By Richard Wagner
Last month I responded to an inquiry about a possible connection between masturbation and prostate cancer for us older men. I’ve been thinking, since we’ve broken open the topic; why not continue in that vein?
Those of you who know me know that I am a fierce advocate of masturbation. I contend that self-pleasuring is the foundation of a happy, healthy sex life for both women and men. I’m also a proponent of couples masturbating together. The mutual joys and the important information shared in this way are indispensable.
But masturbation can be a double-edged sword, so to speak. I say this because most of us guys learn to pull our pud early in life—and most of us discover how to do this on our own. This freelance sexual investigation can, and often does, produce some very unique, and even downright strange, styles of self-pleasuring. And there in lies the rub, no pun intended. Some masturbation techniques, pleasurable though they might be, do not lend themselves to partnered sex. And so, over the course of the next three months, we’re going to take a, well, hard look at male masturbation—from what works to what don’t, and everything in between.
Here we have Wayne, a 26-year-old man from Philadelphia:
Hey Dr. Dick,
I have a little issue that has stumped me, my doctor, and numerous urologists. I figure there’s no harm in asking one more person. I have never—not once—been able to come normally. I suppose there is a normal way, considering every other guy I’ve ever met has been able to do it “by hand,” but the only way I’ve ever achieved orgasm is by laying on my stomach, putting pressure with a slightly closed fist on the spot where my dick meets the rest of my body, and sliding back and forth.
Weird aside: This was a way to lift myself up off the floor and “fly” as a young kid. Then one day, I found out that it was pleasurable. I know…weird little kid.
Anyway, fast-forward to my twenties and becoming sexually active, and now I have a concern. I want to be able to come by having intercourse or just jacking off, but I’ve never been able to. I can get very close—never have a problem getting hard—but the deal just doesn’t happen. Any thoughts?
Interesting masturbation technique you got there, my friend. While it’s unique, it is not the most distinctive style I’ve encountered in my career. Someday I oughtta write a book. What’s most amazing to me about what you report is that this predicament of yours has stumped all the physicians you’ve consulted. I suppose that says volumes about how informed most doctors are about human sexuality.
Simply put, Wayne, over the years you’ve habituated your body to respond pleasurably to a particular stimulus. Ever hear of Pavlov’s dogs? Right! What we have here is precisely the same thing. You apply the stimulus: laying on your stomach, putting pressure with a slightly closed fist on the spot where your dick meets the rest of my body, and sliding back and forth, and your body responds with an orgasm.
Most all of us, both female and male, discover the joy of self-pleasuring accidentally. Your first encounter with masturbation, although you probably didn’t know that’s what it was called, was through your boyhood attempts to fly. And fly you did! As you suggest, most other people discover self-pleasuring in a more conventional way, through touch. Thus the more “normal” (and I use that word in quotes) means of getting one’s self off is manually.
Your unique style of self-pleasuring is completely benign, but it doesn’t really lend itself to partnered sex, as you say. I mean, how awkward would fucking be if you had to get off your partner and on to the floor to come? The same is true for the men out there that jerk off with a very fast motion or a heavy death grip on their dick. They will, no doubt, find it difficult to climax during partnered sex.
So is there a solution? Sure there is. And it’s not a particularly difficult nut to crack…so to speak.
Let me tell you about a former client of mine. He was about your age when we met several years ago. He presented a similar concern to yours. He learned to masturbate in the same position as you, lying on his stomach, but he got off by humping a pillow. Try as he might, he never was able to get off any other way. It was driving him crazy. He couldn’t date anyone, because he was too embarrassed about the whole pillow thing.
Over the next four or five weeks, I helped my client learn a new way of self-pleasuring that would lend itself to happy partnered sex. The object was to rid himself of the need for the pillow altogether, and we did this is incremental steps. Luckily, my client was a horny little bugger. He diddled himself at least twice a day—sometimes even more frequently. I decided to use his natural horniness as part of the intervention.
My client had to promise me that he wouldn’t masturbate in his traditional way for an entire week—absolutely no pillow sex! If he failed to keep his promise, he would have to start all over from day one. At first he couldn’t see the purpose of this moratorium, but I insisted. By the time I saw him next, the poor boy had blue balls for days. So he was primed and ready to go. His next exercise was to change position for his first masturbation after the weeklong moratorium. He could masturbate with his pillow, but he had to lie on his back. He was not permitted to roll over on to his stomach. This wasn’t immediately successful, but his pent-up sexual energy finally carried the day and he got off in the first new position—on his back—since he learned to masturbate.
The following week, I gave him a new exercise: While on his back, he could use the pillow to rub himself, but only to the point where he was about to come. At that point, he was to put the pillow aside and finish himself off with his hand. This was only slightly more difficult than the previous exercise, and within two attempts, he finally got himself off with his hand for the first time in his life. The rest of his therapeutic intervention was simply following this behavior modification course of action till he didn’t need the pillow at all.
I assume you see where I’m going with this, right? You could do this same sort of intervention on your own to learn a new and more traditional way of masturbating, but you’d probably have more success working with a qualified sex therapist.
The firm desire to change a behavior or habit is the most important aspect of the process of change. Second is denying yourself the convenient and habitual stimulus—in your case, your flying masturbation style—will drive you to find a replacement means of getting off—a more conventional, manual style. Weaning yourself off one style of masturbation incrementally ’til you are successful in replacing that style with another is the most efficient means of behavior change. I encourage you to give it a try.