Masturbation shame: 7 Ways to stop feeling guilty


4th Jun 2020 Wellbeing

Masturbation shame: 7 Ways to stop feeling guilty

Overwhelming feelings of shame or guilt are sadly not uncommon for women when masturbating. Here's how to overcome them. 

Culturally, female pleasure is a seriously under-represented facet of the human experience. And because female masturbation is so frequently misconceived, it can be extremely challenging for women to know if their desires and actions are normal.

Sex therapist Mia Sabat, from the female sexual wellness app Emjoy, outlines seven ways to overcome feelings of shame and guilt that sometimes come with masturbating. 

NSFW: The following content contains explicit references to the vulva and self-pleasure, and is best enjoyed in a private moment. 


1. Love your body

woman feeling confident

This might seem like a simple task, but is often one of the biggest challenges women face throughout their lives.

If you’re not sure where to begin, start by making a list of 5-10 things that you love about your body. These can be traits that make you feel empowered, show your strength, hint at your journey, make you unique, or simply make you feel good. As long as these 5-10 things body make you feel confident, that’s all that matters.

2. Understand why you feel shame

feeling shame

It is important that you reflect on why you have this feeling of shame when masturbating. Understanding cultural influences, religious beliefs, and history allows you to have a global vision that contextualises what you are feeling.

One reason for why we might feel shame when masturbating could be the fact that, historically, female masturbation was prescribed as a medical treatment by doctors who diagnosed women with "Hysteria". Viewing masturbation as something that can only be done if there is something wrong with us leads us, culturally, to believe that masturbation is simply wrong.

Questioning the shame you are feeling is the first step in removing it from your mind. Think about it for as long as it takes or write down your feelings. Knowledge gives us freedom.


3. Change your mindset

bath for self care

Once you're able to come to terms with the fact that masturbation isn’t a cause for shame, start thinking of it as an act of self-care and self-love.

Seek out daily pleasures, build self-exploration and self-pleasure into your self-care routine, and take note of how it makes you feel. Do you feel lighter? More energised? Happier? Focus on these positive feelings, and start associating them with masturbation to help you feel empowered by self-love, rather than dragged down by negative feelings.

If you really struggle to overcome these negative feelings, try to compare it to other actions you do that give you pleasure and show you how much you love. Go for a massage, spend a day at the spa or prepare the food you love. Showing love for oneself is healthy and necessary, do not separate the sexuality of that self-care and respect.


4. Explore your body

exploring her body

Your pleasure and sexuality extend far beyond your vulva. If you’re easing into your first time masturbating, or still overcoming feelings of guilt, why not explore every part of your body except your vulva?

Give yourself a sensual massage, leaving oil or lotion on your erogenous zones and playing with different pressure points to see what stimulates your mind and body. When you're ready to go one step further, try to focus on those points that have given you more pleasure. Relax, take your time and enjoy exploring these often under-appreciated parts of your body that can bring you a lot of pleasure.


5. Don’t shy away from personal intimacy

flower blooming

Don’t be afraid to connect with your vulva like you never have before. Try exploring the region visually by looking in a mirror and drawing your labia. This will help you become better acquainted with an area you might not have properly explored before, and better familiarise yourself with your personal anatomy.

Alternatively, you might prefer to let your hands wander and explore your inner and outer labia just with your fingers, before graduating to exploring your vagina, and eventually your G-Zone. Whatever route you take, remember to approach your body and personal intimacy with kindness, attention, and love.

6. Get to know your preferences


Maybe you feel more comfortable exploring your body in the shower. Or, perhaps certain positions or techniques arouse you more than others. Or maybe, you’ve just discovered your G-Zone, and you simply can’t get enough.

Whatever your preferences, get to know them in your own time to experience maximum pleasure while overcoming feelings of guilt. Shut down negative thoughts, and remember there is no shame in basking in your sexual glory!

7. Romance with yourself

romancing self with candles

At the end of the day, self-pleasure should always be about loving yourself. Just because you’re going solo, doesn’t mean that you have to skip the romance. Don’t be afraid to light some candles, put on some perfume and dim the lights to really set the mood.

If masturbation is the main event, then you can stimulate other zones and experiment with getting yourself aroused. This is your own personal adventure, and something to enjoy. Don’t rush it or sell yourself short—this is about treating yourself in exactly the way you want to be treated, and you deserve the best.


Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter