My self-proclaimed Penis Week couldn’t have happened at a more appropriate time. May is Masturbation Month, a time for us all to reflect and rediscover our first true love—ourselves. So today, in honor of masturbators everywhere, we’re going on a journey through this ageless art form as we discuss the past, present, and future of masturbation.
A Masturbation Carol, if you will.
So don’t Scrooge yourself out of what might be the best O you get this month. Kick back, relax, and let’s celebrate Masturbation Month the way it was meant to be celebrated. And please, no gifts. I’ve already given myself the greatest gift of all…and I loved it!
The Ghost of Masturbation Past
When I was a teenager, I remember riding home from church one afternoon with my youth pastor and his wife. I was fifteen years old. Pubescent as shit. And I was masturbating like some obsessive-compulsive monkey. I knew what the Bible said about sex before marriage...that was a sentence to hell. As for masturbation, though, the Bible was relatively quiet. So that afternoon, riding with my hip, young youth pastor and his wife, listening to some Kirk Franklin on the radio—it seemed like a great time to ask the question every young church boy needed to know:
Is masturbation a sin?
The conversation was as awkward as you might expect. Of course, the Bible in and of itself is not exactly clear on the issue of masturbation, so the discussion turned quickly to sexual purity. And since masturbation was essentially sex with oneself, I decided I needed to cut it out. I prayed and prayed, went days and sometimes weeks without so much as looking at that vile, sinful thing between my legs. And then one morning…POP! It was like I exploded in my sleep. That was my first real lesson in masturbation—biology always finds a way.
Since then, I’ve learned masturbation is a natural, healthy, safe form of sexual expression in both boys and girls. According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, masturbation is common throughout the lifespan, with men of all ages reporting masturbating at some point within the past year, while only 40% of women reported doing so (Carroll, 250). Research indicates this may be because women are more likely to feel the stigma of masturbation. And who can blame them? For centuries, people have gone to some fucked up lengths to suppress their urge to masturbate.
The 19th and 20th Centuries saw a number of patents to help people prevent their “self-abuse” (Wabash). Such innovative, fun contraptions like these were designed to keep idle hands idle:
Imagine popping a boner with one of those on, or having to go to the bathroom. It must have been some kind of special hell for people fighting the urge to masturbate back in the day. Masturbation was such a problem that in 1837 the Reverend Sylvester Graham invented a cracker that was designed to ward off the lust that would have us expending our “vital fluids” throughout the day. That’s right, every time you eat a graham cracker you are fighting off the carnality that is sending you to the fiery abyss of hell.
Of course, time moves on and sexual attitudes change. Chastity devises have since been adopted by sexual fetishists as a method of BDSM, and graham crackers are, well, delicious. The important thing to remember is that we cannot know where we are going sexually until we understand where we’ve been. Luckily, our attitudes are more progressive today...somewhat.
The Ghost of Masturbation Present
Pornography has existed since the beginning of time. I remember sneaking off with my friends to look our dads’ Playboys before we even knew what masturbation was, when I discovered porn I fapped it so much it’s a miracle my dick didn’t fall off. But today’s kids have something I couldn’t fathom when I was growing up:
Because of the smartphone, porn is literally at the palm of our hands. We can watch it whenever and where ever we want. On the subway. In a restaurant. At work. See that dude across the room looking at his phone? Chances are he’s watching porn, giving himself a mental wank before rushing home to finish the job. Studies show that an estimated 36% of Internet users visit one or more porn sites a month, but that the average user visits porn sites approximately 8 times a month (Carroll, 507). But is all this porn fucking with our minds? Are we—and I shudder to think—masturbating too much?
One group of people thinks we are, and have started a movement to control their raging libidos. In her article Hands Off, Emily Witt writes about a few men who have taken masturbation into their own hands. Henry, for example, was burnt out and physically exhausted from his job and decided to quit masturbating in order to “cultivate a masculine energy that I wanted to apply in other parts of my life (Witt, 1)”. The article also discusses Alexander Rhodes, a 23-year old college student and actor, and founder of a NoFap forum on Reddit. NoFap.org is an online forum in which participants challenge themselves to abstain from any PMO (porn, masturbation, orgasm) for as long as they’d like. They even give trophies of achievement for reaching certain goals…a week, a month…a year?
A fucking year?
But according to the website, abstaining from masturbation has often resulted in recovery from sexual dysfunction, increased self-control, and more hard drive space…because porn takes A LOT of hard drive space. On the other hand, some websites encourage masturbation as a way of life. Bateworld.com, for example, is an online community where members can openly discuss masturbation, post pictures and video of their own self-gratification, and encourage others to do the same. Some members of the community even consider themselves solo-sexuals—that is, masturbation is the only form of sexual stimulation they engage in—and to them I say, Cheers! These are the people who truly understand the reason for the season.
While it is clear masturbation has become more mainstream than it once was, what about the future? What does the future hold for the next generation of jerk offs?
The Ghost of Masturbation yet to Cum
I cared for an old diabetic once. A double amputee in his seventies, his cock had long since deflated. But that didn’t stop this ol’ boy. He had a stint implanted into penis that would stiffen it via some sort of control in his thigh. Whenever we saw him working that button, we knew it was time to give the man some privacy. Not that he necessarily wanted to be alone, mind you. This guy was proud that he could still jerk it, and didn’t care who watched. And who could blame him? If I’d won the battle against age and erectile disorder, I’d be proud too!
Erectile disorder affects 18% of men aged 50-59 (Carroll, 384), but that doesn’t mean a death sentence for our cocks. A number of treatments exist to combat ED: Viagra and Cialis; prosthesis implantation, like my buddy’s stint; penis pumps, which are designed to aid blood flow to that special place in every guy’s heart. As science advances, however, the possibilities are endless. Scientists are already working on nano technology that has the potential to target cancer at the cellular level, so who’s to say they can’t do the same for ED. Better yet, maybe they will build a robot that will do it for us. I’d let a robot jerk me off. But only sometimes. Let’s face it, no one can ever quite do it the way we can.
God Bless Us, Every One
While there is still a lot of stigma surrounding masturbation, particularly FEMALE masturbation, one group has taken steps to take back their O. The first annual Masturbate-a-thon was held in 2000. Developed by Doctor Carol Queen, participants gathered donations for From Our Streets With Dignity, a non-profit organization that provides health care and social services for one of the country’s most controversial sex industries—sex workers (Taormino, 1). Since then, the event has been held annually and aims to educate the public about sexuality, as well as remove some of the stigma of masturbation. This year’s event was hosted on May 3rd in Montreal. But don’t worry if you missed the festivities. There is literally a party in your pants, and YOU are the guest of honor. After all, it’s Masturbation Month! So reach down there, and start celebrating. If not for yourself, then do it for all those poor men and women who couldn’t take matters into their own hands the way we can, who were denied that singular freedom we take for granted today.
Carroll, Janell L. Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Belmont: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Taormino, Tristan. “The Female Hard-On.” The Village Voice Columns, 6 June 2000. Web. http://www.villagevoice.com/2000-06-06/columns/the-female-hard-on/
Wabash, Robert. “The Top 10 Most Brutal Anti-Masturbation Devices.” Ranker. Web. http://www.ranker.com/list/top-10-most-brutal-anti-masturbation-devices/robert-wabash?format=SLIDESHOW&page=1