Mutual masturbation – when you and a partner (or more) masturbate together, touching either your own genitals, each other's bodies or genitals, or all of the above – is an often overlooked, and very fun, way to learn more about your own sexuality and your partner's. It's a chance to show your partner what sensations you enjoy, where, and in what ways. And it's a chance for you to watch your partner explore themselves and learn the same things. For folks who orgasm easily alone and less easily with partners, it can be a way to bridge the gap between solo and partnered sex, both since you're explicitly in control of your own pleasure and orgasm and because your partner can learn more about how you like to be touched. And for folks of any description who just don't want to have full-on partnered sex today, it's a lower-energy way to still be sexy together.


It can also be a great way to reduce fluid exchange as part of a safer sex practice – which can be a priority at any time, but which is especially important in a pandemic. (It can also reduce face-to-face breathing time... but since you're still in an enclosed space together, use your own risk reduction.) And it's a great way to have sex long-distance, too, whether over the phone or an encrypted video call.


There are so many good reasons to masturbate with a partner, but it's okay if you feel a little hesitant. For many of us, masturbation is tied up in a culture of shame around our bodies and the sexual pleasure they're capable of experiencing. Many of us consider masturbation to be too private to share with a partner. It can also feel really vulnerable, and not necessarily in a hot way, to have a partner staring at your genitals as you masturbate in whatever ways you don't usually share with anyone. Finally, when you're already committed to the moment of being sexy with a partner, sometimes it feels easier to just have sex in your usual ways.


But the next time you find yourself and your partner with only a few minutes to sexually connect with each other, or tired but also horny after a long day, or apart for a night or two (or because it's a pandemic), try mutual masturbation. Here's how.


Try Different Positions


Lying on your backs parallel to each other in bed is one way to mutually masturbate, especially if you just want to get off together and fall asleep or go about your days – but it's far from the only way.


If you want to stay in bed: Face each other on your sides. If you normally masturbate on your stomach, try mutually masturbating when you're on your stomach. Or, have one person straddle the other's chest for a close-up view.


If you want to take it beyond the bed: try sitting up across from each other, whether on opposite ends of the couch (with towels down) or in chairs across the room. You can also try it with one person sitting on a higher surface – like the bed, a chair, or a table, depending on your level of privacy – and the other sitting on a lower one – like the floor or a lower chair – for a direct eye-level view.


Use Your Hands


For many of us, our hands are our first and most familiar sex toy. Even if you're more of a sex toy person, using your hands while a partner watches is a great way to tune them in to how you want them to use their hands on you during partnered sex.


Use Sex Toys


Whether an old favorite or a new, bringing a sex toy into mutual masturbation can take things to a next level. Some of us wouldn't think twice before using a vibrator near a partner, whether they're inside of us or not, but for others, it can be challenging to remember to prioritize our own pleasure during sex. Even if you know that you are in charge of your own pleasure whether you're having sex with just yourself or in a room full of people, in mutual masturbation, it can feel more organic. A clitoral sucking toy like the P. Cat, depending on how you hold it, can allow your partner to watch your labia change with arousal or give you room to fuck yourself with your fingers. Try a penetrative toy like the G-Spot Dildo Vibrator, using it as an external vibrator first before heading towards your g-spot. Or wear a butt plug for a vibrating feeling of fullness and an unobstructed view.


It can be erotic to explore a new sex toy for the first time while a partner watches. It can be more high stakes than a solo exploration, and can sometimes be a little awkward, but if you'd normally try a new sex toy for the first time while in bed with a partner, masturbating with it in front of them first is a way to share the joy of discovery while tuning in to what sort of stimulation you get excited about. Everybody wins.