Masturbating: What is wanking & how to wank

Having a wank is one of the simplest pleasures in life. Everyone can enjoy it, so why is there this huge stigma around masturbation? The Mix gets to grips with the shame around solo pleasure and shares some tips on how to wank, dispelling some pesky masturbation myths while doing so.

A group of young women are sitting down. They are talking about masturbating. This is a wide-angle image.

What is wanking?

Let’s start at the start. What is wanking? 

Masturbating, or wanking, means the stimulation of your genitals for pleasure. So having a wank, meaning solo sex, is usually the phrase people use.

How to have a wank

If you expected to find a guide on how to wank, sorry to disappoint but there is none. Honestly, there’s no clear cut answer for a wank meaning something specific because there’s no right or wrong way to pleasure yourself. What feels good to one person, for example moving your hands in a certain way, may not feel good to another, and half the fun is finding out what works for you – whatever type of body you have. Feeling comfortable is best, so try and get the place to yourself, or lock yourself in the bathroom for a ‘long bath’ and get playing.

Women and people with vaginas can sometimes find it harder to orgasm. If you’ve never had an orgasm, then read this article on the topic for some more detailed tips. Read our guide on how to masturbate if you have a vagina here.

Is masturbation bad for you?

Nope. You got that? N.O. No way. Not at all. Can you repeat that back to us?

Masturbation is completely natural and healthy and normal. You won’t go blind, break into spots, or burn in eternal hellfire of damnation if you do it. Truth is, you’ll just enjoy your body, feel more comfortable receiving pleasure with sex partners, and have a great time

I’m a girl, is it OK to masturbate?

YES. Yes. One more time for the people in the back: Y.E.S.

Women can often be made to feel a sense of shame and embarrassment about masturbation and their sexual desire, whereas for men, wanking is more normalised and accepted. This is because some people hold the sexist belief that women shouldn’t express or explore their sexuality.

We’re here to tell you that no matter what your gender is, masturbation is normal and healthy.

Be careful what you use to masturbate

Before you have a go with the showerhead/hairbrush/rolling pin, it’s important to know that inserting foreign objects into your various cavities can occasionally result in them getting stuck – especially in your anus. Using sex toys specially designed for the purpose, on the other hand, reduces the risk of an embarrassing trip to A&E.

And only use lubes specially designed for sex. This is because your private parts are a tad sensitive and ordinary body lotion could irritate you down there.

How much masturbation is normal?

There’s no ‘normal’ amount of masturbation. And, especially if you’re a teenager, don’t worry if it feels like all you want to do is put your hands down there. Over and over. You may find your bits get sore though. So if anything feels inflamed, it may be worth dialling it down for a few days.

In rare cases, young people can get addicted to masturbating, or masturbating while watching porn. If you’re worried, some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Is your masturbating affecting your sex life? I.e. You can’t have sex with your partner because you’re masturbating so much.
  • Is your masturbating affecting your social life? I.e. you’re turning down invites with friends so you can stay in and masturbate.
  • Are you masturbating so much you’re hurting your genitals and yet feel unable to stop?

If you have ANY questions, book an appointment with your GP to chat things through.

Is it OK if I don’t think of my partner when I masturbate?

We’re all entitled to private masturbatory lives – even if we’re in a relationship. It’s completely okay if you don’t always think of your partner when you’re having a wank. This doesn’t mean you don’t love them, or don’t fancy them anymore.

However, in some instances, you may need to talk to your partner about your masturbatory habits – for example if they find you masturbating to porn and get upset. It’s all about being open and honest, and balancing your right to your own private sexual life with appreciating their feelings. Read more about how to do this in our porn problems article.

What if I think about really odd stuff when I’m masturbating?

The sexual brain is an odd thing, and all sorts of random crap may spur you on during a self-love session. This doesn’t make you weird or a pervert, and it doesn’t mean you’d want your fantasies to become real. You may think about an authority figure (like a teacher), fantasise about a really dark situation like being raped, or hey, maybe even animals will appear in there too.

This is normal and thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of. There are no Thought Police. As long as no one is getting hurt in the real world, there’s nothing to worry about.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Bourne

Updated on 26-Nov-2021