Often deemed a solo act, masturbation is not only a core pillar of sexual intimacy with oneself but also a mighty tool for speaking to and manifesting personal fantasies and desires with sexual partners. It’s an insulated moment where anyone can evoke self-love in the highest form to orgasm completion. Masturbation can also live as an intimate action between two partners when physical intercourse isn’t available for myriad reasons.
Mutual masturbation is a handy option in the partner play toolkit; there are a lot of fun ways to build up the suspense and sexual energy without having to lay a finger on the other person. Not sure how it all works? Here’s a guide to getting off with each other.
Why Masturbate When You Can Have Sex?
Masturbation doesn’t die when you’re in a relationship. In fact, masturbation is a prime way to understand what you like and how to communicate that to a partner—using alone time to find your stride and work out the likes and dislikes of your own pleasure. Plus, mutual masturbation is 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). What’s more, the chances that both you and your partner are ready to get down on the same schedule all the time is highly unlikely. Our individual moods and desires to be touched change with the day and are not always in sync. Mutual masturbation broadens our concept of sex and sexual intimacy, positively changing how we see our sex life with our partner.
How To Talk About It
Depending on how the two of you communicate with each other, this could be as quick as telling the other person to stay put while you bring yourself to orgasm, talking about it through different devices, or maybe even making a 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. Maybe send a mid-day text with a clip to gauge interest. Or take a moment to show your partner the scene while in bed, and have a real discussion about the fantasy of watching each other masturbate. If you’re more inclined towards reading, look for erotic stories in digital magazines like Aurore and send a link to your partner’s phone.
As mentioned earlier, this could be a spur-of-the-moment conversation where you start and ask your partner to join in. This is a great opportunity to bring out your favorite sex toys and use them to your partner’s visual delight — get off on the fact that you’re being (consensually) watched. There is also a lot of fun in making this activity into something much more elaborate by masturbating together on the couch, across the room, on opposite ends of the bed, while watching porn, sending texts to each other before getting home, 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 to broach with another human. We have been taught in so many ways to repress those urges and to keep our hands at bay from touching our genitalia. It wasn’t that long ago that masturbation was linked to blindness. And because of this, there is an inherent difficulty when speaking about our fantasies. If there is an interest in becoming more sexually explorative with a partner or 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 where you and your partner get dressed up to dinner at your favorite restaurant just to talk about your sex life. Both can come with a list of questions and fantasies, or can have a conversation about what you’re both looking for in the bedroom — the restaurant will be a neutral, judgment-free space where both people can speak to their desires. Kick it up a notch by filling out your own Yes, No, Maybe list prior to the date and spend your entrées getting real close and seductively speaking to each other’s fantasies.
Give Some Creative Direction
Now that you are both aware of how the other likes to be pleased, it’s time to get creative with your solo-but-together fantasies. Mutual masturbation is teeming with creativity that can manifest on the bed, the couch, the kitchen, the shower, the floor, etc. There is even room for roleplaying and power dynamics.
Use distance as a way to build the tension by placing each other super far away to enact those voyeur fantasies — or get really close so you’re both right in the action of every circular motion, vibrative pulse, or close-to-completion stroke. Mutual masturbation doesn’t have to be a no-touch zone in any way! Integrating sensual touching or even spanking into the play can create a different power dynamic between you and your partner. Navigate different ways to lay on each other or on top of each other to create an even more intense build-up.
Create ambience: 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. (But be safe and don’t put your limbs, appendages, genitalia at risk of any kitchen hazards!) Mutual masturbation is a beautiful and hot way to connect with your partner in a low-stakes, fun environment between the two of you, no matter how it’s happening.
No matter how hot the scene is or the power behind the sex toy, the insistent silliness of it all is strong enough to lose focus. It’s so easy to slip off and wonder if your partner is into it, if you’re rubbing one out at a flattering angle, and what you need to get done tomorrow. Before getting into it, take a second to really feel yourself and allow your brain to be fully there with your partner, and commit, hard, to this moment. If you feel your brain start to slip, double down and try a new position to keep your brain in the game.
And, most importantly: Note that your partner is likely having a good time no matter what. You’re already here pleasing yourself the way you want to, feeling incredibly sexy in your own skin — they are very into it, so don’t worry!
Notice Your Partner’s Sexual Topography
Masturbating with each other allows for stronger communication, a trusting and non-judgmental space, and an intimate look into how your partner likes to be touched. This is sexual topography, a moment where you can watch how your partner pleases themselves. The whole scene can be one big tease, starting with one of you and building up to let the other join in on the fun. Notice how your partner’s genitalia starts to swell or change color when aroused, play attention to what is being said or done that gets you both off, pick up on the subtleties of where they like to place their hand, head, neck, legs, and other parts. You have a front row seat to your partner’s pleasure points, a great piece of intel for the next round!
Laura Delarato is a writer, body-positive activist, sex educator, and the creator of 1-800-HEYLAURA, a newsletter dedicated to great sex and loving yourself.