Solo sex has plenty of benefits (we mean, aside from the most obvious one). Not only does it feel amazing, but masturbating also releases endorphins, which can do everything from relieve stress and menstrual cramps to cure insomnia and even tone your abs.

When it comes to sexual anatomy, omen have a more complex situation than men. We have radically different parts, with layers of labia, a sensitive clitoris, erogenous zones, and an elusive G-spot.So needless to say, there are a lot of different ways that women masturbate. Whether you’re new to masturbation or have time blocked on your calendar for regular sessions, here’s your guide to getting it right every time. And don’t forget, practice makes perfect.

Set the mood

Lock your door, turn off your phone, and get undressed. Get in a comfortable position and in the right mindset. Think sexy thoughts, read some erotica, or watch a steamy video to get you in the mood.

Explore your body

To warm up, run your hands along the parts of your body that are super responsive to touch, like your neck, breasts, and inner thighs. Next, find and touch your outer labia and then your inner labia (the folds inside the larger folds that make up most of your vagina), and your clitoris (the little button-shaped erectile part at the top of your vagina). Check out our diagram of the female anatomy here if you need a reference.

Take this time to explore your body. Learn what feels good, what you like, and what just doesn’t do it for you. (This’ll also be helpful the next time you add a partner into the mix.)

Catch your rhythm

A high percentage of women need clitoral stimulation to reach an orgasm, so if you’re attending a party of one, pay special attention to this area. Rub your clitoris in a circular motion and experiment with different types of pressure and speeds. To heighten the sensation, rock your pelvis back and forth as you would during intercourse.

Experiment with penetration

Some women skip penetration when masturbating, but you won’t know what’s best for you, until you try it. Start with one finger, moving it in and out slowly, and then work your way up to two fingers. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, speed things up if it feels good for you, but don’t forget about that clitoris. Stimulate both areas until you hit your climax.

Try a toy

There are a ton of sex toys out there that can enhance masturbation. Two of the most popular types are vibrators and dildos. A vibrator, usually battery-powered and intended for external use, stimulates your clitoris through pulsing vibrations. Many come with different speeds, so you can increase the level of intensity as you go or just play around with various sensations.

A dildo is a phallic-shaped object that’s typically made of silicone and usually used for vaginal or anal penetration. Some women like to use dildos for vaginal G-spot stimulation, while others just enjoy the feeling of being penetrated, with or without some clitoral vibration.There are also vibrator-dildo hybrids for the best of both worlds.

If you’re new to toys, start with an inconspicuous vibrator, graduate to a dildo, and then go from there — there are plenty to try.

Break out the lube

Lubricants aren’t just for partner play — they can also make solo sessions even more enjoyable. Some women have issues with vaginal dryness, but even if you don’t, lubrication can create new sensations while you’re masturbating. Put some of your fingers before clitoral stimulation, or on a penetrative sex toy before insertion.

Note: some women opt for saliva as a form of lubricant, but studies have found that it can put you at a higher risk of developing frequent yeast infections because it disrupts the balance of bacteria. Trust us, it’s best to pick up a bottle of lube, like this one.

Get ready for that orgasm

If you’re on the brink of an orgasm but can’t quite bring it home, try taking deep, long breaths and up the stimulation by caressing your nipples or practicing penetration until you feel it coming on. As you begin to orgasm, keep up with the stimulation. Lighten up on the pressure during the first extremely sensitive moments, but keep it going to enjoy those little pleasurable aftershocks.

Don’t worry if you don’t climax

A common misperception is that masturbation should always include an orgasm — it definitely doesn’t have to (though it is a great way to discover how you might achieve different types of orgasms!). Sometimes, just the general sensation of touching yourself can be enough. There are so many things that can affect whether or not you have an orgasm — from stress to fluctuating hormones — so there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t have one.

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Stephanie Montes is a Los-Angeles based fashion, beauty and wellness writer. Her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Brides, Well + Good, Hello Giggles, The Zoe Report and more. She loves traveling, trying new beauty products, photography, and cuddling her two dogs and husband. Follow her on Instagram at @stephanie_montes.