There’s a common assumption (read: stereotype) that men are basically orgasms waiting to happen. All one need do is grab a dick and with a few strokes or sucks, cum!

And there’s this other idea that all guys are experts at jacking off, and that when a guy is confronted with another guy’s dick and a handjob op, he will automatically know exactly what to do because he’s been jacking off since boyhood, right? Easy!

And all of this is, of course, bullshit. Most men have expertise in getting themselves off and have lifetimes of research under their belts (literally) with getting to Yahtzee in no time, or in making it last, or riding the edge. Virtually all men possess this personal mastery.

I’ve said it before and I will repeat it now: As soon as another person enters the physically intimate sphere of sex play, it’s no longer masturbation. “Masturbation” is not merely the act of stroking a penis with a hand. Masturbation is solosex. It is the love we make to ourselves… or it’s the utilitarian sex we have with ourselves. Yes, it is sex, but it is the sex we call masturbation. It is sex for one, as Betty Dodson coined.

Now, I know perfectly well that I’m being doctrinaire here. Isn’t “mutual masturbation” a perfectly accurate and valid term for jacking another guy off and being jacked off by him?

And the answer is yes. Of course it is. In fact, my distinction is a personal one… but it not without reason. I generally don’t like to use the terms “group masturbation,” “mutual masturbation” or “masturbation club.” I deliberately choose the words, “jack-off,” “stroke,” and “bate” to avoid using the M word to describe anything other than solosex.

But… being a writer trying not to construct redundant paragraphs, I will still use those oxymorons. Sparingly.

And here’s why it matters to me: There are important differences between solosex and sex with others, even if the specific frictional action is otherwise identical. The big deal is, of course, the difference between the feedback loop of action, mental response and reaction that happens when one is stimulating oneself, and the need to communicate with another human when one is not inside their head, experiencing the results of one’s actions instantaneously.

I have jacked off hundreds of men and been jacked off by hundreds of men. I don’t like to think of myself as a handjob expert because there is only one penis with which I am truly an expert. My takeaway from all these years of stroking is the same as every other kind of sex with others: There’s a complex web of elements that need to achieve reasonable compatibility to make it work. I need to have a compelling, innate, positive response to how that person looks, acts, smells, tastes… They need to have a corresponding positive response to me and we need to have compatible technique, including the ability to adjust in real time to meet each other’s needs.

In other words, you can’t take for granted that what works for you will work for me… or him or him or him. We may be able to get off, but to have good sex—including great handjobs—you’ve gotta have chemistry and you’ve gotta be paying attention to each other from instant to instant. You have to both be on the same ride together.

Don’t get me wrong: If you want to call it masturbation, even when more than one person is in the action, if you want to refer to someone else masturbating my penis, if you want to classify it as “not sex” because there’s no penetration… that’s just fine with me! As long as you’re getting the full sexual pleasure and deep satisfaction you deserve, that’s all I really care about.

But I will disagree with you.

But don’t assume that being an expert on your own cock is going to make you an expert on mine. I like it generally slower, varied in speed and tightness, I like the frenulum stroked exclusive of the glans, my nutbag touched and caressed, my hole teased and my prostate pressed “just so,” I need to periodically clean off all lube and re-lubricate, and I need to take breaks of two to ten minutes from all penis stimulation between near-orgasms or I can’t cum at all. Is that recipe perhaps just slightly different from yours?

See? It’s not as easy as you thought.

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