By: Alex Shea
Masturbation is generally recognized as a solo act of pleasure. But the ways we experience pleasure go much deeper than that. Mutual masturbation is an opportunity to explore and enjoy our own bodies as well as our partner’s body.
What is Mutual Masturbation?
Masturbation is the sexual act of pleasuring yourself. And believe it or not, it doesn’t always have to end in an orgasm. Sometimes sex isn’t about reaching climax, it’s about feeling good and in tune with your body.
Mutual masturbation is masturbating with your partner. In truth, mutual masturbation can mean whatever you want it to mean. You and your partner can masturbate simultaneously, one person can watch while the other does it, or both partners can alternate.
The point is to masturbate together. To find an alternate method of enjoying each other in a sensual way other than penetrative sex.
A deafening stigma of why people shouldn’t masturbate is on repeat in a lot of our heads. But there’s nothing medically wrong with masturbating so it shouldn't leave you feeling guilty. The only other opinion that matters is your partner's. And it all begins with an open conversation about bringing mutual masturbation into the bedroom.
Is mutual masturbation healthy?
Dr. Nan Wise, sex therapist and neuroscientist, says that “masturbation isn’t just pleasurable, it’s good for you.” Mutual masturbation is both healthy and natural for the body to experience.
When you engage in sexual activity, "many areas of the brain receive more oxygen." The extra blood flow is good for healthy brain function. Your body also releases a cocktail of feel-good hormones: endorphins (happiness), dopamine (pleasure), serotonin (calmness), and oxytocin (bonding) that make their way to your brain and leave you with a natural high. 1
The experience intensifies when you bring someone you love into your safe space. And masturbation no longer presents itself as a solo act.
Benefits of mutual masturbation
Adding a night of mutual masturbation into your regular sex routine won’t disappoint. The benefits of mutual masturbation are both individual and couple-oriented.
Relieves muscles. Masturbation relaxes menstrual cramps and strengthens pelvic floor muscles. 3
Reduces stress. Remember that cocktail of feel-good hormones? They reduce stress by lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Better sleep. You can’t go wrong with a little sensual play before bed. A 2019 study shows a connection between how well you sleep and orgasmic pleasure. 4
Builds confidence. This activity helps you and your partner become familiar with each other's bodies. It allows you to be comfortable in your skin and them comfortable in theirs. 5
Avoid STIs. There’s no risk of pregnancy or infection with masturbation or mutual masturbation, making them safer forms of sex. Just be sure to wash your hands after touching your partner and vice versa! 6
Improves intimacy. Partners in a relationship don’t always have the same sexual desire. Engaging in an intimate act that doesn't have to involve penetration for a change helps build communication between a couple. 7
How to enjoy mutual masturbation with your partner
Tara Skubella, sexual health expert and tantra coach, says that "self-pleasuring with a partner can be one of the most intimate and sexual experiences we can share with a person." 8
Couples are most often too shy to masturbate in front of each other or with each other. But starting with light fingering and hand touching can ease the tension.
Ask them what they like/ask to watch
This is the perfect time to figure out what turns your partner on aside from what you already know. Ask them what they like when they masturbate. Ask them if you can watch while they touch themselves.
Make sure to add lube
When you give your penis-having partner partner a handjob, you’ll want to use plenty of lube. Whereas when you finger your vulva-having partner, you’ll still want to use lube… but you may want to use less, though this isn’t always the case - always be sure to check in with your partner and see what they like. We like silicone lubricant for this type of play because it has a great amount of slip.
Switch things up
Give yourself freedom when you engage in any sexual activity. There's no rule book that says you have to do everything a certain way. Keep it interesting by changing the direction you move your fingers, the speed you stroke, and the tension you apply to their clitoris. Variety is important so you can see what your partner enjoys.
Play with other body parts
There’s more to touch than the penis or the vulva. Grab their balls every now and then when you’re stroking their penis. Play with their nipples or their hip bones while you’re fingering them. The body feels sensations all over.
Include sex toys
Sex toys are fantastic to use during mutual masturbation because using them gets your partner involved in your pleasure. Shopping for a toy together is a fun experience that builds excitement and intimacy. We get how overwhelming shopping for sex toys can be— there are hundreds of options on the market! That’s why we offer free personal shopping appointments via private text conversation to help you pick the perfect tool for you and your partner.
Take turns using the toy on one another and don’t restrict it to just the genitals! Trace a vibrator along breasts, nipples, back, inner thighs etc. The possibilities are endless.
Find her G-spot
Anatomically, the G-spot is believed to be part of the clitoris— the roots of the clit found inside of the vagina. You can locate it by putting your fingers just a couple of inches inside of her vagina and making a "come here" motion with your fingers facing upward. Check in with her along the way so she can guide you to her spot! 10
Find your flow
You can take turns or masturbate at the same time. Whichever you prefer, it's your choice. Mutual masturbation gives you the opportunity to experiment with your partner and reach new levels of intimacy.
Consider phone sex
You don't have to mutually masturbate in-person. You can also do it via phone or FaceTime. This is great news for couples in a long-distance relationship. It's an opportunity to be close even when you aren't close at all. For long-distance partners, we have a few toys that can actually help you feel closer. The Rave and Melt from We-Vibe both allow your partner to control the vibrator from afar using the app that’s included. You can also chat within the app, making your masturbation session feel that much more connected.
Showing goes a long way with video sex because although you can’t physically touch your partner, you can see your partner touch themselves.
Intimacy is about feeling connected to another person. It includes more than sex. Sex isn’t a routine you stick to every Tuesday and Thursday. Doing the same activities over and over. It’s a way to explore and experiment sensually with your partner.
Mutual masturbation is about pleasuring yourself with a partner around. Watching you, you watching them, watching each other. It feels good, improves communication, and increases intimacy with your partner. Something worth considering for the next date night.
Photo by Justin Rosenberg @jsrphotos