Hand jobs get such a bad rap. In the last week alone, I heard them referred to as “immature” by Amy Schumer, saw them called “sad,” and was finally greeted on Facebook by this quote:

"Hand jobs are like Catcher in the Rye, if you're 15, they are the best thing ever. After that, you have had better, so what's the point?" -Sean Carswell


Well, clearly Mr. Carswell has never gotten a hand job from me.

The problem, as I see, it lies in society’s obsession with the idea of “real” (i.e. penetrative) sex that causes people to abandon hand jobs once they pass that “base” some time in adolescence. There’s this idea that manual sex is something people settle for when they’re young because they haven’t gotten to the real deal yet and once they get the “good stuff” there’s no reason to go back. Millionaires don’t keep eating Kraft Mac and Cheese, amirite?

Here’s the thing, judging the hand job based on how we did it when we were young is a mistake. Why? Because most of us had no idea what we were doing back then! Reverse the roles of your hand-related sex action: when you were a teen, odds are you probably used the term “fingering” and thought it involved jamming fingers into a vagina en route to sex. Did that keep you from learning about the G-spot and how to find and stimulate it? No! You just needed to get some more information. Let’s give hand jobs the same treatment. With a little education, preparation, and lubrication I think we can bring the hand job back with a vengeance.

Know How to Work What You’re Working With

Seriously. You want to know what you’re working with. If your partner has a foreskin, you need to know if it retracts fully or if it is tight. In the case of a fully mobile foreskin, several of the motions we talk about in a moment can be done while sliding the foreskin over the penis. As the foreskin is packed with nerve endings, using it to stroke the penis can provide a ton of sensation because it serves to keep the glans, or head, of the penis lubricated. Bear in mind that the head may be very sensitive and you will want to proceed gently when it comes to touching it. As always, check in with your partner.

In the event of a tight foreskin, one that does not retract, attempting to manually retract the foreskin can be painful for your partner - don’t do that! A partner with a tight foreskin may also have a very sensitive glans. Again, check in with them and have some lube on hand.

If your partner does not have a foreskin, familiarize yourself with the frenulum. This is the little arrow-shaped part at the at the top of the underside of the penis. It is, for many, the remnants of the foreskin after circumcision; and as such, it can be very sensitive. In the case of hand jobs and circumcised partners, do not proceed without lube. I mean it.

For more on penile anatomy, check this out.

Lube Up

Dry skin on dry skin is not pleasurable. In fact, it can be downright painful. Lube lets the hands glide. Lube makes things warm and wet. Lube is the difference between indescribable pleasure and rope burn. Lube is magic. What’s more, if you are sticking to strictly manual sex, your lube options are endless. You can use your regular favorite lube, experiment with different textures and sensations or break out those oil-based lubes that you may avoid because they don’t do well with condoms or vaginas. There are even some specialty options you can explore. Several companies offer “stroke creams” designed for masturbation that stay slick for ages. If you think you might want to throw some oral into the mix, there are some super-fun flavored lubes out there. The upshot? If you’re giving a hand job, have lube on hand (or on your hands)!

Play Safe

Safety measures aren't just for penetrative sex. Because several STIs, such as HPV and herpes, can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, you may want to protect yourself while giving a hand job. Nitrile gloves are an awesome option for this because they are compatible with all lube types. They also look kind of cool. If you opt for condoms instead, keep a couple of things in mind:

Oil-based lubes are not compatible with latex condoms.

Place some lube inside the condom as well as using it on the outside to increase the sensation for your partner.

Get a Grip

You can’t just grab a penis and yank it like you’re milking a cow (unless your partner’s into that - no judgments!) You want to go in with some technique. Let’s take a look at a couple of different ways to please a penis. Each of these techniques requires that you keep your hands and the penis well-lubricated.

Never-Ending Insertion

The spine-tingling, gasp-inducing moment of insertion needn’t be limited to intercourse. You can bring that feeling to a hand job and make it go on and on! Start with both (well-lubed) hands in loose fists stacked on one top of the other. Slide the first fist down onto the penis making the first tight enough to create a feeling akin to penetrating a vagina or anus. Before the head of the penis emerges from the top of the first fist, have the the second first ready to receive it. Bring the first first around to the top and start over allowing the head penis to be continually wrapped in one of your fists.

Twister

Loosely wrap both hands around the penis, one over the other. Rotate the hands in opposite directions while also moving them in an up and down motion. You can also run the top thumb over the frenulum or glans if you are feeling dexterous. Keep the hands loose and well lubed. The goal here is to slightly overload the senses and not to create pain.

Up and Over

It is preferable to be seated next to your partner for this one. Start with one hand wrapped around the base of the penis with the thumb pointing up. Keep the grip loose. Slide the hand all the way up the penis. As you reach the top, run the thumb over the frenulum and slide the head of the penis into the palm of the hand. Keep turning the hand until your grip has flipped so your thumb is facing down. Move the hand down the penis. Continue the up and down motion, caressing the frenulum with the thumb and gently cupping the head of the penis every time you reach the top and switch your grip.

Windshield Wipers

I learned this technique from Megan Andelloux, the educator behind the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health. Hold the penis with both hands and the underside facing you, run your thumbs, one at a time over the frenulum in an up-and-out motion. The range of motion here is tiny, but the sensation is big and, as you may have guessed, lube is a must.

Butter Churn

Another technique from a favorite educator of mine, Reid Mihalko, is the butter churn. This one works because the penis is more than meets the eye (yes, like a Transformer). There is a portion of the penis that lives inside the body and you can actually stimulate it. Here’s how: wrap your hand firmly around the base of the penis, (don't squeeze!) and slowly, gently make a rotating motion. Your hand won’t change position, the penis will only shift slightly, the motion is all coming from your wrist. You can use the other hand to stimulate the testicles, the perineum, the prostate - so many possibilities!

See? Hand jobs aren't just for teenagers. You and your partner can have a sexy, fun, and yummy manual sex!