Masturbation is like murder: if you don’t thoroughly clean up after, someone is bound to find the DNA evidence. This means that every boy who claims to not know how to clean their room is a fucking liar. If they can manage to hide a decade of splooge, I think they can figure out how to pick up their goddamn socks. But it’s like murder in another sense too, and that’s if you don’t talk about it, no one ever has to find out…
Is that actually a good thing though?
The reason boys tend to be so secretive is because masturbation is not something we get much education on – especially when we’re young. It makes sense. For parents, it’s a matter of when do you talk about masturbation? How do you approach it? How old should they be before I bring it up? And for a young boy, it’s more, “Is this okay? Am I doing it right? Who do I talk to about this?” Because, more often than not, we don’t learn about masturbation from a reliable source. Nah, we learn it from our jackass friends or by experimenting. And by experimenting, I do mean that – my close friend told me recently that for the first three years of his masturbatory life he would get off by rubbing his penis between his palms like he was trying to light a fire. Three years!
It’s hard to find an equivalent to discovering masturbation. I suppose, it might be like if a friend came to me and said, “Hey, have you found your drug pocket, yet?” And I asked, “What the heck is that?” And they explained: “Well, if you look in the back of your knee, there is a little knob that opens a compartment. There are drugs in there!” And so, alone, naked, later in the day, I’d check behind my knee. Sure enough, there, on the back of my knee would be my drug pocket.
For me, I was young – about eight years old – and learned from friends in more or less the same fashion as my hypothetical drug pocket (except it was “grab it and go up and down!”), though other friends I’ve spoken to learned from older brothers or (for Canadian friends) in Health Class. But after that, we sort of stopped talking about it.
For a short time, while we’re discovering, boys talk about it a lot.
Some of us learn simple things, like how it’s cleanest to do it in the shower. And others, more important things: like that it, in no way, should resemble anything they’re teaching you in boy scouts. But then sex happens and masturbation barely gets talked about again beyond jokes and jabs. It almost becomes as though, if you’re masturbating, you must not be getting laid. Plus, we all do it the same, right? Wrong.
There are those in this period – I’d say from 18 to 25 – who do explore other avenues; fleshlights, prostate massagers, masturbation eggs, and so on. But we never discussed them. If you were found out with any of these things, you were shamed; you were a perv – and probably a partner-less perv at that!
But then the late 20 and early 30s roll around and sex stops being the end-all-be-all of pleasure (at least for some), and you finally start hearing some more interesting tips about masturbation. For example, I have one friend who swears by sounding rods, and another who regularly tries out new prostate massagers – these are not other sex writers or even openly sexual people. Many of them are in long-term relationships or married. Another friend has totally sworn off porn – when he masturbates, he turns all the lights off, puts on meditation music, and has a long peaceful time with himself. Plenty of friends will casually discuss fleshlights with me; others have a variety of pleasure eggs or lube recommendations.
It’s not that dissimilar to anything else I do with myself – in my early 20s I’d probably burn you some eggs for breakfast, now I know how to roast a chicken. It’s not that the knowledge wasn’t there, I just didn’t realize how tasty I could make food all by myself. I’m 32 now and regularly wonder what it is we aren’t talking about at my age. Am I going to get into my 40s to discover there was even more pleasure to be had with my own body that men my age have been neglecting, that nobody has told me about yet? A drug pocket, maybe? Fingers crossed.