September 24, 2019

Mutual Masturbation: What Is It, And Should You Try It With Your Partner?

Written by
Cassandra Corrado
Published on
September 24, 2019
Updated on
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When you think of masturbation, you probably picture being alone. After all, Merriam-Webster defines “masturbation” as erotic stimulation especially of one's own genital organs. But that definition doesn’t say anything about masturbation being something you have to do on your own — you can do it with your partners, too. 

What does mutual masturbation mean?

“Mutual masturbation” might sound like two contradictory words, but it’s really just a complex way of describing two or more people masturbating together.  Mutual masturbation isn’t (necessarily) a silent and separated sexy time, and there isn’t one prescribed way to do it. You could use a toy or use your hands; make-out with or (consensually) touch your partners while they masturbate. You can engage in kink, BDSM, dirty or talk. The adventure is yours to design.

If you had a “but why?” reaction, you’re not alone. Many people feel uncomfortable talking about masturbation with their partners, let alone actually masturbating together. 

Masturbating with your partner isn’t just a totally normal thing to do, it’s also something that can strengthen your relationship and improve your sex life. But just like any sexual activity, the first time you and your partner masturbate together can feel awkward or exciting (or both). Lean into the awkward, because trying something completely new with your partner can be exhilarating. It might even give you something new to add to your toolbox! 

Here are five reasons why you might want to try out mutual masturbation: 

1. You can show your partner what you like. 

Have you and your partners talked — really talked — about what you like when it comes to sex? Many people don’t, instead opting to assume their partners will pick up on signals or guiding gestures.

The reality is sexual guesswork isn’t fun for anyone, and can have some damaging effects. So, instead of assuming your partner knows how you want to be touched, talk to them about it — then show them. 

2. It could strengthen your connection.

Masturbation is an incredibly intimate act. It’s personal, and for many people, masturbation is even more personal than partnered sex — that’s why some of us may have a nervous, fluttery reaction when we think about mutual masturbation.

That’s exactly why mutual masturbation can strengthen the connection and intimacy you share with a partner. 

3. It’s one way to spice up your sex life. 

Sometimes, we’re just not in the mood for the same type of play. That’s okay! Mutual masturbation might be an option for you. Check in with each other ahead of time to make sure you’re each okay being in the same space while the other is freestyling. You may each be masturbating, but that doesn’t mean that rules and boundaries don’t apply — if one of you might be triggered by what the other person is wanting at the time, it may be best to masturbate on your own rather than together.

4. It’s awesome for a lazy day.

Have you ever gotten into bed and said (or thought), “I’d love to have sex, but I’m just exhausted”? It can be hard to balance all of our daily responsibilities and stresses while also maintaining a fulfilling sex life. Sex doesn’t have to just follow one script, so if you just don’t have the energy for a thorough romp, try masturbating together instead.

Mutual masturbation during a busy day or week tells our partners that our sexual connection to them matters to us, even when we just aren’t feeling up to other types of sex. 

5. It provides you with fluid protection.

Maybe one of you is menstruating and period sex just isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re dealing with an STI and want to avoid genital contact for a bit. Whatever your reason, some people engage in mutual masturbation as a way of not sharing fluids with their partners. 

A heads-up, though — if one of you is using a toy that you share, put a condom on it or properly sanitize it after you’re all done before you share. 

Just because mutual masturbation is, well, masturbation, doesn’t mean that you don’t need to set up some sexual boundaries. Before you get started, make sure you and your partners are on the same page about what is okay and what’s off-limits (like cumming on each other or particular types of kink play). Then, set the scene — you’re ready for (mutual) action. 

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Cassandra is an independent sex educator who teaches at colleges and universities across the United States. Formerly a victim advocate, her teaching areas focus in un/healthy relationships, violence prevention, LGBTQ+ health, and pleasure. As an undergraduate student at New College of Florida, Cassandra founded a 24/7 relationship education resource center, institutionalized Sexual Assault Awareness Month programming, facilitated Title IX working groups, co-authored a best practices document for gender inclusivity in the classroom, developed a safe space training program, and taught a course in bystander intervention program development. When she isn’t teaching, you can find her at a park with her dog or curled up with a book.

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