Volonté is excited to feature the writings of several sex and relationship experts from Dr. Ian Kerner’s project, Good in Bed. This week we welcome Vanessa Marin, a licensed psychotherapist, coach, and writer who helps people stop feeling embarrassed and start having more fun in the bedroom. Below she discusses the benefits of masturbating in front of your partner, and how incorporating mutual masturbation can make your time in the bedroom more exciting.
A common request I receive in my role as a sex therapist is for tips on how to spice up one’s sex life. One idea clients rarely consider is mutual masturbation, which is one of the simplest but hottest ways to mix things up.
Mutual masturbation is when you masturbate in front of your partner, typically at the same time your partner is also masturbating. Some people get a little nervous about trying this, since most of us have been masturbating alone for our entire lives. We’ve been socialized to believe that masturbation in and of itself is “naughty,” so the idea of doing it openly in front of another person can seem even more forbidden
But that sense of taboo is one of the reasons why it can be so thrilling!
Why Mutual Masturbation Is Worth Trying
For one thing, mutual masturbation can be an unexpected and novel way to shake up your usual bedroom routine. Any time you introduce something new into your sex play, it can add a frisson of excitement to whatever you’re doing.
The element of being “on display” can also be incredibly sexy, especially if you have either voyeuristic or exhibitionistic tendencies. If the signs of your partner’s arousal—his moans, his sighs, the swelling of his penis—are a turn-on for you, why not encourage him to masturbate in front of you? If you enjoy the feel of your partner’s eyes on you, you may find that masturbating in front of him heightens your experience.
Masturbating in front of your partner can also help you become more comfortable with your own masturbation habits. As you do this, you may even discover a new technique!
Mutual masturbation can also ensure you have an orgasm with your partner. Showing your partner how you pleasure yourself can help you teach your partner what you like. It’s the sexiest game of “show not tell” you can imagine.
Okay. You’ve Sold Me. How Can I Proceed in a Non-Awkward Way?
If you’re new to mutual masturbation, try sending your partner this article and asking if they’d be interested in giving it a whirl. As fellow Good in Bed-er Kate McCombs, M.P.H. has previously written, sometimes the best way to approach a conversation like this is to say, “Hey, I read this thing and thought it seemed interesting. You game?”
Or try initiating mutual masturbation as the two of you are already starting to get intimate. Touch your partner with your hands, and then pull away and say, “why don’t you take over for a minute?” You can then continue to switch back and forth to help each other get more comfortable.
Another option is to say something like, “you know what would be really sexy? I’d love to watch you touch yourself.” Or to turn it around, ask your partner, “do you want to watch me while I touch myself? I want to show you what I like to do when I’m thinking about you.”
If you’re feeling shy, you can keep the lights off, or perhaps even light a single candle. You won’t be able to see everything, but you’ll still know what the other person is doing.
And if you’re not ready to display the specific masturbation techniques you use when you’re all alone, you can keep it simple by using slow, sensual strokes. This can be a great way to ease into things.
9 Ways to Take Your Mutual Masturbation to the Next Level
Once you get comfortable touching yourselves in front of each other, there are a ton of easy ways to switch it up:
Have just one partner masturbate at a time, while the other watches. This ups the voyeuristic factor.
Have one partner be the “boss.” For example, perhaps one partner can only touch themselves—or bring themselves to orgasm—when given explicit permission, and then must stop masturbating when their partner tells them to.
Tag team each other’s bodies. If your partner is a woman, try fingering her internally while she strokes her clitoris. If your partner is a man, you can caress his balls or knead his perineum while he strokes his shaft or works his penis with a masturbation sleeve.
Try role-playing by pretending to “catch” your partner in the act. Set up the scene beforehand so you both know the plan. While the one who is masturbating will know what’s coming, the thought that someone can walk in at any time can be a huge turn-on.
Or call your partner into the bedroom and surprise them by being on the bed, masturbating.
Switch up the timing. Try masturbating together before or after whatever activities tend to be your “main event” as a couple. Or try taking breaks from the main event to spend a few minutes masturbating.
Bring toys into the picture. There are a number of great options out there whether you’re a man or a woman including the very highest tech in sex.
Because there are so many ways to experiment with mutual masturbation, it holds so much potential for being a source of constant novelty and excitement in the bedroom. So what are you waiting for? Get those fingers going!