winning self-love ideas for Valentine’s Day

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  • Here, sex expert Alix Fox shares her top self-love tips to see you through Valentine’s Day and beyond

    Let’s talk masturbation techniques.

    There is no shame in self-pleasure. In fact, more and more women are recognising masturbation as a form of  sexual self-care, and owing one of the best sex toys has become as normalised in the wellness stakes as a gym membership.

    Not sure how to masturbate? Well, you’re in the right place. Fun fact: when you reach climax, your body releases chemicals which encourage mental wellbeing. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and some of us set to spend it alone, we thought it important to bring you some expert masturbation techniques to help you take charge of your own pleasure.

    Enter journalist and sex educator Alix Fox. With a portfolio that includes script consulting for hit Netflix series Sex Education and resident X-rated Agony Aunt for Channel 4’s The Sex Clinic, who better to help you level up your masturbation techniques, and lead your own personal re-vulva-lution. Don’t miss our guides to the most common sex dreams, why orgasms feel good, and the best sex apps, while you’re here. Had a dream about sleeping with a woman? We’ve got an explainer on that, too.

    Masturbation techniques: 7 to try now

    1. Massage your hands before your glands 

    Giving yourself a hand massage is a fantastic way to wind down as part of a self-care routine, shares Fox. Plus, it helps distribute silky, softening, sensual oil over your mitts before you caress your bits. “It’s especially enjoyable if you’ve been typing all day,” she explains.

    Not sure where to start? There are plenty of great tutorials on YouTube, like the below:

    WooWoo Bliss Arousal Oil does excellent double duty, containing CBD and aloe vera, as well as geranium extracts for a heavenly scent.

    2. Learn the subtle art of ‘self sensate focus’

    Becoming more aware of tiny, everyday sensations can help you tune in to your body, heightening your ability to feel thrills, and giving you clues as to new kinds of touches or erogenous zones that you could harness for sexual satisfaction, explains the pro.

    “For instance, when you’re in the shower, move your attention slowly from your head to your toes, noticing how the water feels in each place,” she recommends.

    Try this: As you apply lotion, see how it feels to flutter your fingers on your thighs, or grip your own wrists. “When you notice something that feels good, like a beautiful smell, a cool breeze, or the sounds of nature, take an extra moment to savour it,” she recommends. “It sounds deceptively simple, but the more you get used to honing in on small, delightful sensations, the easier it is to practise in an erotic context.”

    3. Get lippy 

    Partnered sex often starts with kissing – yet in solo sex, the lips are frequently neglected.

    Try this: Apply a little balm and try stroking and pressing your lips with a fingertip as a form of “for-me foreplay”, recommends Fox. “Some women find this really turns them on. Sucking and licking your fingers or toys during masturbation can be highly erotic too, and connects you with your own intimate scent and taste.”


    4. Enjoy a little pain 

    A degree of controlled, consensual pain is pleasurable for many people, shares the sex expert, as it triggers the body to release endorphins which, in turn, can give a blissed-out, floaty feeling. “It doesn’t occur to a lot of us to experiment with bondage for beginners without a partner. “Explore how it feels to pinch your nipples or slap your bum cheeks with a paddle or crop as you masturbate,” she advises.

    Try this: why not try investing in some coloured wax play candles and drip hot drops artfully on your skin, painting patterns, and generally getting to grips with what you like (and don’t)? “Top tip: I like taking artful x-rated self-portraits afterwards, as I’m a big believer in the body-acceptance and esteem-raising power of taking sexy photos for no-one but yourself,” Fox shares.

    5. Combine ‘oh la la’ with ‘ha ha’ 

    Good times come in many forms, and masturbation techniques don’t always have to be slinky and sultry. One of the loveliest things about solo sex is that it’s entirely on your terms.

    The world’s largest global survey of masturbation habits, carried out by toy company Tenga, found that 90 per cent of Brits state that self-touch positively boosts their mood and sense of wellbeing; add the old adage that ‘laughter is the best medicine’, and lazy night of climaxing and cackling at your favourite TV show (Friends?) could be just what the doctor ordered if you’re feeling low.

    Try this: Try getting comfy in bed or on a ‘pleasure picnic’ blanket spread on the floor; have your favourite snacks, drinks and toys set out; and play a comedy series on your TV or laptop while you have a leisurely play with yourself. Home date ideas for one? Nailed it.

    6. Add the latest power tools to your ‘downstairs DIY’ kit 

    Innovative new sex toy designs mean there’s no need to ration yourself solely to vibration. The Zumio X looks like nothing you’ve seen before – kinda like a water flosser for your vagina – but instead of buzzing, its pinpoint tip moves in minuscule circles, delivering sensation that’s intense, precise, yet oh so quiet it should be sponsored by Bjork.

    Then there’s the Womanizer Premium – this time looking like an ear thermometer – which uses pulses of air to caress the clitoris and quickly coax out an orgasm like some kind of coochie conjuror (a vagician?!). The Smart Silence feature means it automatically turns off when you take it away from your body, so you’re not frantically jabbing at buttons trying to shut it down before throwing it out the window in a panic if you’re accidentally interrupted by kids or flatmates.

    7. Use the fabric of your imagination

    Enjoy having your breast stimulated during sex? For a new take, Fox advises wearing a top woven from a sensual material – think a loose silky-satin vest, or a super-soft fluffy jumper, without a bra – and use the fabric to tease yourself instead of touching your chest directly. “Gradually, languidly draw the garment up and down the side curves of each breast, graze it over the nipples, and use it to cup and slide against the undersides scintillatingly slowly,” she recommends.

    Need to stay silent? Try this: Slip your knickers off and stuff them in your mouth as a gag, or hoist up the folds of your T-shirt or even a long skirt using your teeth, preferably in front of a mirror so you can see how hot you look. Filth.

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