Jul 13, 2023

How to masturbate with long acrylic nails

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

As we like to say on the internet, hotness is a state of mind. And, to me, that state of mind is the feeling of a fresh pair of acrylics. But my love for fake nails — preferably square, Y2K-inspired talons — is, however, at odds with my sex life. Among the lesbian community, there is always some initial scepticism regarding my acrylics given that short nails are often seen as a symbol of sapphic identity and long nails, well, are very much not.

Why? Well, there’s generally a misconception that if you have long nails, you can’t have lesbian sex, because longer nails might get in the way of fingering. This is an idea which I am always at pains to say is not only femmephobic but which promotes an extremely non-inclusive version of what sapphic sex means. After all, not all lesbians want to be fingered, not all lesbians have vulvas, and both oral sex and strap-ons exist!

But, in my personal experience, after some initial eyebrow-raising, a lot of my partners have fully jumped on board the long nails train — vocally asking to be scratched and eventually coming to fetishise the tap-tap-tap sound of acrylics on a phone screen, so closely do they associate it with me. Sadly, while my partners have been able to enjoy the sexual positives of my talons, I have not been so lucky.

See, touching others with acrylic nails is tricky but, if you follow safer sex measures or just focus on non-fingering activities, it can be done. On yourself though, it’s really (and I mean really) difficult to get off with acrylics. Why? Well, using your tongue isn’t really a possibility here — no matter how bendy you are. There’s also the fact that, unlike when you’re fingering someone else, you can’t angle your fingers as easily and you also can’t always see what you’re doing as clearly.

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In short, there are plenty of obstacles but that doesn’t mean you have to choose between terrifying nails and touching your clit. In the interests of giving you some pointers — and learning myself how to overcome some of these fingering hurdles — I’ve decided to ask the right people, the right questions.

If you’re an acrylics fan, you’ll know that, logistically, things can get complicated. From fumbling whenever you try to button up your coat to messing up the screen calibration on your phone, things you previously didn’t give a second thought to suddenly become mired in difficulty. And, as we’ve established, the sudden loss of dexterity isn’t great for your masturbation game — but there are added issues to consider on top of this as well.

As Anna Richards, sex expert and founder of ethical sex platform Frolicme explains, there are hidden hygiene considerations you might not consider but which in some cases can cause inconvenient and uncomfortable conditions. "Both with or without long nails you need to ensure your hands and fingernails are clean and don’t upset the natural flora balance of good bacteria that lives within your vagina whenever pleasuring such a delicate area," she says.

And while we could all be more conscious of keeping our hands and nails clean when we touch ourselves, this is especially important for any acrylics fans. "The longer the nail the more risk they pose as they’re more likely to harbour unwanted bacteria under the nail bed that is harder to get clean," she adds. "You may find you become more susceptible to yeast infections such as bacterial vaginosis and even urinary tract infections." To help avoid any of these drawbacks, the solution is simple: make sure to wash your hands, people!

On the other hand, Laura Wood, a So Divine sexpert for LOOKFANTASTIC, thinks people should be aware of the risks of internal cuts and tears from wanking with acrylic nails. "Cutting yourself while masturbating isn’t unlikely with long nails," she explains. "If you were to cut the inside of your vagina, you could increase the chances of STI transmission through the open wound."

You may have a vaginal tear if you experience mild pain, an itching sensation or if you notice a small quantity of blood. And while superficial vaginal tears do pose a sexual health risk, they should heal on their own. "If this does happen, it’s not something to be worried about," Wood adds. "Just take a break from sex and internal masturbation whilst the cut heals."

So, we’ve reached a consensus that acrylics and long nails make wanking…kind of tricky. But is there a way to amp up the pleasure while reducing the discomfort?

Well, according to Wood, it might be a case of compromise when it comes to your choice of nail — and avoiding coffin nails at all costs unless you want to say RIP to your clit. "The first consideration would be the length and the shape you choose," she explains. Obviously, shorter is better when it comes to getting off, but avoiding any pointed edges is also a good shout. "Oval, rounded, or even almond nails are less likely to cause discomfort when masturbating in comparison to shapes with sharper edges like the square or coffin shape."

If you refuse to let wanking get in between you and your talons then it’s time to fall back on a classic piece of sexpert advice: invest in some lube. "Lubricant should have some effect on limiting discomfort whilst masturbating," Wood points out. "Whilst you shouldn’t rely on the lube to protect you from cutting your vagina, it should act as a barrier to reduce friction between your nail and your vagina, therefore reducing the likelihood of experiencing any internal or external cuts."

If you’re used to walking around with an inch of polished plastic poised on your nail beds, you’ll probably have developed a bunch of unique ways to get around the unwieldy nature of your nails — from applying your face cream with your knuckles (stops lotion getting trapped behind your talons!) to making sure there’s always someone on hand to do up your jewellery clasps for you.

In a similar vein, there are undoubtedly workarounds for orgasming with acrylics — but what are they? And how well do they work? Well, Richards recommends that we ditch any idea of internal fingering and penetration. "If you are looking at minimising damage, there really is no better option than to keep to clitoral stimulation and leave the [penetrative] fingering for someone else with shorter nails," she says.

Now we’ve got that out the way, she recommends using less direct pressure on your clitoris - specifically massaging around it. "Use the flats of your fingers on each side of your vulva, massaging and kneading the soft folds of skin can generate wonderful stimulating sensations and help build to a meaningful orgasm," she says.

For a more intense flourish — perhaps when you’re getting closer to orgasm — you may want to rub your clit with your knuckle. "You can also use your knuckle with your finger bent to give focused pressure around the top of your clitoris," Richards adds.

Wood, for her part, recommends positioning your finger so that the tip touches your clit and vulva but angling it slightly so that the nail pushes up and away from your body. "For external clitoral stimulation, it’s possible to masturbate without your nails getting in the way at all by angling your finger upwards slightly," she explains.

Beware, however, of cramping! "You may not find this method very relaxing because you need to hold constant tension in your finger for the duration of time you’re masturbating," Wood warns.

Intrigued by Richards and Wood’s advice, I decided to discover if these tricks could be the solution to my self-pleasure woes. The next time I had some ~ time alone ~ I washed my hands, slathered on some lube and set out like an intrepid, sensual traveller.

Somewhat nervous to begin my experiment, I gingerly began with a gentle massage around my clit as Richards suggested: forming a V shape with two fingers and placing my clit between. Using the flats of my fingers, as recommended, the lube making all surfaces extra slippery, I was able to work up a nice pleasurable rhythm. Admittedly though, I was missing the more intense feeling of direct clit contact. However, I quickly discovered that bringing my fingers together and basically squeezing my clit felt really, really good and mimicked that sensation. This also seemed to restrict the blood flow in the area — similar to what I imagine wearing a cock ring is like — and made it swollen. Definitely some valuable advice.

When in this position, I decided to push things a bit further by grazing my clit — harder and faster, harder and faster — with the knuckle on my other hand. This, admittedly, felt pretty good but it was hard to synchronise all the different activities going on with my fingers and hands. There were also plenty of logistical questions running through my head: especially whether to use my dominant hand to make the V or use it to rub my clit. Full of queries and not completely able to fall into an easy rhythm, I eventually gave up.

Frustrated and craving something more similar to my usual masturbation moves (typically, pressing a pointer finger on my clit and rubbing up and down), I decided to try Wood’s trick of angling my fingertip upwards while pressing down on the sweet spot. This felt closest to what I instinctively wanted to do but, as warned, the tension in my fingers made it very difficult to relax into the moment. As a result, I could feel my mind wandering away from sex and back towards writing this article: not ideal.

Ultimately, I had to change tack. Taking the V hand position from earlier, I flipped onto my front and placed the back of my free hand underneath my now very engorged clit. From there, it was just a case of moving my hips up and down so I could move my clit against my hand like a rubbing post… While not how I usually do things, it definitely proved effective.

If you try all these pointers and you’re still struggling to get off the old-fashioned with your nails then it’s time to catch an altogether different vibe: you, my friend, may need to invest in a sex toy or two.

To help you navigate the world of vibrators, here’s a quick primer:

Bullet vibrators are a great, discreet toy for beginners who like playing with their clit. If you’re looking for more intense external stimulation try a wand or a suction toy — the latter of which uses pressure waves that mimic the feeling of being eaten out. Wood also recommends these toys, pointing out that there are anatomical reasons why they feel so good for fans of clit stimulation: "The suction action will heighten blood flow to your clitoris, increasing arousal, and leading to a greater chance of an orgasm."

Fans of internal stimulation and penetration can give G-spot vibrators a try, which often have a curved or bulbous tip in order to apply pressure to the G-spot: a textured patch said to be in the inside of the vagina and thought to hold the key to lots of fun things like vaginal orgasms and squirting. (FYI: The existence of the G-spot is debated, and so is its exact anatomical location and make-up, but we don’t always need to know how it all works if we know it feels good!). Oh, and if you like a bit of both internal and external stimulation then rabbit toys are probably your best bit: vibes that offer both clitoral stimulation and internal vibes.

In short, there’s plenty of helpful devices you can choose from if your nails place DIY wanking out of the picture. As Wood puts it: "If you’re a lover of long acrylic nails, there are plenty of ways to be able to satisfy yourself with self-pleasure, other than your own hand. It’s important to explore for yourself what is best for you."

TopicsSex & Relationships

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