When I was 11 I had a pair of orange, paisley-print boxers. One day, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom holding them and something compelled me to rub the boxers against my penis. I did it. I became erect. I kept rubbing and a few seconds later I came.
Few moments in my life are as crystallized as this one. Later that day, I kept rubbing and kept cumming. As a preteen and teen, I typically beat-off 3-10 times a day. I’d usually do it in socks and underwear. I also had a soft, red wool scarf that I was fond of.
Soon thereafter I discovered pornography. Initially, I was aroused by just touching myself, but then I found the experience was greatly enhanced by fantasies derived from pictures or thoughts of girls I was attracted to.
In the pioneer days, what constituted porn wasn’t much—envisioning Christine Endler or Lisa Jones; a JC Penny underwear section from the newspaper or, le coup de gras, a Victoria’s Secret catalog. In later years, I would occasionally score a Playboy or Hustler. I would keep these magazines for years as I was too embarrassed (and perhaps young) to get new issues.
The internet was a game-changer. Suddenly there was more porn than I knew what to do with. At first, I had masturbation sprees—hours spent in front of a screen with dick in hand. In later years, as my libido waned, my routine became a more civil once-a-day porn viewing. Surf, beat, sleep.
Nowadays, I don’t look at porn when I masturbate. I find rifling through the sites, looking for the perfect image or video, more trouble than it’s worth. I usually imagine a girl—typically one I would never have sex with in my real life—then do my business and go to sleep.
If this seems all a bit too graphic, you are probably a woman. Masturbation is an unspoken, all-pervading phenomenon; one that, controversial as it sounds, is particularly male. Many women masturbate; some might even be compulsive about it. But all guys masturbate, and the majority of us have been compulsive about it at some point. In fact, as hardcore as my post sounds (or not), a quick survey of my male friends reveal that I’m a light-weight. I almost never do it more than once a day. I’ve never stored porn on my computer. I have had long stretches without masturbating at all.
In reading David Deida’s essays on sex recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with masturbation and ejaculation in general. He advocates withholding or being very intentional about ejaculating. He says our relationship with ejaculating is the same as our relationship with how we give to the world. If most of our seed ends up in tissue paper or expended in mindless, loveless sex, chances are we waste most of our talents, gifts and energy as well. If our sexual relationships (both masturbatory or with partners) are based on fantasy or the reward of momentary personal gratification, chances are we give to the world motivated by fantastic ideals or the need for instant, personal gratification as well.
I feel like I exemplify Deida’s thesis. Most of my gifts to the world—my talents, my power, my inspiration—seem to end up in a pair of dirty boxers. Moreover, much of what I do give is spurred by fantasy or momentary satisfaction. I’m motivated by fantasies of fame, adulation, quick fixes and fast cash.
So I’m on an ejaculation fast right now. I haven’t masturbated or had sex in a few days. As the weekend draws nigh—the time when I usually sleep over at my girlfriend’s—the latter part will be trickier. Fortunately, Deida does not suggest no sex; he suggests re-channeling sexual energy through our bodies and withholding our cum. Easy for him to say.
But I’m going to try. I don’t want to carelessly throw away my talents, gifts, much less my jizz. I want to give. I don’t want to live in fantasy. I want reality. I want to give birth to things—to a writing career, to hosting successful events, to community, to family. And you don’t give birth to something by masturbating.
In the spirit of giving your full gifts to the world, here are some suggestions (mostly directed to men, but female participation/feedback is encouraged):
- Don’t ejaculate for a week (or whatever length you think you can stick to (no pun)). If you have a partner, get his or her support.
- Notice what comes up (again, no pun). Notice if you have more energy or more tension (I’m experiencing both so far, waking up rested after less sleep than normal). Notice if you are more irritable or restless. Let these things arise and sit with them.
- Share your experience. Feel free to comment here or email me at df [at] davidfriedander [dot] com. Talk to other men or if the mood strikes you, women. Let’s discuss and share our gifts. The world needs people who are ready to give birth to a new planet, not more jack-offs.