What's Mutual Masturbation?

Your Most Embarrassing Questions Answered

Teenage couple laying in grass holding hands
Getty Images/Jill Giardino

Most people know what masturbating is (and if you don't, here's the scoop), but the words "mutual masturbation" might raise some questions for you. Let's demystify the term.

What Is Mutual Masturbation?

Mutual masturbation means self-stimulation (a fancy term for touching yourself) in front of your partner. Masturbating is usually something that people do by themselves, but it's still called "masturbation" if someone else is in the room with you. Mutual masturbation can also refer to partners manually stimulating each other, such as a man fingering a woman while she stimulates his genitals with her hand.

How Do You Engage in Mutual Masturbation?

There's no one correct way to do it -- it can be done with the lights on or lights off, one at a time or simultaneously. It's all a matter of what you and your partner are comfortable with and what you enjoy. Mutual masturbation can be fun and intimate in a way that other types of sex are not. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

Talk about it beforehand: What do you want? What do you feel comfortable doing? Do you want to sit near each other or farther apart? Dim the lights, light candles, play romantic music? Do you want to talk dirty or stay silent? Figure out together what turns you both on.

Sustain eye contact: It will help you stay connected and aware of each other's feelings. Plus it's sexy watching your partner respond!

Let loose: Explore your body, tell your partner what you're doing and what feels good. Move around if you like. And when you're feeling adventurous, you can add in sex toys!

Is Mutual Masturbation Safe?

Mutual masturbation is a sexy thing to do with your partner that doesn't have any physical risks. As far as sex goes, mutual masturbation is just about the safest sex you can have. There's no real contact between you and your partner, so you can't get pregnant or spread STD's. But be aware that as soon as you start touching each other -- with your mouths, your genitals or even your hands -- you're at risk for spreading diseases.

Is There Anything Wrong With Mutual Masturbation?

Well, just because there are no physical risks, it doesn't mean that mutual masturbation always a great idea. If you feel pressured into doing it, or if you're not 100% sure that you're ready to share that part of yourself with someone, it can leave you feeling as bad or emotionally distressed as you would if you'd had other kinds of sex.

If I Masturbate With Someone, Am I Still a Virgin?

It all depends on how you want to define "virgin." Technically, most people think of losing your virginity as engaging in penetrative sex (vaginal sex, oral sex or anal sex), so by that definition, you can mutually masturbate with someone and still be a virgin. But whether or not you want to call yourself a virgin is up to you and your beliefs.