We often think of masturbation as a solitary entreprise. A bottle of lube, a tab on YouPorn or your favorite galleries on Tumblr, a powerful vibrator, and you're on your way to at least a few minutes of pleasurable self-care.

But masturbation is also wonderful when shared with a partner. Also called "digital sex", mutual masturbation is great a great option for sex when you don't feel like doing the penetration thing, for whatever reason. It's also just a great option overall. The clitoris doesn't always get all the love in partnered activities, particularly between heterosexual partners. Mutual masturbation helps put pleasure front and center, which can lead to some pretty amazing orgasms!

In fact, there are a whole lot of reasons why you might add mutual masturbation to your regular sexual repertoire. Here are a few of our faves.

It Can Deepen Intimacy

When you think about it, a lot of penis-in-vagina sex can feel pretty disconnected. It's often pretty quick, and isn't always pleasurable for both partners.

Mutual masturbation, on the other hand, demands more engagement. You get to really focus on your partner, watch and listen to their reactions, to their movements, to the sounds they make. In other words, you get to really tune in to the person you're having sex with. If this isn't something you've done - or you haven't done it for a while - it is a truly amazing thing. Trust me!

Because you're focused on the other person you're trying to please, you won't be as distracted by your own pleasure. Plus, in order for your partner to enjoy, they also have to kick back, relax and put their trust in you to make them feel amazing.

Sounds pretty hot, right? It is. The result is a more intimate encounter where you and your partner can really pay attention to each other, learn about each other, and play with pushing each other's buttons.

It Helps You Get to Know Your Partner's Body

Not every body is the same, and people have different erogenous zones. Taking the time to explore them can make a big difference in the satisfaction you both experience from sex.

If you pay attention to your partner while touching them, you'll start to notice places where their breath stops short, where they moan, where they shiver with pleasure. Trying different speeds, movements and techniques can also teach you a lot about what your partner likes and doesn't like. Understanding your partner's body is like a healthy booster shot for your sex life that can help defend you from boredom for months (or years!) to come.

The slower pace of mutual masturbation also allows you to ask for (or provide) feedback. Directly requesting feedback, like "How does this feel?" and "Does this feel good?", shows two things: that you care about your partner's pleasure, and that you want to learn how to please them better.

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It Activates Your Sexual Imagination

One thing I personally love when my partner is touching me is when he tells me stories at the same time. (He's a great storyteller.) Activating your imagination is a wonderful way to get turned on, explore scenarios and kinks, and get you and your partner talking.

You can also close your eyes and guide your partner in a scenario that's going on in your head. They can touch you in response to events in your story, or provoke new events by touching you. Remember, a big key to great sex is getting your brain on board. Allowing one person to be the focus of pleasure can be a great way to make that happen.

It's a Great Way to Integrate Sex Toys

Sex toys can provide a seriously sexy boost to your sex life, even if you're already having smoking-hot sex to begin with. But if you're a little apprehensive, mutual masturbation is a good moment to introduce something new.

You could hold a powerful vibrator against your clit while your partner fingers you, or get all tied up in wrist restraints and a blindfold, then let your partner run a silky-smooth vibrator across your body. You could also seek out new erogenous zones on both of your bodies (penises and scrotums respond to vibration too!) Or, apply the vibe to yourself while you pleasure your partner with your hands. Need we go on? There are so many possibilities!

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Mutual masturbation can be a powerful way to both expand your sexual repertoire and deepen your connection with your partner. Just remember to trim your nails, keep a lube or skin-safe oil bottle nearby, and enjoy