Manual intercourse is here defined as involving sexual contact between the sex organs of one person and the hand(s) of another.
In older marital guides, this kind of sexual intercourse was often described as "petting" or as a "foreplay" to coitus. Intensive manual stimulation of a woman's sex organs was considered necessary for her complete arousal, and husbands were therefore admonished to make it a regular habit in order to please their wives. (These books always pretended to be written exclusively for married couples.) Unfortunately, many men came to think of this "foreplay" as just another unpleasant male duty. Furthermore, since they knew little about the female sexual response, some of them overstimulated the female clitoris to the point where they caused more pain than pleasure. Women, on the other hand, were often reluctant to touch the male sex organs at all. In short, manual intercourse was rarely seen as a mutually enjoyable experience in its own right.
Today, however, a general change in sexual attitudes seems to be taking place. Many men and women now frankly tell each other what they like sexually, and they are much more willing to experiment. Thus, they begin to realize that coitus is by no means the only road to sexual satisfaction. Indeed, they may find that they can give and receive great pleasure by simply touching, stroking, and massaging each other's bodies. Moreover, modern sex therapists have discovered that such mutual pleasuring can unblock long inhibited sexual responses and thus help overcome male and female sexual inadequacies. (See "Sexual Dysfunction.")
As the partners gently explore each other's erogenous zones, they are likely to return again and again to those that are the most sensitive—the sex organs. Thus, very naturally, they may find themselves engaging in manual intercourse. They may also discover that either of them can take the initiative, or that they can very well act simultaneously. In this latter case, one may, of course, speak of mutual masturbation. Obviously, a man who wants to masturbate a woman should ask her where and how she likes to be touched. (Hardly any two women masturbate in quite the same way.) Most often he will be told that the glans of the clitoris is too sensitive for any direct stimulation, and that it is far better to stroke the side of the clitoral shaft and the minor lips (labia minora). Furthermore, as the woman becomes sexually excited, her vagina begins to lubricate naturally, and the man should then use his fingers to spread this lubrication to the clitoris in order to avoid possible irritation. He should also remember that, with mounting excitement, the clitoris withdraws under its hood or foreskin and therefore becomes inaccessible. However, as long as he follows the woman's own instructions and keeps stimulating the general area of the vulva, he can usually bring her to orgasm. Indeed, since many women are capable of several orgasms in quick succession, he may even continue his caresses or switch to oral or genital intercourse.
Since the traditional marriage manuals usually described the wife as sexually passive, they also rarely contained any suggestion that she should stimulate the sex organs of her husband. However, many men enjoy having their penises touched and fondled. Indeed, no other caresses lead so quickly to male sexual arousal. A woman who wants to masturbate a man effectively should, of course, ask him exactly how he wants her to hold and stroke his penis. Very often she can also heighten his pleasure by applying some saliva to her fingers or using some artificial lubricant such as KY jelly, (Vaseline is not recommended if she expects him to proceed to coitus because it should not be introduced into the vagina.) If the man reaches orgasm while being masturbated in this fashion, he normally needs some time before he can have another erection. Nevertheless, he is still capable of satisfying the woman if she so desires. In this case, the obvious techniques are manual and oral intercourse.
There may be some women, even today, who are reluctant to manipulate a man's penis because they have been brought up in the belief that such behavior is unfeminine, childish, wicked, or perverse. They may also think that no "real" man would ever allow himself to be "used" this way. However, these women would do well to remember that throughout history men have paid prostitutes for this very service, and that even in the United States today certain massage parlors continue to derive a great deal of income from it. Unfortunately, the law in most Western countries does not allow massages to extend to the sex organs, and thus the masseuses live under the constant threat of arrest by undercover police officers. However, it is highly questionable whether such arrests serve any useful purpose. After all, neither the women nor their customers suffer any personal degradation, and there is no danger of transmitting a venereal disease. In fact, it seems quite unnecessary to apply the ugly label prostitution to these massages, and perhaps our society would greatly benefit from simply accepting them as a special form of physical therapy.
As already mentioned, for modern sex researchers the therapeutic value of manual intercourse is no longer in doubt, and therapists like Masters and Johnson now advise all of their patients to practice it during their treatment. The reason for this advice is simple: A man and a woman who have learned to give each other pleasure by the touch of their hands are usually also well prepared to make the most of all other forms of sexual intercourse.