Nine

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I started masturbating when I was nine years old. I also smoked my first marijuana when I was nine. It was something of a pivotal year for me…

The Winter before my ninth birthday, when I was eight, Olympia Fields, Illinois shared the Great Chicago Blizzard of 1967. I think of that as the last season of my childhood, since so many things changed for me after that brilliant season of digging tunnels and playing in the snow with my brother and sister. There was no traumatic event that cut my childhood off early, just a curious and precocious boy digging around his house, finding his sister’s weed and his mother’s sex manuals… It was just time for me to make some discoveries.

The pot was no big deal. I knew what it was and knew I wanted to try it. I took one of my mom’s Kent cigarettes, emptied half the tobacco out and packed in some of the green weed I’d uncovered in the baggie in the back of the closet of my big sister’s bathroom… I snuck out to the garage and smoked it, just like any clever child of two smoker parents… and I felt nothing. No high… No biggie… I figured it was overrated. I wouldn’t start getting high in earnest until I was 11.

The masturbating however, was a huge deal from the first moment I laid hands on myself. I’d found a copy of a book called “Love and Marriage” in the night stand on my mother’s side of my parents’ King bed. It was a black, hardbound volume without a dust jacket, and was stored next to “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Lenny Bruce. I pulled it out in those days I was home alone and lay there on my parent’s bed, reading. I only remember two chapters, “Sexual Intercourse” and “Autoeroticism.”

The Autoeroticism chapter actually didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time. I was far more fascinated with Sexual Intercourse, and the simple descriptions of what it was, how it was done, what goes where and how it’s supposed to feel, all written for newlyweds, I think, since it seems weird now to think that a married couple wouldn’t know all that stuff before they were committed to doing it, but at the time, I was too swept up in the reality of the mechanics, which were an utter mystery up until then.

Sometime later, it occurred to me that I wanted to know what that felt like. I wanted to know what “ecstatic pleasure” meant. It sounded really good, although it was little more than an interesting word to me then (and I’ve always loved words). It didn’t occur to me right away, but after a week or two, I reasoned that my penis might be really stupid, and that I might be able to fool it into thinking it was experiencing a vagina during intercourse. I thought, well, a vagina is supposed to be warm and wet and slippery, so I went to the bathroom and closed the door, locking it for the first of many, many such occasions, and made my hands warm, wet and slippery with hot water and soap. I then put both my hot, soapy hands together into a tunnel and inserted my stiffening penis.

I started to move my penis in and out of the warm, wet slippery tunnel, and became very, very focused on the strange new feelings emanating from my penis, absolutely fascinated at the sensation of tightening through my stiff shaft, like a thick knot of tension drawing slowly but steadily tighter and tighter, and then it seemed like a light flared inside my chest, as my penis suddenly swelled up and began spasming and oozing a few tiny drops of pearly fluid. This was definitely not pee, and definitely something new.

And it was a secret. And it was mine.

And I was back in that bathroom three more times that day and several times every day for weeks, just exploring this “simulated intercourse” I had so cleverly devised. I tried other lubricants like lotions and oils and powders. I tried creating friction through my underpants and virtually everything worked. There didn’t seem to be a wrong way to do it, and over that year and the next the volume of pearly fluid increased and the strength of its ejection from me became greater and greater.

I think I abandoned the idea of simulating intercourse pretty soon, and when a couple of years later, I bought a small copy of The Little Red School Book, something clicked in my head that fit perfectly with the development in my body. Inside that small volume I found very short, very simple descriptions of masturbation and orgasm, and very plainly stated that “it’s quite normal.” This very simple and, to me, obviously true statement, became bedrock for my own developing sense of self, my feelings about my body and my desire for sex. I read it over and over and over like a mantra…

From the beginning, I knew I needed to keep my masturbation private, to hide it from everyone else, but in my secret world of early post-childhood, I was also developing a fundamentally positive sense of masturbation and sex that would ultimately bring it out of the shadows. I think it’s that fundamental self-acceptance that set the stage for what I later described as my awakening to the “basic goodness” of the sexual impulse, and the abandonment of sexual shame…

(Which I’ll pick up on another time.)

Bators

Friday, August 20, 2010

I want to talk about bators. “Bators” are the self-described, proud masturbators in a currently thriving area of the kinkiverse. They are men who seek other men to masturbate “with” (either physically or virtually). Some of them can be found at jack-off clubs but you will find a lot more online, at places like bateworld.com (which became bator central some time after its predecessor, batenation.com, dissolved in a flurry of social web host incompetence). In bateworld you will find a lot of men, thousands of them, with handles like “Stroker” and “Tugger” and “B8Addict” and “Edger” and on and on… Guys who, like me and like most men, love to masturbate, but unlike most men, glorify the bate and elevate this most common of human sex acts to a genuine kink, a cultural phenomenon. Something to share with like-minded fellows and revel in like any kink.

Bators don’t just love to masturbate, many are somewhat obsessed with it. Many proudly proclaim themselves to be masturbation “addicts” or “compulsive” masturbators. They share stories, pics and videos of getting lost in “the bate,” or lost in “the goon” (gooning refers to the monkey-like, drooling, demented look a bator will have when he is completely absorbed by his penis and the sensations he is giving himself, a state which evokes the reptile brain, freedom from higher mental functions and a complete surrender to sexual sensation.)

There are phone lines where bators listen to each other while they jack off, some just listening on a speakerphone while their bolder brethren wank and moan and talk dirty, about penis, cock, stroking hairy boners, sometimes just repeating the word “penis” over and over again.

There is more than one kind of bator, just as there are many shades of vegetarian or protestant or European. As a man who leads a community of masturbators, I have encountered several discreet varieties within the world of bators, jackers and wankers.

I would say the most general divisions are between what I would call solosexuals, Jacks and dabblers. The first two are the only actual bators, but there are a lot of dabblers, so they merit mention here…

Solosexuals” are interested in masturbation to the exclusion of physical contact with others. They may fantasize about others sexually, but in reality, they just want to masturbate. Period. Most solosexuals are not really interested in or well suited for sexual relationships with other people. They may not be introverted. They may, in fact, be really friendly and outgoing. They just don’t want to have sex with anyone but themselves. These guys can be found by the hundreds and thousands in online communities like bateworld. Solosexuals may be gay, bi or straight, but when it comes down to engaging in actual sex, it’s practically a moot point, since they are almost exclusively into their own penis, and less likely to pursue a lasting sexual relationship with others.

The big drawback to solosexuality is loneliness. While many solosexuals are perfectly happy to be single, many still want intimate contact with a partner or a family. They still love, they still need intimacy. They just are wired to find their most complete sexual satisfaction by their own hands. Many find compatible partners and many more just live in the closet, and hide their masturbation just as they did when they were kids. For many, the hiding itself becomes sexualized and part of what turns on the solosexual. Not surprisingly, solosexuality may work best for single men who don’t mind being that way, but they exist in all kinds of relationships. Nobody knows how many men are genuinely solosexual.

Jacks” want to masturbate with others, primarily other men. Although there are plenty of straight guys who like jacking off with women, they seem to be a small minority in the greater Jacks phenomenon. Jacks are more often gay or bi, but may also be straight. Jacks are characterized by a desire for “social” sex with a fraternal, convivial energy. They want to jack off with other guys, and prefer mutual, group or social masturbation to solitary masturbation.

The big difference between solosexuals and Jacks is the primary connection being sought by each. Every masturbator is seeking a connection with himself. Solosexuals will generally prefer and return to solitary masturbation by preference. Jacks want to connect with others as well as themselves. Because of the intensity and primal quality of shared masturbation, it also serves as a mirror to our selves, as well as an opportunity to be sexually connected without an assumption of romantic possibility down the road… Jacks sometimes refer to their preferred activities as “recreation, not romance.”

And then there are the dabblers, the tourists, the curious… These may be bi-curious guys who are just dipping their toes into the realm of same-sex experience, or gay men surreptitiously seeking a way into a more “penetrative” contact than just masturbation, or coupled men seeking a safe way to play outside their primary relationships… There are the men who perceive the “kink” of Jacks clubs and are just checking out if it is for them, since they like to masturbate already… The dabblers are a lot less likely to show up in the solosexual realms, because they’re not likely to be solosexual, and solosexuality by design excludes contact with others. Among the Jacks, however, you find a wider range of interest in JO as a primary kink, and a lot more experimentation. Guys are more likely to show up at JO clubs once or twice, and then lose interest and move on, or show up once every few months.

Real “Jacks” will return to a JO club again and again, and will feel comfortable around the diverse men sharing masturbation in pairs and groups. They may have exclusive relationships, but they often return to JO clubs when circumstances allow, because it just fits for them. Solosexuals just need the time and place to masturbate, and whether they are using a phone line, web chatting, watching videos, using a web cam or just fantasizing, they are the only human being touching their penis (they’re also the only people having genuinely safe sex). 

All of these guys experience varying degrees of self-acceptance, just like anyone. We all negotiate our brief lives with varying levels of joy, fear, contentment and boredom… Whatever a person is most naturally drawn to for sexual pleasure and satisfaction, so long as it is consensual and does no harm, embracing it and accepting it is part of being a whole person. 

Bones

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is the first entry in my blog-a-day commitment. I have started a timer and am now staring intently at my keyboard (No, I do not adhere to the “correct” way of typing, where you look at the screen and don’t watch your hands… This is why so many piano teachers fired me when I was a kid… yes, fired ME…) The idea is a simple one. I will do three 5-minute rounds of work on each entry.

Round 1 is 5 minutes of free writing. This is the kind of writing I learned to do by reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones many years ago. The basic practice is to set a timer and just write. You keep the words flowing (in the original version, written before there were ubiquitous desktop publishers everywhere and the nation’s handwriting skills had begun to collectively deteriorate—she instructed to “keep the pen moving.” Pen… How cute…) Then you just keep writing, and writing and you don’t stop until the round is over. It can be a minute or five minutes or ten or 30 or an hour or whatever… You just go go go until the bell rings…

You do not correct as you go. Misspellings, grammar mistakes, obscenities, tangents… all go down on the page until the end of the round.

You give yourself full license to write the worst crap in the world. Occasionally, every writer pens the worst crap in the world. Everyone except maybe A.C. Grayling, who is a damn genius…

Remarkably, the timer just went off. So everything above is what took 5 minutes to write…

The “plan” (which I may have to revise in light of how bloody fast those 5 minutes flew by) is to now move on to Round 2, being 5 minutes of re-writing, correcting, slicing and dicing and then finally, Round 3: 5 minutes of editing each wee opus.

You will never see the raw bones of the entry, only the rewritten version. I do not promise that the entries will not be utter crap, even the worst crap in the world, but I’m confident that it will be, at worst, a bit mundane and boring, although my life, which is all I have to write about, is mostly not boring.

So… are you bored yet? 

Next time, I will pick a topic, or maybe I’ll write about my writing intentions. Since I have no idea what I’ll end up writing about, it may be amusing to claim some kind of direction to veer off of in future.

I welcome comments, just don’t be an asshole. Snark is splendid. Venom is unwelcome. Stupidity will be filtered, but naivete will be permitted. There’s such a fine line…

One note: I plan to write about the things I’m into, which are somewhat diverse and very compartmentalized. I have some specifically discrete segmenting going on in my life. This will be a place where the walls between my worlds will dissolve a bit, fade in and out… What I know about myself is this: I inhabit many worlds, but I am not a different person in each one. The me who works all day in front of a Mac in an in-house design group for a Major Retail Company, The me who rehearses and sings for hundreds of hours a year with the world’s largest gay chorus, the me who still says “I love you” every day to his husband of 19 years, the me who lifts weights obsessively, the me who runs a safe sex club, the me with the elderly Jewish mother and ailing goyische stepfather… I am the same person in all my spheres and grateful for all the ways those worlds mix and inform each other…

GET this book!

Get Writing Down The Bones from Powell’s Books. Go now! Get it now! Now now now!

Here Goes…

I hereby commit to writing a blog entry a day.

five minutes of writing, 

five minutes of re-writing and then… 

five minutes of editing, and PUBLISH!

I’ll do this every day in the morning, or the evening or the afternoon. I may do it a second or third time, and I may or may not include photos, but the idea is, get in the habit and publish daily. 15 minutes a day, less than 2 hours a week…

I reserve the right to take one day off each week…

Today is Thursday, August 19, 2010…