Masturbation used to feel like such a crime. Now, I couldn’t do my job without it. Research has shown time and again that it has endless benefits. Masturbation decreases your stress level, lowers your risk for heart disease, boosts your immune system, helps you focus, and it can either wake you up or help you sleep. Pick one. So, Dr. Wilder prescribes more masturbation for everyone. You can even help yourself while reading my post if you want. You have my permission. Seriously. I’m not looking. You might want to cover your webcam, though. And your microwave, apparently.
Indulge me a moment: When I was ten or eleven, it seemed like a new and dangerous way to play. My little secret with myself. I’d wait for my mom to run an errand or go shopping with a friend. Then I’d fish her vibrator from the underwear draw of her dresser and get busy with myself. Fuck Barbie. That vibrator was my favorite new toy for at least a year. What made me feel especially guilty? I thought I was abusing her back massager. That’s what she told me it was. An electric massage wand. That’s not technically a lie, I guess.
Yeah, my mom and I used the same vibrator. I didn’t know that’s what she did with it, and she didn’t know what I was doing with it. At least not until I started getting bolder and bolder. You see, one day I decided to hide it under my pillow and use it before I went to sleep. Of course, my mom came looking for it around midnight. She caught me red-handed, you could say.
My mom grabbed it from me and stood in the doorway, whipping me with harsh whispers because she didn’t want to wake my dad. “This is for adults, Jessica!” She gathered up some clothes to hide the thing, just in case. The cord dangled down between her legs. “Seriously, you might injure yourself!”
The tension took a few days to melt off. Even by the end of the week, she was still casting judgmental glances my way across the dinner table.
Parenting sure has evolved since that era. These days, magazines and journals tell parents to teach their kids how to masturbate. Plans for my daughter? When she turns ten or eleven, I’m going to buy her the best dildo on the market. Maybe I’ll throw a big birthday party and let her unwrap the thing in front of all her friends. That would be the best status update. I’m going to be such a cool mom. Just wait.
Your first time with a vibrator’s a hilarious experience. At first, you sheepishly buy the thing, maybe at a sex shop or maybe from a website. You inspect it. You wade through your guilt. You whisper to yourself, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. What has my life come to?” And then all that nonsense crumbles away once you turn it on. Oh, yes. New best friend.
MTV taught me far more about sex than both parents combined. They used to have this talk show about sex that came on after my parents pretended to go to bed. I watched it in my room, and learned all kinds of things about masturbation and sex and porn. One night, this one guy called in to ask the hosts if he was masturbating too much.
“Well, how much do you jerk off?” one host said.
“Like, four or five times a day.”
Turns out, five times a day might be excessive. Two is average. Morning and night. Although I must admit, when I get stressed I tend to do it as many as three times. When I was writing my dissertation, masturbating was a great way to clear my head and push through writer’s block.
Masturbation might be a writer’s best friend. Whenever I’ve sat at my keyboard for 10 or 15 minutes and nothing comes, I lay down and take a little vacation into the pleasure palace. The endorphins leave feeling all refreshed and recharged, and I can usually bang out 500-1,000 words after that.
Don’t get me wrong, having a spouse is great. But it seriously cramps my writing process. I’ll just sit in my apartment and huff and puff for a couple of hours because I don’t want to masturbate in front of him. Why don’t I just have sex instead? Don’t make me laugh. It’s not the same thing. Way too time consuming. Intercourse with a partner has never helped me overcome writer’s block. Of course, I’ve turned down sex at least twice so I could go write.
The solution? It took some serious courage, but I’ve convinced myself to masturbate in my office a couple of times. Only on weekends, though. Could you imagine a student walking in on that? Not good. In fact, I did masturbate in my office in grad school a couple times while working on my thesis. That’s correct. It was late at night, nobody around. I locked the door, closed the blinds, and spread myself out on the floor. Exhilarating. Did some of my best work.
Now for some embarrassing confessions. When I was 17, I masturbated in public. Why? I wanted to see if I could get away with it. Me and a couple of friends were sitting in a Jacuzzi at our neighborhood gym. (Yeah, middle class upbringing.) I know what you’re thinking. She couldn’t possibly have gotten off on one of the jets. Well, you’re wrong. She did! It was something special. The best thing? Nobody even knew why I was smiling so much.
A couple of years ago, I also managed to reach climax on this long ass drive from New Orleans to Philadelphia. Yeah, back to back conferences. I was desperate for CV lines. Some advice: If you wear just the right kind of jeans and have your seat belt at just the right angle, you can make some magic on the highway. Bonus: it was during a lightning storm. Honestly, that half-hour might’ve been the happiest of my life. The pinnacle of my achievements. I was so proud of myself for pulling that off without getting pulled over, or causing any accidents.