The internet was ringing with gales of laughter earlier this week when someone wrote in to the Guardian advice page asking why his girlfriend masturbates after sex. ‘Is she insatiable?’ he asked, of her post-shag desire to rub a quick one out. But hold your giggles for a second: for some of us, masturbating after sex is a pretty common thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means…
If you’ve got a penis, you probably have a rough idea that sex starts when you get hard and finishes when you ejaculate. The refractory period means that once you’ve come, you’re probably going to need a bit of down-time, and so the idea of masturbating after sex would seem very odd. But for those of us with vaginas, whose bodies can orgasm many times in one sex session, sometimes we need a little something extra even when you’re finished.
There are plenty of reasons for this. Let’s go through a few of them, and as we go I’ll recommend you a few brilliant vibrators that might help you (or your partner) get the most out of their insatiably brilliant body…
The ‘just get me there’ orgasm
Firstly, there’s the possibility that we haven’t actually orgasmed during sex itself. Some people take a little longer to get going, so struggle to come during a quickie. Others need more than simple ‘penis in vagina’ stimulation – we need clitoral stimulation to tip us over the edge. There are plenty of great sex toys that can help deliver clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex: partner vibes like the We Vibe, for instance, or vibrating cock rings that have handily-placed bullet vibes at just the right place for grinding against. But even then it’s not always possible – whether through nerves, distractions, or simply because they need a longer period of time to spend paying attention to the right areas.
If this sounds like you – or your partner – then keeping a powerful bullet like the Rocks-Off RO-80 next to the bed is one of the best ways to make sure that they can reach that ‘O’ even if it doesn’t happen during penetrative sex itself. If you live in a shared house and you’re after something quiet, then the Loving Joy Power Bullet vibrator gets a big thumbs-up from sex toy guru Cara Sutra.
The ‘give me more’ orgasm
Then there’s the possibility that even when you’ve had an orgasm through penetrative sex, you still fancy a different kind of orgasm. After all, the orgasms you have when you masturbate are often qualitatively different to the ones you have when you shag. For me, a purely clitoral orgasm is so different to a penetrative-sex orgasm that I’d almost be tempted to put them in entirely different categories.
Penetrative orgasms send waves through my body that start internally – they’re much more gentle to start off with, but tend to last a lot longer. Clitoral orgasms begin right there in the clit, and from the moment they start they’re intensely powerful. But they tend to only last a few seconds. And these orgasms also usually kick in a brief refractory period for me – for about a minute or two I’m too sensitive for any more stimulation, unlike with an internal orgasm where I’m ready to go again pretty much straight away. Think of it like the difference between a delicious main course and a tasty dessert: they’re both going to fill you up and taste nice, but they do so in different ways. And sometimes the first one sets you up perfectly to enjoy the second.
If this is you, then there are plenty of really clit-focused toys you could try out. The newest and most intriguing of these are clitoral suction toys like the Satisfyer Pro 2 (on discount at the moment so pick yours up quickly if you’d like a bargain!). I can honestly say I’ve never felt anything like this – it features a small suction cup that you place on your clitoris, and then it uses bursts of air to pulse and suck at your clitoris, all while vibrating. It’s a very different kind of orgasm, and entirely focused with pinpoint precision on the clitoris.
The ‘you made me horny’ orgasm
This is the one that I focused on when I wrote about the advice column on my own blog. When I initially read the advice column the thing which struck me as most interesting was the fact that the guy in it seemed so shocked that his girlfriend could possibly want more pleasure when her sex with him was ‘finished.’ But it’s only ‘finished’ from his perspective.
If you’re a straight, cis guy, join me for a second in a thought experiment. Imagine if, instead of assuming that your ejaculation was the point that marked the end of sex, instead we defined sex as ‘whenever your partner has orgasmed.’ Imagine that all of our books, TV, and films defined straight, cisgender sex in this way too – the sex is over when the woman has come. Male ejaculation happened only occasionally, with more importance and focus put on her orgasm than his. Now imagine you’re in bed with a woman and you’re having a wild old time: sex in lots of positions, loads of moaning and pleasure, all the good stuff. Then suddenly, abruptly, she shudders and comes and just… stops. She either rolls over to go to sleep or gets up to have a shower. You’re intensely horny because of all the sex you’ve just had, but you haven’t actually reached a climax.
My question then is… wouldn’t you masturbate?
Well, that’s what it’s like for me sometimes. I may or may not have come, but the sex itself has turned me on so much that even though my partner’s lost interest I still want to get myself over the finish line. Of course he could always lend a hand (and sometimes he does), but sometimes I know that it’ll be quicker and simpler if I just engage in a bit of DIY.
So I pick up my sex toy of choice, which is currently the Doxy Number 3 – powerful like the original Doxy Wand but small enough that it’s easy to wield even if your arms are a bit wobbly from all that sex you’ve just been having. And then I masturbate – ideally while he makes me a post-shag cup of coffee.
My girlfriend masturbates after sex – should I worry?
Hopefully if there’s anyone out there with the same concerns as the guy who wrote into the Guardian, I’ve helped to assuage some of your worries. But ultimately I’m just a total stranger with a passion for sex and masturbation and a lot of sex toys up her sleeve: if you’re worried about this kind of thing in your own relationship, the best thing you can do is talk to your partner about it. Don’t go in all accusatory or defensive (“Why do you wank? Am I not enough? Argh!”), raise the subject with gentle curiosity (“I’ve noticed you sometimes wank after sex – is there anything I could do like maybe give you a hand?”). It might be that they offer one of the reasons above, or it may be that there are other possibilities I haven’t even thought about.
But the most important thing to remember is that masturbating after sex is probably more common than many people think, and certainly more common than our Guardian letter-writer thinks. The best thing you can do is embrace the knowledge that every body is different, and we all have our own unique ways of getting ourselves to the finish line.