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Wise Guys: Why Do Men Deny Masturbating?

Tue, Sep 28, 2010

Advice, Wise Guys

photo by Anika Malone

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “Why do some men — single, married, in relationships, straight, gay, bisexual, etc. — deny masturbating?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

joel_derfner_100Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): Are you serious? I’ve never met a man who denied masturbating. Ever. In this or any previous life. If I did, I would get the hell away from him as soon as possible, because the only explanation would be that he was an ax murderer with a shrine to Brittany Murphy in his bedroom, with someone’s severed head on top.

anonymous_suitStraight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): Comedians who break taboos talk about it, but the rest of us try to avoid the subject. In school you could never have admitted to buffing the banana, because it would have been like telling the whole 8th grade class you have body lice and skid marks. Goodbye friends, hello nicknames! In hindsight it seems like giving yourself a low-five would have been something to brag about — like growing facial hair — but we didn’t get any guidance from parents, friends, or the media. Maybe it’s religious shame still choking our society: on TV, everyone’s getting laid, but nobody jerks off. So until that taboo is lifted, we’ll continue to deny that we punch the munchkin, butter the corn, shake hands with the midget, or pat the robertson.

anonymous_suitStraight Married Guy (Figleaf): Until maybe very recently, nearly all depictions of male masturbation have made it seem like the most disgustingly pervy, unhealthy, immature, and (worst of all) desperate thing a man can do. For instance, think about the archetypical dirty old man in a trench coat, or the loser characters in Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Something About Mary.

When men in relationships do it, they or their partners often see it as “cheating.” Theologically, masturbation has been held to be a worse sin (a mortal sin with automatic damnation) than rape (a venal sin that can be repented!). ¬†Medically, masturbation was until very recently believed, no kidding, to lead to insanity and early death. Legally, it’s historically been punished the same way sodomy was — with floggings, branding, and even hanging! Politically, just a few years ago the U.S. Surgeon General was fired for suggesting it was okay for adolescents to learn about in sex ed. Even today, the fact that every heterosexual porn scene ends with the male actors rubbing out a “money shot” doesn’t make us feel more like admitting it. And that’s just the short answer!

In retrospect, all that hoopla to discourage male masturbation seems foolish, as does the similar discouragement women got. Even though the stigma’s evaporating pretty quickly, it’s understandable that a lot of men — and a lot of women — are still reluctant to admit to it.

Our ‚Äúwise guys‚ÄĚ are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week‚Äôs Gay Engaged Guy is Joel Derfner, author of Swish, and our Straight Married Guy is Figleaf, the guy behind RealAdultSex.com. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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21 Responses to “Wise Guys: Why Do Men Deny Masturbating?”

  1. Dannie Says:

    I might also comment that men seem to have a lot less issue with admitting to masturbation than women. While its true that male masturbation has in some way frequently been compared to cheating or some other sexual infidelity, female masturbation has been shushed almost completely and made to seem like only dirty, perverse, nymphomaniac women do it. I feel like it’s a pretty common thing that most men would admit to masturbating–or having masturbated as adolescents, whereas a lot of women are pretty tacit on the topic.

  2. Johnny Says:

    I remember being in about 10th grade when boys collectively dropped the “Ew, I don’t jerk off!” act. Who were we kidding anyway?

    Prior to that, like in middle school, admitting to wanking practically guaranteed girls would find out, and you’d be reviled and ridiculed for it.

  3. Carmen Says:

    I’m married, and I deny masturbating because my wife disapproves of it. She’s believes it’s wrong for religious reasons, and she also feels that if I’m masturbating, that means she’s not good enough. She’s wrong, but we’ve fought about it so many times, I find it much easier to lie and deny.

  4. figleaf Says:

    Addendum: ‘Wingnut Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell hadn’t yet hit the scene when I wrote my response but she nicely summarized the social pressure against admitting it when she said “It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust.”

    I happen to think it’s incorrect to assume that all men masturbate. For a variety of reasons ranging from never starting to simply not enjoying it to being on the low end of the bell-shaped curve many perfectly healthy, sexually-active men don’t.

    I want to reflect on Dannie’s point about traditional invisibility of women’s masturbation. A couple of years ago I saw a group discussion on, I think, the online video site Cherry TV where one of the sexually savvy, all-women panelists mentioned that she didn’t start masturbating till well into adulthood because, growing up, the assumption was it was something only men were supposed to do. So yeah, women have traditionally been even more shamed into silence about it than men.

    figleaf

  5. Oriscus Says:

    oh, come on….

    one word”

    “Wanker.”

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Oh the things I’ve fantasized about doing with Christine O‚ÄôDonnell!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I left out that I’ve fueled many a session with the same thoughts about Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (saying anything about Boehner’s last name having anything to do with this would be juvenile so I won’t. I just won’t!).

  8. Tony Says:

    Who are they denying it too??? Why is anyone even asking???

  9. SS Says:

    We women can be strange creatures, no doubt about it. I’d suggest having her read some sex-positive literature or blogs (other than this one, Betty Dodson and Dan Savage), but that may not go over so well, either. I guess all I can recommend is that you rinse the shower out really well, because, man, I hate chiseling that stuff out of there!

  10. Johnny Says:

    Jeez Carmen… That’s quite a short leash your wife has you on. She’s denying you permission to use YOUR nuts how you want!? How could you even begin to compromise on such a thing?

    Wait, let me guess: in addition to forbidding you from masturbating, she also doesn’t have as much sex or the kind of sex with you that you’d like?

    Usually it’s just an expression when guys say to each other, “man, your wife really owns your balls!” I shed a little tear when I read things like this.

  11. Black Iris Says:

    @Tony – LOL, yeah, who is asking?

    I think once you’re out of high school, that most guys are thrilled if their woman masturbates and want to watch. Women are more likely to feel like it means they are doing something wrong, even if we don’t think it’s sinful.

    @Johnny – don’t jump to the conclusion that a woman who doesn’t want her guy to jerk off must be a prude who hates sex. She could be frustrated that he isn’t having it with her. :-)

  12. Johnny Says:

    You make a good point – many women are frustrated by their mens’ wanking because it leaves them spent! I made the assumption that his wanking habits are normal and healthy, not compulsive and self-abusive.

    But I didn’t read any of that in Carmen’s post. Several things in that letter led to my guess, which I’m sticking to: she’s a guilt-tripping control freak, and he’s a wuss.

  13. Johnny Says:

    Perhaps I should rephrase my “don’t compromise” comment from before.

    Of course you should compromise with a reasonable partner – but you should never negotiate with a terrorist.

    A reasonble partner might say, “please jerk off less because I’d like you to actually be horny when we’re together.” Or, “please don’t cheat on me, because I don’t want syphillis.” A reasonable partner doesn’t say, “you can never jerk off, ever.”

    I never compromise when presented with a unilateral demand or rule, such as, “your balls belong to me and God, and both of us say you can’t jerk off.” If a woman tried telling me I can and can’t do with my I’d probably think it was funny at first.

  14. Graeme - Relationship Blogger Says:

    My 7th grade class was divided into two groups: the guys who were cool with talking about masturbation, and wouldn’t stop talking about it all day; and those who felt strange talking about it, but would jerk off twice a day until they graduated.

  15. BCofUIMhere Says:

    LOL re: guys wanting to watch women masturbate — I *love* watching my lover (when I have one) wank off, it’s such a turn-on; but only a very few have been okay with it.

  16. Slartibartfast Says:

    @Graeme- What happened at graduation that made them stop?

  17. Black Iris Says:

    @Johnny – I don’t think Carmen is a wuss, I think he’s a guy who loves his wife and wants to stay with her, even though they disagree about God’s view on masturbation.

    I think his wife is wrong about what God thinks of masturbation, but I have some sympathy for her feeling that male masturbation means the woman is doing something wrong. Women in general are really, really good at guilt and insecurity. We have good imaginations and we think about relationships, a lot. Anything you do may be interpreted as saying something about whether or not you love us. I know not all women are like this, but it’s not uncommon.

    On top of all that, we are frequently told by the media that if a guy cheats, it’s because his wife didn’t take care of him in bed – or because she put on weight and became unattractive. Some religious leaders push the idea that a wife should meet her husband’s sexual needs so that he won’t cheat. Any woman might worry that masturbation is a sign that she isn’t satisfying her husband, but a woman who thinks God is against masturbation might feel very guilty that she is causing her husband to sin.

  18. Handyman Says:

    For Carmen,

    Why didn’t you clear this up before you were married. I told my wife, then girlfriend, that I masturbate at least 5 times a week, but will always make time for her. If she would have had a problem with this than it is not meant to be and move on.

    To this day I masturbate about the same. Been married for 14 years and have never turned down sex so I can masturbate. She still knows I masturbate. She also masturbates when I’m not home.

    Life is too short to settle for being unhappy.

  19. Madamoiselle L Says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a man or a woman wanting the occasional self pleasure of rubbing one out. I don’t see a problem. My Man knows I know he jerks off on occasion. He knows I Flick the Bean from time to time. It’s no big deal for either one of us, and it’s part of a healthy, active sex life between the two of us.

    I can’t even IMAGINE telling My Man what to do, or what he “isn’t allowed” to do with his own body. He’s a grown man, for Pete’s sake. In the name of honesty and openness, we even talk about it to each other.

    In the Bible, Onan’s sin was refusing to impregnate his dead brother’s wife. In Ancient Jewish Times, if a man died without a son, his brother was to take the dead man’s wife as his own, and the first born son of that union was considered the dead man’s son. Onan didn’t want to do this, so he “pulled out” while making love to his new wife (his sister in law) and “spilled his seed into the dust.” His “sin” was refusing to allow his dead brother to have a “son” his sin was not jerking off.

    It still amazed me that people who know the LEAST about religion tend to be those who want to shove their misconceptions of it down throats of others the most.

  20. Helixbill Says:

    Religion has kept both sexes feel guilty about masturbation.

    I can’t remember the Simon and Garfunkel song that had a line about being grateful for having hands.

    My wife knows I masturbate and sometimes watches or helps.

    I have always considered mutual masturbation to be a real turn on.

    Besides, is there any ‘safer’ sex?

  21. frankie Says:

    i love wacking off while my ex wife watches me….


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