As women in society, we are often taught to put our needs last, and this comes into the bedroom as well. We’re taught, whether it be through movies, porn, or TV, that pleasing our partner is paramount, and pleasing ourselves comes secondary. Because of this, even the thought of taking our orgasms (literally) into our own hands through masturbation is an idea that only crosses our minds when we’re alone and really feeling ourselves. It’s a private, deeply personal experience that we, as women, rarely even speak of—not with our friends, not with our intimate partners.
“We’ve been socialized to believe that masturbation in and of itself is ‘naughty,'” says Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and creator of Finishing School, an online course that teaches women to orgasm. “So the idea of doing it openly in front of another person can seem even naughtier. But the thing is, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in front of our partners creates intimacy and connection.”
Whether you’re trying to spice things up in the bedroom or just looking for a way to take back your power when it comes to your pleasure (which, BTW, heck yes), there are a few steps you can take to become more comfortable with the idea of masturbating in front your partner. We know, it may sound weird or scary at first, and it may be something you’ve never even thought of. But honestly, with the way these sex experts break it down, it sounds like an empowering way for you to use your own sexy skills to your advantage.
Of course, normalizing female masturbation has a long way to go, but getting comfortable with doing it in front of the partners that know and love us is one step in the right direction. The spotlight’s on you, boo.
How to masturbate in front of your partner:
1Set the mood.
“Turning your partnered masturbation experience into a ritual starts with the way you set up your space,” says Sara Trivette, a sex therapist. She suggests getting your environment ready the same way you should with your headspace. “Declutter your room, light a candle, play some music that gets you in the mood, and bring in any special items that feel meaningful to you.” This way, you’ll be excited and not distracted when it’s time to get started.
Having an open mind is key here. Try not to get too into your own head about the actual act of masturbating in front of someone. It will feel less isolating and put less pressure on you if your partner is excited about doing it, too. Marin suggests having a conversation with your partner before diving in, especially if you’re feeling a bit nervous before taking the stage.
“You can mention that you got the idea from a conversation with a friend or an article that you read,” she suggests. “So for example, you can say something like, ‘My friend told me she was hooking up with this guy and he asked her to masturbate for him. Do you want to watch me touch myself?’ Or, ‘I read this article that recommended masturbating together. Sounds hot, don’t you think?'”
Whatever option you choose, make sure you present the idea of masturbating together as something that is really hot, exciting, and sexy, because it is!
3Turn yourself (and your partner) on.
“It’ll be easier to self-pleasure in front of your partner if you’re already feeling aroused,” says Trivette. “So, get the sexual energy flowing by making out or stroking and caressing each other—whatever makes you feel turned on.” As your clothes come off, reach between your legs and start touching yourself. You can say something like, “Do you like watching that?” or “Do you want to see what I do to get myself off?”
At the end of the day, it’s about the connection you not only feel with your partner, but with yourself as well.
4Assume a position that works for you.
“Let your partner know where you want them to be while you self-pleasure,” Trivette tells us. “Maybe you want them spooning you from behind, or lying in front of you and stroking your hair. Don’t be afraid to tell them what would make you feel most comfortable.”
You can also just be in whatever position you’re usually in when you masturbate alone. Trivette describes it as a “choose-your-own-adventure kind of experience” where you’re the one who is totally in control of what makes you feel sexiest. You can be sitting, kneeling, lying down, it’s all totally up to you.
5Do what feels good.
Once you’re ready, begin to self-pleasure.
You can take yourself all the way to orgasm or not. Or you might decide to switch roles, turn this into love-making, or have the both of you masturbate side by side one another while using toys. Seriously, it’s all about what’s going to make you feel best in this moment.
Masturbating alone is pretty relaxing, so why shouldn’t you have the same feeling about doing it in front of your partner? Remember to breathe, relax, and allow yourself to have fun.
Don’t beat yourself up if you need more of a push to get to the end zone. This is a very vulnerable thing to do, even with your partner, and it’s important that’s there’s trust built between the two of you. If this something you’d like to continue to do with your partner, just think of your first time as practice—the more times you do this, the more comfortable you will feel.
Once you’ve done it, you have every right to celebrate. It takes a certain level of courage to masturbate in front of your partner. Both of our experts say that showing your partner(s) how you like to be touched and what makes you tick is a great way to bring you closer to each other. And when you become more experienced, you can begin to implement new positions, tricks, and toys into your mutual masturbation routine. Who knows—you may even decide to make sexy solo time a regular thing.