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How to break out of a masturbation rut (don't panic, it happens)

By Lea Rose Emery

Masturbation can be the ultimate “me time” and a great form of self-care. It's all about acknowledging and meeting your needs and, of course, about bringing yourself pleasure. And that might sound pretty damn lovely, but for many of us, masturbation isn’t some hazy, romantic moment of self-compassion — it’s hastily scratching an itch and checking a box when you have a few spare minutes. Especially if you’re someone who masturbates a lot, the habitual nature of it can lead to your sessions being a little lackluster and feeling more like a chore than a treat.

If you’ve gotten into a masturbation rut, you’re not alone. A lot of people — myself included — know the benefits of a luxurious bath, a fancy new lube, and some quality time with yourself, but instead tend to just default to the same five-minute routine that gets the job done before work or when you can’t fall asleep. But you deserve better. Luckily, it’s not that hard to achieve.

So here’s how you can break out of a masturbation rut, because a few small changes to your routine can make all the difference.

Make more time for it 

One of the reasons our masturbation routine can suffer is a lack of time. If you’re fitting in a quick masturbation session, you just don’t have the time to try something new — you want to get in, orgasm, and get out. So it’s time to take things at a more leisurely pace. Pick a night or a weekend morning where you don’t have a lot to do and give yourself a longer window than normal. If it only takes you around five minutes normally, give yourself 15 or 20. If it normally takes 15, set aside a half an hour. Knowing that you don’t have something to rush to and that this time is just for experimentation will help put you into a different headspace.

Add a new toy 

The easiest way to mix up your masturbation routine and get out of a rut is to add something new — or taking something away. If you always use the same vibrator, there’s a good chance you’re on autopilot, so try replacing it with a new toy. You can switch from a vibe-based toy to a suction-based toy, from clit to G-spot, or incorporate some anal into the mix. There’s a lot of room for changing it up. Or, of course, you can go back to basics and just stick with your hands, which can be really refreshing if you’ve been relying on a vibe for years. Don’t worry if it takes you a little longer, because it’s all about the journey.

To lube or not to lube 

Another easy switch? If you regularly use lube, try without — and if you don’t, add it in. If you need lube for your toy, then obviously that’s important, but if not you can play around with the different sensations.

Try a new technique 

If you’ve been touching yourself the same way for months or years, then there’s a good chance it’s time for a change. Sites like OMG Yes can walk you through so many different masturbation techniques, like orbiting the area around your clit or trying rhythmic tapping for something completely different. Using the heel of your hand, fingertips, and exploring other areas around your vulva can force you to slow down and really pay attention to what you’re experiencing.

Another good way to change the sensation is to switch the hand that you normally use — or your angle! If you always masturbate in the same position, it can feel completely different if your roll onto your side or your back instead. You can also try kneeling or doggy style with your toy or hand underneath you. It may feel strange at first, so give yourself time to relax into it.

Don’t focus on the O 

This is probably the most important thing to remember if you want to get out of a masturbation rut — you can’t always have it be all about the orgasm. If you go in with that goal in mind, obviously you’ll want to take the easiest route to get there. So instead, try to put on an experimental mindset where you don’t care if you have an orgasm or not. Start by touching different areas of your body — nipples, thighs, neck — and eventually work your way down to your clit and vulva, but paying more attention to the sensations than how close you’re getting to orgasm. You may find something you love and incorporate it into future sessions.

If masturbation is all about getting your orgasm-a-day, it’s no wonder some of us fall into a rut — it’s so easy to just start focusing on getting to your orgasm as quickly as you can. Instead, set aside a few masturbation sessions to just explore and experience. A few tweaks — like a new toy or a new position — can really help change your experience in the future. So worry about orgasms later. Masturbation is a time that’s all about you, so let’s make it as luxurious (and pleasurable) as possible.


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