She Said/He Said July – Masterbation vs Missesbation

This month for our She Said/He Said column that appeared in The Times on 3rd July, Jason Mykl Snyman and I decided to write about masturbation from a She Said, He Said point of view.

The Times ran out of space and had to cut the column in half, which would have been appropriate and ironic if we’d written about circumcision, but in the end it was just a little, well, short.

So here’s a link to the column that appeared in the paper on Monday, and here’s the full transcript in all it’s morning glory:



Spanking the monkey, the self-handshake, or going into ‘manual overdrive’, has long been a more openly discussed activity among men than women. It’s usually a coming and coming-of-age thing, almost a sport. I’m not saying that’s the way it should be, or that women don’t partake, hell no, I just think that for women, until more recently, it’s mostly been a private, intimate affair.

It’s even masculine in it’s identity. Maybe if it was called ‘Misses’bation instead of ‘Mastur’bation, women through the ages would have been more inclined to go public with their pubic athletics.

A guy friend once advised me (with a shudder), to never borrow a friend’s pornography collection, ‘…because you’ll only discover what they like’. I picture popping over to a girlfriend’s house and asking to borrow her… well, her what?

In the digital age, our ‘visual aids’, if we even need them, are more likely to be books, online, or simply stored; women have as active a mental ‘wank-bank’ as men do, if not more so. We just don’t talk about it as much.

I know this because a few years ago I co-authored a series of choose-your-own adventure erotic novels, with Sarah Lotz and Helen Moffett. And writing some of those hundred plus sex scenes, forced me to consider what kind of varying visual aids women need to start the party.

More recently, an author friend visited a book club made up of fifty-something-year-old women. She reported they had a copy of one of our erotica novels, A Girl Walks into a Bar (Jonathan Ball 2013), strategically placed on top of, and almost as well-thumbed as, the bible.

The story goes that the book lay in the club, untouched, until one club member (he, he, he, ‘member’) took it on holiday, where her husband picked it up and asked if he could read it. Needless to say, next time she saw him activities ensued. Ever since, whenever one of the women in the book club goes on holiday, she takes it out ‘for her husband’.

HE SAID – Jason Mykl Snyman

I knew we’d get on to this subject sooner or later. Masturbation is the reason I had to stop wearing activity tracking fit-bands. Let’s begin with a cautionary tale, because there’s a reason the French call an orgasm ‘La Petite Mort’ – The Little Death.

In 2013 a 16-year old Brazilian boy died after masturbating, without pause, forty-two times in a row. Three years later on a particularly lonely Valentines Day, a 19-year old from the US masturbated fifty-six times and died from a heart attack. They found him on his bed with his detached penis in his left hand.

Now, obviously, these guys saw those “Are You Tired Of Jerking Off?” Tinder advertisements that pop up on porn sites and, mortally dehydrated, soldiered on with a firm “No.” But in all seriousness, there’s a valuable lesson to be learnt here, and that is this; forty-one times is the limit, guys.

Here’s another bit of edutainment: the masturbating man can hear like a bat. Nothing says ‘almost caught rubbing one out’ like when you walk in on another man sitting there just staring at the Google home screen. Just turn around and leave the room quietly. While I’m on the subject though, what is the deal with all these advertisements on porn sites? When I’m going down to the palm prom, I’m not going to stop halfway and go “Oh man, that jacket looks great, and what a bargain on these v-neck sweaters.”

Only teenagers and married men can dance with the dragon to pretty much anything. As a teen, I polished the pole to that chick from Team Rocket once. Hell, I liked to challenge myself – once in a while I’d even do it to Hillary Clinton. But I’ve reached an awkward age. It only happens once in a while, and it has to be uninterrupted, and immediately after I’m done, I usually find a much better video and regret everything. Also, I sometimes get the feeling like my dead relatives are watching me, but those issues are for a whole new column.

Jason is a columnist and writer, and you can find more of his amazing and cheeky stuff here. 

Email us if there are any topics you’d like to hear about from a She Said/He Said point of view:


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