The Erotic Benefits of Mutual Masturbation

May 4 6 min read

You swiped on Tinder and matched with someone who looked exactly like their photos when they showed up in the coffee shop. The date was a smashing success with a teasing kiss at the end, so you scheduled a second. After dinner and a few drinks, the chemistry was palpable. You bring your date home, and even before you’re through the threshold, mouths entwined, hands are exploring lush curves and muscular planes. You tumble into bed, sure that the chemistry is going to carry you through a night of intense, earth-shaking sex. 


You leave an hour later, not having orgasmed and without the satisfaction you craved.


Sexuality is complicated. We all enter sexual relationships with our own set of likes and dislikes, fetishes, and hard limits. There’s a mountain of possibilities that we can enjoy and explore sexually. But when you add the complex sexual shame many people feel to that menu, it can be nearly impossible to figure out how to please a new partner. 


Even in long-term committed relationships, shame, fear, and embarrassment can keep us from really getting honest about what we do and don’t like in bed. When I was married to my ex-husband, he insisted on licking my clit directly, and I didn’t have the language to tell him that I prefer a slow approach so, I didn’t. I just had sex I didn’t like for nearly a decade. 


So, if you’ve found yourself in a situation where you aren’t sure how to get what you want sexually, or if asking “Could you please use slow circles around my clitoris instead of direct pressure?” turns your face into a tomato, mutual masturbation might be the answer. 


Mutual masturbation is a sexual act in which partners watch each other self-pleasure. It can include toys or not and can be done simultaneously or involve turn-taking. 


Mutual masturbation eliminates the need to explain your preferences in detail


The surest way to orgasm with any partner is knowing what you like and communicating it effectively. Unfortunately, many of us don’t learn the proper language to discuss sexual pleasure, so when we try, it’s like our tongues swell up in our mouths. We stumble, we use euphemisms, and the message gets jumbled. 


Setting aside time for mutual masturbation, whether with a new or established partner, can avoid confusion and increase pleasure for both of you. When you masturbate in front of a partner, they can see whether you prefer circles, vibration, double penetration, or a tweak of the nipple. 


People with penises can demonstrate whether a firm grip or loose grip feels better and whether or not they enjoy having the glans of their penis stroked. Partners can assist by massaging their scrotum or even just rub their thighs and watch. Making eye contact with your partner and whispering dirty things to encourage them while they pleasure themselves is intense and intimate.


Those with vaginas can show their partners their most sensitive spots and what sort of stimulation they need before and during penetration. All vulvas, clitorises and vaginas are different. Age, childbirth, stress, illness, and hormonal fluctuations can change the amounts and types of touch we enjoy. Taking time to show your partner how to touch you, what toys you want, and how you like to use them will empower you both.


Mutual masturbation eliminates the pressure of penetration


If having sex means you always get a foreign object shoved into your body, you’re more likely to say no to it. For most of my life, ‘sex’ meant letting a man put his penis inside my vagina. That definition of sex is tired and, frankly, heteronormative bullshit. What’s more, many vagina holders suffer from medical conditions that make penetration either complicated or downright painful. 


Sex is erotic touch involving one or more people that produces pleasure and may result in orgasm. That’s it. 


When I discuss that definition of sex with clients who struggle with penetrative sex, their shoulders release from their ears, they take a deep breath, and then they get excited at the possibilities.


When a couple (or throuple) decides that mutual masturbation is the activity of the day, it can result in alleviation of the pressure bottoms or vagina holders feel to allow a penis inside them. When pressure disappears, orgasms show up (repeatedly). 


Mutual masturbation can ensure that sex with a new partner is satisfying


If I’m going through all the effort of getting someone revved up only to find that they’re uninterested in my pleasure and, instead, want to use me as a decorative penis sleeve, I will not be a happy vagina-owner. There is an orgasm gap because while men learn that sexual pleasure is their right, women often don’t. 


Mutual masturbation can help women embrace their right to orgasm. I know what I like (thanks to years of experience touching my own parts) and am very good at communicating with new partners. However, some people are visual learners. There are plenty of penis owners out there who don't even know most of their pussy-having counterparts’ nerve endings are in their clitoris, not in their vagina.


When you’re with a new partner who struggles to get you excited, suggest that they watch you touch yourself. Few people interested in erotic experiences will turn this down (and if they do, I suggest finding your thong and summoning an Uber). You are too much of a goddess to waste time with someone uninterested in your orgasm. 


Mutual masturbation can spice up your monogamous sex-life


Having sex with the same person twice a week for 30 years can become stale if you let it. Those who choose a monogamous lifestyle can keep sex interesting by including a variety of sex acts that go beyond penetration. 


Throughout a monogamous relationship, age, illness, childbirth, and a host of other factors can affect one partner’s libido or both. When one partner cannot engage in penetrative intercourse, mutual masturbation can provide the intimacy, orgasmic relief, and physical connection that would otherwise be missing.

Molly Frances
« Molly Frances is a sexuality and erotica writer focused on female sexual empowerment. She explores bisexuality, non-monogamy, sexual shame, and how disability impacts our sex lives. When she isn't writing or working with private coaching clients, she's either on a beach, in the mountains, or driving her minivan around suburbia. She lives with her husband, a pile of children, an aging rescue dog, and too many books. You can read more of Molly's writing on Medium or her website. If you want periodic updates on her work, and exclusive, original content subscribe to her newsletter Molly's Secrets. » All posts →