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Handjobs: Not To Be Overlooked

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Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
You know how very often the book is better than the blockbuster franchise, but no one will listen – because who's got time for a slow-burner when you can have all the fireworks of the IMAX cinema and, well, no one can hear you over the surround-sound system anyway? The same could be said of the cultural snobbery that the handjob so often receives. Why, when at its core, it's just as skilful a practice as fellatio, does the "handjob" find itself so far down on the menu of sexual favours?

Fellatio has been comparatively celebrated in pop culture, from Ray Liotta's kitchen-head in Goodfellas via D'angelo's thinly veiled ode to the blowie in the sensational "How Does It Feel?" music video, we've been conditioned to consider dirty knees a sexier other-option to, well, sticky-fingers. But unlike the BJ, a handjob is a particularly stealthy and dare we say it, potentially more erotic an act. You can kiss someone whilst performing one. They can be dished out, in conjunction with the starters underneath the dining table, in the back of a cab, and enjoyed during a movie.

The thing with handjobs though, is that, much like ""fingering", it's a practice that's been renounced to the back-of-the-bike-shed of nefarious activities, reserved for those navigating puberty, along with other adolescent activities like spot-picking and Queen's chairs. Why? Well, so often it's the first of the bases that we all triumphantly reach before we take a big deep breath and go for home run. For some reason we cannot unpick the association between handjobs and our first forays into the world of sex; clunky, misguided, a little bit dry and really quite nervous. Handjobs seem unable to lose their puppy-fat. They're still understood as a synonym of inexperience.

Handjobs at their worst are rudimentary but at their best can be a one-way speeding ticket to an almighty orgasm. Not to mention the fact that a blowjob with no hands – is a no-job – am I right? One rule of thumb (and all other four fingers) is that HJs should never be a rough and ready procedure, but as sensual as a blow job can be and as erotic as full blown, knees behind your ears s-e-x ought to be too. And in order to verify this, we spoke to several men who agree that life is better when you take it by the hands...

My friend Tom who's 36 and works in advertising agrees that they're too often thought of as a teenage pastime – but, ironically, that's what he suspects arouses him when he's receiving one. "During the entirety of my first teenage relationship I subsisted on a diet of nothing but handjobs and sexual frustration. Now, I rate them very highly. In comparison to its more famous and celebrated older brother the humble handjob is all about control and domination. Every boy's been tugging away at his junk since before he can remember, it's nice handing the reigns over to someone else for a few minutes (seconds?)"

Calvin, who is 32 and works for a charity agreed with Tom. "When my girlfriend wakes me up with one it is – for whatever reason – the most exciting thing." And when I ask him why, he again goes back to the sauciness of a school frisson: "I think it's because it always takes me back to being at school and the kind of excitement of those times when you're first hooking up with girls. I'm an advocate."

Jordan who is 20 and a student enlightened me as to their stress-relieving properties: "I'm obviously more than happy to take what I'm given but, yeah, like all good things they're simple and effective and actually, weirdly, so relaxing."

According to our resident columnist on sex work, Audrey More, who has frequent clients who request a hand shandy, she thinks they're popular because "it's a more familiar and reliable way to come than a blow job." She continues: "I think everyone thinks BJs are the best thing because of their popularisation in the '90s when they became a POV porn staple."

I asked her if she had any tips (in the name of research) and she diplomatically suggested it's different for everyone, but that she would recommend "always using lube" and suggested: "Don't just go up and down, but twist your hand as you go, tapering it on the tip of their dick. The motion is like easing a cork out of a champagne bottle. Keep the pace slow and steady; most people prefer a slower, firmer one than anything too frantic and kinetic. And pay attention to the balls with your other hand if feasible; use your mouth on the tip whilst using your hands on the shaft, edging them up, so they're nearly coming. Then slow down to a normal pace. Also, if they're game, get some of your fingers around their butt. "

She continues: "Generally, eye contact, chat and exhibitionism, any of the above, while you're at it, helps. Also give them something visually interesting in terms of positions; so maybe try it in reverse cowgirl with your genitals nearer their face, or sitting back with your feet in their face if they're a foot guy. This is of course, all subjective."

Then she tells me something I wasn't expecting. "Most guys have foot fetishes in my experience, so if you can jimmy in a footjob, do." Come again? Yes, a handjob, but using your feet. "They're a fun alternative and can help strengthen your core muscles." But that's a story for another article...
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