As Woody Allen famously said in Annie Hall: “Don’t knock masturbation, it’s sex with someone I love.”

It’s funny, I have a clearer memory of my initial foray into the pounding of pud, than the first time I got laid. I remember it as if it was yesterday actually. I was 14 years old in the hall bathroom of my parent’s house. My masturbatory material of choice was a dusty old Penthouse Forum I’d stolen from one of my friends.

After perusing its well-worn pages a bit, I eventually landed on the lucky image – a simple blown up photo of a spread vagina in black and white newsprint.

For weeks prior, my best pal had urged me to try choking my chicken, as it would “release all my sexual tension”. For some reason I resisted the idea. It just felt awkward…unnatural. Still, he kept after me to try it, so after a couple of failed attempts, I resolved to lock myself up in the john until I achieved orgasm.

It took a while, but eventually I felt that excruciatingly gorgeous feeling of momentous build up, accompanied by a healthy spray of pearly, sticky jizz and then finally a profound feeling of emptiness.

The experience affected me deeply.

I could get all quasi-philosophical and start prattling on about how that initial whack-off session is really just a metaphor for my life – the expectation, build up, mess, and ultimate emptiness – but that would just be another type of masturbation…the verbal kind.

Anyway, it never stopped me from becoming a regular practitioner.

I’m not all elaborate about it, though. I mean, some people really get into it, they’ve got “goody drawers” filled with lube, candles, anal beads, etc… I’m a “get in and get out” stealth-mission man myself. In general, I think women tend to go in for the whole “production” more than men. Their endless search for the perfect vibrator, and the warm bubble bath as prelude, reading a harlequin romance with a glass of white wine to get in the mood. That’s why I find it funny when they get all bent out of shape over the masturbatory habits of their partners. I don’t know how many times I’ve been given a hard time by my exes about having a porn stash, or for even jerking off at all.

“Why do you need to masturbate if you have me?”

Jesus, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question.

The answer is really quite simple – sometimes you just want a snack. I mean, if you’re not that hungry, you’re not gonna go for the full course meal are you? If you’re just a tad peckish, you’re gonna reach for the bologna in the fridge, and take out a slice.

Now, occasionally that can get complicated. For instance, what happens if you get home from work hungry and have that “slice of bologna”, then your girlfriend calls up to say she’s coming over, fully expecting you to “take her out to dinner” so to speak? Well, now your appetite’s ruined. It’s a monkey wrench thrown into the works. I know that some of you might say, “What are you some wimp? You mean to tell me that you still can’t get excited for the three course meal just because you’ve had a slice of bologna?”

Hey, sometimes you just can’t…

The thing is, I’ve never been judgmental as far as anyone else’s diddling habits are concerned, so why should I be so scrutinized? It’s not like I’m some addict, scouring porn-sites every spare second. In fact I think my frequency is pretty average, maybe even less than average.

Baby Got Back? Asian Cock Sluts? You just want Asians and black girls! Why are you even with me?!”

You see the kinds of ridiculous conversations that stem from the simple act of pulling your pole? For me – and I feel most men – masturbation is part base urge and part habit. It’s a mechanical, unemotional activity. Would you criticize someone for taking a dump? Would you scrutinize what type of toilet paper they use to wipe their ass? It’s all analogous.

I think people just need all that antipathy to occupy their minds. They need the sacrificial lamb, the boogie man…things to feel ashamed about. They need it to have something to subvert, to exert control over…unfortunately control is an illusion, so just pull down your pants and have at it.

It’s really okay.

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