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"Like everyone who is married or in a committed relationship, my husband and I have been hunkered down together for the past year, not really going out of our home much or doing anything really. And just like our life, which has gotten kind of boring, our quarantine sex has gotten pretty repetitive. Missionary and the occasional role playing has worked for us before, but it seems too predictable. Is this it for us? I'd like to know what else people do for variety, but I don't want to invite other people to join or BDSM." Jennifer M., 54, Dallas

Ah, togetherness, the double-edged sword: On one hand, there’s opportunity for increased intimacy with your loved one (or more plainly put, cohabitation – commute time to work = more time for canoodling). On the other hand, there’s that old “familiarity breeds contempt” idea. According to a survey by sexual wellness purveyor Ella Paradis, 44 percent of respondents say they are masturbating more during lockdown, which is to be expected. But what’s surprising is that this activity usually makes us think of being alone, and according to experts, what’s happening just as much is that couples are masturbating together. Think of it as “you do you,” NSFW edition.

First Off, What is Mutual Masturbation Exactly?

Mutual masturbation is self-stimulation done in the company of, or with participation of, a partner. According to Gianna Del Monte, director of marketing at Ella Paradis, “Couples have gotten back to square one and are asking each other the basics again, like ‘what turns you on?’” And they are not only revealing what they do when they masturbate, but also they are discovering new pleasure while watching each other self-stimulate, with or without toys.

And What’s the Big Whoop?

According to self-titled “orgasm activist” and sex toy designer Venus O’Hara, there’s a predictable narrative to long-time couples sex: “Kiss, caress, undress, oral optional, penetration, male orgasm” she says. “then after male orgasm, it’s game over. It can become really boring if you are just focused on the penetration.” Basically, O’Hara explains mutual masturbation as re-imagining your sex life as not being strictly intercourse-oriented, and opening it up to other sensations such as teasing and relaxation. It's a great low-lift option that everyone, from not-so-kinky types to the been there-done that people, can get something out of.

How Can I Try It?

According to O’Hara, newbies to sex tech can get a neck massager and agree to have each partner massage the other one for 20 minutes, agreeing beforehand there will be no sex activity or even taking clothes off. This will help normalize a buzzing toy as being part of the couple’s intimacy. Alternatively, a partner might want to gift the other partner a toy as well as buying one for themselves, to play with together. For instance, one partner can use a C-shaped vibrator as a stroking device on themselves, while the other can use a cock ring as a vibrator. Or a woman can use a clitoral stimulation device on herself, while the other partner watches. “Men love watching their partner get off,” she says.

There’s also an entire toy category called wearables, which attached to a woman’s panties via a magnet, sit against the clitoris and pulse and vibrate according to signals from an app—a boon for long-distance relationships (as well as for couples who just want to have a secret sexual thrill while together privately or in public). “This is a great way of teasing someone,” O’Hara says, and thus spicing up your usual habits. It’s important to try new things in a relationship, she says, and “be sure to have variety so there’s multiple ways of orgasmic stimulation.”

So between exploring your own body and your partner's, at first with a massage and then maybe with a toy (or chest full of toys), there's potential to resuscitate your sex life. And keep a playful attitude...who knows, the extra time together due to the pandemic could turn out to inspire a new intimacy. Or at least a remote-controlled panty vibrator.

RELATED: The 25 Best Sex Toys for Couples (Because We All Need *Something* to Look Forward To)

SHOP THE STORY

Dame

Aer Suction

Five intensities and five stimulation patterns keep you interested with this clitoral stimulator.

Buy It ($95)

Ella Paradis

Satisfyer Partner Plus with Remote Control

This c-shaped vibrator has 2 motors and 10 vibration settings, and can be used for manual play as well as during penetrative sex.

Buy It ($50)

Ella Paradis

Lelo Tor 2

This vibrating penis ring has a stretchable band to fit around him, but its also versatile as a handheld clirtoral and anal stimulator.

Buy It ($153)

Ella Paradis

We-Vibe Moxie with Remote

Super small and quiet, this has a magnet to attach to inside your underwear and can be controlled remotely, whether that’s across the bedroom or across town.

Buy it ($141)

RELATED: The Top 5 Sex Toys of the Pandemic

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