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Sex Talk: Masturbation

By Lavender February 13, 2009

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Horny? Sometimes relief is right at hand.

Of all the sex you might have, masturbation is the most trouble-free. No precoital chitchat, no negotiations. You don’t even have to shower and shave. So, unsurprisingly, pud-pounding’s popular; Kinsey found that 92 percent of men have wanked. (What’s keeping the other 8 percent back is a mystery, but it’s safe to say they’re missing out.) “Sure, it’s wonderful to relate to another guy, to discover all sorts of stuff about his body, to give and receive pleasure,” says one gay man. “But let’s face facts—nobody knows more about what feels good to you than you do yourself. Some of my very best orgasms ever have occurred when no one else was around.”

Yet, weirdly, masturbation is sometimes seen as second-best. Phrases such as “He’s a jerk-off” and “mental masturbation” put down the noble art of playing with oneself. And for such a risk-free activity, some mighty peculiar taboos have clustered around choking the chicken. In olden times, it was believed to cause insanity, and even recently, masturbation could still be misrepresented. One man in his 50s recalls, “When I was a kid, my Boy Scout Handbook warned that no real boy engaged in such an energy-sapping activity. And my father, who was an educated man, cautioned me as a teenager that overindulgence in onanism would desensitize me for the pleasures of the real thing—by which he meant sex with women. Well, it’s been four decades, I’ve earned my masturbation merit badge, but I still like interpersonal sex just fine…as long as it’s with another guy.”

One of the pleasures of self-pleasuring is that it’s a no-paraphernalia-required activity. There are those, however, who like to hump pillows or shoot into a sock. And advanced consumer capitalism has come up with some nifty masturbatory gizmos, especially one–sold under a variety of names—that’s basically a flashlight-shaped plastic cylinder with a soft lining and an aperture at one end that’s shaped like a mouth or butthole. Just stick your shaft inside, and pump away. As one happy user raves, “It feels great, is easily washable, and it’s a lot less grotesque than one of those blow-up dolls.”

Another big plus for solo sex is that it provides opportunities for experimentation. If you’d like to try orgasm-delaying techniques, need to practice putting on a rubber, or want to know what it feels like to come while you have a plug up your butt, go right ahead and give it a whirl. No one will be the wiser.

Self-pleasuring provides a fertile field for fantasies, too. That guy at the office, the untouchable hunk? You can share an orgasm with him, if only in your head. And jack-off fantasies allow a masturbator to get off on scenarios too risky or tough to do in real life. That’s not to say that self-stroking can’t get genuinely kinky. Recalls our 50-something guy, “A friend of mine was into bondage, and if he couldn’t find a top willing to play, he’d tie his own ankles together, wrap some rope around his cock, and jerk.”

Monogamously partnered men masturbate, too. Wanking can provide consolation when your honey’s not around, provide release when one of you is hornier than the other, or make for a semen-spilling shared activity. And—except for unintended discovery when a guy neglects to lock the door—there’s precious little downside to slapping the salami. No STDs, no heartbreak. Just the possibility that overdoing it will leave you with a sore whizzer. Oh, and the cost of Kleenex.

Another confirmed masturbator rhapsodizes, “I love to jack off, always have. It was exciting when I was young and incurably horny, and it will be lovely when I’m old and infirm. Masturbation helps me get to sleep, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to watching porn. I can get myself off even when I’m sick as a dog. And in times of economic downturn, it’s still utterly affordable. What a swell invention!”

So let us sing the pleasures of pounding the pud. Nearly everybody does it, from presidents to panhandlers, and no one but a celibate saint is likely to stop stroking anytime soon. Be it a quick tug for relief, or a long, leisurely evening of self-abuse, wanking’s one habit that never grows old. And get this: It even seems to lower blood pressure and lessen the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. Yes, beating off is actually good for you!

Just remember: It’s not second-rate sex, it’s excellent masturbation.

Simon Sheppard is the editor of Leathermen and Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at [email protected] Visit Simon at www.simonsheppard.com.

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