I can’t say I knew then what the feeling was, or what it meant — I am not, I should note, a dendrophiliac — but it must have made an impression on me, somewhere deep in my psyche, because when I first started masturbating, around the age of 12 or 13, I went at ithandless.There was a green leather chair in the guest room of my childhood home, and it had sturdy armrests I’d use to lift myself up — then I’d tighten my stomach and do the deed.And after a few failed attempts that I won’t go into, it worked.I was surprised that I could hold myself up for the few minutes it took without collapsing in exhaustion, an achievement that sort of distracted me from the fact that I was hoping my roommates wouldn’t walk in on me in such a compromised position.“I was always a sexual person,” she said, “and I knew from age 8 that I wanted to be Dr.Ruth.” Incidentally, she still keeps the molested stuffed animal on her bed at her parents’ house.As I struggled to pull myself higher, flexing my abdomen with every move, I noticed an unfamiliar kind of pelvic euphoria, which subsided by the time I finagled my wayup.
In an experience shared by many women, she was taking a bath and discovered a detachable shower head, which she picked up and moved over to her genitals. “So I started taking baths for, like, hours.” She still stands by this technique; her preferred brand is Sometimes, it works the other way around.
Adam Wexler, for instance, a 43-year-old financial adviser living in Florida, discovered masturbation through his older brother, who liked to hump a ten-inch doll named Dapper Dan. “I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing,” he recalled.
He switched exclusively to his hands around 13 — as, it seems, most boys do — but experimented with a slew of strategies as a There was a cat once,” Wexler remembered. A 37-year-old air-traffic controller, who asked that I not use his name because, well, this stuff is kind of embarrassing, told me he started feeling erotic pangs when he was 6 or 7.
I can’t say I felt any sort of vestigial awakening, though, that brought me back to a time before I viewed masturbation as a kind of prurient compulsion.
I mostly just had that post-orgasmic feeling where you wonder why you cared so much about masturbating in the first place.