Sex

How to Give a Better Handjob

It’s time to give handjobs the respect, attention, and copious amounts of lube they deserve.
June 29, 2021, 7:39pm
A couple getting ready to hook up in bed
Photo by AleksandarGeorgiev via Getty Images
Advice on the finer points of having great sex.

For people who don’t have penises, handjobs can feel a little mysterious, even in their supposed simplicity. Since there’s no way to know firsthand what works, a little guesswork is usually going to be involved, no matter how much you communicate with the recipient. Even those who do have penises and enjoy giving and/or getting standard-issue HJs still might occasionally wonder if there’s more to the matter at hand than they realize! 

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The truth is, as with any kind of sex, the answer is yes—there’s always something more you can do to make handjobs feel freaky and incredible in a way you maybe haven’t tried yet. Bearing this in mind, here are some ways you might explore new variations on a tried-and-true classic. As you go, remember that every penis is unique, so there isn’t one handjob that fits all—and ask your partner if they’re into trying the variations on this list before you get your hands on them. Here are some tips about how to get a grip.

Get into a hot position.

A handjob is definitely a longstanding classic within the “sex where at least one person has a penis” repertoire, but exactly how you engage in one can add a little novelty to how you might normally go about it. Depending on your flexibility, wrist mobility, and overall comfort making eye contact with your partner, there are a few positions that can reconfigure your usual HJ. 

Face-to-face positions make eye contact easy, which intensifies the experience—and they offer your best bet for ample mobility and range of motion, said sex therapist Kamil Lewis. The recipient can sit down (or stand up) and kneel in front of you, or both of you can get comfortable on the bed. 

You can also get into positions that allow for mutual action. If you’re into 69ing during oral sex? Try it for this, too: You can alternate between oral sex and a handjob. If you’re into face-sitting? Face your partner’s penis and stroke them as they give you head. 

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If voyeurism is your kink, or if you want to put on a show for your partner about exactly what kind of work goes into a handjob, have your partner stand in front of a mirror. (In my opinion, bathroom mirrors are most definitely the hottest for this purpose—think pre-shower sex.) Position yourself standing behind your partner and reach around for the best visual: Your partner gets a fuller view of you getting them off, and you get to see their facial expressions telling you just how much they like it.

Use lube! (Then, use more!)

Handjobs need a little extra lubrication if you want to avoid skin-on-skin friction, which will make things uncomfortable for your partner and torpedo the HJ. 

Avoid oils and lotions like coconut oil, since those shouldn’t be used near urethras. Opt for a waterproof lube if you want to take your handjob into the shower. Most sex toys respond best to water-based lubes because silicone-based ones can degrade silicone-based toys, so keep that in mind if you’re adding one into the mix. 

Spit on your partner’s dick.

A good spit—and the visuals and sound effects that come with it—can be super arousing for both partners. It lets your partner know that you’re putting in that work! Plus, your saliva is a symbol of your overall commitment to making the HJ freakier than your average one. (Also, people do it in porn.)

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Spitting on your partner can also be the perfect gateway into experimenting with control because it gives you the power over how wet and sloppy your handjob gets. Keep in mind that spit dries and evaporates quickly, so, again, augment it with a water-based lube if you want things to stay wetter for longer, which you almost certainly do.

Get your partner hard in your hand.

If you start the handjob before your partner is completely hard, use the surface on the inside of your hand and fingers to caress their shaft and balls until your partner has a full erection. Alternate with different textures and amounts of pressure, like lightly tickling your partner’s dick with your fingertips or using your entire palm to gently rub their penis, starting from the base of their shaft and moving slowly up to the tip. Once you’ve reached the top, circle their head with all five fingers and gently squeeze and rub. 

Even before your partner is completely hard, lube is a must. You want them to experience the fully wet sensation while they warm up. They’ll be excited while getting excited at the prospect of a handjob. Sometimes, the sloppier the HJ, the better. 

Don’t be afraid to hold on tight when you’re stroking up and down.

Up-and-down motions imitate penetration, so it’s not a bad idea to start there. Aim for a consistent, firm grip: Don’t bend it or bite it, but give it a strong go. If you’re unsure about how tight is too tight, start looser and increase firmness as you build momentum. Keep an eye out for their body signals—like faster breathing and moaning—to inform which speeds and amounts of pressure are turning them on, or when you might want to try something else.

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Use both hands. 

Two-handed handjobs cover more surface and can help you add speed and control. Interlock your fingers to cover their head and shaft while you move your hands up and down, as one. If you want to most closely imitate the feeling of penetrative sex, this method comes extremely close. Lightly squeezing with both hands can feel more like the inside of a vagina or an anus than your grip might if you used just one hand. 

If you’d rather create circular movements, stack one hand on top of the other and twist each hand in opposite directions while you move up and down. This sensation isn’t as easily attainable during penetration, so including it in your handjob will make it feel particularly distinctive.

Ask them to teach you how they masturbate by demonstrating themselves.

There’s something really hot about mimicking the movements that your partner has mastered during masturbation. If you’re unsure where to start, have them show you how they touch themselves during a handjob and expand on their techniques. If you especially want to let your partner know you’re into learning what feels good for them, have them give a step-by-step lesson, occasionally pausing along the way so you can try it yourself and say, “Like this?”

Pay special attention to their balls.

Lewis said that this is a very easy way to blow your partner’s mind. Gently tug, massage, or stroke your partner’s balls while your other hand is on the shaft of their dick. If you want to mix up the sensations, you can kiss or suck on your partner’s balls while keeping the handjob going. 

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Play with their perineum.

The perineum—the area between the penis and anus—is a jackpot of nerve endings. Press on this area or massage gently in small circles while giving a handjob to ramp up your partner’s experience. If you want an added shock to their system (in a good way!), place a  small vibrator on their perineum with one hand while you tightly grip and stroke their penis with the other.

Stimulate their asshole.

If your partner is into and consents to anal play, you can accompany the HJ with fingering or oral sex. While you’re working their penis with one hand, lower your head down between their legs. Use your hands to spread their legs open, and with the tip of your tongue or your tongue flattened out, make small circles around their asshole, then directly on the opening. If your partner moans or starts breathing more rapidly, you’re doing something right. 

Don’t shy away from anal fingering if your partner gives you the green light. After using lube to cover their asshole and to drench your index or middle finger, very gently insert your finger. You can experiment with how deep but up to your first knuckle to start is the general rule of thumb. 

Try edging by loosening your grip or using only part of your hand to stroke their dick.

Edging means getting your partner extremely close to orgasm, then touching them less intensely to put it off a little longer, which can make it feel even more out-of-control good when they do come. Alternate speed and techniques every couple of minutes to keep the anticipation building, and switch to light strokes with one or two fingers if you’ve taken a heavier handle with your entire palm.

Touch yourself.

Just because you’re not on the receiving end of manual stimulation from a partner doesn’t mean you can't make use of your free hand yourself! It’s probably hot to watch your partner enjoy the handjob you’re giving them, and the better you feel, the more your partner will likely feed off of your energy. Because the best handjob is the one that you get, too.

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