The other day, while feeling particularly imperturbable yet precariously lonely, I looked down at my phone, waiting for something to talk about. And there I found it, a quotidian sausage party in the comments of a video wherein a man jokes about his intense need for a fleshlight. On one thread of comments, @edgey_mcedgerson_420 said “But it’s [the fleshlight] 88 dollars!” To which another young man, @shadowthehedgehogfan69 replied, “I mean, it’s a good deal, if you don’t know how to talk to women.”
I stared down at my phone for about thirty seconds, snarled, then wrote out, “I disagree. I think everyone should have access to masturbation tools if they need it. Relationships aren’t about a sexual transaction, and to think about women that way is a little pathetic. If a quick fuck is all you want, you should be able to stimulate yourself instead of manipulating or begging someone else. Nothing is less sexy than desperation — except for, of course, misogyny.” For a moment, I felt proud of myself. I had just won a virtual battle with a stranger who would probably never even read what I’d said. Then I realised that there are probably millions of people just like @shadowthehedgehogfan69, most of whom were not accounted for in this post-ironic echo chamber under a tik tok of a man joking about wanting to fuck a pocket pussy. And what scared me more was realising that it wasn’t just edgy virgin teens who have this attitude toward sex, but perhaps much of the population, many of my friends, and even people who I could have coitus with in the future. This thought shook me from my toes, to my taint, to my clavicle.
I put my phone down, at last, and left the room. I thought to myself, “What’s so wrong with owning a fleshlight?” Then I remembered how a year prior, a friend of mine had bought one as a gag and then ended up using it, and was ashamed to tell anyone (except for me, for some reason). And as I started running water for my bath, I thought back to when my friends asked me if I was still jerking off after entering a long term relationship, saying that “When you’re happy with someone, the pleasure of sex should already be accounted for.” And as I stepped into the tub, letting the soap bubbles envelope my body, I thought, “Why is it when people talk about masturbation, they treat it as some kind of unpleasant necessity, akin to taking a shit? Where is the intimacy? The idiosyncrasy? The sensuality? Am I the only person in the world who likes to masturbate just to masturbate?”
I’m not writing this paper because I want the entire world to know the details of my sex life (my very personal, very alone sex life). This isn’t exhibtionism. I am superbly upset about the reputation that masturbation has, and as a masturbator (like most humans on earth), I figure if I’m not advocating for masturbation, I can’t count on anyone else to do so, either. Though, please don’t believe that I am a masturbatory supremicist, or that I’m not aware of asexuality. All I want is for everyone’s choice to masturbate or not masturbate to be completely their own, void of politics, or religious rhetoric, or shame. Masturbation, in essence, is between you and yourself.
So, without further adieu, here is why I think you should fuck yourself.
Sometimes I wish I had a doppelgänger, or just someone who looked like me, who thought like me — someone who knew exactly which points to hit, which parts of my body to tickle or to tease. I don’t think I am alone in that fantasy, to have a mirror, a person who dances with you and matches your tempo, who knows your next move before you do. Déjà-vu in the best way. When I feel this wistfulness, the part of my brain that wants to feel good whispers to me “look at your hands, touch yourself,” and, if I am happy enough, that voice is beautiful, so seductive and in control. I begin to harmonise with my first best friend: myself. I remember that I am the first and last person I will ever meet, and that I have so much time to get to know me.
There is a somewhat niche community of people who identify as autosexual. Which in short, means to be attracted to yourself as you would be someone else, or in place of someone else. In my opinion, everyone who I know to have a healthy sex life could fall somewhere on this spectrum. There are many people who have a knee jerk reaction to autosexuality, who see autosexuality as a form of narcissism, but I think those people are afraid of love — love of one’s self, or love for absolutely anyone.
Autosexuality is the opposite of self abuse — the opposite of target behaviours (assuming there’s no solo B.D.S.M., which as you probably know is a form of pleasure, not abuse). If you’ve ever become aroused at the idea of being worshipped, why not start by worshipping yourself? Buy underwear that makes you feel hot, listen to some Barry White or Echo and The Bunnymen (or you know, whatever works for you), draw a bath, and take care of yourself. To me, masturbation is like skincare: the more I do it, the better I feel, and the more confident I am the day after. But this is for you, you know what you like, you know what gets you off — and if you don’t know, have some fun finding out! Maybe you get off on kink like foot massage, peeing, hitting yourself, dry humping, edging, C.B.T. (the therapy or the genital torture), turning your whole body into elaborate origami art, eating sushi off your genitals, rubbing your thighs together until you cum, fisting: different folks for different strokes. I guess that’s the semantics of what is and isn’t masturbation, the point is: have fun. What’s more is that if you seduce yourself, play with controlling and not controlling what you do — you may realise that cumming isn’t always the end goal of sex, and that it isn’t a race to the finish.
Thinking back to what my friend said about how having a partner should eliminate my other sexual needs — how could that even be the case if I don’t masturbate? The more I masturbate and spend time with myself, the easier it is for my partner to know what I like, for me to guide them, or to switch it up with spontaneity. Why should I expect my partner to find my clitoris when I don’t even know where it is? How am I supposed to have well lubricated intercourse when I don’t know the things that trigger my wetness? As fun as the mystery of sex is, there is no fun to be had if you are a stranger to your own body. With this being said, sex doesn’t need a personalised rubric, it should not lack spontaneity; even if you have a cyborg fetish. It just needs to be clearly stated that you know your own definite boundaries before letting someone else in. It’s your circuitry!
The adventure of meeting someone’s body is fun and essential, but getting into a sexual rut after creating a routine is the fastest boner-killer in the world, that and being presumptuous about what someone wants if you haven’t asked, first. Sex is not owed to you, nor do you owe anyone sex: ever. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never held hands with someone or been to thousands of orgies across the Milkyway — this rule will always be true… always. What’s hotter than enthusiastic consent? Not even Willem DaFoe! I hope that one day, when @shadowthehedgehogfan69 and others like him lose their virginities, they’ll all know this.
And @shadowthehedgehogfan69, I would also like to remind you that there are medical benefits to masturbation, many of which are easier and safer to attain through masturbation than intercourse with another person. Sex is not a guarantee, safe sex is even less of a guarantee, but masturbation is always safe — and you can count on the fact that the person jerking you off has all the same S.T.D.s that you do!
Something I’ve learned over the course of lockdown and after getting Covid twice is that there sure are medical benefits to jerking it, and that when I can’t leave the house — fucking myself is probably the best way to get exercise. Sometimes when I go to the gym (which I definitely often do), I wish I could work out without the company of strangers, or the judgments of onlookers. Then I remember that I probably use more muscles rubbing one out than slowly walking on the treadmill. If you can do both, do both (of course), but I know that I’m more likely masturbating than deadlifting.
I like being alone, most of the time. Sex is hard, socialisation is hard. As an autistic person, I think I’ve learned to enjoy being alone. Not everyone has the luxury of autism, but, luckily for the world — I like sharing my ramblings almost as much as talking to myself. I often think about how I will leave this world just as I was born — ripped from a fleshy vessel just after getting comfortable, all while screaming and alone. So often I cry, but I’ve learned that the most impactful crying I get done is tears of joy during and after masturbation.
When I think about all the people who have hurt me sexually, all the times I’ve been abused — I am comforted by the fact that I am capable of making myself cum, and making others cum, as well. I remember I am not broken, and neither are my genitals. That, even though I’ve been alone with others, when I’m with myself I’m not all that alone, after all. Maybe I’ve never really been all that alone, so long as there’s a mirror around. What’s that thing our divine leader RuPaul says? “If you can’t fuck yourself how in the hell you gonna fuck somebody else?” Well all I can say to that is “Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me, I’d fuck me hard.” If I can fuck myself, you sure can too. If I can love myself, even with all the shit about me I’ve learned to hate, I know you certainly can. And when you don’t love you, your body will — it’s not going anywhere.