The first thing you need to know is that I didn’t start masturbating until the age of 17. I’d gone through the ol’ puberty at 12 – I’d felt the universal stirrings down below – but it took me that extra five years to work out what I ought to do about it. Had I been interviewed at age 15 about female arousal, I would’ve said something like, “The only way to reach orgasm is through having sex.”
I believed that this feeling, whatever it was, could be … solved, let’s say, solely through use of the male penis. (As though there’s any other kind!)
But, oh: How wrong I was.
It’s hard to remember exactly what happened when finally it struck me all those years later that I could tend to things myself. I know the movie “Gas, Food, Lodgings” was involved. I’d been watching it in the basement of my family’s empty house, and there’d been some scene wherein some attractive male actor pushes Ione Skye up against a wall, and then they have very satisfying sex in an upright position in what appears to be a cave. It was terribly arousing, and the house was so terribly empty, and somehow, finally, I saw my right hand, and I knew.
If you score your first orgasm at 17, the realization of what it is, what it feels like, that you can give it to yourself, this is all at once amazing and addictive.
There’s a stereotype out there, and that’s that no one’s a whack-machine like a 17-year-old boy. Well, I’m here to tell you, no one was a whack-machine like this 17-year-old girl. I was, in a word, unstoppable. If there was even the smallest sliver of privacy available, I’d masturbate. Naturally, this meant a lot of surreptitious bathroom and bedroom routines. But not only that. I was awfully, well, inventive in terms of the where I’d masturbate, in terms of the occasions that occurred to me. My greatest hits, as it were, are included below.
1. The Fitting Room At REI. There’s an outlet mall called Gurnee Mills a half-hour north of my hometown in Northern Illinois, and as it was the mid-90s – and as I’d recently acquired a driver’s license – I’d go there once in awhile to update my overalls and Birkenstock collection. I did just exactly that in the Fall of ’96. I wandered into the REI at Gurnee Mills Mall, sifted through the racks of flannels and jeans, and brought the most flattering of the bunch with me into the fitting room. And then there I was: In a private space, with my pants around my ankles. So I perched on the uncomfortable wooden bench, closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to confront the mirror, and did… what I had to do.
2. The Airplane Bathroom. When I was 17, I was given the opportunity to travel to Australia via London. I had two cousins I was close to, and one was studying in London while the other was studying in Australia. As a high school graduation present from every single person in my family, I was bought a ticket to go visit them. I’d spend five days in London, then onto Melbourne where I’d spend another ten days. I had the time of my life, to be sure, but what I’d like to discuss now is the travel, and that which it facilitated.
I flew London to Australia, as I said, which meant I endured a seven hour flight from London to Dubai, a six hour flight from Dubai to Singapore and, finally, a seven hour flight from Singapore to Melbourne. I became so bored on each of these flights, my legs so terribly cramped, that by the time I hit that second flight, I’d established a habit of heading to the bathroom to masturbate. Every two hours. Let me repeat that: Every. Two. Hours. I did it standing up every time, and at the point at which I had to start worrying if maybe something was wrong with me, I decided, “No. You’re actually doing yourself a favor. You’re helping to prevent Restless Leg Syndrome.”
3. The Lighting Booth. I was a theater nerd back in high school, and in February of 1997, I had the honor of doing the lighting for a student-directed production of a series of scenes from various Beckett plays. Can I just say: You haven’t lived until you’ve watched two and a half hours worth of student-directed, student-acted Beckett. It was so boring, I struggle to tell you how boring it was. Like being given a sedative, and forbidden from sleep. Anyway, it occurred to me several days in to the rehearsal process that if I continued to doze off during the scenes, I might very well miss one of my once-every-30-minutes lighting cues. So I’d masturbate. To stay alert. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but the thing is, you are more aware when you’re masturbating than when you’re just straight up sleeping. To prove my point, I’ll tell you I missed nary a lighting cue.
4. The Sprawling, Discount Bookstore. Senior year of high school, I worked in a sprawling discount bookstore known as Super Crown books. Think Barnes and Noble, but way trashier. I’d work there on the weekends, and the good news and bad news about it was that there was pretty much nothing to do. You’d ring up a few customers, file a few books. That was about it.
Now, a boring job is good news if you’re somewhere near a TV or a computer, but if there’s nothing to do but read, well, it does get old after the fourth hour. So I would masturbate. I’d read some romance novels, head to bathroom, tend to my business. My manager eventually clocked it; not that I was masturbating, mind you, but that I spent a good hour per shift in the bathroom. She never directly confronted me about it, more just gave me the stink eye. But my feeling was, if some people take smoke breaks, the rest of us should be entitled to masturbation breaks. It’s healthier, for one thing, and does nothing to pollute the environment.
Now, tell us, where’s the strangest place you’ve masturbated, you dirty little thing?