Just like you remember your first kiss, the first time you had sex and the first time you fell in love, you probably remember the first time you got the urge to touch yourself. Masturbation among is incredibly common (and ahem, healthy!) — experts estimate that 98% of men and women stroke one out occasionally or at least once in their lifetime. While men definitely report masturbating more often than women, masturbation is not only an erotic release but it is a mental one too, with several studies showing it functions a stress reliever. You probably started masturbating as a teenager and more likely than not, you will continue throughout middle age — until your 50s — when your sex drive might take a small nose dive.
But just like the same ole’, same ole’ sex positions with your leading lady get boring after you have repeated them over and over again, your masturbation style might need a revamp too. Even if you have the lube or lotion one-handed tango down to a complete science (including the nearby towel for a fast, seamless clean-up), exploring new ways to pleasure yourself will not only help you enjoy the process more but could potentially make you better in bed, too.
1. What Is Male Masturbation?
You might need a small refresher from your last sexual education course (if you even had one in high school) on what parts of your anatomy you’re engaging when you are masturbating. “Male masturbation is the act of a male sexually self-pleasuring himself by stimulating or touching his penis and sometimes his testicles, nipples and other erogenous zones on his body, usually to the point of orgasm or ejaculation, for the purpose of sexual pleasure,” explains sexuality educator and counselor Kelly J. Connell.
Male masturbation, while usually a solo performance done in private, can also be used as part of intercourse with a partner. “Sexual stimulation to one’s own body is usually in the absence of others. While it is often a solitary act, it has the power to influence intimacy with others,” notes sexologist and sexuality educator Lisa Hochberger.
More than anything else, masturbation is an effective tool to help you deal with anxieties, build up your endurance and performance, help you understand your own body and your preferences, and keep you healthy and sexually happy. While you might not want to over do it, experts agree there are many benefits to masturbating on the reg. Trust us when we say that your girlfriend — and your boss — will thank you for making sure you’re relaxed, at ease and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
2. What Are The Benefits Of Male Masturbation?
Apart from the obvious benefit of masturbating — orgasm for the win! — there are many physical, psychological and personal betterments from taking care of yourself in that way. In fact, to overcome many sexual issues or to work on things you’re struggling with, there are so many benefits of masturbation that extend beyond the orgasm. Consider a few different scenarios in which masturbating has an overall positive effect on your life, according to sex experts.
It Can Help Communication With Your Partner
Sometimes when you are in the thralls of passion, incredibly turned on and just dying to let one rip, you might struggle with explaining exactly what you need from your partner to make sure you reach your final erotic destination. You want her to do this thing with her mouth and with her hands, but if she’s not getting it, how do you dictate your desire in an effective way? That’s where masturbation serves as a relationship coach to improve those communication skills. “Despite what many think, beyond just being an act where males stroke their genitals, every person has erogenous zones that feel good when rubbed and caressed. When a person is more aware of what parts of their body feel good when touched, they are more easily able to communicate this to their partner. In this way masturbation helps with intimacy,” Hochberger explains.
It Can Strengthen Your Self-Esteem
No matter how often you work out, how many times you choose a lean protein and leafy veggies over a burger and fries or how often your sweet girlfriend or wife pays you a compliment on how studly you are, it is normal (and human!) to have some body insecurities. Whether you wish your lower belly was a tad less flabby or you do not think your arms are bulky enough to be a turn-on for your girl, whatever you struggle with in terms of body image might seem that much more intense when you are naked and making love. But, guess what? Masturbation can help with that! “Masturbation can help people become more in touch with their bodies. When you are able to connect your mind with your body, it helps you to feel and experience pleasure in a more powerful way. When you connect the power of pleasure to your body, it helps people see their body in a more positive way,” Hochberger says.
It Helps You Relax
Though a little gross — and definitely not sanitary — a good portion of male business professionals admit to stroking one out in the bathroom or their private office at work. While we definitely do not recommend trying that (that’s one way to get fired, embarrassed or both), it makes sense why this happens. When you are stressed, feeling anxious, can’t fall asleep no matter how hard you try or all of the above, masturbation provides those feel-good, relaxing natural chemicals that help you chill the F out. “Masturbation relieves stress, improves sleep and improves mood as endorphins such as dopamine and oxytocin are released into the bloodstream at orgasm in a big blast, leaving the person feeling relaxed and happy,” Connell says.
It Helps Fix Erectile Dysfunctions Or Issues
If you struggle with arriving to the occasion or keeping your stamina and hardness throughout the act, you might be self-conscious about your performance. While many men will experience some sort of short-term — or in some cases, long-term — sexual dysfunction that may or may not require medical attention and a prescription, other times, some masturbation might be a quick fix, especially if you are finishing way before you partner has had a chance to get warmed up properly. “For men who are experiencing premature ejaculation, masturbation can be used to help. Many therapists recommend strengthening their PC muscles using kegel exercises and then practicing masturbation,” Hochberger explains. “Other techniques like training the mind to connect with the body during masturbation can help men who are ‘too in their head’ when they are with their partner. The mind/body connection is so important for people during sexual experiences.”
It Keeps You Healthy For The Long Term
A healthy, robust sex drive is not just fun for your partner who reaps the rewards, but the extra attention you give to masturbating and staying sexually fit can provide long-term healthy benefits for you, too. It’s good for your heart, good for your libido and, well, kind of an arm workout if you think about. Hey, masturbation might be the thing that keeps you thrusting away well into your middle age.
“Masturbation helps prevent prostate cancer, as regular ejaculation helps clean out the pipes,” Connell notes. “In other words, masturbation helps get rid of toxins built up in the urethra and male reproductive organs.”
Frequent masturbation can also make sure your skillset and your performance are in tip-top shape. “Masturbation is like doing preventive maintenance on your vehicle. Keep your car on a schedule and it’ll run its best,” explains founder of CallMeMaybe.us, Michael Alvear. “Same with your body!”
3. How Does Masturbation Change With Age?
Back when you had a lot more time on your hands — ya know, in high school and college — you probably squeezed in a quick jerk-off whenever you had five minutes to spare. In between classes, when your parents weren’t around, maybe even before a big game or a tough exam. But as you get older, your availability becomes a bit more complicated when you are trying to balance a full workload (no pun intended), juggling an active social calendar and hitting the gym frequently. Your ability to stay hard could change, along with what you use it for.
As with any part of someone’s sexuality, there can be changes as one ages. “As a man gets older, his erection may not stay hard or he may get it and lose it and get it and lose it. The amount of semen he ejaculates decreases and his orgasm may not feel as strong,” Connell explains.
“A man may have to put more time into masturbating than when he was younger and have more patience as his erection ebbs and flows. It may take more and longer stimulation for him to reach orgasm. He may masturbate more if he loses his partner through death or divorce, as often as we age masturbation becomes the only sexual outlet for people who have no partner. However, masturbation can still be pleasurable and men can derive great satisfaction from it.”
Also, as you age, your perception of masturbation might change too — you might want to use masturbation as part of your sexual practice with your partner, but you could feel uncomfortable incorporating it or having your girlfriend see you do it.
“The literature explains that social contexts at every level predict the sexual behaviors of an individual. When a child first discovers masturbation, it is usually not erotic. They discover that it feels good when they caress their genitals so they do it, free from shame and guilt. Unfortunately, as a child ages the innocence behind this pleasure is lost. There are negative messages that surround masturbation,” Hochberger says.
“People hear messages like ‘do not touch your genitals, it is disgusting’ starting from a young age. This causes many people to experience shame around masturbation. Many people share the experience that masturbation felt so good until learning the contradiction.”
So how do you let go of that negative connotation and free yourself to use masturbation however you want? By decriminalizing it. “Men who do grow up to be comfortable masturbating, are often uncomfortable performing this act in front of their partner. It is a shame that people feel like they need to keep this natural act so private. A man who is comfortable sharing masturbation as a form of intimacy with their partner may experience more intense pleasure,” Hochberger explains.
“Using masturbation as a form of show-and-tell with your partner will increase communication skills, allowing you both to please each other in the way that best suites your needs. Essentially, your partner can learn to recreate your technique during intimate moments! It is a tool for success!”
4. Masturbation Techniques You’ll Want To Try
So what are some ways to one-up yourself with your stroking-it-out dance? Adding toys, taking your time, investing in a great lube, involving your partner — there are literally dozens more options. Here’s what experts recommend as techniques that will take your normal whip-it-out-and-get-it-done attitude and turn it into a pleasurable, hot solo (or partnered!) act:
Use A Cock Ring
If you have never used a toy quite like this before, it might feel a bit intimidating (read: very scary to put something around your penis that could cut off the circulation). But before you freak out and refuse to give it a whirl, consider the multiple benefits of a cock ring: It can help you have multiple orgasms or repeat performances; if it vibrates, your girlfriend can share in an amazing experience while it helps you stay rock hard.
“You can use a cock ring when you are soft or erect. This can be helpful to use after ejaculation when you want to keep going but your body is saying, ‘not yet!’ A cock ring is a flexible strap that can be secured around the base of the penis. It works by allowing blood flow into the penis, but not out. Do not leave it on for more than 30 minutes! But there is lots you can do in that time,” Hochberger explains.
Invest In A Fleshlight
You likely already know — and are so incredibly turned on by — your girlfriend or wife’s sex toys. From the rabbit that helps her get ready to go with you to the pulsating, oversized vibrator that you like to use on her when you are going down on her, these additions to your sex life make it hotter and more intense for both of you. Why wouldn’t you want to recreate that same experience for yourself?
“Toys are not just for women, men can and should use them too! The fleshlight is one of the most requested sex toys for men,” Hochberger notes. “Some men use it inside its shell and other take the sleeve out and use it as a masturbation sleeve. To maximize pleasure, use water-based lube. Using a Fleshlight can also be very helpful for men who have problems with dexterity.”
Try Taking It Slower
When you want to relieve stress ASAP, you might rush through your masturbation practice as a way to get it finished and move on with the next item on your never-ending to-do list. But Connell says that way of thinking can often extend to the bedroom with your partner, and you do not allow yourself to truly feel each and every sensation of the movement and experience.
“Men need to slow it down. Often men masturbate at what seems like the speed of light to get to the end result, ejaculation. It is a means to an end. However, they are actually training their bodies to react to sexual stimulation very quickly and this contributes to premature ejaculation,” Connell says.
“They do not take the time to explore their bodies, be mindful of the moment and what they are feeling at the time. Slow down, touch your entire body, not just your genitals. Take your time and see what really feels good. Do not rush your orgasm but really pay attention to how your body is responding.”
The Stop-And-Start Technique
Just like the name suggests, perfecting your ability to keep going even when you are not thrusting or touching will benefit you way past your solo act of masturbation. As Connell notes, usually during intercourse, there are moments when you are not moving and you are pleasuring her instead of being turned on yourself. The stop-and-start method will help you adjust and prolong the pleasure.
“This technique has been used by men to overcome premature ejaculation but it can also be used by anyone who wants to learn better ejaculatory control. Just like the name says, you start and stop. Start masturbating until you get a certain level or arousal and then stop. Wait a couple minutes and start again and go farther in your arousal and then stop. Continue to do this and go farther into your arousal toward orgasm each time. Stop and let your body regress a bit,” Connell says.
“The idea is to prolong the occurrence of what is known as the feeling of inevitability, which is when a man can feel all the semen moving though his genitals and knows he is going to ejaculate and there is nothing he can do to stop it. The longer you can put this off, the longer you will keep your erection. The better you learn to be in tune with your body, the better able you will be to read the signals that your body is sending you about your level of arousal and how close you are getting to ejaculation.”
Focus On Your Testicles
The most neglected part of the male anatomy? Those balls that produce the whole shebang. Connell says to give them the love and attention they deserve — and to investigate those pleasure zones that are only in your testicles. This will not only help you to have a really great orgasm, but make you more comfortable with your girlfriend or partner touching them with her hands, mouth or both.
“A lot of men forget to involve the testicles during masturbation, but touching them at the same time as the penis during masturbation can be very pleasurable. As they retract up into the body, gently pull them back down. Try gently stroking them or putting a vibrator against them,” she explains.
The Hand Screw
While standing, twist your lubed-up hand (whichever you’re most comfortable using) so that your thumb is against your belly button. Wrap your hand around your penis and, rather than stroke with your hand, move your pelvis to pump in and out of your hand.
This masturbation technique functions as a cheap and simple way to approximate the feeling of a real orifice — but if you’re really determined to find that feeling when you masturbate, there are certain male sex toys, such as Fleshlights, that will do the trick much more efficiently.
Experience The Journey, Not The Destination
You do not want to rush through masturbation. Hochberg encourages men to really, thoroughly consider all of the feelings they have during the process. From how your hand feels, to how fast you want to go and everything in between — take a breather to enjoy everything.
“Use masturbation as a way to become more in touch with your sensations. Next time you are masturbating, notice what you are doing physically and learn how certain actions increase and decrease arousal. Instead of letting your mind wander, stay focused on what your body is feeling. What is going on when your body is about to have an ejaculatory orgasm? Do you feel your pelvic floor fluttering?” she asks.
“Now I would like you to experiment. Next time you masturbate to orgasm, as soon as you feel the fluttering, squeeze tightly as if you are doing a kegel. This squeezing can delay orgasm. This is not an overnight experience — non-ejaculatory orgasms can take months of pelvic floor training to accomplish.”