The Joys Of Manual Pleasure

Sometimes “hand jobs” get a bad rap. “Intercourse’s [or a blow job's] poor cousin,” some people say. And as it applies to women, “fingering,” while an accurate descriptor for some vulva/vagina stimulation activities, evokes a rapid in-out motion of finger-in-vagina, which is insufficient for most women to to experience orgasm. The phrase often invoked to bring some legitimacy to the act, “mutual masturbation,” brings to mind more routine self-pleasure rather than the exchange of delicious, playful climaxes. Despite the negative press, the manual pleasuring of your partner’s sexy bits can be a delightful addition to your sexual repertoire. Variety is, after all, the spice of (sex) life.

Here are some tips for making the most of your hands:

1. Use some water-based or silicone-based lube. It can increase sensation and ease of movement of the hands or fingers providing the stimulation. You can even use it to move from some full-body massage to more targeted genital stimulation. Yummy.

2. Experiment with different strokes, pressures, and sensations. ‘Hand jobs’ and ‘fingering’ need not be as crude as these labels sound. Try teasing or giving indirect stimulation too. Both can heighten anticipation and many biological women find immediate, direct clitoral stmulation too intense.  Manual pleasure can be a great way to efficiently get off, but the journey can be just as fun. It’s a great way to explore new sensations that your partner enjoys. As with all sexual activities, communication is key for everybody getting the kind of stimulation that does it for them, so prioritize creating an environment in which all parties feel comfortable sharing what’s hot for them.

3. Stimulate different areas of the body simultaneously. Vagina + clitoris. Penis + perineum. Nipples + lips. Or any other permutation that tickles your fancy. So many choices! That feels wealthy, don’t you think?

4. Make the most of your mouth…for a little dirty talk. Talk about fantasies, describe what’s hot about your partner’s body, or even just make sexy moans. Anything that spices up the mood is going to enrich the experience.

5. Share the love. The terms ‘hand job‘ and ‘finger’ imply a dynamic in which one partner selflessly gives pleasure to another, but there’s nothing to stop you alternating manual stimulation. Embarking on the journey to climax in stages, simultaneously, doesn’t just ensure that the pleasure is mutual, but also adds an exciting element of anticipation to the proceedings.

Not only can these activities be delightfully satisfying, they are also quite safe. When sexual fluids are not exchanged internally, STIs which may be present in such fluids are unlikely to be transmitted to others. That said, appropriate caution should be used when touching your partners genitals after touching your own. Some STIs, like herpes and HPV, can be spread though skin-to-skin contact so you may wish to use latex or nitrile gloves. Note: gloves can be sexy in their own right, whether you have a predilection for latex, medical role-play, or just like the different sensations a tightly gloved hand can provide.

Have any ‘handy’ tips (sorry) that you’d like to share to our manual pleasure knowledge bank? We’d welcome you to add your wisdom to the comments.

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About Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs, MPH is a NYC-based sex educator + blogger. She's the founder of Sex Geekdom, a global community for sex educators, researchers, and other folks who love having geeky conversations about sex.