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Sexual Wellness

A Handy Guide to Mutual Masturbation

| 01/13/2020

mutual masturbation Illustration by Sophi Gullbrants

Often deemed a solo act, masturbation is not only a core pillar of sexual self-intimacy. It’s also a powerful way to communicate and realize your personal fantasies and desires with your sexual partner(s).

It can be a private activity in which anyone can enjoy self-love and achieve orgasm. It can also be an intimate sexual activity between two partners when physical intercourse (or other activities like oral sex) isn’t possible or desired – or as a prelude to it. 

Mutual masturbation is a handy option in the partner play toolkit. There are many fun ways to build suspense and sexual energy without touching the other person. Not sure how it all works? Here’s a guide to getting off with each other.

(One note before we start: we don’t mean to leave out those with polyamorous relationships in this discussion; it’s just easier to discuss couples. A threesome, or moresome, can just as easily engage in group masturbation as they can in group sex or a full-fledged orgy.)

Why Masturbate When You Can Have Sex?

Masturbation doesn’t vanish when you’re in a relationship. In fact, masturbation is a great way to understand exactly what you like, and to communicate it to a partner who’s watching you play. When each partner can see exactly what gets the other’s motor revving, cumming together (or separately) is much easier. Playing together can be an important component of sexual health.

Mutual masturbation is also a great way to be intimate when penetrative sex isn’t on the table at the moment (in the cases of, say, vulvodynia or dyspareunia). It’s also a sensible safer sex alternative for new partners or casual hookups, drastically reducing the possibility of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and STDs.

What’s more, the chances that both you and your partner are always ready to hop into the sack at the same time and on the same schedule, are highly unlikely. Our individual moods and desires to be touched aren’t always in sync; they can change with the day and the hour. Mutual masturbation broadens our concept of sex and sexual intimacy in a positive way, changing how we see our sex life with our partner. 

How to Talk About It

Depending on how you communicate with each other, “this discussion” could simply take the form of telling the other person to stay put while you bring yourself to orgasm. It could also mean talking about masturbation via text or phone, or maybe even making a show-and-tell game out of it. There isn’t a hard and fast rule about how these conversations start; all that needs to happen is open communication in a non-judgmental space. 

Try finding a film (I recommend taking a peak at Courtney Trouble’s QueerPorn.TV for some excellent scenes) that shows or alludes to mutual masturbation; you might want to send a midday text, with a clip, to gauge your partner’s interest. Or take a moment to show your partner the scene while in bed, and have a real discussion about the fantasy – or possibility – of watching each other masturbate. If you’re more inclined toward reading, look for erotic stories in digital magazines like Aurore and send a link to your partner’s phone. 

As mentioned earlier, this could also be a spur-of-the-moment conversation in which you start playing and ask your partner to join in. This is a great opportunity to bring out your favorite dildo, vibrator or sex toys (don’t forget the lube!) and use them as your partner watches. It lets you get off on the fact that you’re being watched, while you also get off on the more direct physical pleasure.

It can be a lot of fun making this activity into something much more elaborate, too. Masturbating to mutual orgasm together on the couch, across the room from each other, on opposite ends of the bed, while watching porn, while sending texts or on webcam with each other during the day, while making dinner…the possibilities are endless!

Consider a Sex Discussion Date

Not everyone is ready to start masturbating in front of their partner, and that’s totally fine. Sex, in all of its forms, is a difficult topic for most people to broach with someone else. We have been taught in so many ways to repress our urges, and above all else, to keep our hands away from our genitalia. It wasn’t that long ago that clergy and parents “taught” many of us that masturbation was linked to blindness.

That means it’s not unusual to find talking about our fantasies difficult, even with our loved ones. If you’re interested in becoming more sexually explorative with a partner, or you want to “temperature check” the current status of your sexual intimacy, make a sex discussion date. 

Mutual masturbation is a beautiful and hot way to connect with your partner in a low-stakes, fun environment.

A sex discussion date is a night when you and your partner get dressed up and go to dinner at your favorite restaurant, just to talk about your sex life. (Pro tip: this works best at a place where you can get a table for two, not one with family-style seating.)

Both partners can come with a list of questions and fantasies, or they can simply have a conversation about what they’re each looking for in the bedroom. The restaurant will be a neutral, judgment-free space where both partners can speak candidly about their desires. Kick it up a notch by filling out your own Yes, No, Maybe list prior to the date, and spend time after the entrées to get close and discuss each other’s fantasies. Think of it as verbal foreplay.

Give Some Creative Direction

Now that you are each aware of how the other likes to be pleased, it’s time to get creative with your solo-but-together fantasies. Mutual masturbation is fertile ground for creativity that can be expressed in the bedroom, on the couch, in the kitchen or shower, on the floor, or anywhere else that feels right. There’s also nothing wrong if it leads to a handjob, blowjob or penetrative sex; there can even be room for roleplaying.

You can use distance as a way to build the tension, by placing each other far away to enact voyeur fantasies. Or you can get really close, both right in the middle of the masturbatory action and jointly enjoying the circular motions, vibrator pulses, or close-to-completion strokes. Clitorises and penises are fair game; mutual masturbation doesn’t have to be an exclusively no-touch activity!

Use your imagination, too. Create an even more intense build-up to orgasm by trying different positions that allow you to touch your partner in different places. Integrate sensual touching into the play, or try incorporating spanking or light bondage in order to create a different power dynamic

If it suits the way you and your partner approach sexual activities, pay attention to the ambience surrounding mutual masturbation. Wear your favorite lingerie and have your partner catch you in the act as they enter the bedroom. Light some candles, put on soft music, and mutually masturbate while cooking dinner. There’s no limit to what you can do. (But be safe and don’t put your appendages or genitalia at risk; there are hazards in every kitchen!)

Mutual masturbation is a beautiful and hot way to connect with your partner in a low-stakes, fun environment, no matter how you make it happen. 

Stay Focused

Even if the action is hot, you can quickly lose focus if you start thinking about what’s going on. You might start wondering if your partner is into it, if you’re rubbing one out at a flattering angle or, unfortunately, what chores you need to get done tomorrow.

Before starting mutual masturbation, take a second to be present in the moment. Allow yourself to be fully involved and committed to the activity with your partner. If you feel that you’re starting to slip, double down and try a new position to keep your brain in the game. 

And, most importantly, notice that your partner is likely having a good time no matter what. You’re already here pleasing yourself the way you want to and feeling incredibly sexy in your own skin — and they’re into it, too. There’s no reason to feel self-conscious and worry. Just enjoy it! 

Notice Your Partner’s Sexual Topography

Masturbating with each other allows for stronger communication in a trusting and non-judgmental space, plus an intimate look at how your partner likes to be touched. This is sometimes described as learning your partner’s sexual topography, watching how your partner interacts with their favorite parts of their body and how they please themselves. 

Notice how your partner’s genitalia starts to swell or change color when aroused, pay attention to what is being said or done that gets you both off, pick up on the subtleties of where they like to touch themselves and how they like to do it. You have a front row seat to view your partner’s pleasure points – and that’s a great piece of intel to have when you want to satisfy them!

Don’t Feel Weird about Mutual Masturbation

Studies have shown that masturbation is normal for people who are in relationships. One survey reports that about half of vulva-owners in relationships pleasure themselves regularly, many of them with their significant other. And we probably don’t have to point out that couples’ foreplay regularly involves masturbation in one form of another (fingering is certainly among them), before it progresses to other sexual activities.

Want another example? Look at the top searches on porn tube sites for any given year. Sure, right near the top you’ll see evergreen subjects like hentai, POV, pornstars, MILFs, cumshots and creampies, but do you know what else regularly ends up in the top 25 search topics? Mutual masturbation. People get turned on by it – and when that happens, they try it. And like it.

So there’s nothing to feel weird about. Just about everyone masturbates, whether they’re single or in a relationship – and what could be more of a bonding experience than doing it together?

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