Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The First Time

When I was 7 or 8, I hoisted myself into a tree and accidentally gave myself an orgasm. It was snowy out, and I was bundled in a puffy winter jacket and cumbersome ski pants, which made the branch I’d been hanging from unusually difficult to straddle. 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 way up.

That’s really all I remember — a flash of pleasure. 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 it handless.

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. I don’t recall the first time I attempted this balancing act or the exact moment I realized it was masturbation. I only know that it made complete sense. I went at it with un-self-conscious zeal for a year or so, until I realized that it was kind of unusual and normalized my behavior by switching over to a more boring method. You know, the quick, furtive stroke.

It's often hard to take masturbation as anything more than a joke. Whenever I tell friends and colleagues about my original method, it elicits eyebrow raises and embarrassed chuckles. But I’ve always wondered if other kids have gotten off using the same technique I began with — besides my brother, who told me that, in his adolescent years, he’d hang from jungle gyms and shower-curtain rods in order to climax. (He called it his “funny feeling,” the perfect words for it, in my opinion.)

“We still can't be relaxed about the idea of giving ourselves an orgasm,” said Betty Dodson, who literally wrote the book on masturbation, Sex for One, “which simply displays how unfucked this country is.” She told me that my adolescent jerk-off method is most common among women, who will cross their legs, lie on their stomachs, and squeeze and release. Pleasure comes from pumping the pelvic floor muscle, which is at the base of the abdomen. “I have to give you credit,” Dodson told me. “You managed to have an orgasm without, quote, touching yourself, unquote, down there.”

by Matthew Kassel, NY Magazine | Read more:
Image: Universal Pictures