May is National Masturbation Month. In support, I’m going to attempt to write something about masturbation and post it every day this month. They may be short. They may be messy. They will most certainly get post-edited. If you enjoy what I have to share (or if you really don’t) I invite you to add comments. Your participation helps me a lot. Join me in celebrating the most common sexual act of our species and add your thoughts to this offering.
Jallen asked rhetorically, “Why can’t masturbation be an actual act of self love?”
I love Jallen, though we rarely get together. In some ways, I wish I had his life, working with people to actively improve the sexual experience of our species. I do love my own life though, which trumps that fantasy, so I simply allow myself to be inspired by his example.
When I first discovered masturbation at 9 years old, I was so thrilled. I felt like I’d discovered a new world behind a door I’d passed countless times and only just opened. It was a new world (and I’ve told that discovery story before) that was characterized by a sudden awareness of my own ability to experience pleasure, and the powerful understanding that this belonged to me, that it was my body, my penis, and that I had an ability to do something fantastic that only one day before I had no idea I was capable.
It was the moment I came into possession of my penis, my own pleasure, my body and my life. That moment of understanding has been an important part of my life ever since. In many ways, it was a giant step out of childhood and into taking responsibility for my life.
All this from some slippery, gentle friction on my penis and the experience of orgasm and ejaculation.
I have explored and explored and explored my own pleasure ever since, finding new ways my body responds to action and thought and intention. I’ve directly applied my understanding to the exploration of pleasure with other people, male and female, and at the root of sexual pleasure was always this sense that my penis belongs to me, that my pleasure belongs to me, that my erection and orgasm and my total experience of sexual joy and satisfaction is all mine, that I can never hold someone else responsible for me feeling good or not, that when I share myself sexually, that it comes from my core sense that my body is good, my penis is good, my complete sexual cycle is all good and mine.
When I masturbate or just think about masturbating, I am stepping into self-love, not just physical pleasure. I’m not just feeling good, I am making myself feel good, acknowledging my self-possession, celebrating gratefully my ability to feel anything at all, to feel deeply.
I know my body is temporary, that I will age, and feel pain and die someday. That could happen in many years or it could happen this year or even today. That’s the most consistent quality of life: that it’s temporary. I try to live every day like I could be dead by its end because that is factual truth. We learn this fact in hard, hard ways. Grief forges new paths in our minds and can bring us to a full appreciation of our beautiful, bittersweet, heartbreaking transience. It can make us more joyful, more fully engaged than any other life experience, the idea that this moment counts because there may not be any more moments after it.
So I keep coming back to releasing the millions of foolish moments that I hook into thinking that something stupid is important, remembering that love is actually what matters, letting the ones I love know that I love them, experiencing and recognizing that human passion in all the ways it shows up and not taking it for granted.
And that means that every time I feel my penis tingling with life—my mind moving toward pleasure, and the gift of sexual pleasure, the image of my brother masturbating or fucking or sucking or just talking about sex—I am full of joy as well as lust. For me, they are intertwined, horniness and love. I feel my love for my fellow beautiful, heartbreaking apes and I feel my love for myself.
And when I take the time to reach between my legs and touch my own beautiful penis, feel it spring to life and respond to my own touch with stiffening and twitching, vibrating, mounting stimulation; when I bring myself again and again through the cycle of arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution, I am in love with my penis, with my self, with my life and with all life. It’s silly sounding, but it’s a fundamental truth for me. Because I love myself, because I possess my own penis and body and life, I love you too. Masturbation is self love for me, but it is also the basis of my love for anyone else.
You and I will be gone someday. Let’s not squander our precious moments of wet animal joy with the idea that it is somehow wrong or bad. It is perfect and perfectly human. Masturbate as you will and love it and yourself fully. It can bring you to a fuller understanding of your own value, the value of your whole life and the value of your brothers and sisters.
Make love to yourself. It is your absolute right and it is absolutely right.