gonna get into. So I just wanted to let people know that there are so many ways that you can masturbate that don’t involve you just using a vibrator. Even if you’re in the shower. And you use the showerhead, which is like… So old school, and one of my actual favorite ways to masturbate. There are so many different types of masturbation that you’re probably already doing that you may not classify as masturbating. But they absolutely definitely are.

So there’s that! If anyone has any questions, outside of the ones that were already sent in, you can drop them in the chat. I might not get to them, but you can also, since you’re A+ members, you can also drop the questions in the A+ advice box. And we can get to them. You can do whole dedications to these questions and stuff like that. We work very hard answering your questions, thinking about them, trying to help you as best as we can. So you can drop them there too. And any ones that I actually don’t get to tonight — I didn’t tell the Autostraddle crew, but if I didn’t get to them, I’m gonna transfer them over into the A+ box too, just in case.

So I have a few questions that we’re gonna get to. But I do want to reiterate one more time… It may seem like I’m being extra about it. But I’m answering these questions from my very lived experience, as a person who has done… Like, a deep and constant dive into masturbation and myself. So if my answer doesn’t fit you, just, like, knock it around a little bit, until it’s good for you. I’m trying… It’s just from my experience. And I just want to help as best as I can. So our first question… I don’t have any names and stuff. I wish this was like a podcast. Like… Our first question is from Caller Number 17 in Iowa. So now our first question is from Caller Number 17 in Iowa. Okay. Any suggestions on getting over mental blocks of “ew, masturbation is dirty”. Sort of like a shame demon. So… I actually do. And I wanted to start with this question.

Because I feel like a lot of us have so much shame around being queer in general. And that’s not our fault at all. Right? That’s something that society has done to us. That’s something that family has maybe made us feel. That is something that media, television, film, all of these things have made us feel, is shameful of being queer in general, and also just as a queer woman who has sex, I’ve gotten and felt so much shame over the years of having sex as like this queer Black woman. It was dirty, it was gross, and all this stuff like that. And I’m gonna speak to this, from my background, growing up in the church. Right? The church can put… So much shame on us. Sexually. And I had to do a whole lot of unlearning through that. And first thing I did was: Therapy. I know people say that a lot. I’m so shiny right here. It’s okay.

I know people say that a lot. They’re like… Go to therapy, go to therapy. And that’s the first thing that I did. Is to go to therapy. And I had to learn to — and I started unpacking all of these things. Sexually, things that weren’t sexual, but things to take this sort of shame demon, and push him far, far away. But I understand that therapy, getting access to therapy, is a privilege. Right? But thankfully, we have the internet, and we have places like… I mean, of course, Autostraddle. But there’s other places on the internet, where if you search through Instagram and stuff like that, there was a column that I just ended, on Autostraddle, called Come Vibe with Me, where I would list different resources for different things. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of resources that we have digitally available to us, to speak to someone. And to speak to like-minded people.

So I think one of the first things to do, if you’re comfortable with it, is scour the internet and places for, like, support groups. I know that may sound like kind of lame and Fight Club-y and stuff like that, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. You’re literally doing it to me right now. Imagine doing this with people who have the same lived experience as you, who are experiencing shame, and want to unpack that. So… That’s one of the first things that I think you should do. Is definitely talk about it. You can’t combat feeling shameful about… I mean, you can. But I wouldn’t suggest combating feeling shameful about masturbation with immediately tackling it with physical stuff.

You have to talk about it first. Because a lot of things and a lot of… Issues that people say they have with masturbation, not being able to come, all this stuff — it starts mentally first. So that’s one of the first places you have to do — is unpack. I know that may not be the sexiest answer that you wanted. But a lot of stuff comes down to communication and mentally unpacking. So I think you should definitely just look on the internet for resources of groups that you can talk to, read lots of articles, scour, so many of us grew up in the church, and so many of us had so much shame around stuff that you’ll find so many personal essays from people like us who are queer like you, who have broken down the shame barrier.

So that’s my answer! Somebody tell me if I’m doing a good job! Because I need kudos. Like… Ha-ha! Thank you! Okay. Cool. We’re doing good. We’re rocking! We’re rolling! This fenty is popping. We’re doing it. I’m not sweating as much anymore. She’s cooling off. She feels good. I’m getting validation from amazing people in the chat. I love it. I love it! Okay. So we’re gonna go to our next question. Some of these questions also you’re gonna see probably me reading it. Because I had to pull them off to the side. I’m not super tech-savvy. So the next question is… I’m a psychologist. So I know the problem is probably with my anxiety and the pressure I put on myself. And I’m working on reducing that. I talked to a sex therapist, but she said I won’t be able to learn how to orgasm with just using my fingers, because I am too old, and haven’t practiced as a child or as a teenager. The science on this claim is scarce. I’ve looked into scientific articles, but couldn’t find anything concise on the subject. The queer therapists I’ve found online haven’t expressed such beliefs. There are no queer sex therapists in my country. Maybe I would be the first, if I solve any problems. I just want to know if I’m broken or beyond fixing, because I’m a 31-year-old cis lesbian. I have masturbated for the first time when I was 30, and I can orgasm with vibrators, but just using my fingers has proven extremely difficult.

Can I learn to come without vibrators? I feel like a failure as a lesbian, especially since I came out very late in life, when I was 28, and I was in a relationship with a man before. And have experienced assault in my teenage years. Really hope you will talk about this. I won’t be able to enjoy live, since I’m in Europe and the time difference is too great. Cool. So… I know I read a lot. But… I know the person isn’t in here. But they’ll know when they watch it over. So… Sorry, my screen got all messed up.

The first thing I do want to say is that… You absolutely are not broken. And are never too old. You know? Yes, you can learn to come without vibrators. But it may take work. And some dedication. But you can try your hardest to get there. And there were a lot of questions like this in the box that are just saying things like… Can I come without a vibrator? I feel weird, because I can’t come without one, when I masturbate. Things like that. And again, speaking from my very lived experience, I used to only be able to come with vibrators. And the first time that I didn’t, I felt… So cool. The first time that I came without, like, using a vibrator. And I was much older. You know what I mean? I wasn’t a teenager anymore. I think I was out of college and stuff. But I felt really cool, because I too felt like I was too old and too far along in my sexual experiences to unlearn only being able to come with a vibrator.

So I’m gonna tell you a few steps that I took. So the first thing I did was I gave myself a break from vibes. Like, vibrators. And I actively was trying to stimulate myself and get turned on without them first. But… Without the intention of coming. I just wanted to know that I would be able to use my hands, use my thoughts, use my emotions, my pillow, whatever… To get turned on first. Without the vibrator. And we’ve had another person on our team, Ro White. They definitely — I remember answering a question like this before. From them. And they said: You gotta take a break. That’s one of the first things. And it’s gonna suck, especially if you’re used to it. But again… A lot of it comes down to, like, mental stuff and dedication.

So what you can do is after you sort of work with your body and play with your body, and like I said before, a lot of this shit is not gonna be fun. Right? Because you’re literally sitting down with the intent to learn how to come without a vibrator. You’re, like, learning something. So it’s not always gonna be hot. It’s not always gonna be sexy, and it’s not always gonna be fun at first. You know? So know that when you’re doing it. And after you sort of get into that, I would try things… Like we stated earlier… Other ways of masturbating. So try humping. Right? Try humping on stuff. Try grinding. Try using your fingers. Different techniques that you can look up and learn about… Again, over at To try. You know what I mean? It’s the best place to do it. Start getting your body used to other ways of stimulation. And don’t put pressure on yourself when you’re trying it. If your body, though — say you try this. Right? Say it’s going on, all this stuff — and also, your partner needs to be patient with you. Sorry. That’s one of the first things I should have said. Your partner needs to be patient with you and not put pressure on you either, because that’s a whole other game. And I am a big advocate for breaking up with people. Don’t put pressure on me. That’s not cool. So put your foot down when it comes to that first, with that partner.

So after you do all this… Say you’ve explored all this, and you’ve been trying for a while, you try different techniques, you’ve been patient with yourself, you’ve gone through the emotions, and you realize that your body simply responds better to vibrators than other routes… That’s totally fucking fine! A lot of it is about the comfort level that you have with how your body enjoys pleasure. And once you settle into that, and you walk with that, for lack of a better word, you vibe with that, it’s a whole new world. So if you can only come with vibrators, you can only come with vibrators. Good thing there’s thousands of different kinds of vibrators. There are ones that you can wear, hands-free, so many different kinds. There’s vibrators that you can use with partners. You know what I mean? If your body decides that… Hey, I can only do this when it comes to a vibrator — then that’s totally cool!

A lot of it too is just being cool with how your body responds to stuff. You see what I mean? You can… Exactly! Rachel was dropping some really dope diamonds in the chat too. You can try touching different places. All these things that we said earlier about different ways and places to touch while masturbating. Try all these things! But if in the end your body or you just decides that you prefer coming with a vibrator… That’s totally cool too. So that’s my answer to that.

And it looks like we’re moving pretty good. I’m trying to go in depth but not hella too much as I can. So we’re gonna go to this next question. Hi, Shelli! So quick thing — my, like, Twitter is @hishelli, and my Instagram is @ayoshelli, just because there’s two different ways of saying hi, Shelli! Or ayo, Shelli! What’s up? I like it because that’s how people talk to me and say my Twitter or Instagram out loud and it’s really cute. Okay. I have a question about peeing while masturbating. The Womanizer is my favorite tool to masturbate with, if we forgive its name and gives me really satisfying orgasms. After a few months, though, I started having to pee after touching myself with it, and now it happens every time I use it. I feel like I’m gonna come really early on and when I get into it, I pee. This is definitely pee and not squirting, although this toy does make me squirt almost every time. I don’t really care that much, aside from it being really messy. Having a towel underneath you doesn’t do much if you fully have to pee. And what’s weird is I always pee before masturbating to try to prevent this. I guess I wondered if we know why this happens or if it’s common when using certain kinds of vibrators. Is there something I can do to keep it from happening?

Cool. I wanted to answer this question, because this has happened to me before. Several times. So early last year, when suction toys started becoming a thing, right, including the Womanizer… I mean… We don’t love the name! But it is a suction vibrator. So when I first tried my first one… And I do also squirt during sex. Not all the time. Not always during penetration. Sometimes it’s not with penetration. And I always pee too, before I masturbate. Just in case. But… This happened to me too! When I started using suction toys. And I think it’s because… Suction toys have a… It’s hella common, first of all. So yeah, you’re totally fine. I don’t want to use the word “normal”, but it’s a common situation. So don’t worry about that.

But suction toys have wildly direct stimulation, especially if you use it directly on the clitoral glans, which is the part — that peekaboo part — that people think is the entirety of the clit. But suction toys — usually people go straight for that. They go straight for the clitoral glans when they’re using it. And all of that stimulation makes you come so fast. Even on the absolute lowest setting. So one of the things that… I’m gonna start with one of the things to avoid — to try to avoid coming so fast — is to use it all over. So stimulating other parts of you. Like… Using the suction on different settings, to stimulate the labia, the shaft, the hood, the testicles, et cetera, to space out all of that stimulation. And don’t just center it on the clitoral glans, unless you’re trying to have a quickie. You know? If you’re trying to have a quickie and you come really fast, then that’s the goal. Great. But spread out that stimulation all over, and I know that’s what helped me. It helped me not come so fast, but it still helped me come very strongly when I was using it. Secondly, you were saying you don’t really care about the mess. And honestly, that’s all that matters. Right? Sex… Partnered or solo… Can sometimes be messy. Right?

And luckily, all it takes is like a shower, a bath, a wipe down, and there’s nothing that that can’t take care of. I used to feel really guilty sometimes, when I would come with someone, and I would squirt or not even squirt, but because I’m a bigger person, it would be sweaty and stuff, and there would be sweat marks or something, just wetness, I would feel really embarrassed and it would take away from the experience, and also before it, I would be all ready to be embarrassed for something that I knew was gonna happen. But when I stopped giving a shit about that and realized it’s just messy, it doesn’t matter. But I totally get that cleaning up is trash. Right? So there are things like… They’re kind of expensive. But there are things that are made — that you can use for if you squirt, if you pee, and you don’t want to get it all over the sheets and you want a quick clean-up. There’s the Layer and there’s the Liberator. All these things we’re gonna talk about, we’re gonna link to in the chat, but also we’re gonna put into the doc, the actual piece when it comes out on Those are really expensive, though, but those are things that you can use to soak up any sort of wetness or things like that. And they work really well. Not soak up wetness where you still feel things sloshing around, but they soak it up and you can keep going. Those are expensive. Sometimes one of the best things to do is to buy a pack of pee pads or whatever from dogs, for dogs or animals.

Layer them out. Organize them just right on the bed. Pop a fitted sheet over it that’s like $5 from Family Dollar, get a pack of those as your sex sheets, and go for the ride! And after you’re finished, take them off, put another sheet on, go to sleep. You know what I’m saying? It’s totally normal that this is happening. And you can prevent it — or not prevent it, but maybe slow it down by… Spreading out that stimulation, and if you don’t care about the mess, then… Don’t care about the mess!

So there’s that! Puppy pads really are, like, life savers. And they’re so cheap. Because a lot of this stuff — that’s made for sex and clean-up and stuff like that — is very expensive. And it’s so far out of pocket, when you can just, like, avoid being embarrassed when someone finds out after you’ve fucked that there’s puppy pads underneath. Like… This is literally none of your business. Use your sex sheets, spend $20, throw them out… We’ve got to go our ways. It’s hard out here, people are broke, but people still want to fuck and still get messy. So that’s my answer to that.

So we’re moving pretty good! So what I think I’m gonna do is… I’m gonna spend the next few minutes… I have two more questions. And I think I can get to… That I’m prepared for. And I think we’ll still be able to knock it out and go to some other stuff too. So if you’re having a good time, go ahead and drop some 1s in the chat. I do want to thank everyone, again, for coming to this. This was super great. I hope I’m doing all I can from my lived experience as a queer person to tell you about masturbation, you know, sometimes it’s really dope just to hear from someone who… I don’t consider myself a sex educator, even though I have done a lot of work and a lot of research and a lot of writing and learning on sex.

But sometimes it’s great to hear from someone who’s… This is gonna sound so PBS, but… Just like you! So yeah. So… Thank you all for being here, our A+ members. So… Let’s see what this next one is. Okay. This one came in a lot too. So… We’re gonna do this. Hi, Shelli. Again, it’s literally never gonna get old. I find it extremely hard to come when masturbating if I don’t use a vibrator. It takes forever, and my arm ends up cramping up. Is it possible the vibrator is limiting my ability to come otherwise with a partner’s mouth or fingers? Or because I’m used to such a strong vibe? Cool.

So, again, this is a little bit… Yes, Alyza, with the Reading Rainbow reference! Come through! Okay. So I do want to say again… Shout out to our captioner, too, because, babe, I know I talk fast. And… Just shout out to you

Mirabai: *blush*

Shelli: Because this is just so dope. Back to the question. It’s totally fine that you find it hard. If you want to, there are a few things to try. You didn’t say that you couldn’t come without it. Without the vibrator. You said that it takes “forever”. So… I’ll firstly suggest taking your time. Right? Masturbation can be either quick and dirty, you know, right before a date, a lot of people like to masturbate, just to, like, make them calmer through the date. That’s quick and dirty, right? But it can also be very hot and sexy and sensual, and time-consuming. Like, a lot of us are in the house. And a lot of us have more time to dedicate to exploring our bodies. You know what I mean? So when you have that time, and you’re not looking for a solo quickie, then take the time. There’s literally no rush to come! Solo or partnered. You know what I mean?

Try to start the process of retraining yourself — and this is also again coming from things that I’ve done. Because I’ve also had this feeling before too. I’m trying to only answer questions where I’ve had a lived experience with it. Because that’s fair. So try the process of retraining yourself or remembering that it’s okay for it to take a little while to come. Or a long while. I’ll go back to referring to different ways of masturbating. Because that’s what helped me. Trying out different things, even if it’s not for the entirety of your solo session. Right?

You can go into it, you get turned on, and you’re like… Oh my God. I am turned on. I want to masturbate. And I want to come. Try to be like… I’m gonna start a different way. I’m gonna start with… Using my hands. Grinding on my hands after working up to it and stuff like that. And seeing how that works for a few sessions. So again, it’s gonna be that blend of like… Not sexy, or technical… And stuff like that. But you’ve got to work that in. You have to be okay with… That’s just gonna happen when you’re learning new ways to masturbate. You’re retraining your body. Some of it is gonna be technical and not sexy. That’s one thing I want to keep reiterating, because it’s just true. So see if that works for you, for a few sessions. Right? If that’s not, hit up, prepare yourself for another way to masturbate that you saw that you learned about on AS. You know what I mean?

Be like… Okay. That didn’t work for me. Or that wasn’t vibing for me, for the first part of my solo session. I’m gonna try a new way. But it sounds like you do want to use your hands. So what I want to do… Or what I want to say… Is you could bring in a toy. But not a vibe. So there’s something that I really like. It’s called the Bump Her. It’s over at WetForHer, some of our homies. It’s really dope. So it is like a toy that’s like this. It doesn’t have a vibe in it. It’s like a little soft plushy kind of moment. But it’s like ridged. I don’t have it around right now. It’s ridged and bumped. It’s called the Bump Her. And it’s really good for grinding. You don’t have to use your hands a lot, to have it cramp up and things like that. You can grind on it, pop it on a pillow, get creative, do a little DIY sex toy kind of moment, and see if that works for you. You can try so many different ways without a vibrator to try to see if you can come. You can do humping. You can squeeze your thighs together. Again, there’s so many different ways. I keep saying those ones, because those are the ones that I love the best without a vibrator.

But thankfully for you, there’s places like AS or Autostraddle. I’m sorry. I’m just so used to saying AS. Because we use it in Slack all the time. But yeah. There’s so many creative ways that you can use this BumpHer to try to get off. Just like Rachel said in the chat, it’s really meant for a few things. You can put it on the end of the dildo and use it as a handle. That way, your hand isn’t getting all motiony, but you can use it like that. It’s also good if you are having partnered sex. It doesn’t hurt the pubic bone, if you’re strapping somebody down, and that shit is really good, but the next morning, ow, a bruise. And also for the wearer, it really rubs up against them too, to help them get off as well. So I just want to say… Start switching it up. That’s a lot of the answers to some of this stuff. Is switching it up and trying new things and not putting pressure on yourself, the fact that you do have to. You know?

Again, lived experience. Also super hard for me to come without a vibrator for a very long time. So there’s that. You know what? I’m gonna look at this. Really quickly. Okay. This one I’m gonna do really quickly, because I think it was also cool, or it was hard for me too. Someone asked: How to masturbate without porn. They said screens are really hard to disconnect from. I 100% agree. The first time I started masturbating, it was to media. It wasn’t to porn. It was to something else. But it was hard to learn to unplug from a screen to help you masturbate, because it helps you get off really fast. And the solve to that, for myself, again, was just going for it. I had to just unplug. I got technical. And I told myself: Oh, the next time I masturbate, I’m gonna do it… Without looking at a screen. You can do things like read erotica, which I think is super hot. There’s a few websites, I actually can’t think of it right now. I should have. But we’ll find it before we put it in the chat. Before we put it in the final thing.

Where it’s audio. I think it’s called Dipsea. I’m not sure. And you can listen to that. And it’s super great. And it’s a new way of learning to get turned on. Voices… I’ve always been extremely auditory. I’m super turned on by. So going… Keeping it old school. You know what I’m saying? Listening to someone talk about, like, sex and masturbating, or whatever it is that gets you turned on, and touching yourself through that, feeling that vibe, seeing if that’s working. You can also make yourself a sex playlist. There’s so many of them on Autostraddle! Drew is actually super great at them. So is Dani! They’re so great. And listening to these songs that are fueled by, like, pleasure.

And touching yourself while you listen to it. I’m saying auditory things, but then there’s just also like… You could just lay down, chill out, or sit down, get in the shower, whatever. And just feel yourself out. Just keep trying new ways to unplug, to try to come without it. And you can take your time. You don’t have to rush. You could start your session that way. Try it out. It’s not working, but you still want to come? Look at some porn. You know what I mean? Just gradually actively put into the work of unplugging and doing… As the best you can, to try to not watch the porn to come. You have to do the work in order to get some results. You know what I mean?

So that’s that. That’s like… Some of the questions. But I want to get into a few other things too. Because we only have I think 10 minutes. Right, Rachel? Rachel is my lifesaver. So is Carmen. I love all of them. So are you, captioner. I love it. Oh, shit! 20?! Y’all! We about to get into it! Okay. But you know what? I think that is gonna be… Well, like 17. I feel you, I feel you. I feel like those are still the questions I’m gonna get to. Anyone I didn’t get to, Nicole, our amazing person, is gonna transfer them into the A+ box, and if you have any more, I think there’s like… Some ask a question… Sorry.

Can all people with vaginas have multiple orgasms? I’ve been trying to literal years, but after one, my body seems to stop registering pleasure. I don’t know. I’ve gotten various answering from sex positive media from this. I know I can. Right? But I didn’t start that way. I didn’t start… I am multiorgasmic now. I used to be a one and done kind of gal. Did I just say gal? Did I just say one and done? But anyway, I used to be a one and done kind of gal. And I think it just clicked in my body… I don’t know what happened and I don’t know when it happened. So I can’t answer to that. But now I am multiorgasmic, pretty much every time that I have partnered sex. But not every time that I have solo sex.

So my thinking… And I’m sorry. This question didn’t come in before, so I didn’t have time to do a lot of research. But we can also transfer this to the A+ box too. You know? That it can happen for… Not everyone, but maybe a lot of us. You know what I mean? It’s something that can maybe… You can train your body to? But I didn’t train my body at all. It just sort of started happening. But I think it may have started happening when I got more connected with myself sexually. When I got more connected with myself sexually, so many new things started to occur for me. I was coming better. I was coming longer. I was coming more. And I think it’s because a lot of that mental block… A lot of that mental work I did, or I had to undo, and also do… Definitely helped in aiding in that.

So… I think so, girl! Try it out, mama! But yeah. So we’re gonna go into… I’ll transfer that into the box too. Just so we can give you a little more detail. But thank you, Charlotte. I gave you a little quick answer, babe. Hit me up in my DMs if you want to do a little more. I can do that for you. So we’re gonna talk about the last few minutes… We’re gonna talk about my favorite things. Okay? I thought it would kind of be great to go ahead and tell you all some of my favorite things in my masturbation practices that help me, and have helped me, and just enhanced my solo play.

So the first thing I want to do is over at WetForHer. These are in the box, so I don’t want to take these out, but dilators. They really, really helped me. Our friends over at WetForHer have dilators that are meant for strapping on, but I use them too. Not this particular set. But… A set before. To just help me when I wanted to level up in the amount of penetration that I was gonna take. So I was gonna ask… What those are. Ah! Dilators. So… I definitely need to try them, because penetration can be so uncomfortable for me. Absolutely. So at the time, when I was first, like, engaging in penetrative sex, with, like, strap-ons and toys and things like that, it was great, but it was also a little difficult for me, because I wasn’t used to it. So I wanted to start… I tried to be real brave, y’all. I’m gonna start big! LOL! Nah.

But I wanted to get there. So I used dilators. Which are super great. A lot of the times, they are used in gender confirmation surgery, which is super great, but also, they can be used just to help those of us who have vaginas, people who have vaginas, to get used to a few things. Like… Size. Getting used to the feeling of penetration. Like d said in the chat. They’re just very helpful. So it’s usually a set of five or six. They start very small. Usually they start very small and thinner. This is about the size. But then they graduate in size. So you can use them in your solo play. You know, like starting small, getting comfortable with that. The feeling of it. Not just the size. But like… Getting yourself acclimated to that. And then you can try to work your way up.

That’s not the goal of the set, is to work your way up, when you’re using it for sexual purposes. But it can be. Once you find a size that works for you, like penetrative-wise, if you are a person who has partnered sex, that way you’ll know what you’re comfortable with. And then if you’re a person who just wants to have solo sex, you’ll also know what you’re comfortable with, when you’re shopping for more toys and things like that. And absolutely, thank you, Rachel. Everyone interested in anal penetration — I’m gonna get to this, but Rachel just dropped this. For anyone interested in anal penetration, dilators aren’t anal safe, but anal toys also come in trios designed for this purpose. Exactly. So the one we’re gonna link to in the chat, the WetForHer ones, don’t use those for that. There’s different toys that you can use for anal penetration and dilator — like, getting more comfortable, acclimated-wise, and these are ones for folks who happen to have vaginas. But dilators are super great, and it’s a really great way to get into penetrative masturbation, if you want to try it. So that’s that. And then we’re gonna get into my favorites.

I’m gonna go… Go-to — internal, external, and teasing. Right? So my go-to… I think people think they aren’t… Are my hands and fingers! Right? I really, really love using just my hands. What I was given. For masturbating. And I think it’s because for such a long time, I was so dependent on toys. I was so dependent on vibrators, and then I did that work to do that unlearning. Oh, she’s not shiny now! Look at her! I did that work to unlearn it. So I wanted to keep it in practice, and not using toys actually became one of my favorite ways to masturbate. Another thing… Is rope!

So I use rope for somatic purposes. I also use it for sexual purposes. But rope adds a lot to my play. My masturbating. Because of the feeling it has on my skin. The Twisted Monk is where I get my rope from. But it just adds a layer to my play, when it comes to the somatics and the feeling that it has on my skin. There’s different ways to tie yourself that you can learn safely. There are so many things online that you can use. We have some great resources over at too. But it’s a great way to add to the sensation when I am masturbating. So that’s another one.

Now, for internal play… I love glass toys. I’m a huge advocate for glass toys. They make me happy. I love them. And they’re really good for temperature play, which is also something that I do, when it comes to masturbating. This is my favorite one. This is one that’s over at Lovehoney, actually. It’s a stacked glass toy. It’s one of my favorites. It’s really great. Fun for temperature play. Drop it in some ice cold water for a little bit, drop it in… Not drop it! Don’t be throwing these around. They’re also really pretty.

But this is really great for me, for internal play, just because it is stacked. It gives a different sensation, which makes me really happy. So I use this for internal play. And then this one is called the Lioness. I love this toy. I do want to say: It is very expensive. But they do have those things like… Where you can break it up into four payments. Kind of like layaway, where you can pay for it over time. It’s one of my favorites. But it’s also really great for people who are trying to learn different ways for their body for orgasms. Because it downloads your orgasm. Not audio, but visually. You can see your orgasm. This is part of the Data Driven Vibes article that I did. I think it’s super great for anyone exploring their body and learning their body and who wants a partner to learn their body as well. It’s absolutely incredible. It is on the expensive side. I think it’s $230. But I think right now it’s on sale for $200. It’s either something you can treat yourself, if you have it, but there is that layaway option that I do love. You know what I mean?

And you can break it up into four payments. It’s super great. And we’re gonna read more about it in the article that I wrote. We’ll drop it here too. For external… Which I think is super great… And these can be used for different anatomies too… We’re gonna start with… That suction toy. I hit the suction wave a little while ago. This is the Puff. It’s from our friends over at Unbound. My friends. I love them. We’re big fans over at Autostraddle too. It’s super great. It’s a suction toy. These are super great, because you can use it on so many parts of your body. You can use it to tease yourself when it comes to nipple play, you can use it on your neck, you can use it everywhere. You can use it, like, it’s super great. You can use it on your thighs. That’s where I use it, to kind of get that motion going, or get me a little bit more turned on. But it’s super great. I really love this one, from Unbound. It’s like… Probably one of my favorites. This is the one that made me come in, like, two minutes. And I was like… Uh-oh! But it’s incredible.

And then we have this one. Over at my… Let me roll this up. This is from Dame. It’s called The Fin. It’s super great too. I love this one. You can slip it on your fingers. And you can use it frontwards or backwards. You can use this part. And it’s a vibe, right? It’s a finger vibe. It’s super great to add on, when you’re masturbating, and also really good for different anatomies as well. Also great for, like, pleasure play too. Or sorry teasing, when you’re teasing yourself. And it just slips on, and it’s a vibe. It looks small, but this bitch is mighty as fuck. Okay? And the crew at Dame is really good too, but this is one of my favorites.

And then I’m gonna tell you teasing stuff. So impact play is a thing. This is one of my favorites. I love this one. And this is from a shop in Milwaukee. It’s super great. One of our homies at Autostraddle works there, and I love it. They don’t work there. They’re cool with the people. I forget. Archie. Y’all know Archie. But it’s a heart shaped paddle. It’s super great. I think it is Tool Shed! Thank you! It’s super great. I love this. Archie recommended this to me a few months ago, when I asked about a paddle that was cute. Impact play can be done alone. It doesn’t have to be done with a partner.

And it also can add to your solo play as well! And also… Look how cute it is! It’s a heart! Like… It’s so cute! Also… I just threw that back there. I feel like a YouTube video, where they’re just like… I’m finished! So this one is the Tickler. It’s from Plus One. I love it. It is… If you’re really into just a little teasing play, it’s a vibrating tickler. It’s silicone, it’s super dope, it also is small but very mighty. I think teasing yourself when you’re masturbating is a really good way to get into new practices for it as well. And then there’s the Spike. Also from our crew, the crew over at Unbound, who we absolutely love. This is another toy that I really love. I love sensation, different sensations and stuff are really good for me, or adds to my play.

And this is also something that you can dip in hot water. And dip in cool water. Just for a little bit of temperature play as well. So I wanted to include all of my favorites, just because it’s been a journey for me, with masturbation. Right? Learning about it, learning my body, and I used to use things… I used to use different places to get help for it too. Just like y’all are doing here at Autostraddle. You’re in here, because you think you needed to learn about it, or you wanted to have questions. All this is stuff that I’ve done, and I know it’s stuff that so many of us have done. So high five to you for reaching out to get some more information to, like, add to the pleasure of knowing yourself and your body. You know? It’s super chill that you do it. Don’t let anybody make you feel weird about doing it. There are so many resources that we all use, or that are available to you for you to use.

To enhance your solo play, and learn more about your body. I’m a huge advocate for learning your body, yourself. Before you decide to, like, instead of leaning on someone else to learn your body for you. You know what I’m saying? You can’t expect your partner, if you have partnered sex, to know all about your body, if you don’t. And I’m gonna reiterate again. Sometimes it gets hella technical. But it is what it is. And the more times you get technical with it, the more times you have to, like, break it down, have to get a little unsexy, at first, to get sexy. The more you do it, the less you’ll have to get technical. You know what I mean? I’m still constantly learning about my body every day.

All kinds of sexual practices. I learn things that… I’m learning things that I no longer like, which is also great. Because things change! And I’m learning things that I do like. So always learning about your body is great. And I just wanted to say a few other, like, resources that you can use. Like: Turn to the internet. Be careful! But turn to the internet. Yes, there’s us at We try our best to do everything we can to tell you about so many different things from the queer experience. There are so many people that we have on our staff and there’s people that we welcome in, that are absolutely incredible. But also, keep doing work other places too.

So Ari Elle is a sensual educator over at Instagram, @sensuelleyoga. All of this is gonna be in the chat. So don’t worry about that. Ari is super great. Incredible. Has a podcast. Another sensual educator — Ashleigh Nicole Tribble, over at @ashleighchubbybunny, absolutely amazing. Ev’Yan Whitney is a sexuality doula, also over at Instagram, at @evyan.whitney. All these are great. But sometimes you want a little bit more dialogue. A lot of these people offer services where you can book them and talk to them, but also offer a lot of free content — but also tip these people too — but sometimes you need dialogue. And that’s where you should hit streets like Clubhouse. It can get messy and it’s still in beta. A lot of people don’t have access to it yet, but it’s opening up a lot more. I have a few invitations. I can’t promise them to all of you. But if you are a POC person and you kind of want an invite to Clubhouse, just send me a message in my DMs, and I’ll try my best to give that to you. But there are places like Clubhouse, where you have to find the right way to navigate it, but it can be a lot of use to you, when you do find something that’s good. There is an amazing group over on Clubhouse called Cuffhouse. If you get on Clubhouse, if you have it, search for Cuffhouse. And they hold great, fun rooms on dating, relationships, and sex.

They have different topics, often. Also weekly. And they have one recurring room that I can think of right now, which is called the Bicurious Corner. And weekly, they get on stage, and they have different people, they have different dialogues, about all different kinds of things. All the moderators are really well versed, and they take questions from the audience. You’ll learn these terms once you get on Clubhouse. They take questions from the audience and stuff like that. And it’s an in-person… It’s a live dialogue. You ask questions. You learn stuff from these educators. All from the comfort of your own home, on your phone.

So Cuffhouse is great. There’s a few other things on Clubhouse too. But Cuffhouse is just one of the ones that I’ve found. So… That’s honestly it! I know I talked a lot. I didn’t want you to feel like I’m talking at you, but essentially I am. I’m really thankful that Autostraddle trusted me to talk about this topic. Since I write about it all the time. And I talk about it all the time! On Autostraddle. But I hope I helped you. I adore all of you. Send questions in to Autostraddle for the A+ box. Thank you so much for being A+ members, supporting us through our fundraiser. This one and other ones. If you’re a new member, what’s good, if you’re an old member, what’s good.

But thank you all so much. I hope you rewatch this and get some education from me talking about you, and using my queer experience! And thank you so much for this fucking… Captioner! You’re amazing! I love this! It makes me so happy! And I think it’s super cute that you have to type out your own compliments.

Mirabai: You’re amazing too!

Shelli: But that’s it from me. I don’t know what to do. Somebody is probably gonna pop up and say bye or tell you somebody else. But thank you. Oh, thank you! But that’s it. Thank y’all! I can sit here and look cute for as long as I need to. I’m gonna take a drink. Also, this is from SavageFenty. If you all have a hookup, send it to your girl.

Rachel: Hey, everyone. Thank you so much, and thank you. I think all of us are thinking… I want a SavageFenty bra. And I want to express my gratitude. Thank you. This was a special, special night. Thank you for your questions and vulnerability. The generosity you brought to the space was incredible. It means so much that you’ve been here for this inaugural experience and also that you’ve been here in general for Autostraddle as an A+ member. It has really been what has sustained us through this fundraiser but also for years now. And the series is something that is available live for A+ members, but is also available to the general public, especially to queer people who are looking to learn more about their community, about their identity, about their bodies, people who are recently coming out, whether they are young, or whether they are later in life, and so I also want to let you know that by subsidizing and by making possible a series like this, you are also bringing this experience and the information that it contains to so many other queer people who can afford it on their own. So thank you so much. It really means a lot to us. And we want to be able to provide these workshops and similar experiences going forward, for free, as part of the experience included in your A+ membership. And so we’re really excited to be able to do that, based on what you’re already doing to support us. And if would you like to continue to support series like this or other things like this, we would love it if you were to tell someone else about A+ and Autostraddle and what communities like this and spaces like this have been able to do for you.

As Shelli mentioned a few times, this experience, the recording, and also all the resources related to it will be available on the site going forward. You’ll be able to read a lot more, we’ll have links to everything mentioned, and much more. And so we’re really excited to hear your feedback. If you have any feedback about this series or anything else, I would love to hear it. You can reach me personally at [email protected]. I’m the managing editor and I would love to hear anything you have to say about how the series is going or what you would like to see in the future. Thank you so much, we hope you have a great night and we appreciate you being here. And thank you to Shelli and to Mirabai for captioning. This has been incredible. I learned so much.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.

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