[Content Warning:  This post talks about handjobs in detail, including mentions of ejaculation. There are no images or illustrations.]

Full disclosure:  I’ve gotten a total of about three, given absolutely none to other people.  This post is mostly an extrapolation from solo experience with a few scattered tidbits pulled in from other sources.  So, uh…  Your mileage may vary.


A handjob is the manual stimulation of someone else’s penis.  In other words, using your hand to try to induce pleasurable sensations in a member belonging to another person.

Sometimes a handjob is the primary focus of a sexual interaction, while other times it is done in conjunction with or as a prelude to other activities.  For instance, a handjob can be done simultaneously with a blowjob in order to increase the area of stimulation, or it can be done as part of foreplay to produce or maintain an erection for penetrative purposes.  Sometimes it can be done as a finishing move after other activities, particularly if internal ejaculation is not desired, but an orgasm is.

A handjob need not lead to orgasm or ejaculation, if those are not desired.  Often, the stimulation before those events can be pleasurable in its own right.  A handjob is also not a “lesser” form of sexual activity and is not a “substitute” for other things.

A handjob is a fairly “low effort” activity.  It doesn’t require much movement. There’s not a lot of setup required, and it can even be done fully clothed.  And it is versatile and works well in almost any position.  It’s also a largely safe activity, as no fluids need be exchanged, and gloves or a condom can be worn for added protection, if desired.  There’s also no risk of pregnancy, as long as care is taken to avoid accidental transfer of semen into the vagina.

This post is written with the assumption that the owner of the penis has some experience in the method of its operation and will be able to provide guidance and feedback.  If this is the case, you should seek that guidance and take that feedback where possible.  However, it’s also possible the penis owner themselves has no idea what to do with the thing.  That’s fine, as well.  What’s outlined here will give you the basics, it just might take a bit more trial and error to determine what’s working.

The Basic Technique

Wrap hand around penis and move back and forth until done.

Hold On A Minute…

That sentence above is basically how other people describe them, but that’s a recipe for a really bad attempt.  There’s a bit more finesse required.

But first, some terminology and some misconception busting.

In this, I’m going to mention a few locations on a penis.  Since a penis can twist and turn and flip and flop, and since the owner of it can also be in any position to start with, “up”, “down”, “top”, “bottom”, whatever, don’t necessarily make sense.  So here’s what I’m using terms to mean.  “Base” is where the penis attaches to the rest of the body.  “Tip” or “end” is the free end, where the glans and the urethra are.  “Up” describes a movement toward the tip, while “down” is a movement toward the base.  The “top side” or “front” is the side that faces out when the penis is flaccid, and is on the same side as the owner’s chest.  The “bottom” or “back” is the side that rests against the testicles when flaccid, and is where the urethral tube runs.  The glans or head is the knobby mushroom bit at the end, and the coronal ridge is the bit of the overhang there.  The shaft is the tube section that connects the glans to the body. The foreskin is a extension of the skin of the shaft that covers the head, but it’s not present on every penis. Then the testicles are the dangly bits in a separate bag, behind the penis. This site’s section on The Penis has a more in depth guide to the anatomy of that area, including illustrations and labeled photos, if you need more information.

As for the misconceptions:  There are a lot of euphemisms for handling a penis, often related to masturbation.  Jerking off, whacking off, tug job, beating meat, and so on.  These all imply violent, intense motions.  These implications are largely wrong.  A jerking motion is often not conducive to pleasure, the penis probably shouldn’t be grabbed and tugged like a rope, and only a handful of people would actually enjoy having their meat beaten.  The motions are often more continuous and flowing, even when they’re intense and fast..

The Slightly Less Basic Technique

(This section assumes that the penis is already reasonably erect, but there’s a section later on what to do if it’s not.)

First, position yourself so that you’ll have a comfortable way to reach the penis without strain.  This is important, because you may be at this for a while and don’t want to hurt yourself.  (If you’re going for the speedrun, it might only take a few minutes, but expect 10-30 minutes for a more typical session.)  Also, the first few times you do it, you may experience some fatigue, because you’re using your hands and arms in a way you’re not accustomed to, but if you experience too much soreness or fatigue (especially in the wrist), that’s probably a sign that you should shift position.  The penis probably won’t care too much about which direction your hand is facing, so be more concerned about your comfort, at least to start.  (More advanced techniques would require more specific hand positioning, but those aren’t covered in this guide.)

Wrap your hand around the shaft of the penis, sort of like you’re grabbing the handle of a milk jug or a rolled up newspaper.  If your situation involves a larger penis or a smaller hand, don’t worry if your grip doesn’t make a complete loop around the circumference.  It should still work out.

The goal is to hold it somewhere between loosely and firmly, but not super tight so that you’re crushing it.  Finding the ideal pressure will take time, and it’s largely up to the owner of the penis to communicate their preference.  But for now, just give it a best attempt.

Move your hand up and down along the shaft of the penis.  Start slowly to get the feel of it.  Go for a smooth, uniform motion.

You should feel the skin of the shaft slide across the harder inside parts of the penis somewhat, but your hand should also slide across the skin as you go.  You can use this to calibrate your grip pressure.  If you don’t feel the skin sliding against the harder insides, you’re probably gripping too loosely.  But if you’re pulling the skin and it’s not sliding under your hand, you’re probably too tight.  But that’s just a general guideline. Each one is different. In the case of a penis with a foreskin, it will have more travel on the shaft, so you might not need to let the skin slip much under your hand, while some penises without foreskins might not have skin that slides over the shaft much at all, and therefore would require the hand to slip over the skin to a much greater extent. The owner of the penis can tell you what’s too much, too little, or just right.

Once you’ve dialed in the pressure, move on to speed.  Too slow, and there won’t be enough stimulation to maintain the erection nor the interest of the penis owner.  Too fast, and it can be overwhelming and unpleasant (and you’ll get tired).  Like pressure, the ideal stroking rate should be determined in consultation with the owner.  Fortunately, there’s likely a pretty wide range of speeds that work.  Unfortunately, I have no clear way of determining nor describing what that range might be.

After pressure and speed, the third component is stroke length.  The most basic technique is to just stroke the full length, from the base to the tip.  Some caution should be taken around the glans, as it can be super sensitive in certain circumstances for certain people.  If the penis has a foreskin, it might be preferable to pull the foreskin up and over the glans. Consult with the owner for more information.  If you’re given the go ahead to include the glans, stroke all the way up so that part of your hand extends past the tip, but not so far that the penis comes completely free of the grip.  If the glans is off limits, halt the upstroke before you reach it (The coronal ridge marks a good point to turn around).  On the downstroke, you can move all the way to the base (or to the extent that the skin will allow, if you’re gripping more tightly. Don’t try to pull the skin past where it resists.) before turning around.

Modify the size and shape of your grip to conform to the size of the penis underneath.  Don’t hold a rigid, fixed diameter cylinder in your hand. This is particularly important if you go over the head, as you’ll want to try to match its curve to remain in contact the whole way.

Continue stroking up and down until done.

If the stroking results in an orgasm, it is highly likely that some or all of the penis will become hyper-sensitive during and immediately after.  In this phase, if you continue stroking, it could be overwhelming and unpleasant for the penis owner.  If that happens, they’ll likely request that you stop, potentially in a squirming, non-verbal manner. It may be a good idea to slow your stroking speed dramatically before it reaches that point.  However, don’t remove your hand and don’t stop entirely during the orgasm, unless asked to do so.  Removal of all stimulation suddenly can decrease the pleasure of the event.

After an orgasm, a penis will typically go into hibernation for a bit.  It may no longer respond to stimulation, and the erection may dissipate.  The owner of the penis may also go into hibernation themselves for a while.  Multiple orgasms are possible, but that’s an advanced technique that’s not covered here.

One more thing for this section that’s a bit important is the angle you’re stroking at.  When flaccid, the penis moves in all sorts of directions easily.  However, when erect, the range of motion is limited considerably.  Commonly, an erect penis will move freely in an arc from straight out and perpendicular to the body, to lying flat against the stomach, pointing at the owner’s head.  Movement is limited toward the feet and side to side. Take care not to move it outside of this range or you can cause pain or even injury.  Some advanced techniques may push the boundaries, but don’t do that yet.

And there you have the basics. 


Sometimes (Often?), the sliding motion needs a bit of assistance.  After all, there’s a fine line between pleasure and friction burns in an embarrassing place.  In particular, if the penis does not have a foreskin, there may not be enough skin to do the sliding over the core of the shaft.  And even in cases with a foreskin, going dry may not be the most pleasant experience.  This is where lube comes in.

Lube is basically anything that makes something slippery. Applying lube to a penis will reduce friction and allow the hand to move more easily over the surface, which generally results in a more pleasurable experience.

However, you need to use just the right amount of lube or things won’t work.  Too little, and friction isn’t reduced enough.  In some cases, not using enough lube can actually make things worse, as the lube ends up being more sticky than slidey.  But on the other end of the spectrum, applying too much lube will make your hand slide right off.  You want to find the sweet spot, where friction is reduced, but not eliminated.  You still want some friction to allow the hand to pull at the skin slightly.

The primary rule of lube is to remember that it’s easy to add more if you use too little, but hard to take it away if you use too much.  So always go on the lower side of what you think you might need, and add more if it’s not enough.  It usually won’t take much.  And each type of lube will need a different amount.

Yes, there are multiple types of lube.  Different consistencies, different ingredients.  Far too many to get into here, so I’ll just mention a few things to keep in mind.  Oil based lubes will wreck condoms and toys and can sometimes cause problems if used vaginally.  If all you’re doing is the handjob, they’re fine, but stick with water based lubes if you’re doing anything else.  Water based are a good all-around lube that’s safe for condoms, toys, and internal use, however, they can dry out and get sticky pretty quickly when exposed to air.  Saliva can work, and is probably your best bet if you’re also planning on performing a blowjob. The penis itself may also produce a lubricating fluid in some circumstances, but it often isn’t enough for a handjob. (There is a more in-depth guide to lube here.)

Some lubes may stain some fabrics.

There’s a pretty good chance that if the penis needs lube to operate, that the owner already has a preferred lube available that they use when operating it themselves, so you can use that.  If they don’t or it’s not available, probably the most common lube for dealing with a penis is ordinary hand lotion.  Cheap, long lasting, easy cleanup, and works pretty well.  However, it’s usually oil based, so don’t use it if there will be condoms, toys, vaginae, or mouths involved at some point in the session.

The “Ending”

Often, the goal of a handjob is to proceed to an orgasm.  In most cases, that will be accompanied by ejaculation.

If you’ve never seen that happen before, here’s what to expect.  The penis will begin to contract, and a relatively small amount of a whitish fluid will be expelled from the urethral opening at the tip of the penis, with each contraction.  The amount of fluid, the number of contractions, and the force of each burst is largely unpredictable and is based on a number of factors, including how long it’s been since the last ejaculation, how hydrated the owner is, how “good” it was, and even things like angle and pressure on the shaft.  An ejaculation can be anything from a tiny amount barely dribbling out, to several milliliters flying several feet across the room.

While some people enjoy the result, others find it extremely off-putting.  Sometimes so off-putting that if can ruin the entire experience.  This is especially prevalent among ace people, although certainly not universal.  Here are a few different tips for handling the ending in different scenarios.

If ejaculation isn’t an issue for you, then stroke away.  You might want to direct it where to go, though.  (More on that in a bit.)

If ejaculation is entirely out of the question, you can stop before you get there.  The owner of the penis can typically tell when they’re approaching orgasm, so if you speak with them ahead of time, they may be able to warn you.  Sometimes, though, the advance notice that the penis gives doesn’t leave enough time to prevent the ejaculation entirely, but with a partner who’s paying attention, you might be able to get your hand away.

If ejaculation is fine, but you’d rather not touch that stuff, there are a few options.  First, you can ask the owner to take over and finish the job when they’re getting close.  Or, you can have them wear a condom, since condoms are designed to contain that when it happens.  On a similar note, you can wear a glove.  Finally, as you build up your experience points, you’ll likely gain an aiming perk, which lets you direct it where you want it to go.  With that, you can direct it so you, including your hand, can stay out of the line of fire.

(As a side note, the default case is that if the handjob proceeds to climax, that ejaculation will not be an issue.  Any alteration from that default should be discussed with the penis owner before commencing to avoid confusion or disappointment.  Plus, they will need to be aware that they will need to tell you went to stop.)

Aiming it is useful in general.  It’s easier to clean if you know where it all went.  While the distance it travels may vary, in most cases, it will go at most a few inches, pretty much straight out from the tip.  Gravity and air resistance will take over pretty quickly, and it will fall.  Overall, it tends to trace the path of an arc.

Now, you can use calculus to predict the trajectory, or you can just use this cheatsheet:  If you aim the penis straight up, the ejaculate will come straight down and land on the tip of the penis or your hand.  If the owner of the penis is standing, the ejaculate will go in front of them and will land in front of their feet.  If sitting or laying back and you aim at an angle up toward their torso, it will typically land on their stomach or chest.

You can also put a towel or a tissue over the tip just before ejaculation for the easiest cleanup outside of using a condom.

Porn alert!  A lot of porn places a lot of emphasis on having the semen land on the partner.  This is not, under any circumstances, required!  You certainly can do that if you like, but you don’t have to.  An orgasm will feel the same, regardless of where the semen ends up landing.

(BTW, I put “ending” in quotes because while orgasm/ejaculation often marks the ending of a sexual session, it doesn’t have to.  You can stop before you get to that point if you want, or shift activities and keep going afterwards.)

“Can I Watch?”

One way to learn what works for the penis owner is to ask them if they would demonstrate for you.  Practically speaking, the primary difference between masturbation and a handjob is whose hands are involved.  So, watch how they masturbate, then try to emulate what you’ve seen them do.  Obviously, you won’t have the direct feedback mechanism that lets them know what’s working, but you might pick up a few tips.  As a bonus, the penis owner may find the request itself extremely exciting.

Related to “Can I Watch” is “Can You Show Me How?”, where instead of just demonstrating, you can ask the penis owner to more directly guide your hand.  This is a good way to dial in the pressure, speed, and stroke length.

Of course, these really only work if the penis owner is already experienced in these procedures and is willing to show them off.  Some people (and this is more likely if your partner is ace as well) do not masturbate, and some people do not feel comfortable masturbating in front of another person, so this option may not be available.

Start It Up

Movies and porn and society in general would have you believe that the penis goes from soft to hard instantly, with the single tap of a magic wand.  That’s not the case at all.  Sometimes you’ll have to help get it going.

One option is to ask the owner to take care of it for you.  That’ll probably work, although it’s probably not their preferred method.

You can take the direct approach, where you grab it and start sort of pulling, pushing, squeezing, rubbing, pressing, and kneading it until it starts to stiffen a bit.  When it’s flaccid, you won’t be able to stroke it because it will just bend out of the way, but you can still sort of do some of the motions.

If oral sex is on the table, then you can try sucking on it a little bit with your mouth.

And then there’s the indirect approach, where you do other things in the hopes that the penis responds.  Some options include kissing pretty much anywhere, but particularly the mouth, neck, nipples or chest.  You can run your hands along their chest, stomach, or thighs.  You can fondle the testicles slightly.  You can press your body against theirs.  You can remove some or all of your clothing, if the situation and your comfort level allows and if you haven’t already done so.

Eventually, the penis should reach the point where it is erect enough to begin the stroking procedure described above.

The Slightly More Advanced Techniques

So, we went over the basics earlier, but that’s not even close to the full story.  There’s far more out there, far more than can be covered in a single post, and plenty which I’m not even aware of.  But here’s a few slightly more advanced techniques to try incorporating as you go.

Be aware of the different zones of the penis.  It’s not one uniform dangly piece of skin.  Different areas have different levels of sensitivity and capacity for pleasure, and it’s possible to use this feature.  The front side of the shaft is generally the least sensitive area, while the glans and the bottom side are more sensitive.  The frenulum and the area around it can be one of the most sensitive zones.  This is located on the “bottom” side of the shaft, near where it meets the glans.  And there’s even a secret hidden section of the penis!  The structure of the penis actually extends behind the testicles, between the legs, and sometimes rubbing or pressing that area can even be pleasant.  Experiment with focusing on these areas, applying more or less pressure to them, and see what happens.

There’s more movements than just the basic full hand stroking action.  In the earlier section, the only motion described was a simple, continuous back and forth stroking motion, using the full hand.  That’s not all there is.  Sometimes you can twist or swirl a bit (Can work well on the head).  Sometimes you can use a couple of fingertips to rub in circles (Can work well on the frenulum).  Sometimes you can make quick, short strokes (Can work well close to orgasm).  Sometimes you can squeeze harder (Can work well if the penis loses its erection slightly).  All of these different motions can produce different sensations.

Change up what you’re doing.  The basic back and forth motion the same way can get tiring and boring after a while.  So shuffle it around a bit.  Go faster.  Go slower.  Squeeze harder or ease up.  Slow to the point that the penis starts to go soft, then speed back up.  Do two full strokes, followed by four quick strokes focusing on squeezing the frenulum and coronal ridge area, then do one long, slow downstroke all the way to the base.  Switch hands.

Upstroke and downstroke can feel different.  You can change the speed and pressure to enhance these different sensations.

If you have two hands, you can use them both.  It may be tempting to just use the second hand to also stroke the penis in tandem with the first one, but it’s often best employed in a support role, doing something entirely different.  Rub the chest and stomach.  Play with the testicles.  Press or rub the base of the penis or the area where it extends between the legs.  Caress the thighs.  Go for the prostate (only with explicit permission and preparation).  Pinch the nipples.  Focus exclusively on the glans or the frenulum while the other strokes the shaft.  Masturbate yourself or touch other areas of your body, if that’s something you’re willing to do.  Note:  Your other hand should probably not be used to scroll through Pinterest on your phone.

There are different phases of sensitivity response.  If you learn these different phases, you can use them to your advantage.   There will often be a spike in sensitivity and pleasure just before the orgasm.  If the penis owner indicates that they are in this zone, there are a couple of things you can do.  If you ramp the intensity up to 11, that can quickly push them over to a strong orgasm.  Or, you can slow things down a bit and try to stay in that zone.  The pleasure factor is ramped way up in this area.  A super slow full downstroke that takes several seconds to complete would’ve been dull earlier in the session, but while in this zone can feel extremely good.  It’s possible to stay in that zone indefinitely, but to do so requires the penis owner to let you know when they are approaching orgasm, and for you to slow or stop until they fade away from that edge and indicate that it’s safe to proceed.  But at the same time, you’ll have to take care not to diminish the stimulation so much that they revert to an earlier, less pleasurable phase.

[Content Warning: This page has actual photos of actual penises.]

Beyond this point are photos of an actual penis, with various parts labeled. These photos contain nudity. There is no text content outside of the image descriptions.

So if that’s not something you want to see, turn back now.

This image contains actual nudity. This image is a view of the front side of a standing person with a penis, in order to provide a reference for location and size. The location of the penis is highlighted by the blue circle.

Original Photograph: Public domain.

Filtering added.

This image contains actual nudity. This image is a frontal view of a flaccid penis (circumcised), scrotum, and pubic hair. Several features are labeled.

Original Photograph: Viewmaster Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy, Section VI, Reel 165-1, Bassett/Gruber, 1961

Annotations and filtering added.

This image contains actual nudity. This image is a view of the dorsal side of a flaccid uncircumcised penis, showing the foreskin covering the head. Several features are labeled.

Original Photograph: Bebop7 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Annotations and filtering added.


This image contains actual nudity. This image is a view of the ventral side (the “under” side, normally facing the testicles) of a flaccid, circumcised penis, including the frenulum, remnant foreskin, circumcision scar, raphe, scrotum, and pubic hair. This penis has a slight curve. Several features are labeled.

Original Photograph: Anonymous Contribution (Thank you!)

Annotations and filtering added.

All Rights Reserved

This image contains actual nudity. This image is a series of photos of a side view of an uncircumcised penis in various degrees of erection, from flaccid to erect. The retraction of the foreskin can be seen in the final two panels. These images are not labeled.

Original Photograph: Bobli reuter / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Filtering added.


[Additional Content Warning: The photos and videos within this block include fluids.]

This video contains actual nudity. This video shows a side view of the process of ejaculation. Several contractions are shown, with an emission of semen accompanying each contraction. A stationary hand is holding the base of the penis.

Original Video: Xvrgd / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Video truncated and filtering added.


This image contains actual nudity. This image is a closeup of the head of a penis. A small droplet and trail of pre-ejaculatory fluid can be seen, illustrating the viscosity of that substance.

Original Photograph: Anonymous Contribution (Thank you!)

Filtering added.

All Rights Reserved

This page explores some of the more common variations on how a penis may manifest itself.

It’s usually a few inches long and a few inches around. Sometimes it might get bigger. I’m not going to get more specific than that because then people start to wonder how big theirs is in comparison to others and then might feel upset if they’re not in the 99th percentile because society is terrible like that.

The testicles also are vary in size, and even the same person’s can change size slightly throughout the day. When they come in pairs, one is usually slightly bigger than the other.

When flaccid, they’re little shapeshifters. When erect, they may be straight, curved, bent, angled, twisted, even lopsided. They are rarely perfectly symmetrical and perfectly aligned. Sometimes the head has a prominent mushroom shape, sometimes it’s helmet shaped, other times it’s more reserved.

The penis is usually a different shade than skin around it, and its color can change slightly under different conditions. Parts of the penis may be different from one another, as well. The shaft, foreskin, and head are occasionally unique color zones.

The foreskin is a tube-like fold of skin that covers some or all of the head of the penis. Sometimes this bit of skin is surgically removed (often without consent) in a process called circumcision. Sometimes it’s done for legitimate medical reasons, but more often, this is done for religious reasons, or, completely unnecessarily, for “cosmetic” reasons that originally arose from a period of anti-masturbation sentiment in the 1800s but continues today because tradition!.

If the foreskin is present, the head of the penis is often covered most of the time, making it more sensitive. If the foreskin as been removed, the head is permanently exposed and it dries out and becomes less sensitive.

[Content Warning: This page is discusses many types of fluids. Feel free to skip this section if that’s not your thing.]

This is the most common thing to come out of a penis. Usually happens to anyone who owns a penis several times a day. Urine is a waste product of the biological processes of the body. It is usually released in a high pressure, high velocity stream. It is a flowing liquid in consistency and ranges from clear to deep yellow-brown in color. The exact volume varies, but it is typically a notable amount.

Semen is usually discharged during ejaculation. Semen consists of sperm and several other fluids, all mixed together. Sperm are microscopic tadpole like cells which can combine with another special type of cell in someone else’s body and cause it to turn into a baby, which is really weird when you stop to think about it so let’s not stop to think about it.

Sometimes the force of ejaculation will propel the semen at high speed some distance (up to a couple of feet) away from the penis, while other times, it won’t flow with enough energy to go even half an inch.

The consistency of semen can vary considerably. Sometimes it can be thin and watery, other times it can be thicker and closer to the consistency (though not stickiness) of syrup. Over time, even the thicker type will tend to thin out and become more runny.

Semen is usually white or yellowish white in color, although it may appear more clear when it is thinner.

The exact volume varies, but it is usually a fairly small amount, on the order of just a few milliliters.

Sometimes when aroused (although not necessarily erect), the penis will begin to produce a small amount of pre-ejaculatory fluid, also called “precum”. This is a clear, slippery, viscous fluid. It’s similar in consistency to some kinds of liquid soap and a small string of fluid will bridge the gap if you pull a drop away. Pre-ejaculatory fluid is not expelled with any force at all, and will usually remain around the opening of the urethra unless gravity or some other force acts on it. This fluid does not always appear, and when it does, it is often just a few drops. In some cases, there may be enough to use as a lubricant for stimulation purposes.

Pretty much anything else that comes out of a penis is something you should see a doctor about.

A penis has two states which it periodically transitions between: Flaccid and erect. This transition is not instant, and the penis may exist in a state of quantum uncertainty between these two phases, exhibiting some characteristics of both states for several minutes or more.

Most of the time, the penis will be flaccid. A penis in this state is soft, squishy, floppy, stretchable, twistable, bendable. It doesn’t really hold any particular state or position. (It should be noted that many attempts to make use of or demonstrate the amorphous qualities of the penis may cause state change to erect.)

If the penis has a foreskin, it will usually cover most or all of the head in this state.

While flaccid, the penis is generally not all that sensitive and it can be handled to some extent without resulting in a sensation of pleasure or a state change. This quality is frequently taken advantage of: Most of the time, a penis can be touched to direct a flow of urine or can be adjusted to a more comfortable position inside clothing without fear of triggering an erection.

However, if a flaccid penis is deliberately handled in certain ways, it will often cause a change of state.

A fraction of the time, and usually only for relatively brief periods, a penis will undergo a transition to a different form. Rather than being soft and floppy, it becomes harder and more rigid. This is known as an erection. It is caused when blood fills some spongy areas within the penis and is prevented from draining, similar to inflating a balloon.

During an erection, a penis is typically rigid enough to be inserted into something without losing its form and folding back on itself. This feature is required for many sexual activities and masturbation techniques.

While erect, the motion of a penis is severely limited, and the degree of the erection may limit the motion even more. It can usually be moved from the lower torso to somewhere around perpendicular to the body/straight out without much resistance, but can only be moved about 30 degrees side to side before it becomes uncomfortable.

An erect penis will often still have some give to it, although it is no longer completely spongy. Although often referred to as a “boner”, it is not as hard as a bone. The skin on the shaft of the penis will glide smoothly, unattached to the structures within.

If a penis has a foreskin, it will often pull back and reveal most or all of the head in this state.

An erection can be caused by many things. Some common causes (but by no means a complete list) are: Physical stimulation (intentional or otherwise), sexual thoughts, taking part in or observing a sexual situation, pressure on the perineum, a full bladder, exercise, and a butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo. They can also happen entirely on their own while sleeping.

While erect, urination becomes difficult, if not impossible. This is due to some internal valves closing off, likely to prevent urine and semen from mixing. Even if it’s not completely impossible, it can be awkward, because most urine receptacles are down, and an erect penis can be moved in a number of directions, but down is the one it least wants to go in. It is a cruel twist of fate that many people with a penis will frequently wake up with both a full bladder and an erection.

An erection by itself is not necessarily an indication of sexual attraction, interest, desire, or thoughts.

While erect, a penis usually becomes more sensitive. Some areas become more sensitive than others. If stimulated in the right way for long enough, this can often lead to sexual pleasure and possibly orgasm and ejaculation.

If an erect penis is stimulated, it is often possible to prolong the erection indefinitely. If an erect penis is left alone and is not stimulated, it will often revert back to the flaccid state within a short time. This also is a common occurrence shortly after an orgasm.

This section describes some of the anatomical points of interest of the penis and the surrounding countryside.

The shaft is the main body of the tube, located between the body and the glans. The skin on this area is loose and is not attached to the structures inside. Usually soft and spongy when the penis is flaccid, the shaft becomes harder, straighter, and more rigid when erect.

The head, or “glans” (if you want to be more technical) is the knobby bit at the end of the penis. This is one of the more sensitive zones of the penis, and can sometimes be too uncomfortably so. The head can sort of “puff up” during an erection.

The urethra is a small hole, usually located at the tip of the head. Urine exits the body through this hole, and this is also where semen comes out during ejaculation.

The frenulum is a band of skin that connects between the head and the foreskin/shaft, located on the ventral (testicle side) of the penis. This is one of the more sensitive zones.

In some circumcisions, the frenulum is completely removed along with the foreskin.

This is a ridge or overhang that circles the base of head where it connects with the shaft. This is the part that give the head its mushroom or helmet shape.

The foreskin is a fold of skin at the end of the shaft that forms a pocket which will often entirely cover the head of the penis when flaccid. When erect, the foreskin often gets pulled back to rest along the shaft, exposing the head.

A large number of people who have penises have had some or all this region removed (often involuntarily as infants) in an operation called a circumcision.

This is a shapeshifting bag of skin containing the testicles, located just below the base of the penis where it meets the torso.

Also commonly referred to as “balls”, these are small egg-shaped lumps inside the scrotum. Their primary purpose is to produce sperm cells and various hormones, and they can be the source of acute pain when mistreated.

Pubic hair is a tuft of short, curled hairs located above and around the penis and covering the scrotum and perineal area. People who apparently enjoy being really itchy will sometimes shave this hair off for some reason.

The perineum is a zone between the legs, behind the testicles and in front of the anus. The base of the penis extends through this area, so it can be slightly sensitive and respond positively to certain kinds of pressure or stimulation.

The raphe is a thicker band of skin that runs down the ventral side of the penis, starting around the frenulum, down along the center of the scrotum, and back towards the anus. It can resemble a long scar.

The prostate is a small lump of an organ that is responsible for producing some of the fluid that goes into semen. It’s located between the penis and the rectum, a few inches inside from the perineum. For some people, prostate stimulation can be pleasurable, although its internal location can make that challenging or be off-putting.

The penis has a number of uses. Here is a short list of some of the more common ones.

The primary use of a penis is as a liquid waste disposal system. The vast majority of the time when someone uses their penis, it’s for urination. The flexible tube shape is often convenient for this purpose.

The penis is often the primary source of sexual pleasure for people who have them. Much of the penis can become sensitive to stimulation in certain situations. Not everyone who owns a penis will use it in this way.

Under certain circumstances, sperm from the testicles will be mixed with other fluids and pumped through the penis and out its end. Although this uses some of the same infrastructure as urination, this is a very different scenario. Not everyone who owns a penis will use it in this way.

Some people who own a penis enjoy using it with another person. On the other side, some people enjoy having a penis they do not own get used with them. Not everyone who owns a penis will use it in this way.

[Content Warning: This page discusses a number of masturbation techniques in detail. Anatomy will be referenced where necessary.]

A number of people have expressed interest in trying to masturbate, but have also expressed a desire to avoid touching their genitals directly while doing so. This page explores a number of options. Some of these are a bit more “hands on”, but none of them require direct contact between hands and genitals.

All of these techniques will take practice. You should not expect hours of earth-shattering orgasmic bliss on the first try. If you don’t have an orgasm, that’s not a failure! Try to get somewhere that feels good, and build on that next time. You may never end up having an orgasm with some of these techniques, and that’s okay. Focus on what you are getting from the experience, rather than dwelling on what you’re not. You may not even want to have an orgasm, and that’s fine, too.

In some cases, a lot of the reluctance to try masturbating for vulva owners stems from the common misconception that masturbation requires penetration. If you’re in that camp, you may be relieved to know that it does not! For many people, external clitoral stimulation alone is enough to masturbate and reach orgasm. These tips are all possible without penetration, however a handful of them can be adjusted to include non-contact penetration, if desired.

Bad news, I’m afraid. While many of these techniques are possible on a penis, they can be much more difficult than they are with a clitoris. A lot of penis owners may be able to attain some level of pleasure with most of these techniques, but don’t be disappointed if it does not lead to orgasm.

One of the more common ways to masturbate without genital contact is to simply leave your clothes on (or use some other barrier, like a towel or cloth) and rub or stroke your genitals through the clothing. Experiment with different layers, as too many layers may dull the sensation, while too few may be too close for comfort.

This technique is even used by a lot of people who don’t mind direct genital contact for the simple reason that they may find direct stimulation of the clitoris to be too strong and unpleasant. You can also use a lot of toys this way, especially vibrators, as the clothing helps to dampen the sensation somewhat.

This is one of the more difficult techniques to perform on a penis, because of the limited range of motion and limited area of stimulation. Circular rubbing with some pressure on the frenulum area (A bit just below the head of the penis on the “under” side) may provide some success. Other than that, try a few different techniques on a few different areas and see if anything responds.

Using toys is one of the easiest, most effective, and most common ways to masturbate without touching your genitals. Most toys are designed to take the work away from your hands. You can buy toys from many places online, and most will ship in a plain box with no indication of what’s inside. If you’re nervous about buying an actual sex toy, a lot of easily available massagers can be used to masturbate with. (Plus, you can use them on your sore shoulders if you decide you don’t want to use them downstairs.)

Many vibrators are phallic or cylindrical in shape and are designed for penetration, but you do not need to use them for that purpose if that’s not for you.

Vibrators, although common, are unfortunately not the easiest to use on a penis. It may be possible to get some level of pleasure, but it can be difficult to attain orgasm with one, if that’s your goal. A “stroker” sleeve may be more effective.

Some sleeves are on the small side and may not completely prevent your hand from touching your genitals. Sleeves also require some form of lubricant, which may be a non-starter for some people. The lubricant can be applied to the toy itself.

A potential problem you may encounter while using a sleeve is that it may be difficult to get your penis inside it without guidance. With an adequate erection, you can usually angle things in a way that it will work, but it may take a number of tries to get it right. If you’re not completely averse to touching down there briefly, a quick guiding hand, similar to the contact you might make when urinating, will make the entry process easier.

Grinding is a totally hands free way to masturbate. It involves pressing your genitals against something and moving around in a way that stimulates them. It can be done fully clothed, if you want. Pillows, bunched up blankets or towels, chair or couch arms, and mattresses are some common items used for grinding.

Closely related to grinding, a penis can be placed inside or between things like the blankets and pillows mentioned above, and a hip thrusting action can be used to move it around and cause stimulation. Take particular care to avoid anything that’s rough, sharp, or that you can get stuck in. Also, consider using a condom or something like a sock, or this technique can get messy.

You may also find some success by grinding using the perineal area, rather than the penis itself. The perineum is the zone behind the testicles and in front of the anus. Using something like a rolled up bunch of socks or a tennis ball to provide some pressure on that area can sometimes be pleasurable.

A common no-hands masturbation method is to use flowing water. Positioning your genitals under the flow from a bathtub faucet is one way to do this. Using the spray from a handheld shower head is another way. The shower head allows you to try different angles, different spray styles, and target different areas. With either one, be sure to test the temperature first, as water that’s too hold can be painful and too cold can shut everything down.

Pretty much just aim at the clitoris.

Sensitive areas are different for different people and may change during your session. Some commonly responsive areas are the frenulum area (just below the head on the “under” side), and the testicles/perineum zone.

Gloves are a great way to avoid direct contact with the genitals. When wearing them, your hands are fully covered, yet you are still able to stimulate things freely.

However, this method is very similar to direct hand-to-genital stimulation, so it may be too close for comfort for a lot of people.

This is basically the opposite method from using a glove. Instead of covering your hand, cover your genitals with something like a condom or dental dam.

Similar to using a glove, this method may be too close for comfort for many people.

On the negative side, it can be extremely difficult to put on a condom without touching the penis. With practice, it can be unrolled over an erection without touching directly.

On the plus side, if you’re not a fan of ejaculation, a condom is specifically designed to capture that.

Some people can masturbate by squeezing their thighs together and shaking/bouncing their legs. Wearing tight clothes, like jeans, has been reported to be helpful for this technique.

This technique can be extremely difficult and frustrating to try with a penis, because a penis is not in the right position for this, and it can be very uncomfortable to try to bend an erection between your legs.

Squeezing and tensing your muscles downstairs can work for some people. While a lot of the muscles in that area can be used, the primary one to focus on is called the “PC Muscle”. It’s the muscle you would use to control a flow of urine. Experiment with squeezing and holding this muscle, or squeezing and releasing at various speeds, until you find something that works. It may not be much at first, but the sensations can build, if you’re successful.

There are even exercises called “Kegels” which focus on the PC muscle, often with the goal of having stronger orgasms.

So you’re not a fan of touching your genitals, but how do you feel about other areas of your body? Some other areas may be pleasurable to touch and stimulate, such as the chest, nipples, neck, thighs, hair, lower torso, and feet. Nipples in particular can be a highly sensitive zone, regardless of your body type.

Several of the techniques mentioned above can be used together, so try combining them in different ways and see if that helps. Use a toy while grinding. Touch your nipples while using a shower head. The muscle tensing one can be combined with every other technique.

[Content Warning: This area discusses the anatomy of the penis. One of the pages in this section has photos.]


A penis is one of the more common variations of human genitalia. It consists of a usually floppy tubular external appendage located just above and in front of where the legs join the torso. It’s usually accompanied by a hanging bag containing a pair of small egg sized and shaped things called testicles.

The penis and testicles vary wildly from person to person. The following pages describes some common configurations, but it cannot possibly describe all possible variations.

These following pages explore what you are likely to encounter on your travels to the penis and the area around it.

[Content Warning: This page talks about orgasms, with an occasional mentions of anatomy or fluids.]

This is a list of “common knowledge” about orgasms that just plain isn’t true.

This comes from a willful misunderstanding of what asexuality is. They think that someone having a physical response to stimulation, even one done entirely on your own, will somehow invalidate your sexual orientation. That’s just ridiculous.

How is that even supposed to work, anyway? Have an orgasm, and boom! Now you’re straight! Like… Is there some secret coming of age ritual where people are excited to have their first orgasm so that they can finally discover their sexual orientation? It remains a mystery until then, so asexual people are those who never perform the ritual?

Asexual people are allowed to have orgasms. Many of us do. Doesn’t change the fact that we’re ace one bit.

Nope! Not everyone does. Some people can’t have them, some people aren’t interested, and some people haven’t figured it out yet.

It’s okay if you don’t have orgasms.

For some people, orgasms are a highly unpleasant experience for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t like the cleanup. Maybe they have guilt. Maybe they’re physically unpleasant or painful. Maybe they’re dysphoria triggering. Maybe they just don’t feel anything. Maybe they merely like them. And the list goes on…

It’s okay if orgasms just aren’t your thing.

Some people really like orgasms and get a significant amount of pleasure from them, and maybe for some people in that group they are the best feeling ever. But that’s not the case for everyone. As mentioned above, some people don’t like them at all. For other people they can range from “meh” to “I guess that was pretty good”, but not be classified as The Best Thing Ever™.

Orgasms can be very different for different people, and even different times for the same person. It’s perfectly fine if you’re not launching fireworks and causing massive earthquakes every time something approaches your genitals.

It is true that in most cases, an orgasm and ejaculation will occur simultaneously for people with a penis, and that they seem inextricably linked, but that is not the case. For some people, a health condition will prevent ejaculation or cause the semen to flow into the bladder instead of the urethra. It’s also possible to intentionally prevent ejaculation during orgasm, either by squeezing part of the penis manually or by tensing the muscles that would normally be involved and holding them until the orgasm subsides.

In any case, an orgasm does not guarantee ejaculation, and ejaculation does not require orgasm.

This can be broken down into a few smaller myths, all equally invalid.

First, there are no adverse health effects to never having an orgasm. Nothing will physically burst, nothing will fall off or fill with cobwebs. Even the claim that they prevent prostate cancer is dubious. If you never have an orgasm, you’ll physically be fine.

Second, for some people, their libido may kick into high gear the longer they go without, and in that sense, it may feel like they’re going to explode in a fireball of horniness if nothing happens. For those people, I guess there may be some metaphorical validity in the idea. But that’s not the case for everyone. Some people have low libidos that can be managed just fine without servicing. And other people have no libido to speak of at all.

Third, there is the possibility of experiencing vasocongestion of the genitals (more commonly known as “blue balls”, although it does not require the presence of balls to occur) after prolonged arousal without orgasm. Essentially, an orgasm will typically open the drain valves to release the blood sent to the genitals during arousal, and so if that doesn’t happen, all the extra blood down there can make things uncomfortable. Slightly uncomfortable. For a small number of people. For a relatively short period of time. And then it goes away. Most, if not all, tales of crippling pain associated with a lack of orgasm are a flat out lie designed to coerce someone into performing a sexual act and not a real condition. So you won’t explode.

Says who? Do you feel like you’ve had enough? Then you’re done. An orgasm is a rather arbitrary milestone.

Additionally, nothing says that an orgasm has to be the end, either. You can often keep going.

Says who? The idea that the orgasm is the ultimate goal of sexual activities is common, but it doesn’t have to be the case. The existence of orgasm-delaying techniques like edging and tantric sex practices prove that the journey itself is often worthwhile. Did you get something from the experience regardless, whether that’s physical pleasure, emotional closeness with a partner, or even something like migraine headache relief? Then that hardly seems like a pointless failure.

Sex an masturbation can be a success without orgasm, you just need to re-examine what you consider your personal success criteria to be.

Like hell it is. I never had an inkling of some mysterious ingrained knowledge that if I just put my hand downstairs and make a particular repetitive motion for several minutes that it will make something happen.

It’s okay to have no earthly idea how to make yourself orgasm. It’s okay to train yourself. It’s okay if it takes practice.

Really loud and vocal, wake-up-the-neighbors orgasms are a cornerstone stereotype that’s so prevalent that it seems like it’s not real if it’s not loud. Not all orgasms are loud, in fact, many of them are completely silent. Decibel level has no bearing on the intensity of an orgasm.

One of the most common myths around orgasm is that vaginal penetration is a good way to get them. Now, it certainly may be possible for some people to get an orgasm from penetration, but that’s not the case for everyone. For a lot of people, clitoral stimulation is required.

This is a particularly insidious myth, because it’s so prevalent and so misleading. A lot of people end up thinking that they’re broken downstairs simply because they’ve always been told that penetration is all there is, without ever hearing that the clitoris is where the action is.

There is nothing wrong with you if you can’t orgasm from penetration alone. Most people don’t.

A lot of sex ed articles have a positive, but misguided attitude. Everyone can have one, they say. Just keep trying! But not everyone can have an orgasm. Some for some people, such as those with anorgasmia, it’s not actually possible. It’s not a matter of figuring it out or doing things the right way, it just isn’t going to happen.

If an inability to orgasm is a problem for you or if it’s a change from the past, then you may want to mention it to a doctor. In general, though, if it’s not a problem for you, then it’s nothing to worry about.

As mentioned above, not everyone can have orgasms. But even putting that aside, the notion of “just try harder” can be counter-productive as well. “Try harder” turns on the pressure and the stress and then when nothing happens, the stress level rises and rises, until inevitably you give up and feel like you’ve failed. You haven’t failed, you just got stuck in a nearly impossible situation.

If you try to force an orgasm to happen, that basically guarantees that it won’t happen. You’re much better off just relaxing and go wherever it takes you. If you don’t orgasm, don’t worry about it. Maybe next time, maybe not.

Conveniently, there’s an entire other page dedicated to this one!