There’s a common assumption (read: stereotype) that men are basically orgasms waiting to happen. All one need do is grab a dick and with a few strokes or sucks, cum!

And there’s this other idea that all guys are experts at jacking off, and that when a guy is confronted with another guy’s dick and a handjob op, he will automatically know exactly what to do because he’s been jacking off since boyhood, right? Easy!

And all of this is, of course, bullshit. Most men have expertise in getting themselves off and have lifetimes of research under their belts (literally) with getting to Yahtzee in no time, or in making it last, or riding the edge. Virtually all men possess this personal mastery.

I’ve said it before and I will repeat it now: As soon as another person enters the physically intimate sphere of sex play, it’s no longer masturbation. “Masturbation” is not merely the act of stroking a penis with a hand. Masturbation is solosex. It is the love we make to ourselves… or it’s the utilitarian sex we have with ourselves. Yes, it is sex, but it is the sex we call masturbation. It is sex for one, as Betty Dodson coined.

Now, I know perfectly well that I’m being doctrinaire here. Isn’t “mutual masturbation” a perfectly accurate and valid term for jacking another guy off and being jacked off by him?

And the answer is yes. Of course it is. In fact, my distinction is a personal one… but it not without reason. I generally don’t like to use the terms “group masturbation,” “mutual masturbation” or “masturbation club.” I deliberately choose the words, “jack-off,” “stroke,” and “bate” to avoid using the M word to describe anything other than solosex.

But… being a writer trying not to construct redundant paragraphs, I will still use those oxymorons. Sparingly.

And here’s why it matters to me: There are important differences between solosex and sex with others, even if the specific frictional action is otherwise identical. The big deal is, of course, the difference between the feedback loop of action, mental response and reaction that happens when one is stimulating oneself, and the need to communicate with another human when one is not inside their head, experiencing the results of one’s actions instantaneously.

I have jacked off hundreds of men and been jacked off by hundreds of men. I don’t like to think of myself as a handjob expert because there is only one penis with which I am truly an expert. My takeaway from all these years of stroking is the same as every other kind of sex with others: There’s a complex web of elements that need to achieve reasonable compatibility to make it work. I need to have a compelling, innate, positive response to how that person looks, acts, smells, tastes… They need to have a corresponding positive response to me and we need to have compatible technique, including the ability to adjust in real time to meet each other’s needs.

In other words, you can’t take for granted that what works for you will work for me… or him or him or him. We may be able to get off, but to have good sex—including great handjobs—you’ve gotta have chemistry and you’ve gotta be paying attention to each other from instant to instant. You have to both be on the same ride together.

Don’t get me wrong: If you want to call it masturbation, even when more than one person is in the action, if you want to refer to someone else masturbating my penis, if you want to classify it as “not sex” because there’s no penetration… that’s just fine with me! As long as you’re getting the full sexual pleasure and deep satisfaction you deserve, that’s all I really care about.

But I will disagree with you.

But don’t assume that being an expert on your own cock is going to make you an expert on mine. I like it generally slower, varied in speed and tightness, I like the frenulum stroked exclusive of the glans, my nutbag touched and caressed, my hole teased and my prostate pressed “just so,” I need to periodically clean off all lube and re-lubricate, and I need to take breaks of two to ten minutes from all penis stimulation between near-orgasms or I can’t cum at all. Is that recipe perhaps just slightly different from yours?

See? It’s not as easy as you thought.

Art Porn/Porn Art

This weekend, I invited three bate buddies over to screen Spunk. It was a fascinating, mind- and crotch-expanding exercise. We watched, mostly in silence with a few comments throughout, and then we all gradually got our dicks out and got off together. It was a fantastic session with beautiful penises, great energy and four intense orgasms.

Afterward, I asked, “So, how did you like the movie?”

None of my guests were previously familiar with Antonio da Silva’s work and the general sense was that we all really liked it, and specifically called out various scenes and moments as favorites… but we didn’t really know where to place it in our understanding of what erotica is. We all agreed that while intensely sexual and full of what anyone would objectively call “pornography,” none of us would classify the movie as “porn.” The consensus was “erotic art film.”

I then showed them a couple of the Colby Does America installments, and we again were in agreement: these works are intensely erotic and far more completely realized film art than porn. I personally love that these guys are making good film in an erotic vein and really pushing filmmaking into a new way of thinking about explicitly sexual subject matter.

I think our sense that the film is not “porn” comes from our collective, learned impression over time that porn is specifically made to manipulate and stimulate sexual excitement and inspire sexual activity. “Porn,” as we have come to understand it, is made to make you hard, make you masturbate or have sex with others and triggers orgasms.

Da Silva’s work is more complex and layered. It is not single-mindedly urging the viewer to orgasm, but engaging our minds and feelings—along with our libidos—with a playful, humorous, even absurd angle throughout. For that reason, viewers may not know how to categorize it. It may confuse or disorient audience members—especially those conditioned to seeking the manipulative porn we all know and love and stockpile in our spank banks—since we like to know what we’re looking at. At the same time, there are a lot of moviegoers who love having our genres mixed in a holistic way. I think da Silva has arrived there. I think Keller is getting there.

(Note that Keller’s work is crowdfunded. We all get to be patrons of his work and if you like the direction he is taking with Colby Does America, you should consider throwing him a little love as I have done.)

I’m not going to give a stroke-by-stroke accounting of the movie, just to encourage you to abandon any preformed porn expectations. Don’t plan on it making you want to stroke or fuck or cum—although it could easily do that and certainly did for us—but expect a uniquely thoughtful erotic experience that is much more subtle in it’s way to your cock. It goes in via your thinking brain.

All that said, I will point out that we all were hugely turned on and had fantastic sex immediately following the movie. The last third of the film definitely inspired us (no spoilers here—sorry and you’re welcome) so it’s not totally without specific dick inspiration. It just makes you engage with your mind rather than disengage and it makes you see through an artistic lens to get there.

I enthusiastically recommend Spunk, just watch it with an open mind and be ready to either get off afterward… or not. In any case, this film does what my favorite art films does. It crawled into my brain and sparked lots of new thoughts and ideas in the hours and days that followed.

The Edger’s Realm

Just a brief thought… It occurred to me that the men who are exploring deep edging and prolonged masturbation practices are simply taking sex with themselves where it really should be for all kinds of sex: RESPECT for our visceral animal nature, FOCUS on the raw fact of the sexual moment, and the honor of our TIME to make a sexual experience the best it can be.

A bator/edger knows that his sexual impulse is an innate, human power that recedes from us when we ignore it or belittle it. He does not disrespect or second-guess the internal urging of his libido and because he has agreed to give in to it, he doesn’t deflate it with negative self-talk. He loves that internal urging and makes a promise to it that he will give it the attention it asks and when that opportunity arises, he fulfills the promise and indulges that impulse.

Bators know that sexual desire is something to sink into, to temporarily immerse in and that it is possible to direct the mind fully into the penis and all that radiates from it in the moment of engagement.

The edger rarely just jacks off. He is unlikely to waste time on a utilitarian orgasm. Indeed, getting off is not the objective but only an end to an exquisite journey and he is in no hurry to end that journey.

When I have sex with my lovers I want to always share an agreement to enter the edger’s realm, to completely surrender to our horny, sex-drunk primate energy from the start; to focus completely on each moment of profound stimulation, to be absolutely in the Now of every exchange of touch, every gift of pleasure and every second of grateful receptivity; and I want to ride the edge for as long as we can, prolonging the plateau for hours.

Edgers are not the outlaws in the sexual community. They are the gurus of sexual experience that the rest of us should be seeking out for wisdom.