For Men Only: How to Reinvigorate Your Masturbation Routine
Masturbating might be one of the least expensive but potentially greatest pleasures of human existence. Solo sex releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and helps you sleep better and discover what kinds of techniques get you going. Unfortunately, social stigma and taboos persist.
When it comes to guys, 92 percent of American men masturbate but only 55 percent talk openly about it, according to a 2018 survey from TENGA, a sexual health company and producer of sex toys. Thus, it can be difficult to get good information about masturbation in general, tips to maximize the experience and an understanding of what's considered "normal."
Here's the low-down on masturbation for men, plus a few ways to make it more satisfying and exciting.
How do most men masturbate?
Studies show 53 percent of males begin masturbating when they are teenagers, at an average of 15.2 years old. In these formative years, the name of the game is typically speed. Men move their hand up and down the shaft of their penis, sometimes as fast as possible before anyone can walk in on them unannounced.
Once men hit puberty, masturbation usually results in ejaculation, when white liquid containing sperm cells is ejected from the penis. Ejaculation can help release the sexual tension that builds up over time, especially when pubescence hits.
"Most men masturbate by 'jerking off' or stroking their penis," said Carol Queen, Ph.D., a staff sexologist for Berkley, California-based sex education website Good Vibes. "Some use lube and some do not. Some touch other parts of their body. Some use toys, including sleeves, pumps, cock rings, anal toys, nipple clamps or other sensation boosters."
What's the 'right' way to masturbate?
As experience shows and research confirms, everyone's masturbation techniques and frequencies are unique to their preferences and circumstances.
"Masturbation is a normal and healthy part of human sexuality," said Naheed Ali, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and health writer in Miami Beach, Florida. "It is not possible to masturbate 'too much,' and there is no specific frequency of masturbation that can lead to hypersexuality or compulsive sexual behavior."
A 2019 survey of 1,040 adult Americans indicated men masturbate an average of 14.8 times per month, or nearly four days each week. Single men masturbate 16 times per month, while men in relationships masturbate 11 times per month, or less than three days per week.
In other words, men may masturbate as frequently as they go to the gym, cook dinner or watch football. It's completely normal to masturbate regularly and feel the need to switch things up.
Aside from using their hands or toys, some men rub their bodies against bedding or other surfaces, enjoy water jets—shower massagers, hot tub jets, etc.—and explore edging or orgasm control, Queen noted.
"Men who are uncircumcised may focus on foreskin stimulation, too," she added.
Try something new: strategies for a better time
If you want to switch things up, there are numerous ways to enhance your solo sessions.
Stand in front of a mirror
Many guys lie down on their backs or stand up while masturbating, which can take away the visual stimulation. Looking at yourself and feeling turned on by seeing your own body can help you feel excited about your self-pleasure again.
A mirror can be especially helpful when you're feeling less confident and lonely, such as after a breakup or during a dry spell.
Queen suggested men should take more time and explore different bodily sensations while masturbating, including touching other parts of their bodies. For example, if you aren't used to touching erogenous zones such as your hips or thighs, you may discover those areas are especially sensitive.
She recommended exploring "blended orgasms," or orgasms enhanced by sensations from more than one erogenous zone.
"This could mean adding nipple, balls or anal stimulation," she said.
Anal play can be fun to experience since the anus has thousands of nerve endings. In addition, toys that stimulate the prostate through the anus can open a new realm of pleasure via prostate orgasms.
Explore different fantasies
"It's common for men to get bored with their masturbation routine," said Dainis Graveris, the founder and sex educator at SexualAlpha, a pleasure product review site based in Latvia. "Experimenting with different techniques, fantasies and stimuli can help to keep things interesting."
You can try reading erotic literature, thinking up BDSM-inspired scenes or exploring a new ethical porn site. The possibilities are endless if you approach masturbation with an open and curious mind.
Venture into the world of sex toys and lube
Some men are averse to using products they consider "for women," such as lubricants or sex toys. Once you overcome the fear of trying something you might not feel is "normal," a world of pleasure can open up.
"Remember that masturbation is a safe and healthy way to explore your sexuality and learn about what you enjoy," Graveris said.
Lube is an inexpensive way to add a new sensation to your solo sessions—just make sure it's unscented, unflavored and doesn't include numbing agents. Consider reading the ingredients list to ensure it is what you think it is.
The same goes for male sex toys: A stroker or cock ring can be a fun thing to try, but you need to ensure it's body-safe. Most male masturbators are made of a porous soft plastic material, which can harbor bacteria and cause infection. Make sure you wash them thoroughly and let them dry between uses.
"A vibrating cock ring used during intercourse feels really different if worn right up against the head, which is most sensitive to vibration and other sensations," Queen said. "Anal plugs add no-hands stimulation once they're in. Just use lube with these."
Sex toy retailers such as TENGA often publish benchmark reports on self-pleasure, which can be a great way to learn how other men masturbate.
Overcome your fears of enjoying yourself
Using a new technique or toy during masturbation may feel weird at first, but it's worth the effort.
"There's a fear of enjoying something you don't consider normal—you think your partner or friends would not see it as normal," Queen said. "But we often don't know how vast the range of normal really is. You don't have to limit your learning, understanding or exploration of yourself."
Though trying new things at first might be intimidating, your self-pleasure and confidence can reach new heights by doing so.