Social distancing is the new norm, which means getting frisky is, well, a little riskier. But you don't have to let your sex life wilt just because you're doing your part to flatten the curve — you just have to be open to trying something new. Although masturbating with your partner may not be a regular item on most sexual menus, engaging in a little mutual masturbation can up your sexual intimacy.
"Although there’s some debate on the term, it can mean whatever you want it to mean," Dr. Jill McDevitt, resident sexologist at CalExotic, tells Bustle. Narrated masturbation can look like a myriad of things: One partner can masturbate while the other watches, both can get it on simultaneously, or they can alternate on and off.
Mutual masturbation is also an excellent practice when it comes to bringing couples closer together. As Tara Skubella, sexual health expert and tantra coach, tells Bustle, "Self-pleasuring with a partner, whether in person or virtually, can be one of the most intimate and sexual experiences we can share with a person."
If you still need me to massage the idea a little more. If so, here are 10 reasons to masturbate with your partner over FaceTime tonight.
1. It's A Good Way To Show What You Like
If you've always been effortlessly able to communicate precisely what gets you off to your partner, well, kudos to you. If not, Todd Baratz, sex and relationship therapist, tells Bustle, "Mutual masturbation can be used as a learning opportunity where you show each other what feels good." Since masturbating with your partner can feel like a low-pressure environment (because there's no "next level" of action that one or both of you are eager to get to — there's just the here and now), it can be easier to give a detailed explanation of what you do and don't like in bed.
Showing your partner exactly how you like it done, by showing on yourself, can make a world of difference — a picture (of you touching yourself) is worth a thousand words. And no, this doesn't have to be dryly educational; showing your partner how you like to ring your own doorbell can be sexy as hell, especially if you incorporate dirty talk, toys, other touching, or whatever else your heart and vag desire.
2. It Can Help You Become More Comfortable Talking About Sex
Learning how your partner likes to be touched and teaching them what turns you on is just one benefit of mutual masturbation — talking about how good what you're doing feels in the moment can help you feel more comfortable talking about your body, in and out of the bedroom. According to Nicole Buratti, sex and relationship coach, mutual masturbation is a form of sexual communication that can be used to open the lines of conversation about your sex life as a whole.
3. It's A Great Way To Have Sex When You're Too Tired To Have Sex
When you're horny or want to feel close to your partner, but don't feel like you have the energy to start engaging in penetrative sex, oral sex, or manual stimulation, masturbating together — while you kiss, touch, or do whatever else you feel moved to do in the moment — can often scratch the itch. As Sarah Melancon, Ph.D., clinical sexologist, tells Bustle, "It allows you to be sexual together in a more low-key way." You can make it as intimate as you want, and there can be a guaranteed orgasm at the end if you want one (which isn't always the case for people engaging in intercourse).
4. It Can Broaden Your Ideas Of What Exactly Sex Is
According to Melancon, mutual masturbation isn't just a substitute for other kinds of partnered sex — it can be fun and sexy on its own. Thinking otherwise helps no one, least of all you.
Anything feels pleasurable, sexy, and intimate "counts" as sex, including masturbating with a partner. Experimenting with accepting and treating mutual masturbation as a complete sexual encounter — instead of a prelude to something else — can open the doors to accepting that what excites or satisfies you might be different from what the world has told you to be excited or satisfied by.
5. It Can Lead To More Sex
Mutual masturbation can also make you realize that you want to do more with your partner. Which is also awesome — who doesn't like realizing that they have a second wind in them? It can be easy to think you're too tired to have sex, especially when you're in a long-term relationship with someone you adore but have also slept with approximately one hundred bazillion times. I mean, just the word "sex" can sound tiring. And while you never have to have sex if you don't feel like it, a bout of brief, low-impact mutual masturbation can sometimes help you realize that you're not quite as tired as you thought, especially once you've been waxing your own fender for a few minutes.
6. It Can Break Up The Routine
Not to rag on long-term relationships, but it can be pretty easy to get into a sexual rut, no matter what you're into. In this kind of situation, introducing something new in bed is always good, and mutual masturbation has the added bonus of being low-key and easy to do. "Having a variety of potential sex acts on the table gives you more flexibility depending on what is going on in your life and the time and energy you have available for sex," Melancon says. There are a lot of possibilities, as well. For example, you can just take turns watching each other, you can do it while watching ethical porn together, and you can even try sharing fantasies with each other. Mutual masturbation has a very low failure rate, and involves supplies you already have around the house!
7. It's Your Own Private Show
The benefits of mutual masturbation can be felt both in the moment and future sexual encounters. According to McDevitt, "As humans, we are inclined to be aroused by seeing and hearing other people have sex, hence porn. Watching your partner have sex with themselves is tapping into that." Unlike your go-to porn that thousands of other people have watched, the image of your partner masturbating is for you and you alone. It's an image that can stay in your mind for the next time you're trying to fall asleep.
8. It's Worth A Try If You Have Trouble Finishing With Your Partner
If you can't orgasm with your partner, remember that every couple is different. Sometimes, experimenting in the bedroom and trying new things can help you find what turns you on. Christopher Ryan Jones, PsyD, clinical sex therapist, tells Bustle that he sometimes recommends clients who have arousal or orgasm issues try mutual masturbation. "This really allows for one partner to focus on what brings their other pleasure and how they respond to various types of touching," Jones says. "During intercourse, it's easy to get distracted by your own pleasure and performance. During mutual masturbation, you can switch your focus."
9. It Can Help Strengthen The Connection
Mutual masturbation can build intimacy and strengthen the connection you have with each other in a way that no other sexual act can. According to Baratz, masturbating with a partner emphasizes sexual vulnerability. "For some, it’s like sharing a secret; the secret to their body that is," he says. "There is no other sexual experience that offers so many different layers of connective potential as it allows for both partners to focus on their own pleasure in the presence of each other."
10. It Can Help You Become More Comfortable With Sex
If you're new to sex, shy about sex, or kind of nervous about exploring your body and figuring out what you like, mutual masturbation can be a great venue for exploration. If you're intimidated by the idea of masturbating, mutual masturbating gives you a built-in cheering section; if you're shy about expressing what you like to a partner, mutual masturbation can give you a slightly more low-key environment in which to explore. According to Baratz, mutual masturbation can even help you feel more comfortable and confident during other sexual acts.
Todd Baratz, sex and relationship therapist
Tara Skubella, sexual health expert and tantra coach
Nicole Buratti, sex and relationship coach
Sarah Melancon, Ph.D., clinical sexologist,
Christopher Ryan Jones, PsyD, clinical sex therapist
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