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How to give a handjob like a pro

The value of a really great handjob is undeniable.
By Beth Ashley  on 
Vector illustration featuring the OK hand gesture emoji on a purple backdrop
Credit: Mashable Composite

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The humble handjob tends to get a bad rap. They’re thought of as an act for the sexually inexperienced, something you do in your teenage years before you’re sure about going all the way with penetrative sex, or as a way to quickly sexually connect when time and privacy is not on our side (shout out to anyone who had a fumble in someone’s bedroom while their parents were downstairs in their younger years). 

There's also an idea that the penis-equipped can masturbate whenever they want and have exactly the same experience each time, so there's no need to get your partner to do it for you. Handjobs are wholly misunderstood and highly underrated. We spoke to sex experts, and people who love handjobs, to find out why handjobs are so great and how to do a good (hand)job.

Why go for a handjob?

The value of a really great handjob is undeniable. They allow the giver to really get to know a penis at the beginning of a sexual relationship and, compared with oral and penetrative sex, it allows for a better visual that helps the giver truly understand what gets their partner off. 

And plenty of penis-owners agree. Callum, a 32-year-old wine sommelier says the feeling of receiving a handjob is completely different than just masturbating on his own. He tells Mashable, "If I really wanted to just come, I could probably knock that out in under a minute or two and although I do masturbate relatively regularly, I don't get anywhere near as much enjoyment out of it [compared to handjobs.]"

Hookup app TapDat creative director and sex expert Alice Leach says handjobs are great for anyone who wants to explore. She tells Mashable, "they’re a fantastic way to explore the body, including the testicles, and to try new sensations."

What Callum loves most about handjobs is the perceived lack of control over his enjoyment of the experience. "I never quite know how or when I'm going to come. Sometimes if I can see that the other person is enjoying it as well, it becomes even more of a turn on," he explains.

The visuals are also a great bonus. "My dick often looks massive in hands that are not my own and that contributes to the excitement," he says. He also notes that handjobs can be part of or turn into mutual masturbation, which he finds really fun to do with his partner. 

"My dick often looks massive in hands that are not my own and that contributes to the excitement."

34-year-old IT consultant John agrees that handjobs are under-appreciated. "[Handjobs] feel good, they’re relaxing, and they’re fun and exciting," he tells Mashable.

For John, handjobs are also a welcome relief from pain problems during sex. "I have arthritis in my knees and feet and having sex sometimes for me is a struggle as it's painful," he explains. "So sitting, having handjobs or laying down isn't just easier. And it’s much more exciting than masturbating."

How to prepare for a handjob

Though handjobs might sound simple, all sexual activity involves some preparation work so that everyone feels safe, happy and ready to exchange pleasure. 

If you want to try a handjob (as a giver or receiver), talk about it with your partner. "If you want to try something new, you can turn it into a sexy conversation," says Leach. 

"Start by letting them know you’re curious about trying handjobs and ask them if that’s something they’d like to try too. Then you can discuss how they like that done or might like that done. You can also discuss if this is something you want to try as part of foreplay or a stand-alone sex act and whether they like to get a handjob to completion or not."

Leach says it’s always best to check with your partner that this is something that they not only like, but to also get some information about what they like and how. 

Before getting hands-on, it’s important to chat about STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Although, compared to other forms of sex like oral and penetrative sex, handjobs are considered an extremely low-risk activity for STI transmission or pregnancy, but its better be on the safe side. And, as Leach says, safe sex is the only sex worth having. 

"You should always consider sexual health before engaging in any sex act," Leach says. "There are things like genital warts that can be passed through skin-to-skin contact to consider, as well as any STIs that are passed through semen."

So, there’s no shame in asking a new sexual partner if they’ve been tested recently, and taking extra measures to protect yourself. Some people like to do handjobs with latex gloves on, which kill two birds with one stone by adding a layer of protection and being super kinky. Who said handjobs were boring?

How to give a good handjob

Now for the fun part. To start the handjob, figure out together where this handjob is going to lead. Leach says that whether a handjob is just a handjob and will be taken to climax, or if it’s going to be part of more extensive play leading to intercourse, is important to discuss beforehand so there are no surprises. "Pressure is also important in handjobs. Speak to your partner before, during and after the handjob about what kind of touch, grip and speed they like," she advises.

When performing the handjob, both the giver and the receiver should be in a nice comfortable position, such as lying down in bed, and start slowly. Sexual partners can explore and figure out what each other likes best through communication and touch each time they have sex, but for beginners, kissing and a bit of pillow talk might be a nice place to start.

A lot of good handjobs start with stroking (which can help the penis get hard) then taking it in your hands. All holding positions can be pleasurable and will depend on the penis-haver, but most of the time, you want to hold the penis between the shaft and the hood (basically, where foreskin is or would normally be) and stroke up and down. Keep in mind that if your sexual partner is circumcised, the area around the hood of the penis will be more sensitive. Take notes from your partner on what’s comfortable for them. 

Start the handjob with light touches and a looser grip and keep communication open with the receiver, asking them if they liked being touched this way and if there’s anything they’d like you to try. Together, you can build towards the best touch, speed and grip that works for everyone. Focusing on the shaft versus the top of the penis creates different types of pleasure for the penis and switching between both pleasures can be an amazing feeling for the receiver.

Or, if you’re feeling confident, you can try both at the same time. Use one hand to focus on the shaft, moving up and down (jerking) while using the other to focus on the head. You can keep your fingers loose and run the tips over the head and back or around the head in a circular motion. If your partner has a particularly big penis (or you have small hands) you can also use both on the shaft in a sort-of twisting motion for an intensified sensation. 

Leach recommends grabbing some lube to make things easier. "Lubrication is such a great thing to add to all manual stimulation, and I consider it essential. It can increase stimulation, add in new sensations, and help to create a glide that gives a new range of motions and tempos," she says. Try a lube that offers a tingly sensation to see if this adds more pleasure for the receiver. 

If you’re really wanting to learn what your partner likes and understand their pleasure points, Leach recommends trying mutual masturbation or watching your partner masturbate. Sometimes, seeing how someone pleasures themselves can help you to pleasure them by replicating the same kinds of touch. 

How to spice up a handjob

When you’ve got to grips with handjobs, you might want to up the ante. Chelsie Reed, PhD, LPC, a mental health counsellor and author of Sexpert: Desire, Passion, Sensations, Intimacy, and Orgasm to Indulge in Your Best Sex Life, says hand jobs get a bad rap because they seem one sided, are not always including a lot of loving and tenderness, and do not seem to include intimacy.  

"But they’re actually a great way to show love or a desire to offer pleasure from giver to receiver. And these [negative aspects like one-sidedness] can also be changed," she tells Mashable.

"To increase the tenderness, remember that a hand job can be part of still nuzzling, kissing, and stroking other parts of the body. You can stimulate both partners with touch and kisses even if only one of them is getting the hand job."

Reed says the major tips and tricks to keep in mind for better hand jobs is to include other touch, kissing, rubbing and talking to spice things up.

As for turning up the intimacy, Reed points out that handjobs can be part of pillow talk about loving, admiring, wanting to be closer, wanting to share this moment together and to give satisfaction to your partner. That’s undeniably hot. 

"You can also spice things up by having different positions, such as standing behind your partner while giving, straddling, and especially making eye contact to connect during. If you enjoy giving or receiving hand jobs, they don’t have to be so simple and all the same," Reed advises. 

Leach adds that you can use an array of sex toys to up the ante with handjobs. "There is a huge range of exciting sex toys to spice up, change up, and increase pleasure during handjobs. A favourite is a penis stroker, which can be used with a partner and to masturbate other times, and really increases sensation as well as bringing a little variety to self-pleasure. A vibrating stroker can also take things to a whole new level," she recommends.

So, take it from Callum, John, and the sexperts of the world. Handjobs are hot as hell and it’s about time we added them to our sexual set-menus.  

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Beth Ashley

Beth Ashley is a features writer and investigative journalist covering sex, relationships, and class. She likes dogs and whiskey. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter.


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