It’s the hottest, most intimate thing you can do with your partner—without actually touching each other.
The first time you fart in front of each other. The first time you use the same toothbrush (experts say that’s a no-no, btw). The moment you’re pronounced partners for life. There are certain ~defining~ moments in every relationship. For me and my current boo, that list includes the first time we got down with our bad selves…in the same room.
Now—just like lube and vibrator use—mutual masturbation is a staple of our sex life. But pseudoscience (read: the findings from an Instagram poll and some NSFW convos with my coworkers and pals) shows that mutual masturbation is as underrated as non-vibrating sex toys, which is to say, very underrated.
Selfless sex writer that I am, in an effort to sway you and your sweetie toward giving partnered solo play a go, I put together this mutual masturbation manifesto.
Go on, and use one hand to scroll and the other for (ahem) practice.
What Is Mutual Masturbation?
Considering masturbation is typically a one-person thing, “mutual masturbation” might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not. So, just as any thorough manifesto does, we’ll start with a definition: Mutual masturbation puts two (or more!) people having “solo” sex into the same room (or Skype session). “It entails touching yourself in a pleasurable way while your partner(s) touch(es) themselves in a pleasurable way,” explains Indigo Wolfe, sex educator and sex toy reviewer.
If you’ve heard of mutual masturbation but thought it entailed manually stimulating your partner while they manually stimulate you (“second base,” if you will), that’s not wrong. Mutual masturbation has two meanings, according to body-positive sex educator Carly S with The Pleasure Chest. But this manifesto is all about watching your partner get themselves off while getting yourself off. (If you have Qs on hand sex, check out this guide to fingering).
Why Mutual Masturbation Is Magic
Pleasure (for both partners) is a sure thing. One of the best parts of any kind of sex—beyond just enjoying it yourself—is knowing that your partner is feeling good too. And with mutual masturbation, both their pleasure and yours are basically a guarantee. “You and your partner both know exactly how to make yourselves feel good,” says Wolfe. “When you masturbate together—by watching, listening, smelling, helping, encouraging, etc.—you get to be part of each other’s experience of pleasure,” they say.
You can see what your partner likes. For visual learners, this is especially clutch. Why? Because as long as your eyes aren’t rolling into the back of your head in pleasure, “you literally get to see exactly how your partner likes to be touched,” says Carly S. Your partner is the King or Queen of their Netherlands and the best person to give you a personal tour. Watch and learn.
And they can see what you like. Of course, this is a two-way street. The way you fold your labia over your clit to buffer the intensity of the vibe? Your partner gets to see that. The fact that you more-or-less ignore the left side of your clit while doting on the right side? Your partner gets to see that too. Chances are, your partner will (ahem) cum away with some new moves and grooves to use the next time you both try your hand(s) at the other definition of mutual masturbation.
Don’t worry, auditory learners—you’ll get yours too. “In addition to getting to watch your partner, you also get to hear them,” says Carly S. Turn down the Bryson Tiller (or whatever is on your Sexy Time Playlist) so you can really hear the hot grunts, moans, and groans your boo’s making.
Mutual masturbation is also a great way to introduce toys into the bedroom. “You get to show your partner just how brilliantly your sex toy works, and how you like to use it. Seeing the toy in action may make your partner less skeptical about the toy,” they say. While you’re using it on yourself, go ahead and borrow one of these lines: “I wish I could feel you inside me while I use this on my clit” or “I want to make myself come with this toy while tasting you.” Hard not to get behind a sex toy with that kind of talk. (More here: How to Introduce a Sex Toy Into Your Relationship)
It’s pretty safe, as far as sex goes. From an STI standpoint, so long as you’re not sharing sex toys (without swapping the condom covering them first), mutual masturbation has very little risk of transmission. While this is great for couples where one or more people currently have an STI, mutual masturbation shouldn’t replace the safe sex talk. (Anytime you’re stripping down with someone, you should talk about STI status. If you don’t know how to have the STI talk, check out these helpful tips.)
It can be an appetizer or the main event. Mutual masturbation can be *the* sexual activity or it can be just part of it, says Wolfe. “It’s a great main course option when you’re short on time, but both want to climax—because nobody knows how to make you come more quickly than yourself,” they say. But, if you have time “it’s a great act to incorporate before penetrative sex because it ensures that you’re super aroused—a must for comfortable penetration.” (BTW, here’s why being warmed up before penetrative play is so important.)
It’s insanely intimate. Beyond the sweet physical sensations, personally, I find mutual masturbation to be one of the most intimate sexual acts. Sure, having someone inside you or coming against/in your mouth are intimate, too. But there’s something about showing someone how you touch yourself when nobody is watching—especially for anyone who was told not to when they were younger (*eye roll*)—that’s even more intimate.
Best Mutual Masturbation Positions
Just like in any type of sex, as long as all parties are on-board, there’s no wrong way to do it. But if you’re not sure where to start, scroll down for seven mutual masturbation sex positions that are sex-educator recommended (and sex-writer tested and approved).
The best position for macking while you masturbate, facing spoons is similar to Side by Side (see below) but rather than lying on your back, you’ll flip onto your sides so you’re eye-to-eye and mouth-to-mouth. You can eye-gaze, kiss, moan into each other’s mouths (hot!), or dirty talk while you stroke yourselves. If you’re a one-handed rubber, with your free hand, you might touch your partner’s chest, hold their face, or trace their (upstairs) lips.
If your partner enjoys nipple stimulation, you might hold a clit suction toy against their nipples, which (with lube) mimics the sensation of a tongue. Or, if they consent, you might hold a wand vibrator, which gives you a lot of reach to their bits. (PS: Wand vibrators aren’t just for vulva-owners! Some people with penises enjoy the sensation of vibration against their head or perineum.)
Maybe one of you is menstruating and you’re not Team Period Penetration. Maybe one or both of you currently has an HSV (herpes) outbreak or another STI. Or maybe you find penetrative intercourse painful. Whatever the reason, if you can’t or don’t want to have penetrative sex for whatever reason, Wolfe recommends this imitation position.
“One partner will lay on their back, and the other will flip over and masturbate on their belly, either with legs overlapping or not,” they explain. “It mimics missionary intercourse, which is a real draw for those who can’t currently (or ever) have it.”
A fun spin on face-sitting, chest chair brings a bit of power-play into the mix. Rather than a partner squatting or kneeling over the other’s mouth, they’ll lower themselves onto their belly or chest. (For this position, it’s usually best to let the bigger-bodied partner lie on bottom.) “The pressure of someone sitting on you can be relaxing and anxiety-relieving the way a weighted blanket can,” says Wolfe. “It also mimics the sensation of being pinned down, a plus for duos who enjoy being tied up or pinned down.”
If you enjoy the sensation of handing over control of your hand, put one hand between your legs and the other at your side. Then, have your partner plant their knees outside of your hands, so that you can’t move them, suggests Wolfe. “This creates a dichotomy of feeling really safe and secure, while also playing with danger and power.” Fun!
Wolfe calls out that this is an especially good option for folks who feel self-conscious about their partner “inspecting” their genitals while they masturbate. “The person on top literally can’t see the bottom’s genitals, but they can see all the hot facial expressions you make when you’re close…”
For this position, have a partner lean against the headboard, with their legs spread. The other partner will climb between their legs, leaning back on them. The top partner can nuzzle against their partner’s chest, and the bottom partner can lean forward to kiss you or whisper into the other’s ear. *Devil emoji.*
If your partner has a penis or is wearing a strap-on, sitting dead-center of their lap may make it tricky for them to reach their junk, so scooch your bum so you’re a little off-center. Another option: have them use a hands-free masturbator like the Hot Octopus Duo which does all the work for them.
Voyeurs and exhibitionists to the front. For this position, you’ll sit on either end of the sofa, facing each other with your legs spread while you do your thang. Nothing is off-limits here, folks.
Pro tip: Put the moisture-resistant Liberator Throw over the couch before getting into position. That way if one of you squirts or spritz when you finish, clean-up is easy. (Related: Is Squirting Real? What to Know About Female Ejaculation)
Long-distance couples are probably the OG mutual masturbators. But you don’t have to live 3,000 miles away from your boo to boink it with them over the internet. “Build anticipation by sexting throughout the day, or making a Skype sex date,” suggests Carly S. Then ring, answer, rub, and position the camera as you please.
“Just make sure you really trust the person you’re doing this with because revenge porn is a thing,” says Carly S. And be sure to use a secure server like Skype, she says. “It’s against terms of service to be naked on Facebook chat, and you don’t want to get kicked off Facebook for masturbating with your partner…” True.
Side by Side
“Most people masturbate on their backs when they’re alone, so laying on your backs next to each other allows everyone to touch themselves in the way that they’re most familiar,” says Wolfe. Boost the intimacy of the position by overlapping your limbs, holding hands between your bods, or turning your heads to the side. (Related: 13 Masturbation Tips for Mind-Blowing Solo Sex)
If you’ve never masturbated in front of a partner and are a little self-conscious, this is a great entry position because your partner can get the gist of what you’re doing to your genitals, but won’t be able to make out specifics. Once you’re more comfortable, you can graduate to propping your backs up with a stack of pillows, which will give you a way better view of what the other is doing. (And, you want to steer closer to second base, all you need to do is reach over, as shown.)
“For both your solo masturbation practice and mutual masturbation practice, you might want to invest in the Liberator Wedge, which you can use to get into a comfortable reclined position,” says Wolfe. *Adds to shopping cart.*
How Make Mutual Masturbation Even Better
In addition to switching up positions, you can make mutual masturbation even better just as you would any other kind of sex: by incorporating as many of the five senses as possible. “Think about the scent of the room. Experiment with different textures, vibrations, and fabrics to change how your own touch feels on your body. Put porn on in the background if neither of you makes much noise,” says Carly S.
You can also experiment with adding in new toys or costumes, playing with temperature, trying with different kinds of lube (like THC lube or CBD lube, for example), and paying extra close to your often-ignored erogenous zones like the breasts, butt, and neck. As Wolfe says, “If it feels good, it’s fair game.”