Mutual masturbation may be the key to a better sex life—because two hands are better than one

If there’s anything better than enjoying the benefits of masturbating (think: reduced pain, increased confidence—in and out of the bedroom—improved sleep quality, and lowered stress levels), it’s gotta be “earning” those benefits right alongside someone you’re hot for. That’s where mutual masturbation comes (wink) in.

Certified sex coach Gigi Engle, sexpert and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life says mutual masturbation is a sex act worth trying if you’re looking to spice up your sex life or learn how to better pleasure your partner.

“Mutual masturbation can light up all kinds of erotic energy in your relationship, she says.

But what is mutual masturbation? And how can you incorporate it into your sex life? We consulted with Engle and two other sex educators to bring you this guide. 

What exactly is mutual masturbation and why is it so great?

Mutual masturbation refers to the act of pleasuring yourself within the view of your partner, while they also touch themself, explains Engle. Basically, it takes solo loving and turns it into a team sport. 

Jill McDevitt, CalExotics’ resident sexologist, tells HelloGiggles that mutual masturbation is just as visually and aurally stimulating as it is physically. “Humans tend to find it arousing [when they] see and hear other people have sex, that’s why porn has always been popular,” she says. When you and your partner masturbate in front of each other, “you are each giving the other a private sexy show,” she explains. Plus, there’s all the hot moans, groans, and grunts to listen to. 

Don’t read it wrong: Getting your own personal porn show isn’t just hot in the moment. Mutual masturbation can also make future encounters hotter. Dr. McDevitt explains, “We are all the best experts on our own bodies and what makes us feel good.” So, watching how your partner touches themself can be super educational for you, and vice versa. 

“Sure, you should still ask what your partner likes and explain what you want. But seeing someone do it for themselves is a totally different animal, says Engle. “You might learn that your partner likes having the top of their penis touched more than you realized, or that your partner likes to feel vibrations against their mons pubis."

Pleasure-based sex educator and sex-positivity advocate Lateef Taylor clarifies mutual masturbation is only educational if “folks are touching themselves in an authentic way, and not performing masturbation for their partner’s sake.” Trust, the visual of you actually experiencing pleasure at your own hand is much sexier than that of you pretending to pleasure yourself for your partners benefit. 

How to try mutual masturbation

If you’ve always been hush-hush about your own masturbation practice, the thought of introducing mutual masturbation to your partner and your sex life may be intimidating. Dr. McDevitt suggests using technology to your benefit. If you and your partner sext, and your partner is in a position where they’re able to receive a NSFW message (aka has given consent), next time you’re touching yourself, tell them. For example, “I’m bringing my hand between my legs and stroking myself thinking of the time we had sex… the way you looked when you [insert specifics here].” 

Or, type out a scene that features you and your partner touching yourselves in front of each other, and see if that’s something your partner might be interested in. For example, “I’m thinking about licking my way down your body, and kissing your thighs and belly while you touch yourself and I watch, as I grind against my own hand at the same time. Is that something you might find hot in real life?” 

You can also take a step towards mutual masturbation by having phone sex. Because it takes the visual component out of it, some folks find it less nerve-wracking. But you still get the oh-so-hot experience of hearing the sounds your boo makes when they stroke themselves. 

Another option: Fill out a yes/no/maybe list (like this one, or like the graphic below) with your partner, and add a check mark to the “mutual masturbation” section.


Here’s how to make mutual masturbation feel even better

Below, Dr. McDevitt and Engle share their go-to tips for a magical MM (mutual masturbation) marathon. 

1Bring in toys.

“Definitely get some toys in on the action,” suggests Engle—especially if you use toys in your solo sex life. “If you have a penis, you might use a wand vibrator like the Le Wand on the head of your penis, or you might enjoy masturbation sleeves like the Tenga Egg,” she says. 

If you have a vulva, McDevitt recommends using a vibrator with a long handle (like this vibrator from Calexotics), which “can help you more-easily reach your clit,” she says.

2Cue up some porn.

Want to try mutual masturbation but feel shy about having your partner’s eyes on you the whole time? Engle recommends watching some (ethical) porn together. “Just be sure to find something that you both enjoy, so that you’re both turned on,” she says. If you’re specifically seeking out porn scenes that include mutual masturbation, search for gay or queer porn sites, where mutual masturbation is a more common occurrence. (CrashPadSeries is a great place to start.)

Personally, I enjoy listening to porn while my partner and I masturbate together because it helps me feel less self-conscious about making noise. We like to use audio porn app Dipsea

“If porn is not your thing, you can try reading some erotica together while you masturbate. This can also be very stimulating,” says Engle. Sugar Butch Chronicles, Girl On The Net, Literotica, and Aurore are all good sources. 

3Play around with positions.

“There are a thousand different ways you and your partner can configure your bodies,” says Dr. McDevitt. One option is to lay or sit side-by-side, intertwining your legs for boosted intimacy. Another is to have one partner lie back, missionary style, with an aptly placed hand or vibrator, and the second partner lying between their legs on their stomach or back. 

“You can also try sitting face to face, lotus-style, and reach between your legs to stimulate yourself,” she says. This configuration makes eye-contact easy-peasy. And, it also gives you a great view of your partner’s bits, which is never a bad thing. 

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