If you’ve ever spent a few minutes, um, giving yourself a hand in the bathroom, then your masturbation game is shot. Or at least, so says a new wave of experts. Today, “masturbation coaches” are a thing, and they’ve taken issue with how most men typically approach the act.
To start, if you’re thinking “masturbation coach” sounds like an odd job title, you’re not alone. Members of the field typically belong to a wider network of sex educators, more formally known as “sexological bodyworkers.” Joseph Kramer, Ph.D., founded the industry back in 2003. Though Kramer, who is known for having popularized the art of male genital massage, planted the professional seed years earlier. In 1984, Kramer founded the Body Electric School in Oakland, California, where thousands of individuals turned up for training. When educating individuals about their own orgasmic potential, Kramer and his students believe a hands-on approach is most effective.
To date, California is the only state that legally recognizes the profession, though there are a number of regional associations located throughout Europe, Canada, and Australia. According to the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers, the most common conditions that bring people into the office, so to speak, are premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and an inability to achieve orgasm.
Bruce P. Grether used to work alongside Kramer, assisting him in teaching workshops. Today, he has his own male masturbation coaching business called Erotic Engineering. His services — which are available via Skype — cost around $100 per hour. According to Grether, most guys masturbate with an eye toward ejaculation. And while positioning orgasm as a goal isn’t a necessarily a bad way to frame masturbation, it tends to rob men of another important element of sexuality.
In 2001, Grether coined the phrase mindful masturbation, which speaks to the idea of being fully present during masturbation, or “self-pleasure,” as he would phrase it. Grether, like many others in the field, prefers the term to the more clinical sounding M-word.
“Human sexuality becomes most rewarding when it connects directly with self-love. The cliché is that women associate emotion with eroticism more than men, but this is something men can learn,” he tells Fatherly.
Kai Helmich is another one of Kramer’s protégées. He’s been helping men improve their masturbatory skills for the past three years. Often, it comes down to helping correct the bad habits they picked up years ago.
“The typically pattern we learn as children is that we go to the toilet, and we have two minutes before mom finds out what we’re doing,” he explains. “You go as quick as you can. No sound — no nothing. It’s completely unnatural.” According to Helmich, that’s a pattern few men grow out of.
Of course, porn doesn’t help either.
“Most men have no idea how to use their sexual energy as a constructive force,” he says. According to Helmich, the kind of porn most men have grown up masturbating to encourages them to pull their sexual energy out through a fast ejaculation. “They want to orgasm, and then they want to fall asleep,” he says. Now seems like a good place to note that a fair majority of Helmich’s clients reach out for reasons related to premature ejaculation.
The other issue with porn-aided masturbation is the relationship it cultivates with, well, the cock. “It may give men the idea that they will be ‘more of man’ if they go out there and fuck something; if they go out there and dominate through sex,” says Helmich. “That is so devastating to the world.” In order to avoid falling into that pool of toxic masculinity, Helmich suggests men try thinking of their cock as a “wand of light, not as a sword.” Currently, Helmich is organizing a workshop titled From a Fucker to a Lover. The idea is to help men find pleasure through connection.
For his premature ejaculators, Helmich suggests masturbating to a timer. “Set it to 25 minutes. Really force yourself to feel all those sensations. Try to really get inside of yourself.” Once you do ejaculate, Helmich suggests basking in it for awhile. “Lie down and enjoy that beautiful chemical cocktail of endorphins,” he says, with another nod toward the idea of self-pleasure and self-love. Of course, carving that extra time out of your day isn’t easy, especially when considering the demands of work and family life. But, according to the experts, it’s worth trying.
“Young fathers, like all adult human males, have a right to some private, personal space set aside just to enjoy some solitude, and perhaps to work on meditation, self-awareness, possibly to develop and refine masturbation skills,” says Grether.
Grether, who says he’s worked with men aged anywhere from 20 to 80, also likes to challenge his clients when it comes to ejaculation, though with a slightly different goal in mind.
“Most guys experience ejaculation and orgasm together for the first time in their teens and think these are one and the same,” says Grether. “With competent coaching and dedicated practice, men can learn to orgasm without ejaculation, sometimes called a ‘dry orgasm,’ and continue self-pleasure without losing erection or enjoyment.” If you haven’t already put it together, he’s talking about the holy grail of sex goals for guys: multiple orgasms. According to Grether, almost all men can master the skill.
Helmich says it takes him just three sessions to correct most masturbatory blunders. The first session is designed to pinpoint what issue they are experiencing and how they expect to resolve it. The second session is when he gets them onto the massage bench.
“I walk them through different exercises,” he says. Sometimes, he starts by massaging the area around the genitals. According to Helmich, most guys have a hard time remembering that there are areas other than the penis that possess erotic potential. “Men are especially disconnected from their hips,” he points out.
“Virtually all men masturbate, but this is still pioneering territory,” Grether reminds us. While some may hesitate before entering the field, Grether’s experience has armed him with some knowledge that keeps him optimistic about the future: “Most men have some interest in the potentials of their own penis.”