How mutual masturbation can transform your sex life

Libby Sheppard - Sex & Intimacy Coach
·9-min read
Photo credit: Tara Moore - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tara Moore - Getty Images

From Netdoctor

Masturbation is one of life's greatest pleasures and yet touching yourself is often overlooked in the bedroom. You know exactly how to hit your sweet spot and you always have a good time on your own, and yet masturbating with an audience can feel like a different matter. But what if you learned to share this sensual experience with your partner? Something as simple as mutual masturbation can be game-changing for your relationship, adding shared intimacy, increased pleasure and your very own live sex show into the mix. It's also one of the safest ways to get one off, not to mention sexy as hell. So what are you waiting for?

To help you get started Bodyworker and Sex & Intimacy Coach Libby Sheppard shares her expert tips on how to make the most out of mutual masturbation and learn the simple secrets of sensual, intimate touch at home:

What is mutual masturbation?

Mutual masturbation is any consensual sexual experience where two (or more) people are together - but predominantly engaged in sexually touching, pleasuring and stimulating themselves, rather than each other. Mutual masturbation can be in person, or virtually via video call or (audio only) phone.

The benefits of mutual masturbation

It can be incredibly vulnerable and intimate to share something that most people do in ‘secret’ or by themselves. Mutual masturbation can feel like exposing the deepest, most hidden parts of yourself. Masturbation typically has a lot of negative beliefs and conditioning attached to it so being witnessed (and witnessing others) can be really shame-busting, empowering and create deep bonds between you and your partner.

If you’re watching each other you can also store the experience in your mental fantasy-bank for later use. Knowing that my partner will be masturbating at a later date and thinking about me gets me super hot!

Mutual masturbation comes with a number of mind-body health benefits:

  • You’re focussed on your own pleasure, with no pressure to perform or ‘please’ another.

  • You get exactly what you want/need in terms of touch and stimulation as you’re receiving it from yourself.

  • Mutual masturbation can be liberating, empowering and shame-busting: just being in the presence of another and enjoying in your own pleasure and sexual arousal.

  • You might learn a thing or two about how your partner likes to be touched by seeing them touching themselves - it’s a great way to get inspiration to take into your reciprocal sex later on!

  • Mutual masturbation adds variety and excitement to the usual routine of penetrative, reciprocal sex or solo masturbation.

  • Masturbation is always a great way to release endorphins and bring relaxation to your body, especially when done mindfully and lovingly.

  • It can be an enjoyable part of a healthy sex life!

Photo credit: Inti St Clair - Getty Images
Photo credit: Inti St Clair - Getty Images

How to get started

I always encourage discussing sex and intimacy when you’re not in the middle of being sexual and intimate. A conversation before you get into the bedroom creates a strong foundation of trust, and lets you get the first layer of nerves and expectation out of the way so that you can relax more into the experience when you’re actually naked and in an intimate space.

Opening with ‘I read this really intriguing article on Netdoctor the other day, it was about mutual masturbation... have you ever heard of that?’ Is a good way to start.

I’ve personally been in a long-distance relationship for the past four years, so we introduced the idea of naked FaceTime and at least one of our calls each week when we were apart were specifically scheduled for nudity! It can be as simple as telling your partner that you miss touching them, and the next best option is to see them touching themselves.

Take your time, don’t rush it. Do it in ‘instalments’ to build confidence and trust: for example, keep your underwear on the first time you have a virtual mutual masturbation session, or drape yourself with a sarong if you’re together in person. If at any stage you’re not really feeling it then say so, pause it and check in with your partner - perhaps they want to carry on and you’re comfortable to just witness them.

Create a container

Creating a really clear ‘container’ for your experience can help you both to relax. So, you might like to agree how long you will spend trying it out, and do you want to use music, watch porn, or use toys etc. Figure out the practicals in advance so you can be as present as possible in the moment.

To build some arousal and energy, you can start out by massaging, kissing, or playing with each other before you shift the focus to self-touch. With the couples I work with, I recommend that to begin with they explore simply self-pleasuring side-by-side to remove the temptation to fall into ‘performance mode’.

Mutual masturbation tips

The tips I offer clients are the same things I encourage them to explore during solo masturbation to make it more satisfying and mindful:

✔️ Breath

Keep your breath flowing and relaxed, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Notice if you start to hold your breath or tighten up. The more deeply you breathe the more sensation you will feel in your whole body - not just your genitals.

✔️ Sound

Most people are self-conscious about making sound during masturbation but if you’re with a partner it will bring more energy and arousal to the situation. Let yourself moan, sigh, laugh or make whatever noises feel good. Verbalising what you’re doing to yourself can be super horny on a call.

✔️ Movement

Let your body move a little - shake your hips, wiggle your toes, change position if you want to.

✔️ Installation

When you’re finished, don’t just rush off into the next part of your day, give yourself a couple of minutes to just be still and quiet and let the experience ‘install’ - this is a bit like Savassana at the end of a yoga class!

✔️ Share afterwards

Talk to your partner afterwards - tell them what you enjoyed, what you found challenging, what distracted you, what kind of sensations you could feel in your body, what you might do differently next time etc. Take a couple of minutes each to just speak and be heard, not necessarily to respond. This kind of sharing and honesty will build a depth of intimacy and connection in your relationship and ensure the experience gets integrated, so it’s not something you do but feel ashamed of and never speak about again.

Photo credit: Jonathan Knowles - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jonathan Knowles - Getty Images

What if you’re shy about masturbation?

If you're feeling shy about mutual masturbation try doing it over the phone or by video first and not in person. Alternatively begin with a side-by-side set up so you’re not opposite each other/watching each other, which can feel a bit more vulnerable. This can help you to focus on your own body and sensations rather than being distracted or overwhelmed by the other(s).

You might also like to wear blindfolds, or keep your eyes closed. Gradually, as your confidence builds and you feel more relaxed, you can explore having your eyes open and seeing and being seen.

Mutual masturbation positions to try

To make the most of mutual masturbation, try one of the following positions:

❤️ Side-by-side

Being next to each other lessens the feeling of ‘performing’ and lets you enjoy your own body while hearing your partner’s moans of pleasure. It's great to start here and move to a more interactive position when you’re ready.

❤️ Sitting opposite each other

You can be totally separate or have some body contact with your legs draped over each other’s. Sitting at either end of the sofa makes this one quite hot and gives you some support for you back!

❤️ Head to toe

Like side by side, this position gives you more flexibility to switch between focussing on yourself and eye connection/watching your partner. This one is nice in bed, with pillows under your heads to prop you up.

❤️ Sitting back to back

Sitting back to back gives a nice bit of body-to-body contact but is also a good starting option if you’re shy. I love this one because you can feel each other’s breathing and the vibrations of your partner’s body as they moan.

❤️ If you’re in a group

Try sitting in a circle so you can witness and be witnessed. Being scattered randomly around a room is also good if some people are a bit more shy than others.

❤️ For naked FaceTime

If you're video calling each other, start by leaning back against the sofa, knees up, camera on the floor in front of you. This gives your partner a great view and leaves you hands free!

Mutual masturbation and sex toys

I encourage my clients to incorporate whatever they might normally use or feel comfortable with in terms of toys - some people use dildos, vibrators, fleshlights, anal beads or pussy pumps. I’ve been in group masturbation workshops where people have brought out their ropes and tied themselves up (which was beautiful and hot!)

As part of your preparation, show your partner the sex toys you use beforehand - especially if they haven’t seen them before. This can be a nice bit of foreplay to your shared masturbation experience - a bit of ‘show and tell’ describing what you do with the toy, how you use it and how it feels for your body!

I also always always recommend lube or oil for any sexual experience. Friction is the enemy of relaxed arousal.

Photo credit: Jonathan Storey - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jonathan Storey - Getty Images

Mutual masturbation risks

Mutual masturbation is pretty much the safest ‘sex’ you can enjoy, but there are a couple of things to be aware of:

• STI transmission

If you’ve been touching your own genitals and you then move to touching each other’s genitals there is a (relatively low) risk of STI transmission on your hands. A simple solution is either just wash your hands before you start touching each other, or pop on some latex/latex free gloves to start exploring each other’s genitals. It’s always good practice to check in with a new partner about their STI status and have regular STI check ups.

• Pregnancy

Equally, if a guy ejaculates or has pre-cum during mutual masturbation and then either starts penetrating his partner’s vagina with his fingers or penis there is (again, relatively low) risk of semen transfer which can lead to pregnancy. The simple solution is to wash your hands and penis after cumming or pop on a condom.

With virtual mutual masturbation, trust is essential. There’s always a risk that you might be non-consensually recorded. This is why I recommend discussing the idea in advance, setting ground rules and creating that safe ‘container’.

💟 For more information and advice on mutual masturbation and to learn the simple secrets of sensual, intimate touch at home, sign up to Libby Sheppard's online course in genital massage or check out her YouTube Channel.

Last updated: 04-02-2021

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