Orgasms by masturbation vs. intercourse

Originally Published: November 22, 2002 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: February 27, 2009
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Dear Alice,

I am trying to stop masturbating because I want to keep myself pure for my future husband. I am just curious, does having an orgasm by masturbating feel as good as having actual sexual intercourse with another person?

Dear Reader,

This is one of those questions that can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no."

In your first sentence, you mention that you are trying to stop masturbating. If this is a choice you've made for yourself, it's one that deserves respect. It seems that you have already learned to orgasm through masturbation, which means that you have taught your body to respond to touch. This can be tremendously reassuring to women — that they are normal and that their body works, responding to sensation that can result in orgasm. When women have intercourse before they have learned to orgasm, they have little or no information about how their body might or might not respond.

Trying to stop masturbating is challenging because masturbation serves so many purposes; for example, it can help people relax or energize them. Orgasm can make sleeping easier and more restful, and/or it can help start the day with an energized calm. It's understandable if you're finding it difficult to give up masturbation; masturbating and finding sexual satisfaction are as natural and healthy as eating, drinking, and sleeping.

Your desire to keep yourself "pure" may stem from your cultural, religious, familial, spiritual, and/or other beliefs. Being pure can pertain to sexuality or intercourse. It can also mean having good intentions and positive thoughts, caring for others, and not thinking ill of others. If these virtues describe you, maybe it is possible to masturbate and still remain pure.

Masturbation and intercourse are different experiences. Masturbation does not have to diminish the experience of intercourse, nor the other way around. For many people, it is not a one or the other concept or reality.

Physiologically speaking, many men and women say that their orgasms are more intense through their own touch. This doesn't take into account, however, the feelings of being with another person, with his or her arms around you and body near you. Additionally, knowledge of one's "hot spots;" emotional state; energy level; stress; the movement, fit, texture, and pressure of whatever's stimulating you (fingers, sex toys, a pillow, a penis, etc.); your level of arousal; alcohol and other drug use; and, your feelings about the partner you're with (if you're with anyone) all contribute to orgasm and pleasure.

For most people, orgasm from intercourse is less intense because their own masturbation pattern differs from the sensation of arousal or response when they are with someone. For women, in particular, the pleasure from masturbation is more intense than both the experience of intercourse and orgasm through intercourse, for different reasons. During intercourse, while a woman experiences closeness, tenderness, and lust, she does not usually get the stimulation on her clitoris that she is used to or familiar with from masturbation. And, according to Shere Hite, a well-respected sex researcher, more than 2/3 of women do not orgasm during intercourse at all. This is neither good nor bad. Women can teach their partners how to give them pleasure in other ways. Many of the Related Q&As listed below offer pleasuring options without orgasm.

Alice

February 25, 2013

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Alice, I'm so glad I finally read such a logical answer. And reader, I repeat, the urge to masturbate, masturbating is very healthy and very normal. I often have to masturbate in the morning...
Alice, I'm so glad I finally read such a logical answer. And reader, I repeat, the urge to masturbate, masturbating is very healthy and very normal. I often have to masturbate in the morning otherwise I can't start the day and normal activities without thinking of sex all the time. Same thing before sleeping, unless I'm really tired. I always reach un orgasm when I masturbate, with/without my sextoys. And I agree, I hardly ever reach it with a man. I would like too, so I try hard but I just can't relax enough with them. I had a sex friend and he was really good, he could go on for hours, cum three times on average and first thing in the morning he was ready for some more, just like me. Yet, as soon as he left I masturbated to finish the job, and it took me a minute to reach orgasm since I was exited. I was frustrated coz I would prefer to have it with him, like in the old movies : they both rech orgasm at the same time and it's just a magical moment... Now I am giving to uderstand that is quite difficult, reading the statistics. My point is, I guess it's normal, and we can do our best to have the best time with partners but meanwhile masturbating helps a lot, and since it is so efficient for raching orgasms, because no one knows our own bodies better then us, we should not hesitate a moment. There is nothing wrong with it, pleasure is good.

February 24, 2009

21521
To the reader:

I have been faced with the same question. Due to religous beliefs I am saving myself for marriage, but some times I have urges that I wonder if it would be wrong to fullfill. For...

To the reader:

I have been faced with the same question. Due to religous beliefs I am saving myself for marriage, but some times I have urges that I wonder if it would be wrong to fullfill. For the longest time I had decided that, yes it was wrong to masturbate. But now I find that it helps to release. If you are questioning masturbation b/c you want to save yourself, look at it this way: intercourse is a gift to your husband, when you are maturbating you are only giving to yourself not to anyone else.

October 29, 2004

20815
Alice,

My experience has been that although I reach orgasm more quickly (and consistently) through masturbation, orgasms from intercourse are much more satisfying. I am sure there are several...

Alice,

My experience has been that although I reach orgasm more quickly (and consistently) through masturbation, orgasms from intercourse are much more satisfying. I am sure there are several reasons for this (at least one being that I am monogamous... husband only!), but for me, masturbation is more like a "quicky" and most of the time, intercourse is deeply satisying (I am sure for many of the emotional reasons stated). It is really like two different experiences for me.