How To Give A Handjob (In Case You've Forgotten)

When was the last time you intentionally set aside time to give your partner a handjob outside of a foreplay scenario? Folks in the sex ed industry often joke that our hands are the most versatile “sex organ” on the human body, given that (unlike the genitals) we can move them into any shape or configuration and acutely control how much pressure we’re applying with them.
Plus, since hand sex cannot get someone pregnant, and it’s extremely difficult to transmit an STI from the genitals to the hands (and vice versa), it’s surprising that the ol’ HJ is often glossed over as being an adolescent sex act, or something that ought to remain within the realm of foreplay. (This likely has a lot to do with the mainstream’s penetration and penis-in-vagina intercourse-centric attitude towards human sexuality.)
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But here’s the thing: While handjobs make having safer sex a breeze, they can also be incredibly hot. Of course, handjobs do make for amazing foreplay, but they’re also a great way to continue pleasuring your partner if you’ve come and/or are exhausted. Not to mention, giving a handjob can be an exciting, discreet way to get your partner off in a car, bathroom, or any other cramped space outside the bedroom. Also, if you’re particularly vulnerable to infections, or simply have a more sensitive body, handjobs are a great way to give your body a break if you need a moment of rest but still want to pleasure your partner.
So, if you think intercourse is the only way to have sex, let these handjob tips remind you that outercourse is also a really dope way to have sex. (Oh, and if your partner has a vagina, don’t forget to check out our guide to fingering.)
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Watch how they touch themselves.

Nobody knows your body as well as you do. While it’s always good to ask your partner what they like, words can only describe physical motions so well. So, if you want to know how your partner really likes to be touched, watch them masturbate. Of course, the way you touch them will naturally be a bit different, but you can adapt what you see them do during masturbation into your handjob techniques. If they focus mostly on the head, focus on the head. If they grab their balls as they touch their shaft, try lightly grabbing their balls. Sometimes, watching is the easiest way to learn.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Pick the right lube.

Sometimes the lubes that work well for intercourse or vaginal lubrication don’t work as well for handjobs. Since a penis is completely external, water-based lubes can evaporate more quickly during a handjob. Try using a body-safe silicone lube, which has the texture of an oil, but is safe to use with condoms if you decide to move the action in that direction (oil can break down latex and cause condoms to break). Silicone molecules don’t evaporate or absorb into the skin, so you can go to town on that penis as long as you please. And when you’re finished, it washes away easily with soap and water.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Know how circumcised and intact penises differ.

If your partner has a foreskin, you’ll want to stimulate their penis differently than a circumcised penis. Because the foreskin protects the glans (also know as the head) of the penis and keeps it moist and lubricated, many intact folks like to stimulate the head of the penis through the foreskin — unlike the average circumcised penis, which likes intense glans stimulation. It’s similar to the way clit stimulation through the clitoral hood can feel more pleasurable and not overly intense for some people. It’s also much easier to give a dry handjob to a penis with foreskin, since the extra tissue acts as a natural masturbation sleeve.

Whatever you do, don’t yank the foreskin back — it’s a very common mistake to make if you haven’t had an intact partner before. Since the foreskin covers the glans of the penis most of the time, the head is much more sensitive than the head on a circumcised penis. So when the foreskin is yanked back, it can feel like overstimulation. Not sure how to handle a specific situation? Just ask your partner.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Don’t be afraid of a little butt play.

If your partner tells you they’re down for some butt stuff, it can be an incredibly orgasmic sensation to have the prostate stimulated during a handjob (it’s said to feel a bit like having the G-spot stimulated during oral sex). Simply putting a light amount of pressure against the perineum and/or anus indirectly stimulates the prostate, which can be a great way to get started. If your partner wants a more intense sensation, make sure you have some lube handy, and then slowly massage the anal opening until it feels relaxed enough to comfortably insert a finger. The prostate is 2-3 inches on the belly side of the body, and it responds best to firm, rhythmic strokes (not pokes).
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Try the “infinite hole” technique.

This handjob technique is beloved by many, and can be done by anyone with two hands. Apply a dollop of lube to your palm, and start with one hand at the head of the penis. Start moving it downwards, and as soon as the tip peeks out from your hand, add your other hand on top and continue the downward movement. As the first hand reaches the base, replace it at the top again. This movement feels uniquely delicious — like the penis is traveling through an infinite, tight tube. You can also do this motion in the opposite direction, moving upwards.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Give a frenulum massage.

This hand motion works best if you’re sitting between your partner’s legs and positioned below the penis. First, interlock your fingers and leave your thumbs free. Then, place your interlocked hands around the penis so that your thumbs rest against the frenulum (which is the name of the area on the underside of the head). Circumcised folks generally have a bit of tissue left behind from their circumcision where it looks a little bit like the skin underneath your tongue. Intact folks also have a bundle of nerves here, but depending on how much foreskin they have, it will vary in appearance. Apply pressure to the frenulum and use both hands to smoosh and massage the shaft of the penis, moving your thumbs in opposing circular directions. Many people find pressure in this area exquisite, and some additionally enjoy the way the texture of interlocked fingers feels against the coronal ridge of the head.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Try the “butter churn” method.

Using a hearty glob of lube, place both hands on the shaft of the penis. Move your hands up and down together as a unit while twisting your hands in opposing directions. The stimulation this provides is often quite intense, and can easily bring a lot of folks to orgasm. Ask your partner how much pressure they like before squeezing the life out of their cock, however. This is also a handjob motion that is easily adapted into a blowjob if you want to give the tip a bit of extra attention.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Make a finger cock ring.

Cock rings are essentially designed to trap blood in the chambers of the penis via the tourniquet effect, which assists the penis in achieving and sustaining an erection. This can be an easy way to quickly get your partner from flaccid to firm, but if they’re already erect, the cock ring can increase the surface area, and therefore the sensitivity, of the penis. However, there’s no need to buy a cock ring if you want to achieve this sensation — simply make your thumb and index finger into an “O” and firmly grasp the penis at the base. You’ll notice the penis darken as blood flows into and stays in the penis, as well as more pronounced veins. Then, use your other hand to stimulate the shaft and head of the penis while using lube. Feel free to loosen and tighten your grip to control the sensitivity, or let go completely and allow the blood to flow back out to release pressure.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Incorporate a toy.

You can always use a non-finger cock ring, too. Vibrating cock rings provide additional stimulation for folks who like a bit of buzz, and there are even cock rings designed to provide pressure against the perineum and stimulate the prostate. You can also try a vibrating masturbator in addition to your hands for a wider range of sensations (yes, some penises love vibration along the shaft, too). It can also be neat to use an open-ended non-vibrating masturbator, which is less bulky than a vibrating one, to give an extra-unique feeling to your handjob.
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