Sex + Dating

In Defense of the Hand Job

Illustrated hand choking rubber chicken
Jennifer Bui/Thrillist

Hand jobs: back and better than ever! Or something.

With the culture at large suddenly boarding the HJ train, it seems the once-scorned sex act has returned to the nation’s radar.

And I, for one, couldn’t be happier.    

To hell with conventions, to hell with popular opinion -- to hell with it all! The hand job is among the finest acts of romance in which people can engage, yet this hugely underrated sexual act has an unfairly tarnished reputation that is in dire need of a reboot (thanks for nothing, David Petraeus).

The hand job -- this devious sexual act of lust -- has been reduced to ridicule and a marginalized punchline for horny high-schoolers, bored married couples, and Craigslist sugar babies for far too long now. How dare such a legitimate expression of passion be lambasted by people claiming to understand its power and write it off with undiscerning taste!

It's time to put the ol’ fashioned back on a pedestal and remember that it is a trophy that is acquirable, desirable, and ready for a comeback. Let's be advocates instead: for the hand job as a standalone sexual act -- not merely a fumbling foray into intercourse or a massage parlor afterthought.

It’s time to -- for lack of a better phrase -- polish up the hand job's reputation.
 

The hand job is a milestone in everyone's life

You remember your first hand job... and you’re thinking about it right now. Maybe it was in your parent's’ basement, maybe it was in the backseat of your '99 Honda Accord... hey, it might've even happened behind the bleachers in your high school gymnasium while your local sports team crushed it on the court or whatever happens during sports.

For me, it was on my girlfriend's couch in early 2002. I was barely a sprout of a human being, but had just gotten my first metaphorical taste of adulthood. The impression that her rough, calloused grip gave me far outweighed the pleasure I eventually succumbed to in that room (adjacent to her parents') back in high school. It was puberty in motion; a look through the telescope to my sexy future without the risk of disease or pregnancy.

The hand job doesn’t see race, social status, income, or class. It is a winged angel of peace that delivers pleasure from person to person with grace and love.
 

You can't go wrong with an nice ol' fashioned

The hand job is incredible for many, many reasons, all relatable:

1. It’s safe. Very, very safe. Not everyone is as extreme a germophobe as I, but you can't argue with the fact that there's very little risk of getting an STD from a hand job. As long as you're not profusely bleeding from the fingers while simultaneously profusely bleeding from your penis, you can relish the fact that it would be extremely hard to get syphilis or impregnate a woman through the palm of her hand.

2. It requires practice and dedication. How many bad hand jobs have you gotten? Probably a lot, right? A good hand job, on the other hand, is a golden unicorn encrusted with diamonds, dripping in unicorn tears. It's an extremely rare, beautiful thing. Having a partner who can master the art of delivering an excellent hand job is a keeper, because it takes extreme patience and communication and forces your partner into your proverbial shoes by way of a detour through your penis.

3. It feels good. Sure, it's hard to master, but how hard is it to teach the art of gherkin jerkin' to a competent person? It’s not rocket science, even though rockets are certainly dick-shaped. I suggest pantomiming the act using your partner’s forearm to clarify exactly how you like it, while regularly staying vocal about the softness, speed, and grip. Alternatively, you can jerk off in front of your significant other to show them exactly how it’s done. It’ll be the only time in your life it's appropriate to use masturbation as a teaching tool.

4. It opens up a brave new world of dirty talk. Unless you're a dentist, you surely know how hard it is to speak with something in your mouth. However, when only a hand or two is occupied, the mouth is free to spout as much filthy garbage as your partner can muster! Try getting really gross and weird.

5. It’s intensely personal. Not to say sex isn’t, but there are some positions out there where you don't even have to look into your partner’s eyes. With a hand job, you have the freedom to kiss, talk, laugh, or deeply stare into each other’s souls or whatever.
 

What about blow jobs?

What about blow jobs? Blow jobs are great and there is no argument there, but you just don't bring a blow job to a hand job fight. It's not fair. Really, it's like comparing apples and oranges or -- more accurately -- lobsters and pizza. A lobster dinner may be subjectively "better" than pizza, but that doesn’t mean you can't find a slice of pizza that blows lobster out of the water.

When we’re talking about hand jobs, let's stick to hand jobs and save the sexual equivalent of Godwin's Law for another date.
 

How to save a dying art form

So, how do we save the hand job? It's not like saving the whales, there’s no Greenpeace, no Kickstarter page, no Indiegogo campaign, no donation bin, and no boat full of horned-up activists. You have to bring it back to the streets and inside the sheets. Really, all you have to do is give and get more hand jobs. It's about as easy as saying this phrase:

"You look great tonight. Can I have a hand job?" Giving and getting hand jobs when most convenient will decrease any attached pressure and re-appropriate the act with the cool air of casualness it deserves.

So when do you sit down and actually do it? Maybe when you're bored and horny, but don’t necessarily want to have sex... maybe when you have to make a flight and only have 15 minutes to spare... maybe when you have a ton of lube that's about to expire.

Does lube expire? Doesn't matter. Save the hand job from punchlines and purgatory and reclaim what's rightfully yours.

Talking to your significant other about your feelings toward HJs will open up a gateway of communication that'll undoubtedly improve your sex lives and make you a stronger couple. Oh, plus, it’ll give way to an incredible number of hand jobs.
 
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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist by day and moonlights as Laurence Fishburne by night.