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Name: ANGELO
Gender: Male
Age: 49
Location: NEW YORK
Hi I heard you on the playboy channel the other day; it was great. I’m married and like wearing women’s clothes mostly panties and stockings. My wife knows this and is OK with it. I also like when we role reverse and she penetrates my anus do u think this is all OK?

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Yeah, Angelo, I think it’s all fine. Cross-dressing and role reversal role-play are common enough fetishes. You’re very fortunate to have a wife who will join you in your kink. Lucky you and, more importantly, good for her!

Here’s what I want you to do. Go to your wife and tell her you love her and thank her profusely for being so accommodating by indulging you your behavior. Tell her you want to do something special for her to show your appreciation. Ask her what she wants or needs and fulfill that request ASAP.

My sense is that few of us show enough gratitude to our loving, obliging and compliant partners or as we ought. The world is full of unhappy and unfulfilled people, so if we’ve hit the jackpot we really need to reward the ones who love us and fuck us as we are.

Name: Astrit
Gender: Male
Age: 20’s
Hi there. I have question about anal douching.
I’m in my early twenties and see myself as being a reasonable healthy young gay man. I’ve recently gotten into anal douching and, to my surprise, found that I really like it a lot. This is partly because the thought of being clean really appeals to me. Now I’m wondering how frequently I can safely do it and what kind of precautions I should take. Is it safe to go with just pure water for douching? Is there any risk in doing it more than once or twice a week? Would it be worth it?

I’ve written and talked about anal douching extensively on my site. You can find postings and podcasts containing the subject by using this site’s search function in the sidebar to your right. Type in ANAL DOUCHE and presto!

You can also use the category pull down menu. Look under Anal; there’s a subcategory labeled anal-douche.

Here’s the kind of information you will find: Warm water is all you need. Soap is recommended for cleaning outside your hole, but ever use soap up in your hole.001

Some men add lemon juice or vinegar (1-2 Tbs. per quart) of the warm water. Others dissolve (2 Tbs.) of baking soda in a quart of warm water.

Stay away from commercially produced douches; most contain harmful and irritating chemicals. And trust me, you don’t want that. Besides, all those over the counter douches are expensive. And all that packaging is definitely not eco-friendly. And we all want to be green perverts, don’t we?

Finally there is always the ever-versatile shower or bath bidet option. You can find one model, the Perfect Fit Ergoflo Extra on the Perfect Fit website along with all their other outstanding products. And, since it looks like you’re a budding douche fetishist, you might consider the Deluxe Shower Bidet, which can be found in Dr Dick’s Stockroom. Look for the My Stockroom banner in the sidebar to your right. This is a stainless steel option that hooks up to your shower head.

I hope that’s helpful.

Good luck ya’ll

Becoming a Power Bottom 101

By Jace Payne

Power bottoms are guys who aggressively enjoy being the receiving partner in anal sex. A true power bottom doesn’t just on their back and get penetrated; a good power bottom can assume the dominant role while being fucked. Porn stars like Jessie Colter and Brandon Jones are great examples of true power bottoms.

Bottoms-upThere are many benefits of learning how to be a power bottom. First, preparing your body for this kind of role will make the act of bottoming more pleasurable; it’s not a skill most guys possess naturally—not every bottom is a power bottom. Tops, who especially like long and rough sessions, enjoy it when their partner can enjoy a pounding without becoming tired or sore.

The first step to becoming a power bottom is to learn the basics of how to bottom. Before you start engaging in any kind of play, you need to start with a hot shower. Learning how to properly cleanse your ass is key. It’s called douching. Douching is a requirement if you’re going to be bottoming. There are many types of anal douches you can choose from; the most popular are a small enema bulb or a more elaborate hose system that connects to your shower head. Fort Troff has a spectacular selection of anal douching kits designed for bottoms that are serious about having a good time, and they are made to be hygienic and user-friendly.proud bottom

Next you must learn to relax. Being topped aggressively can be overwhelming, and it’s important you learn proper techniques to keep yourself calm so you can enjoy the experience. Practice deep breathing to ease your mind and to relax your body. Being a good power bottom is learning how to maintain the proper mindset. If you’re tense up, then you aren’t going to enjoy yourself as much as you could be and it’s going to become painful and uncomfortable. It’s just as important as breathing. If you start to tense up, just take a couple of deep breaths. Communicating with your partner will let each other know what’s working, not working, what would make it more comfortable or pleasurable.

Becoming a power bottom doesn’t happen overnight, and you have to work towards it with a top that understands how to listen, and is willing to work with you as you progress. When selecting sex slingsomeone to help you become a true power bottom, find someone that is not only a skilled top, but patient, and well-versed in foreplay.

Foreplay should be fun and help you relax. A great way to get started is with some light finger play with some lubricant. Once you start to loosen up and are comfortable, rimming is a great way to have some more fun before getting to the more serious action. Rimming does wonders for helping to relax your hole.

When it’s finally time for get to the point where you are going to attempt to be penetrated, use plenty of lubricant. There are various types of personal lubricant to choose from including, water-based, silicone, and hybrid. Never use baby oil, Vaseline, hair conditioner, soap or other types of products not intended for this use because they can hurt and damage your sensitive skin. Learning how to be a power bottom will take much longer if you’re constantly damaging your asshole. You’re dealing with sensitive equipment, so treat it as such. Even when you are advanced, there is no reason to go balls to the wall without lube.

When first getting started with bottoming, it’s totally acceptable to take breaks. All-too-often people get too excited and want to do too much too quickly. Give your body time to adjust and becoming accustomed to what’s being done to it. Being able to get fucked relentlessly is a skill that has to be developed over time. If you are bottoming and it starts to hurt, then stop immediately. That’s your body telling you it’s time to take a break. You can either stop until the pain subsides and try again, or stop and try again the next day. If there are any signs of blood, stop right away and do not continue.toe curl

There are a few things you must not do in the beginning. Bottoming is a skilled art. It takes time. Rushing is a big no-no. Your top shouldn’t escalate to big thrusts before you’re ready to take them comfortably. If he does then things will come to a crashing halt fairly quick. The saying “Go Big or Go Home” only applies to advanced bottoms, not those who are still learning the ropes. Start small and work your way up gradually. Pay attention to what you’re feeling and take not of what hurts and what’s pleasurable.

Lastly, do not turn to drugs, alcohol or poppers to become a better bottom. This can lead to unpleasant, physically damaging, and possibly dangerous scenarios. You can become a power bottom without being under the influence.

Trust that if you take the appropriate steps and respect your body, you will be able to achieve great sexual feats in no-time.

Bottoms Up!

Complete Article HERE!

A Sizzlin Firecracker Of A Q&A Show — Podcast #216 — 07/05/10

Hey sex fans,

I know it’s a holiday weekend here in Americanskiville, and I know I should be hanging out at the pool or barbeque instead of slingin’ my tits over this hot microphone, but I can’t help it. I gotta catch up on all the questions that have been piling up since our last Q&A session back in May. And there’s a shit-load of ‘em don’t cha know.

We hear from:

  • Mike says it takes him too long to get off.
  • Tomas is terrified he might be gay.
  • Astrit has questions about anal douching.
  • Connor has a overly sensitive dickhead.
  • Sharon is very suspicious about FSD, or female sexual dysfunction.
  • Glenda loves giving her husband blowjobs, but he doesn’t cum that way.
  • Angelo is a crossdresser and his wife pegs him in the ass.
  • Bill doesn’t like the advice I give some women.
  • Paul might be a teensy bit queer.
  • Josh has a BF that doesn’t like his foreskin.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

I wanna take a moment to remind you to check out another great website in the Dr Dick family of sites. It’s my new PRODUCT REVIEW site — drdicksextoyreviews.com

That’s right, sex fans, now it’s so easy to see what hot and what’s not in the world of adult products. I review of all kinds of adult related goodies — sex toys for sure, but also condoms, lubes, herbal products, fetish gear as well as educational and enrichment videos. DON’T MISS A SINGLE ONE!

Look for the drdicksextoyreviews.com. You’ll be so glad you did.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

Some assembly required!

Hi Dr Dick,
Happy (belated) New Year! I have two questions for you:
1. I am taking a long time to cum when I’m given a blowjob or hand job and eventually I need to stroke off on my own (for a pretty long time as well). However, I cum pretty quickly when I masturbate while watching porn. Am I masturbating to porn too much? I have also masturbated to porn for years before I started having sex recently (I’m not sure whether this could be a reason as well).
2. You mention that we shouldn’t use soup while cleaning our anus. Why is that so? I just read about douching but I have been cleaning my anus with warm water, soap, and finger. Is that ok?
Thanks in advance!  — Ken

Can’t hardly say if you are masturbating to porn too much.  I mean, what is too much anyway?  And since you don’t go into detail; I’ll let that issue rest.

What I can tell you is that partnered sex, regardless of the activity (blowjobs, hand jobs or full-on fucking) is a whole lot different than solo sex (with or without porn).  I can also assure you that your body has become sensitized to your particular grip and stroke over the years of you pullin your own pud.  Another person’s grip and stroke (pussy or asshole) will rarely satisfy in the same efficient manner.  This is not a bad thing, necessarily, but you do have to keep that in mind.  And perhaps your sexual response will change with time as you enjoy more and varied partnered sex.

In terms of you taking too long (whatever that means) to cum when you are with a partner, maybe you need to quit trying so hard to get off and lay back and enjoy the sensations you’re getting from your partner.  And here’s a tip; use your biggest sex organ, your brain, to replay some of that hot porn action in your head while you are gettin head.  That will surely hasten things along, if ya know what I mean.

In terms of your next question about keeping your hole clean; you may have misunderstood previous comments I’ve made about anal douching.  Soap and water is the preferred method of keeping the outside of your ass clean.  And while you’re scrubbin’ your crack, you could use your fingertip to clean out your rosebud.  But don’t force soap beyond your sphincter.  You have delicate membranes in your rectum that will be irritated by the soap, even a mild soap.

If you need to douche, I suggest a solution of a few drops of lemon juice in warm water.   Some men prefer the convenience of a shower bidet.

Name: Mike P
Gender: Male
Age: 25
Location: Los Angeles
My girlfriend needs to watch lesbian porn to get off and sometimes kicks me out of the bedroom to masturbate by herself.  Initially I was turned on by her desire to watch porn — but now — it’s become a blockage.  She always needs porn.  I am frustrated and to make things worse — she has started abusing me through financial manipulation. I have to pay her rent — pay for her food, pay everything — and she never gives me nookie.
Should I leave this woman?

Time to wake up, fella!  Your “girlfriend” — and I use that term very loosely — is decidedly not YOUR girlfriend, and possibly not any man’s girlfriend.  I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and say; I think your “girlfriend” is a certifiable, died-in-the wool, muff-divin’, coochie-lovin’ lesbiterian.  All that remains for her to do, to make the picture perfectly clear…even for you, is to show up one day in a mullet and a flannel shirt.  Holy cow, Mike, how is it that you are missing the obvious?

Listen, bub, you’re excess baggage.  Your “friend” keeps you around for comic relief…oh and to foot the bill.

Should you leave this woman; you ask.  Honey, she’s beaten you to the punch on that one.  She’s long gone and done left you way behind, at least emotionally and sexually.  All you need to do is find the door, say good-bye to this sorry situation and make a hasty exit.

Name: Michelle
Gender: Female
Age: 22
Location: Canada
Tips to help when the man you’re sleeping with has a small penis.

Tips?  No pun intended, I hope.

Ok, here goes — Tip #1, grin and bear it.  Tip #2, find a guy with more pork.  Tip #3, get a dildo.  Tip #4, find a sexual position, like doggie style, that will make the most of every little bit of pecker the poor guy’s got.  Tip #5, remember it ain’t always da meat, but it is always da motion.

Ok, seriously I do have a couple of suggestions beyond the flippant ones I just mentioned.  For example, Tip #3 still stands.  Find yourself a dildo, one that your partner can wield when he’s around.  If you introduce the concept in a positive way, you may find that Mr. Mini-meat will go for it big time.  You see, most guys with small endowments already know they may have a problem satisfying some women (or men for that matter).  But most guys, regardless of cock size, are always interested in pleasuring their partner, even when it’s not with their own magic wand.

May I suggest that you check out the swell array of dildos available at Dr Dick’s Stockroom?  You’ll find a link to this treasure trove on the top of this page.  Hey, you may even want to shop online together.  You may be surprised at the one your guy picks out for you.

While you lovebirds are checking out the dildo section at Dr Dick’s Stockroom, take a moment to search for a Cyberskin Penis Extension.

You’re gonna love this.  The new Cyberskin line of products represents a significant advance in pecker extensions that feel like the real thing. The rubber on the surface of this extension feels hauntingly like human skin. But the inside part of the (1.5″ or 3″) extension is much firmer.  It is soft and supple on the surface, but hard and rigid inside.  Mmmm, hard and rigid!

Visually, the shape, texture, and coloration of these extensions are designed to create a realistic effect as well.  They look realistic and they feel realistic.

There’s a trick to putting on one of these puppies, don’t ‘cha know.  You roll up the sleeve until it’s all the way up around the extension. Then place it against the head of your guy’s stiff dick.  Roll the bugger down snugly around his unit, sealing his peanut inside the sleeve.  A partial seal will form, helping keep the extension on during the fuck-fest.

Wearing this extension will add both length and thickness to his precious willie. It will of course reduce the sensation in his cock, but that’s not always bad thing.  Guys with a short fuse may find the decrease in stimulation an aid to controlling his ejaculation, while he’s giving more and longer pleasure to his partner.  And a lot of guys love the feeling of having their cock sealed inside the rubbery sleeve.  Mmmm, sealed inside rubbery sleeve!

Name: Jack
Gender: Male
Age: 42
Location: Milwaukee
I’ve been dating this guy for over a year.  He is the love of my life.  I love him so much, but he treats me like shit.  I met him on vacation in Florida.  He’s 26 a stunning, 6’3” 200lbs, blond surfer Adonis.  And excuse me for being so graphic; he has the biggest dick I’d ever seen.  The first time we had sex I saw stars.  He filled me up like no other person has.
When I got home we exchanged emails nearly every day and even had some hot phone sex a couple of times.  He was down on his luck, because he lost his barista job for coming to work stoned too many times.  I know I shouldn’t have, but I invited him to come live with me.  I flew him up, but I told him that this wouldn’t be a free ride, he’d have to stop smoking so much dope and get a job and he agreed.
The sex was fantastic for the first couple of months, but once he established himself as a star at the gym he found his own friends and now I don’t see too much of him.  He eats my food and drinks my liquor and drives my car.  I pay for his cloths and gym membership.  He has yet to find a job.
I know I should just end it, but I love him and I would really miss the sex.  My friends ridicule me for thinking he loves me as much as I love him.  They tell me they know he sees other guys.  I’m so turned around I don’t know what to do.

Like my momma always used to say:  if it’s got wheels or a dick, you know you’re gonna have problems with it.  And I would add, if it’s got big wheels or a big dick you know you’re gonna have BIG problems with it.

Before we turn our attention to your no good boyfriend, let me make a few quick observations about you.  You’re a freakin’ mess, girlfriend! I mean really, you’ve broken all the cardinal rules about dating a hustler.  I know, I can hear you now…oh no Dr Dick, he’s not a hustler; he’s a good kid who’s just down on his luck and I’m just trying to help.  Bullshit!

Ya see, that’s the first cardinal rule of dating a hustler is never lose sight of the fact that he’s a hustler and you’re his john.  Don’t get me wrong; I have the deepest admiration for hustlers and their johns.  It’s just that this arrangement only works if everyone is clear about the ground rules.   And here are the ground rules — rich older gentleman connects with needy younger hunky stud for mutual benefit.  Rich older gentleman keeps needy younger hunky stud in room and board, booze, cloths, car, gym membership and the like; and needy younger hunky stud buggers rich older gentleman senseless with his big blond surfer-boy dick.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Second cardinal rule — what happens on vacation should stay on vacation.  Vacation sex, as wonderful and delicious as it may be, does not transplant very well to your non-vacation life.  You’re more likely to have success transplanting a delicate tropical orchid to your Milwaukee backyard than transplanting a vacation hustler fuck to your work-a-day world back home.

Third cardinal rule —don’t try to gloss a perfectly fine, fully functional and even an affectionate hustler/john relationship with talk of love.  It’s unnecessary, unseemly and untrue.  It’s lust, it’s limerence, it’s love sickness, whatever…it’s just not love.  Because LOVE don’t ever make you feel as bad as you’re feelin’.  Probably your friends would have less difficulty with your mooning over this guy if you were more honest about the nature of this relationship.  They wouldn’t be rubbing your face in the evidence that surfer-boy is pluggin’ other dudes.

Fourth cardinal rule — a size queen, like you Jack, should admit that you are enamored with the guy hose and how it fills you up plain and simple.  To pretend that you would string yourself out like this for a guy with tiny meat is just that — pretense.  Listen, there’s nothin’ wrong with bein’ a size queen, it’s the dishonesty I object to.

How is this young fella ever supposed to respect you when you don’t respect for yourself?  He probably had you pegged (no pun intended) back on the beach in the sunshine state. He knows you will tolerate his misbehavior, which of course gives him permission to do whatever he feels like doing whenever he feel like doing it.  And now he don’t even have to give up the occasional mercy fuck any more, even though that was surely part of the deal at the get go, right?

So the waif has yet to find a job after a year, huh?  Why is that not surprising?  But even a hustler needs his mad money, besides what is doled out to him by his long-suffering john.  I’d be willing to guess Mr. surfer dude is turning tricks to keep himself in weed and other essentials.

Thing is, this fellow probably would have treated you better if you would have just stuck to the hustler/john script.  Ya see, kids like this need structure.  He may have looked to you for this at one time, but when he realized that he had you cock-whipped, the teachable moment evaporated.  This lad is probably like most other boys with big dicks.  They learn early on that their cock gives them enormous power, because it is the object of desire for so many.  He soon discovered that you were no different than all the other men (and some women) in his life — only interested in owning a piece of his sizeable endowment.  And so he turned the tables on you.  You can hardly fault the guy.  You try to manipulate him with your money.  He outwits you and manipulates you with his johnson.

If you’re really serious about reining in the little monkey, you’d better come up with a clear, unambiguous message about what you will and will not tolerate.  And it better be something more than “I expect you to bone my scrawny middle-aged ass on occasion.” Because, until you do, he will roam wherever and whenever he wants.

There are many root causes for his behavior, just like there are many root causes for your behavior.  But since I’m talking to you, not him, I suggest that you get to the bottom of all of this by investing a good deal of time and energy with a competent sex-positive therapist. There’s one thing I can say for certain, if the status quo continues your resentment will boil over one day and there will be violence, the kind of violence that you may not think yourself capable of now.  But violence there will be; you can bank on it!

Is there enough goodwill between the two of you to resolve this unfortunate situation amicably?  Who knows!  If I had to guess, I’d say there was a slim to no chance for that.  If that’s the case, I advise you pack him up and put him on the next plane south.  And no more relationships for you, particularly with unemployed young men with massive schlongs, till you get your head screwed on tighter.

Good Luck ya’ll

A handy history

Condemned, celebrated, shunned: masturbation has long been an uncomfortable fact of life. Why?

by Barry Reay

A handy history

The anonymous author of the pamphlet Onania (1716) was very worried about masturbation. The ‘shameful vice’, the ‘solitary act of pleasure’, was something too terrible to even be described. The writer agreed with those ‘who are of the opinion, that… it never ought to be spoken of, or hinted at, because the bare mentioning of it may be dangerous to some’. There was, however, little reticence in cataloguing ‘the frightful consequences of self-pollution’. Gonorrhoea, fits, epilepsy, consumption, impotence, headaches, weakness of intellect, backache, pimples, blisters, glandular swelling, trembling, dizziness, heart palpitations, urinary discharge, ‘wandering pains’, and incontinence – were all attributed to the scourge of onanism.

The fear was not confined to men. The full title of the pamphlet was Onania: Or the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, and all its Frightful Consequences (in Both Sexes). Its author was aware that the sin of Onan referred to the spilling of male seed (and divine retribution for the act) but reiterated that he treated ‘of this crime in relation to women as well as men’. ‘[W]hilst the offence is Self-Pollution in both, I could not think of any other word which would so well put the reader in mind both of the sin and its punishment’. Women who indulged could expect disease of the womb, hysteria, infertility and deflowering (the loss of ‘that valuable badge of their chastity and innocence’).

Another bestselling pamphlet was published later in the century: L’onanisme (1760) by Samuel Auguste Tissot. He was critical of Onania, ‘a real chaos … all the author’s reflections are nothing but theological and moral puerilities’, but nevertheless listed ‘the ills of which the English patients complain’. Tissot was likewise fixated on ‘the physical disorders produced by masturbation’, and provided his own case study, a watchmaker who had self-pleasured himself into ‘insensibility’ on a daily basis, sometimes three times a day; ‘I found a being that less resembled a living creature than a corpse, lying upon straw, meagre, pale, and filthy, casting forth an infectious stench; almost incapable of motion.’ The fear these pamphlets promoted soon spread.

The strange thing is that masturbation was never before the object of such horror. In ancient times, masturbation was either not much mentioned or treated as something a little vulgar, not in good taste, a bad joke. In the Middle Ages and for much of the early modern period too, masturbation, while sinful and unnatural, was not invested with such significance. What changed?

Religion and medicine combined powerfully to create a new and hostile discourse. The idea that the soul was present in semen led to thinking that it was very important to retain the vital fluid. Its spilling became, then, both immoral and dangerous (medicine believed in female semen at the time). ‘Sin, vice, and self-destruction’ were the ‘trinity of ideas’ that would dominate from the 18th into the 19th century, as the historians Jean Stengers and Anne Van Neck put it in Masturbation: The Great Terror (2001).

There were exceptions. Sometimes masturbation was opposed for more ‘enlightened’ reasons. In the 1830s and 1840s, for instance, female moral campaign societies in the United States condemned masturbation, not out of hostility to sex, but as a means to self-control. What would now be termed ‘greater sexual agency’ – the historian April Haynes refers to ‘sexual virtue’ and ‘virtuous restraint’ – was central to their message.

Yet it is difficult to escape the intensity of the fear. J H Kellogg’s Plain Facts for Old and Young (1877) contained both exaggerated horror stories and grand claims: ‘neither the plague, nor war, nor smallpox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of Onanism; it is the destroying element of civilised societies’. Kellogg suggested remedies for the scourge, such as exercise, strict bathing and sleeping regimes, compresses, douching, enemas and electrical treatment. Diet was vital: this rabid anti-masturbator was co-inventor of the breakfast cereal that still bears his name. ‘Few of today’s eaters of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes know that he invented them, almost literally, as anti-masturbation food,’ as the psychologist John Money once pointed out.

The traces are still with us in other ways. Male circumcision, for instance, originated in part with the 19th-century obsession with the role of the foreskin in encouraging masturbatory practices. Consciously or not, many US males are faced with this bodily reminder every time they masturbate. And the general disquiet unleashed in the 18th century similarly lingers on today. We seem to have a confusing and conflicting relationship with masturbation. On one hand it is accepted, even celebrated – on the other, there remains an unmistakable element of taboo.

When the sociologist Anthony Giddens in The Transformation of Intimacy (1992) attempted to identify what made modern sex modern, one of the characteristics he identified was the acceptance of masturbation. It was, as he said, masturbation’s ‘coming out’. Now it was ‘widely recommended as a major source of sexual pleasure, and actively encouraged as a mode of improving sexual responsiveness on the part of both sexes’. It had indeed come to signify female sexual freedom with Betty Dodson’s Liberating Masturbation (1974) (renamed and republished as Sex for One in 1996), which has sold more than a million copies, and her Bodysex Workshops in Manhattan with their ‘all-women masturbation circles’. The Boston Women’s Health Collective’s classic feminist text Our Bodies, Ourselves (1973) included a section called ‘Learning to Masturbate’.

Alfred Kinsey and his team are mainly remembered for the sex surveys that publicised the pervasiveness of same-sex desires and experiences in the US, but they also recognised the prevalence of masturbation. It was, for both men and women, one of the nation’s principal sexual outlets. In the US National Survey (2009–10), 94 per cent of men aged 25-29 and 85 per cent of women in the same age group said that they had masturbated alone in the course of their lifetime. (All surveys indicate lower reported rates for women.) In the just-published results of the 2012 US National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 92 per cent of straight men and a full 100 per cent of gay men recorded lifetime masturbation.

There has certainly been little silence about the activity. Several generations of German university students were questioned by a Hamburg research team about their masturbatory habits to chart changing attitudes and practices from 1966 to 1996; their results were published in 2003. Did they reach orgasm? Were they sexually satisfied? Was it fun? In another study, US women were contacted on Craigslist and asked about their masturbatory experiences, including clitoral stimulation and vaginal penetration. An older, somewhat self-referential study from 1977 of sexual arousal to films of masturbation asked psychology students at the University of Connecticut to report their ‘genital sensations’ while watching those films. Erection? Ejaculation? Breast sensations? Vaginal lubrication? Orgasm? And doctors have written up studies of the failed experiments of unfortunate patients: ‘Masturbation Injury Resulting from Intraurethral Introduction of Spaghetti’ (1986); ‘Penile Incarceration Secondary to Masturbation with A Steel Pipe’ (2013), with illustrations.

‘We are a profoundly self-pleasuring society at both a metaphorical and material level’

Self-stimulation has been employed in sexual research, though not always to great import. Kinsey and his team wanted to measure how far, if at all, semen was projected during ejaculation: Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, Kinsey’s biographer, refers to queues of men in Greenwich Village waiting to be filmed at $3 an ejaculation. William Masters and Virginia Johnson recorded and measured the physiological response during sexual arousal, using new technology, including a miniature camera inside a plastic phallus. Their book Human Sexual Response (1966) was based on data from more than 10,000 orgasms from nearly 700 volunteers: laboratory research involving sexual intercourse, stimulation, and masturbation by hand and with that transparent phallus. Learned journals have produced findings such as ‘Orgasm in Women in the Laboratory – Quantitative Studies on Duration, Intensity, Latency, and Vaginal Blood Flow’ (1985).

In therapy, too, masturbation has found its place ‘as a means of achieving sexual health’, as an article by Eli Coleman, the director of the programme in human sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School, once put it. A published study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1977 outlined therapist-supervised female masturbation (with dildo, vibrator and ‘organic vegetables’) as a way of encouraging vaginal orgasm. Then there is The Big Book of Masturbation (2003) and the hundreds of (pun intended) self-help books, Masturbation for Weight Loss, a Womans Guide only among the latest (and more opportunistic).

Self-pleasure has featured in literature, most famously in Philip Roth’s novel Portnoys Complaint (1969). But it is there in more recent writing too, including Chuck Palahniuk’s disturbing short story ‘Guts’ (2004). Autoeroticism (and its traces) have been showcased in artistic expression: in Jordan MacKenzie’s sperm and charcoal canvases (2007), for example, or in Marina Abramović’s reprise of Vito Acconci’s Seedbed at the Guggenheim in 2005, or her video art Balkan Erotic Epic of the same year.

On film and television, masturbation is similarly pervasive: Lauren Rosewarne’s Masturbation in Pop Culture (2014) was able to draw on more than 600 such scenes. My favourites are in the film Spanking the Monkey (1994), in which the main character is trying to masturbate in the bathroom, while the family dog, seemingly alert to such behaviour, pants and whines at the door; and in the Seinfeld episode ‘The Contest’ (1992), in which the ‘m’ word is never uttered, and where George’s mother tells her adult son that he is ‘treating his body like it was an amusement park’.

There is much evidence, then, for what the film scholar Greg Tuck in 2009 called the ‘mainstreaming of masturbation’: ‘We are a profoundly self-pleasuring society at both a metaphorical and material level.’ There are politically-conscious masturbation websites. There is the online ‘Masturbation Hall of Fame’ (sponsored by the sex-toys franchise Good Vibrations). There are masturbationathons, and jack-off-clubs, and masturbation parties.

It would be a mistake, however, to present a rigid contrast between past condemnation and present acceptance. There are continuities. Autoeroticism might be mainstreamed but that does not mean it is totally accepted. In Sexual Investigations (1996), the philosopher Alan Soble observed that people brag about casual sex and infidelities but remain silent about solitary sex. Anne-Francis Watson and Alan McKee’s 2013 study of 14- to 16-year-old Australians found that not only the participants but also their families and teachers were more comfortable talking about almost any other sexual matter than about self-pleasuring. It ‘remains an activity that is viewed as shameful and problematic’, warns the entry on masturbation in the Encyclopedia of Adolescence (2011). In a study of the sexuality of students in a western US university, where they were asked about sexual orientation, anal and vaginal sex, condom use, and masturbation, it was the last topic that occasioned reservation: 28 per cent of the participants ‘declined to answer the masturbation questions’. Masturbation remains, to some extent, taboo.

When the subject is mentioned, it is often as an object of laughter or ridicule. Rosewarne, the dogged viewer of the 600 masturbation scenes in film and TV, concluded that male masturbation was almost invariably portrayed negatively (female masturbation was mostly erotic). Watson and McKee’s study revealed that their young Australians knew that masturbation was normal yet still made ‘negative or ambivalent statements’ about it.

Belief in the evils of masturbation has resurfaced in the figure of the sex addict and in the obsession with the impact of internet pornography. Throughout their relatively short histories, sexual addiction and hypersexual disorder have included masturbation as one of the primary symptoms of their purported maladies. What, in a sex-positive environment, would be considered normal sexual behaviour has been pathologised in another. Of the 152 patients in treatment for hypersexual disorder in clinics in California, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah, a 2012 study showed that most characterised their sexual disorder in terms of pornography consumption (81 per cent) and masturbation (78 per cent). The New Catholic Encyclopedia’s supplement on masturbation (2012-13), too, slips into a lengthy disquisition on sex addiction and the evils of internet pornography: ‘The availability of internet pornography has markedly increased the practice of masturbation to the degree that it can be appropriately referred to as an epidemic.’

Critics think that therapeutic masturbation might reinforce sexual selfishness rather than sexual empathy and sharing

The masturbator is often seen as the pornography-consumer and sex addict enslaved by masturbation. The sociologist Steve Garlick has suggested that negative attitudes to masturbation have been reconstituted to ‘surreptitiously infect ideas about pornography’. Pornography has become masturbation’s metonym. Significantly, when the New Zealand politician Shane Jones was exposed for using his taxpayer-funded credit card to view pornographic movies, the unnamed shame was that his self-pleasuring activities were proclaimed on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers – thus the jokes about ‘the matter in hand’ and not shaking hands with him at early morning meetings. It would have been less humiliating, one assumes, if he had used the public purse to finance the services of sex workers.

Nor is there consensus on the benefits of masturbation. Despite its continued use in therapy, some therapists question its usefulness and propriety. ‘It is a mystery to me how conversational psychotherapy has made the sudden transition to massage parlour technology involving vibrators, mirrors, surrogates, and now even carrots and cucumbers!’ one psychologist protested in the late 1970s. He was concerned about issues of client-patient power and a blinkered pursuit of the sexual climax ‘ignoring … the more profound psychological implications of the procedure’. In terms of effectiveness, critics think that therapeutic masturbation might reinforce individual pleasure and sexual selfishness rather than creating sexual empathy and sharing. As one observed in the pages of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy in 1995: ‘Ironically, the argument against masturbation in American society was originally religiously founded, but may re-emerge as a humanist argument.’ Oversimplified, but in essence right: people remain disturbed by the solitariness of solitary sex.

Why has what the Japanese charmingly call ‘self-play’ become such a forcing ground for sexual attitudes? Perhaps there is something about masturbation’s uncontrollability that continues to make people anxious. It is perversely non-procreative, incestuous, adulterous, homosexual, ‘often pederastic’ and, in imagination at least, sex with ‘every man, woman, or beast to whom I take a fancy’, to quote Soble. For the ever-astute historian Thomas Laqueur, author of Solitary Sex (2003), masturbation is ‘that part of human sexual life where potentially unlimited pleasure meets social restraint’.

Why did masturbation become such a problem? For Laqueur, it began with developments in 18th-century Europe, with the cultural rise of the imagination in the arts, the seemingly unbounded future of commerce, the role of print culture, the rise of private, silent reading, especially novels, and the democratic ingredients of this transformation. Masturbation’s condemned tendencies – solitariness, excessive desire, limitless imagination, and equal-opportunity pleasure – were an outer limit or testing of these valued attributes, ‘a kind of Satan to the glories of bourgeois civilisation’.

In more pleasure-conscious modern times, the balance has tipped towards personal gratification. The acceptance of personal autonomy, sexual liberation and sexual consumerism, together with a widespread focus on addiction, and the ubiquity of the internet, now seem to demand their own demon. Fears of unrestrained fantasy and endless indulging of the self remain. Onania’s 18th-century complaints about the lack of restraint of solitary sex are not, in the end, all that far away from today’s fear of boundless, ungovernable, unquenchable pleasure in the self.

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