Ever heard of the ‘death grip’, especially in relation to masturbation? It’s a term coined by sex advice columnist Dan Savage in his column Savage Love, and it refers to the method where – to put it bluntly – you squeeze your dick as hard as possible to try and maximise the sensations. It feels pretty great – we’re certainly not going to criticise your masturbation technique if you’re happy with it. But some men feel that the ‘death grip’ style of masturbation desensitises their penis and makes it harder for them to enjoy sexual things which don’t come with that tight feeling.
If you’re looking for ways to break out of the ‘death grip’, here are a few masturbation techniques you might want to try.
Break the death grip – with your fingertips
This method relies on a little bit of lube and a lot of patience. Squirt a few drops of lubricant – silicone or water, whichever you prefer – onto the tips of your fingers. If you’re uncircumcised, pull back your foreskin, then run the tips of your fingers around the head of your penis. Use the slippery, lubed-up fingers to run gently up and down the frenulum – that’s the skin just below the head on the underside of the penis – the most sensitive part. You might also like to run your fingers around the corona at the bottom of the head of the penis.
Try each of these things in turn, experimenting with different speeds and pressures. The only rule is: you can’t grip. Use only your fingertips to explore what feels good and which spots are the most sensitive.
How does this help? Well, for a start it’s just fun to do. But on top of that it helps you to learn what other sensations you enjoy. It almost teases yourself with gentle touches, and training your penis to respond to a much lighter touch.
Breaking the death grip – a lighter masturbation touch
Make a circle with your hand that’s just about the same circumference as your penis. You want to be able to feel it sliding over you, but not feel it grabbing you too tightly. When you’ve done this, apply lube again. You’ll be sliding up and down for a while, so lubricant will help you to avoid any chafing.
The aim with this technique is to masturbate as you usually would, but keep the circle exactly the same size as you did to start with. It will feel intensely frustrating at first, and you’ll probably want to give in and squeeze a bit harder. If you like, try alternating between a hard squeeze and a gentle one. Then switch to the softer technique more gradually. Again the aim with this is to get you used to different sensations. It’s difficult to enjoy uniqueness when you’re stuck in the routine of simply gripping as hard as you can until climax.
Breaking the death grip – masturbation sex toys
There are plenty of sex toys that will help you break out of the ‘death grip’ masturbation technique. Sleeve-style toys in hard casings are good because no matter how hard you squeeze them, the sleeve inside won’t change shape. However, there’s often a temptation with these to simply buy a sleeve that’s as tight as possible already. That won’t do your death grip habit-breaking much good.
Instead, try a sex toy like PULSE II SOLO, which uses vibrations to stimulate your penis. While you can use it as a masturbator, if you’re really keen to break out of your death grip the best way to train yourself is to try it hands-free. Noah Bogdanoff, who blogs at Yaybody, explains how penis vibrators helped him access brand new sensations, and experience a whole different way to masturbate:
“Essentially, your ability to orgasm from penis vibration depends entirely on your willingness to change how you experience pleasure. Penis vibrators create a more passive, context-dependent erotic experience – something that penis owners have never had access to. It forces us to move our concept of sex away from a series of big, mechanical movements and towards more subtle, internal sensations.”
Grab a PULSE II SOLO and give it a go yourself. You’ll experience brand new sensations, with both hands free to browse the internet while you try out a new technique.
The death grip also relies on speed
How long do you usually spend masturbating? Ten minutes? Five? Two? The ‘average’ time will depend a lot on your own physiology and preferences. But if you’re unhappy with your solo sex life as it stands, then alongside breaking the death grip you might want to also break the link between masturbation and orgasm. Plenty of people enjoy gentle masturbation without orgasm – or masturbation over a long period of time. The latter might lead to orgasm eventually, but taking your mind off coming as the ‘end goal’ or the sole purpose can help you to focus more on the sensations that lead you there.
Skipping to the good parts – the porn equivalent of the ‘death grip’?
There’s more to pleasure than just skipping to the ‘good’ parts, and if you find yourself regularly shuffling through your favourite porn scenes just to get to the two or three minutes that work for you, consider switching up your viewing habits.
Although there’s been a lot of debate lately about porn ‘addiction’, there’s no need to worry that just because you watch hardcore you’re in danger of turning into a drooling porn zombie. Dr David Ley is a psychologist and thorn in the side of the ‘porn is bad’ lobby. He explains that:
“If porn were the problem – if porn were addictive, then the problems of porn would be far, far greater than they are. In fact, in recent studies, fewer than 1% of people report that they have had problems in their life due to difficulties controlling their sexual behaviors, including watching porn. Now – higher numbers, around 10%, report “feeling” that their sexual desires are hard to control, but it is very different to feel something, versus ACTUALLY being out of control.”
So don’t go booking yourself into rehab just yet. But if you’re becoming disheartened with your porn viewing – seeing it as a means to a swift end rather than something to savour and enjoy – then try taking a similar approach to your porn as you do to your ‘death grip’ masturbation. Switch it up, take it slow, and give yourself some time to focus on what you’re watching rather than rushing straight to the money shot.
Masturbation techniques: switch it up
Of course anything becomes stale if you do it for too long – having a good variety of techniques in your solo sex life can keep things interesting, and mean you’re never in danger of getting bored. So slow down, pick some great porn or erotica, and grab a sex toy like the PULSE II SOLO, then settle down to a great night in.
If you’d like us to send you an email when we publish new posts (we blog about once a week and cover masturbation tips, sexual health, erotica, sex tech and sex trends), you can sign up here.