Here’s the Rub on Syntribation, the Masturbation Technique of Squeezing Your Thighs Together

Young woman sitting in hammock, legs crossed
My first orgasm experience didn’t happen with a vibrator, during penetrative sex with a partner, or as a result of dry-humping a pillow. Instead, that first burst of self-pleasure came at age 15, simply as a result of squeezing my legs together for about 20 to 30 minutes. As I would soon find out, there's a word for this form of masturbation: syntribation. It's the act of squeezing or rubbing the thighs together to create friction and pressure until a climax occurs—and I'm hardly the only person who's done it.

The first time it happened, it was completely unintentional. I was fantasizing about a crush and found myself interlocking my legs together as I sat upright on my bed. As the thought of this crush intensified, I squeezed my legs together harder and harder. I didn’t even know what I was doing until I felt a throbbing sensation, quickly followed by feelings of previously unknown sexual pleasure. I was shocked and thrilled.

Experts In This Article

How to practice syntribation for a pressurized pleasure sesh

To practice syntribation, simply cross your legs over one another and squeeze your thighs together while sitting in a chair, lying down in bed, or even during penetrative sex with a partner or sex toy. Feel free to keep your clothes on or off. And if you have a vulva, you may also contract your pelvic-floor muscles to intensify the experience. “Combined with the thigh grinding and squeezing, this can stimulate the internal and external parts of the clitoris,” says Kate Balestrieri, PsyD, certified sex therapist and founder of therapy group Modern Intimacy.

But you don't need a vulva or a clitoris to try syntribation. “People with a penis can also achieve orgasm through syntribation, through using the pressure of their thighs pressed together to jostle, massage, tug at, or squeeze their testicles, says Dr. Balestrieri. “Some may even place their penis between their thighs and use a massaging or stroking sensation to self-stimulate.”

Ultimately, what leads to orgasm with syntribation solely depends on what arouses you. “Much depends on the type of sensations preferred, but it is worth noting that contracting the pelvic-floor muscles can lead to increased blood flow in the area,” says Dr. Balestrieri. “Increased blood flow can lead to more sensation and arousal around the clitoris and vagina.” So, engaging your pelvic-floor muscles amid a syntribation sesh may help intensify an orgasm rather than cause one to occur.

Benefits and potential drawbacks of syntribation to know about

Aside from having a climax, there are other benefits to squeezing your thighs together for pleasure. Since syntribation can be done without using your hands and while wearing clothes, you can essentially practice it wherever you want; you can sit on your couch at home, crossing your legs, and your roommates or partner wouldn't know. “The appeal to this lesser-known masturbation technique is two-fold: It can be done hands-free and discreetly in public places,” says Natasha Marie Narkiewicz, head of communications and sexual wellness expert at MysteryVibe.

“The appeal to this lesser-known masturbation technique is two-fold: It can be done hands-free and discreetly in public places.” —Natasha Marie Narkiewicz, head of communications at MysteryVibe

As far as drawbacks of syntribation to know about, one potential rub is skin irritation from friction. But, it's possible to avoid that effect by wearing long pants or using a blanket as a cushion between your legs. “You may experience a little chafing, but otherwise this is a safe way to play with yourself,” says Dr. Balestrieri.

Furthermore, while it is possible to practice it stealthily wherever you may find yourself, do be cognizant of situations where it would be deemed inappropriate or unprofessional to masturbate. For instance, just because you can masturbate at your work desk with no one being the wiser, make sure you're comfortable with whatever fallout may come from being discovered.

To determine if you’re in a safe place to practice syntribation, Dr. Balestrieri suggests you consider whether your privacy will be at stake when masturbating. “Generally, privacy is a top priority in feeling safe enough to masturbate,” says Dr. Balestrieri. “It is a good idea to consider whether the space is yours, and if not, proceed with caution and/or consent.”

If you’re an exhibitionist, you may enjoy pleasuring yourself or others in open spaces. Even so, it’s always important to consider that all acts are consensual between you and your partner(s). In addition, you may suffer consequences—potentially of the legal sort—if you partake in sexual activities in public spaces, such as your workplace.

And, of course, you shouldn’t be engaging in or displaying any sexual activities to minors. “It is inappropriate to masturbate where minors may overhear, see, or otherwise witness or be implicated in any of the sexual activity,” says Dr. Balestrieri.

Can syntribation affect other forms of intimacy?

If syntribation is the only way you can climax, you may face challenges when trying to orgasm using other techniques. “Syntribation can affect other forms of intimacy," says Dr. Balestrieri. "In some cases, it can organize arousal around certain kinds of play or sensations that may be difficult to re-create with a partner.” However, practicing syntribation doesn’t mean it's impossible to discover other forms of sexual pleasure—it may simply require some intentional experimentation.

“For some folks, it can take some time to have an orgasm from masturbating with new toys or a partner, or even with their legs open,” said Dr. Balestrieri. “Maintaining a masturbation practice that is more expansive and includes different kinds of stimulation can help to prevent this.”

Try different methods combined with syntribation to discover new ways to orgasm, like crossing your legs during penetration or by placing a vibrator between your thighs. “There are no right or wrong ways to masturbate,” says Dr. Balestrieri. “If it does not violate the rights of others, you get to decide what feels good to you.”

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don't
Sign up today to have the latest (and greatest) well-being news and expert-approved tips delivered straight to your inbox.

Loading More Posts...