photo: iStock

I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of an overachiever. I mean, I grew up belting the Reading Rainbow theme song in the shower like a soul mantra. And for the most part I’ve lived my life like I can go anywhere and do anything I put my mind to. I just relish the feeling of accomplishing something. And if I can do it better than anyone else can, the feeling is even greater.

Which is why I absolutely hate, hate, HATE giving a guy a hand job. Seriously. How the hell can a girl even win there? Dude’s been masturbating for the past 15-plus years, perfecting a stroke that syncs to the end of the three-minute porn. And I’m just supposed show up, with all dexterity and no dossier of his dick history, and be better at something he can clearly do exceptionally on his own?

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Hand jobs just make me feel like Cookie Monster on Molly reaching into the Keebler Elf’s treehouse looking for a snickerdoodle in the middle of the night. I’m all over the place. I don’t belong there.

Getting An Education

A few weeks ago, however, my performance anxiety met a viable solution. I was at the Pleasure Chest on the Upper East Side of New York previewing the most impressive vibrator known to man, when I saw a sign for a class they were giving on hand jobs that night. Cue the Reading Rainbow theme song as the thought slowly came to mind that I could potentially study the art of giving a guy a good hand job.

Classes like this happen often at the Manhattan store in an honesty environment store owner Victor Tobar is quite proud of. “The Pleasure Chest wants you to make life sexy on your terms,” says Tobar, “and figure out what you and your partners like. It all starts with communication and exploration!”

That night, I hopped into their hand job class, and the exploration led me to shamelessly fill an Evernote page with some very technical notes. I was not alone — the entire room was filled with other attentive students that were fascinated by the instructor’s careful demonstration expertly stroking a giant black dildo. And most of these spectators were couples! “We definitely see a lot of couples attending workshops together because they want to spice things up in their relationships, develop more intimacy, and have fun,” says Tobar. "Our instructors make them think about how to find and name their desire and how to have fun.” 

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My Aha! Moment

It had never dawned on me before to attend a class to improve my sex life. It seemed a little taboo, or maybe just insulting to my ego. But there was something really nice about learning in a classroom environment versus performing in the bedroom. It’s like my brain found space to really understand what gave a man pleasure during a hand job.

But I was totally wrong.

These Five Things Work

Just a few weeks after the class, I was able to put those newfound skills to good use. I was randomly hanging out one night at a spa with a super cute friend who started to get a little sexier as the drinks poured in. But I had been abstinent for the past several months, and I knew that I didn’t want to do much more than kiss him that night.

Cue Reading Rainbow theme song again: But maybe, I thought to myself, I could practice what I learned in hand job class!

And so a few hours later, when we were making out in the corner of a light therapy room, I found my hands sliding down the front of his shorts. His hands reached for my breast, but the overachiever in me slapped his hand away, ”We’re only going to focus on you,” I said. No one was getting in the way of my personal victory tonight. And here’s what really worked:

1. Be confident. I know this seems like a captain obvious step, but I never held a penis with so much determination before. You have to step up to the plate knowing you’re gonna knock it out the park!

2. Pay attention to the head. Cup your hand on the head like your squeezing an orange, and gently twist. Or draw small circles around his head with your thumb. When I tried his move in particular, he instantly grew in my hands and pre-cum started to form.

3. Use the pre-cum! In class, I remember them mentioning that moisture really helps a lot, so as the come began to come to head, I used it to lubricate my circling motions. It actually feels really good.

4. Run your fingers along the seam. You’ll feel it, it’s on the outside of his cock (the side that doesn’t touch his belly) and it’s sensitive as all hell. Pay attention to it. Run your fingers along it while you jerk him off.

5. Pull the balls down. I’ve done this before without really understanding what I’m doing. But if you pull them away from the body (gently) just before he comes, it helps him do it even faster.

In under a minute I had him shaking in my arms, and breathing hard between my lips. By minute two my brow was soaked with his sweat and my hand was soaked with his come. He was exhausted, a little delirious and ultimately satisfied. I had finally given a hand job that felt as good as the rest of the sex I throw down.

I can’t recommend taking a class at anything you want to be better at enough — including improving your sex life. There is no shame in the bettering of your love game. And while I still find hand jobs absolutely obnoxious and my least favorite thing to do, I feel better that I know a successful method that I can apply in a pinch. I simply needed to learn how to do it in a way that made the most sense to me.

Breonna Rodriguez is a Founding Creator and love and relationships blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at zenfulie.com.