5 Ways to Beat Performance Anxiety for Masturbation

Touching yourself can be a wonderful gateway to understanding your sexual pleasure and your body. It’s also an excellent teaching tool for helping your partner(s) understand your needs and wants.

Masturbating alone can be a great stress reliever, but many people find masturbating with a partner rather stressful. Adding a second person to the equation can take it from private and personal to performative and panic-inducing. That’s because for some people, “performance” means “stage fright.”

Whether you’re itching to do a live session with a partner or you want to make a hot video to send to someone, here are five suggestions to help you get past your performance anxiety:

Honor your feelings of discomfort

Sometimes we are really uncomfortable with something, not because we don’t want to do it, but because we do. If you feel awkward or self-conscious, that’s okay. Don’t be pressured into anything you aren’t ready for, and remember that consent is essential, even when you’re touching yourself.

If the idea is appealing but you just can’t seem to summon the courage to show someone how you masturbate, ask yourself what about it is exciting, and what about it scares you. For many people, masturbation is or has been a shameful, closely guarded topic in their lives. If you’re not immediately comfortable, don’t be too hard on yourself. Communication with your partner on the topic may help. They may be able to soothe your worries or help you combat insecurities.

Practice in the mirror

If you feel funny about what your partner will see, give yourself time to get accustomed to the view. Watching yourself on video or in a mirror can help you see that you’re probably a lot sexier than you think you are and that the faces you make are not as gruesome as you imagined.

Seeing yourself creating and experiencing pleasure helps normalize that sense of “performance” that may get in the way of an exciting and arousing activity. Don’t focus on your perceived “flaws.” Let yourself see what your partner sees: your glorious body in the throes of passion. What could be more spectacular?

Build up your confidence incrementally

Just like any other sexual activity, you don’t need to go all the way right away. Talk with your partner about touching yourselves during sex. Share how much it turns you on to see them do it or to know that they are doing it. Mutual masturbation doesn’t have to be the only thing going on, and it’s an easy thing to slip into other situations. Reaching down between your bodies to add extra stimulation is a great place to start. Adding lubricant to the equation helps up the pleasure factor, and allows you to focus on the sensations.

If your goals are of the more obvious and exposed variety, start under the blankets or reach under your clothes. Teasing yourself and your partner can be very stimulating. It also gives you time to get comfortable and gain confidence without feeling overly exposed. If you want to take the pressure off “performing,” add some welcome distractions like adult toys, or mutually enjoyable porn in the background so the focus is less singular.

Take requests and make requests

Once you feel a bit more daring, ask your partner what they want to see, and tell them what you enjoy watching. You might focus on, or struggle with, a particular element of the experience, but that may not be the most riveting part for either of you. If you don’t ask, you might presume to know what excites them and be completely wrong.

You might think that they want to see you finish, to get to the “money shot.” But perhaps they are interested more in the sounds you make or the way your body moves. You won’t know if you don’t talk about it. Communicate and exchange ideas, talk to each other through it, praise and exalt each other. Enjoy your body and how it responds to their attention.

Mutual means many things

Masturbating with someone doesn’t mean that you both have to strip down and furiously wank to orgasm while staring into each other’s eyes. “Mutual” simply means that you are not alone. One of you can watch, you can take turns, you can do it together and watch one another, or do it simultaneously without watching. Whatever feels right is the right way to do it, presuming you are both enthusiastically participating.

Likewise, if masturbating with a partner or incorporating masturbation into your lovemaking isn’t desired or ideal then don’t do it. It’s by no means a requirement. Neither of you should feel pressured to show off for the other if that doesn’t feel safe or comfortable.


No matter how you slice it, touching yourself is a very personal thing, whether you do it alone or with others, whether it is private or you long to express yourself through unbridled exhibitionism. How you feel about your body and expressing your sexual self through masturbation is entirely up to you. There is no wrong way to do it. Be kind and patient with yourself, enjoy the opportunity to learn about your body and your partner’s, and take all the time you need to get there.

Have you ever gotten performance anxiety during masturbation? How did you handle it? Let us know down in the comments!

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