In the past two months, there’s been a plethora of headlines that paint a bleak picture for women’s sex lives. From Rachel Bilson admitting she wasn’t able to orgasm from penetrative sex until 38 years old, to Yewande Biala confessing she has never had an orgasm at all on her Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Female Orgasm – you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve regressed back to the days when people (read: men) genuinely believed the female orgasm was a myth.
Of course, all of the talk about orgasms – especially women opening up about their struggles with it – is a positive thing. Long gone are the days when struggling to climax was a taboo topic to be buried under the metaphorical bed. Now, women will shout out their pleasure problems publicly, because it’s about time we understood what’s going wrong – and what needs to be done about it.
‘There are many reasons why women may struggle to orgasm, such as stress, past trauma, pre-existing health conditions, menopause, shame, and struggling with connection can all be reasons why orgasm may be challenging,’ explains clinical sexologist and therapist Ness Cooper.
She advises speaking to your GP to rule out any health-related reasons – and while that might feel uncomfortable, it’s important to remember that there is no shame in prioritising pleasure in your life – you should be able to enjoy sex, solo or partnered, as much as anyone.
Because the female orgasm is a far from a myth, and there are actually a lot of wild new ways to reach it these days – especially when it comes to masturbating. From mirror masturbating to digisexual masturbation, we’ve collated a list of the most intriguing new ways to masturbate for 2023. You can thank us later.
Exactly what it says on the tin, this new masturbation trend – approved by experts - involves plonking yourself down in front of the mirror to masturbate. ‘It’s a powerful way to see yourself in a different light and embrace your sexual side,’ explains certified Somatic Sexologist and Sex Educator, Alice Child. ‘It might feel strange at first, but it can be very empowering and erotic, plus it really helps you learn what you like when you can see what you’re doing with your own eyes.’
In turn, it should help your partnered sex life too, if you have one. Good, climax-filled sex is all about communicating what feels good and what doesn’t, so knowing your own body is a must. If you can point out exactly where on your body to touch, the movement to make and any areas to avoid, it makes your partners job that much easier.
‘There’s an increase in people exploring technology and masturbation such as the use of VR porn and AI erotica,’ says Ness. ‘On top of this some people are also exploring AI for sex and masturbation tips, and VR for guided sex therapy tips to enhance masturbation. In 2023, sexploration isn’t just about enhancing masturbation and making it hotter, there’s a big focus on learning and enhancing knowledge around pleasure.’
For example, the website Pirr pertains to be an ‘endless world of erotic fantasies, powered by AI’, while critics suggest the Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset (£195.95) is the best VR headset for watching adult movies – yes, there are critics that judge that.
Because it’s not a 2023 trend without a wellness term thrown in there, one area growing in public interest is how mindfulness plays into sexual pleasure – with lots of research to back its value.
‘Mindfulness helps you become present with not just the physical sensations and how they feel, it can help you bring awareness to unconscious emotions which may be barriers to feeling pleasure or enhancers to your pleasure that you weren’t aware of before,’ explains Ness. ‘Being present like this can help you feel more embodied which in turn can also lead to greater self-esteem and confidence.’
Similarly, incorporating sexual wellness into your daily journaling can be a vital way to improve your relationship with your body.
‘Journaling about your masturbation habits can help you keep track of masturbation moments that were memorable and when some masturbation moments should be avoided in the future,’ says Ness. ‘Some people are getting quite creative too and writing erotica-like pieces that they can read back in the future, giving them their own personal collection of erotica that can enhance future masturbation sessions.’
According to Ness, guided masturbation workshops are fully booked in 2023. Sold as safe spaces to explore masturbation with a sex coach, they will instruct an individual to perform certain methods to get the best out of their masturbation techniques.
‘A good sex coach will also help the workshops participants workout their boundaries and coach them on how to navigate self-consent,’ Ness says.
Edging to promote nitrite oxide
Typically, a male-dominated area of sexual pleasure, rest assured edging techniques are suitable for everyone. Edging is where you stop masturbating just before orgasm and take a short break before bringing your body back up to this moment once again.
‘It can help promote nitrite oxide to the area and increase the release of pleasure enhancing hormones and sensations,’ explains Ness. ‘Some people find using a sex toy on pre-set vibration patterns can help with edging as it takes away some of the temptation to keep going to orgasm as the pattern has pre-set pauses.’
For Grazia’s guide to the best solo sex toys, click here. [https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/real-life/best-sex-toys-vibrators-for-women/]
Soft touch masturbation
Now, pressure can be really important during masturbation and many people stick to the rule of firmer, faster! But in 2023, gentle masturbation methods have been shown to increase various feel-good hormones and greater connection even.
‘This type of touch activates the cutaneous sensory neurons which help the body release oxytocin,’ Ness explains. ‘Soft touch can increase the release of oxytocin which helps people become more connected with their play partners and can reduce stress as well as help with body-mind-awareness. Soft touch masturbation can be done with the tip of your fingers, of you can use a fluttering tickle type sex toy, or soft silicone tip sex toy.’
Oral sex toys
Now, these might not be new for 2023, but they’re certainly increasing in popularity year after year as women realise just how incredible they are – a must, if I do say so myself, for your sex toy collection.
‘Oral sex toys are now being used on people of all bodies, from those with penises to clitoris, and there are even suction sex toys for your G-spot,’ says Ness. ‘These suction sex toys can also help increase blood flow, erection of the penis or clitoris, and help reawaken pleasure-responding nerves which may have become turned-off.’
Sex position enhancers
Struggle to get yourself into a comfortable masturbating position? In partnered sex, pillows and wedges are commonly used to get into the right position, but now Ness says people are discovering the advantages of using ‘position enhancers’ during solo masturbation too.
‘Sex position enhancers can help you get into different positions which can allow you to explore masturbation in different ways which may be more pleasurable as well as accessible,’ she says. ‘Also resting on certain position enhancers in certain ways may influence how our bodies respond to stimulation as this may put indirect pressure on the genitals, erogenous zones, and other feel-good areas that normally wouldn’t be activated during masturbation and sex easily.’
Solo shower sex
Shower sex with a partner might be the hottest thing you can imagine, but have you tried it alone? With new sex toys being designed specifically for shower use, they can be attached to your shower easily.
‘Shower sex toys allow you to experiment with different types of pressure on your body and genitals during masturbation,’ Ness says. ‘Water masturbation is popular due to how it can give extra privacy to those in shared households, it can also be fun exploring the different sensations water can offer from temperature to different types of pressure.’