The Merits of Mutual Masturbation
When I offhandedly mentioned to a few friends that I was writing an article about mutual masturbation, I was met with blank stares and uncomfortable silence. Was I surprised? No, not at all. Despite more than half of US women and men reporting they’ve tried it, masturbation is commonly perceived as a private activity that people only do alone, in secret. In fact, I’m sure many of us have memories of quickly trying to finish our solo sessions before someone walks in on us.
But hear me out! Masturbation doesn’t have to be a purely solo activity. Consensual mutual masturbation can add fresh elements of exploration to your sexual relationships, while strengthening trust and intimacy!
What is mutual masturbation?
Mutual masturbation refers to two or more people touching or using sex toys/accessories on themselves, in each other’s presence. It might also involve reciprocity, where partners pleasure each other simultaneously (think: partners using vibrators on each other). But there’s no “one” way to do it. Simply put, mutual masturbation means sharing your masturbation session with someone else, in a way that feels comfortable to you and your partner(s).
When I talk about mutual masturbation, people often mention they’re interested in trying it or have thought about it before but are afraid of feeling self-conscious and I empathize. Letting someone in on how you masturbate can be a vulnerable moment. But the way you give yourself pleasure doesn’t need to look, feel, or sound a certain way. Really, you don’t need to change the faces you make or how your body moves! Owning and honoring your pleasure experience with authenticity during mutual masturbation is a form of self-love and acceptance, I’m sure we can all benefit. Not to mention, trusting your partner(s) to share in the experience with you can contribute to emotional connectedness and serve as an incredibly erotic memory.
It can be a learning opportunity too. Have you ever felt like you knew exactly how you wanted to be touched, fingered, or toyed, but had difficulty communicating your desired sensations, speed, or pressure to someone else? Why not show them? Shared masturbation is a helpful way to let your partner(s) in on what you like, which can be integrated into other sexy fun in the future.
But benefits don’t just end there. Along with increasing pleasure for everyone involved, mutual masturbation:
Can be adapted as a more socially distanced alternative to other partnered sex acts (That’s right! Mutual masturbation was an OG socially distanced sex act, even before the pandemic).
Is a more relaxing, low-impact sexual activity when you or your partner(s) have low energy but are still in the mood.
Can help long-distance or temporarily separated partners maintain sexual connection while away from each other (Tip: if using a video application, research the platform’s secureness and establish boundaries for recording and storing audio or images).
Is a way for those who experience chronic pain to enjoy sex play with less physical discomfort.
Gives time and space to be imaginative and incorporate other fantasies or elements of kink like consensual exhibitionism.
I could go on and on. My point here is that it’s time for mutual masturbation to stop being so under-appreciated! Ready to give it a try?
4 Tips for Getting Started
Start with communication
Before you begin, set aside time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner(s) about what you would like to happen during your shared masturbation session. How do you want to feel? What location or space would be most comfortable? What do you want your partner(s) to do or say during the moment? Discussing questions like these beforehand can help alleviate fears and concerns and spark your erotic curiosity.
Set the mood
Consider the type of mood you and your partner(s) want to establish. How does your environment need to look, feel, sound, or smell for you and your partner(s) to feel safe and comfortable exploring mutual pleasuring? Is there a particular scent that relaxes you? Incorporating your senses can help you upgrade your environment into your ideal masturbation space.
Start slow and build
If you’ve never tried mutual masturbation before, you might start by kissing, cuddling, watching an erotic video, or taking turns massaging one another. Easing into it can help you calm your mind and keep you present in the moment.
When you’re ready to progress, try sitting or lying next to your partner(s). A side-by-side masturbation position is perfect for partners who are not quite ready or interested in facing one another. If you’re still feeling a bit shy about your partner’s gaze, consider adding in a blindfold or touching yourself underneath the covers. Alleviating your nervousness while giving your partner an auditory or visual tease is a win-win! A back-to-back seated or on all fours position (or circle if multiple folks are involved) is also a good option for those anxious about watching. Feeling your partner’s body move while listening to their breath or moans? Yes, please!
If you’re interested in watching each other, find positions that will give you a good view. Sitting across the room facing each other might be a turn on if you want to observe your partner while giving them masturbation instructions. Or try standing or kneeling over your partner(s) while they lie down. This lets them glance between your legs and keep intimate eye contact.
Whether you choose to use sex toys or incorporate dirty talk, experiment with what feels good and have fun. If you have a moment that feels awkward, that’s completely okay! Be sure to name any feelings of discomfort or embarrassment so you and your partner(s) can address them and adjust.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself
I want to this drive home: as long as consent and communication are involved, there’s truly no right way to mutually masturbate. Maybe you and your partner(s) will have an orgasm. Or maybe that’s not what you want out of the experience. Maybe you want the experience to be romantic or, perhaps, it’s more about submitting to kinkiness. Above all, be kind and compassionate to yourself and your partner(s) as you explore and discover what you need.