(Content Warning:  Genitals and explicit discussion of masturbation beyond this point, but no images or illustrations.)

One thing I’ve seen many asexual people say about masturbation is that they don’t know where to begin.  It might not be something they discover, they may have avoided any discussion about it, and websites that talk about it are typically not very ace-friendly.  If you’re curious, but don’t know where to start, here’s a short ace-safe introduction to a common technique.

And remember, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.  Not everyone wants to masturbate, not everyone likes to, so if it’s not your thing, it doesn’t have to be your thing.

Okay, let’s begin:

First, find a safe and comfortable space.  Lockable doors, free of interruptions, etc.  Comfy chair or a bed might work, but many people will use the bathroom or shower.  (The shower has the added benefit of making it easy to wash your hands or clean up when you’re done.)

Second, remove clothing to provide access to your genitals.  This step is actually optional.  It can make it easier to proceed if you’re not wearing anything down there, but it’s not required.  Some people will masturbate through their clothes for various reasons.  It’s not uncommon.

Third, start touching your genitals or the area around them.  Often, people will focus primarily on the clitoris or penis.  (A clitoris is a sort of pencil eraser thingy (of varying size) hiding near the front of the folds of skin down there, while a penis is a usually floppy sort of tube thingy (of varying size) that’s hanging out down there.)  However, other places like the thighs, scrotum, lower stomach, or labia might also respond to touch.  Even the nipples might work.

If it hasn’t already happened, you may start to notice physical arousal in the genitals.  It’s perhaps most noticeable in a penis, which goes from a floppy sort of tube thingy to a larger, somewhat more rigid sort of tube thingy.  The clitoris also may grow larger (and peek out of the folds of skin it’s hiding in) when aroused, and there may be a noticeable sensation like warmth or fullness or even wetness in the vagina.

If you’re not sensing some form of arousal, try different types of stimulation.  Use more pressure or less, go faster or slower, push, pull, pinch, try a different area, etc.  Basically, change it up somewhat.

It is very important to note that there isn’t an instant-on pleasure switch downstairs.  At first, it may not feel much different down there than touching your arm.  Sensations can gradually and subtly change, and may range from numbness to awareness, to over-sensitivity, to exquisite pleasure, to discomfort, to heightened sensitivity, and anything in between or on the sides.  There’s no One True Right Way™, and it’ll feel different and proceed differently for everyone.  Masturbation isn’t something that’s instinctive, it’s something that has to be learned and experimented with, and this can be particularly difficult for aces, because we may not experience the same sorts of things that might be useful to non-aces for figuring things out.  You may not come across a formula that works the first couple (dozen) times you try.  And that’s perfectly okay and quite common.  Even many non-ace people have to figure out what to do.

Anyway, assuming you’re sufficiently aroused (and what that means is up to you), you’ll likely want to start focusing more directly around the genitals.  Some of the most common masturbation techniques are fairly repetitive hand motions.   If you have a penis, try wrapping your hand around it (like you’re holding a handle) and sliding your hand up and down.  (Some sort of lubricant might be helpful here, particularly if you’ve been circumcised.  Something like hand lotion will usually work well.)  If you have a clitoris, try placing a few fingers on it and rubbing in small circles.  Vary the speed, pressure, the amount of movement, etc., until you find something that works.  Those aren’t the only ways to do it, so if they don’t work, experiment with something else.

Once you’ve begun those repetitive motions, continue until done.  “Done” can mean a number of things.  Many people proceed until they have an orgasm, but some people stop when they get bored or tired or sore, some people keep going until they have multiple orgasms, and some people stop when they just don’t feel like doing it anymore.  Masturbation is yours and yours alone, so it’s up to you to decide when you’re done.