I am an 18-year-old college student who is sexually active, and has just become interested in masturbating. I feel that if I am going to be having sex, I should become more familiar with my body. However, the few times that I have masturbated I have not really become aroused and I have yet to have an orgasm. I was wondering if there was any way I could go about becoming more familiar with myself and learning how to make myself aroused.

I agree with you that it is very important for women to become comfortable and familiar with their bodies if they want to enjoy sex by themselves or with a partner.

Unfortunately, women are frequently discouraged from exploring their own bodies and thus aren’t even sure what kinds of stimulation they like. Women learn to masturbate much later then men, and fewer women masturbate than men. This is one of the major reasons why so many women complain that they never have orgasms with a partner — a person must learn what they like before they can show or teach a partner.

The first thing I would recommend is that you simply relax and explore. Don’t make getting aroused or having an orgasm a goal. At first, all you want to do is learn more about your body. After that, you can move onto trying different types of stimulation on different areas to see what feels good, but even then, simply enjoy the sensations, whether or not they lead to orgasm.

Another thing I would suggest is to try and explore using a mirror and maybe even a flashlight. Women can’t see their genitals as easily as men, so a mirror can be a great help. Become familiar with what your body looks and feels like. The more you do so, the more comfortable and relaxed you will become when sexually aroused. This will make it more easier for your body to respond to your touch, or the use of a vibrator.

Women also tend to also enjoy fantasies more than pornography (men are typically the opposite). If you can’t find some online pornography that turns you on, consider looking up fiction stories (erotica) online, as often women respond more to such stories than simply pictures of people having sex.

I would also recommend that you purchase a copy of the excellent book Sex for One by Betty Dodson, or For Yourself by Lonnie Barbach. Both have wonderful suggestions on learning more about your own body and what turns you on.