Sexual Techniques: Mixing it Up

Dan Savage (sex writer/podcaster/guru) gets a lot of calls to his podcast asking about how to escape the dread “death grip” syndrome, as he’s dubbed it. The so-called syndrome occurs when a man gets used to masturbating with his fist so tightly wrapped around his dick that none of his partner’s orifices could ever approximate its grip. Thus, he finds it difficult to come during partnered sex, feels disappointed, and calls Dan asking what to do.

Women often call in with the equivalent question about themselves; they find that they can only come by their own hand, despite their partner’s best and varied attempts at making the magic happen in another way, and they want to know what to do.

Dan typically advises such callers to try to mix up their masturbation routines so they can learn to be orgasmic, or at least experience pleasure, from different kinds of stimulation. If they’re feeling desperate enough, he sometimes advises them to abandon their normal masturbation routine entirely and devote themselves exclusively to trying new things for a time.

After listening to a number of these calls, I realized that to a certain extent, I was one of these people. If I wanted to come, the fingers on my clit had to be mine, index and middle finger, working in a counterclockwise circle until I came. Somebody else’s fingers were just too unpredictable, distracting, imprecise. My partner could do other very hot things to pleasure me while I did this, but he couldn’t be the one manning the clit or I would just end up frustrated.

The times when I’m single can be good ones for reevaluating where I’m at, sexually and otherwise, and deciding if there’s anything I would like to change or re-calibrate. So I decided to try out Dan’s advice and mix up my routine a little.

First, I got some new toys. I used to have a Rabbit vibrator and, despite its considerable fan base, it wasn’t for me; I found the rabbit’s ears distracting (see above). But the Magic Wand is awesome and quickly supplanted the cheap plastic vibrator I’d had before that.

I had always been skeptical of the Magic Wand since it was so bulky, I heard it was loud (seemed embarrassing), and it looked kind of awkwardly clinical to me. But! I tried it out and I take back all those unfounded negative thoughts I had. It delivers quite a different kind of orgasm than I’d been having before, and while I realize it is probably not the kind of thing that would necessarily make me more likely to come by another person’s hand (unless they were using it on me), it did expand my repertoire in a very fun way. Besides, it’s quiet enough if you use it under a pile of, say, five blankets your housemate will be none the wiser.

Change can be hard, and when I have tried to mix up my manual masturbation routine it often starts out feeling very unnatural, like trying to write with my non-dominant hand. You just want to go back to what’s easy, regular, and orgasmic. But different can also be exciting, and you can feel new sensations you haven’t experienced before.

In the name of research, I’ve tried touching myself with my left hand, using a different rhythm/motion with my right, lying with my head slightly off the bed. Putting a pillow under my hips, lying on the floor, and reclining in a chair. Instead of being a purist and insisting that I. must. come. from the new kind of stimulation, it often takes the pressure off if I allow myself to try the new thing for a while and finish off with the tried and true method.

Will this help me come at the hands of my next partner? Will I be able to surrender control of my clit to allow someone else the chance to get me off? I don’t know, but it’s worth a shot. Have you had success with mixing up your routine?

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