Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. I was working on a cruise ship apart from my monogamous boyfriend, which gave me the unique chance to not orgasm for 30 days. On land, we bone like rabbits. Rabbits who have kind sex times per week. Plus, I had a roommate, so masturbation was no longer a crime of passion.
Only first-degree masturbation is possible with a roommate. Also, I was damn curious. A group of Reddit users reported heightened testosterone production, attractiveness to lovers, and creative productivity - after only 7 days of abstaining.
They claimed the male body goes into hyperdrive to create a baby, and if not a baby, to create some thing. The logistical ease, coupled with the promise of increased productivity, tripled with a writer's perverse incentive to seek out painful and challenging scenarios so they have something to write about, answers the Why's of my friends.
Below are daily field notes and a difficulty scale, documenting what happened to a body and mind when it was deprived of its singular evolutionary purpose. Not Masturbating Difficulty Scale 0 - mastur-what? Like a New Year's Resolutions in January, I was so filled with purpose that I breezed through the day without significant temptation. I did hear a hip-hop song with the lyric "grab his business," which reminded me of the experiment and led to ever so slight arousal.
My usual masturbation cadence on land is every days, so I didn't expect the first few to be too challenging. I was reading the Third Edition of J. Turns out that history involves a lot of sex, so my experiment was slightly threatened. I then wrote this down in an iPhone note, and writing the word "excited" excited me. Around lunchtime, I recalled the experiment in a rational way, not a sexual one.
I made a note of this in my phone, but when I wrote the word "sexual," it aroused me. It was a very meta-masturbatory day. A surprisingly easy day squeezed in between two difficult ones.
I questioned why I was doing it, depriving myself of this tiny joy, and started to envision what quitting after 5 days or 7 days would look like. But I did not fail. I courageously pressed on. I began to bargain with myself and consider loopholes in my experiment. Does "not masturbating" mean "not orgasming," so am I permitted to touch myself just not to completion? Or is that somehow crueler to my body? Is it playing with fire, or does it reveal the strength of my will?
Is looking at sexy photos itself a sort of masturbation? Wikipedia laid down the law: Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm.
I wonder if this experiment would be easier if I wasn't writing about it. In a moment of weakness, I considered giving up. Caught in between my bickering penis and brain, I survived, the sun set, and the experiment carried on. By many metrics, this might be masturbation, but for the sake of our experiment, we'll continue on and simply not do this again. He posed against the yellow Volkswagen bug.
His girlfriend took too many pictures: He must be a swimmer, I thought in between bites of tortilla, or a dancer or just a beautiful man. He smiled for the camera, which made him less attractive. Magazine covers conditioned me to believe sexy people don't smile, they lustfully stare while headline copy surrounds their heads and pecs and abs.
I didn't see a ring, but I was staring at other things -- handed off the camera and took her turn as subject. When the solo photo shoots were complete, they looked around for a third. I screamed from the nearby cafe, "Need a picture?
My sprint was fueled by lust and by not masturbating for 9 days. I reached them and he handed over his phone. I remembered deleting SnapChat 2 years ago when I decided it was dumb, and now I regretted it. I was an unhip, boring old man to this hunk of young flesh. How old was he? It must have taken years for his muscles to develop in such strong, long shapes, like piles of shipyard rope stacked and braided together, yet his skin looked so soft and sunkissed.
He took back the phone and adjusted it from SnapChat to Camera. In hindsight, I should have used this opportunity to steal a glance of his abs.
I snapped the photo and returned the camera, delighted by my bravery and embarrassed by my hardcore crushing on a taken stranger. In some alternate reality, he pressed the small of my back, kissed me on the cheek, pushed me into the backseat of his yellow bug, had his way with me, asked me questions about the U.
I didn't masturbate on Day 9. But the experiment seemed to backfire. I wasn't becoming more attractive to other people, they were becoming more attractive to me. While dreaming, my brain convinced my penis that it could create an offspring with someone in my dream. My boxers, and my experiment, was ruined.
A revised, revised definition. Masturbation is the conscious sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. After a few fruity drinks later that day, I reasoned that if I had a wet dream, I might as well masturbate, too. I've already expelled what had been marinating in my balls for 10 days is that how biology works , so whatever benefit I was to reap in terms of heightened creativity was gone.
I might as well enjoy myself and pick back up tomorrow. After I did, I felt empty. Not only in my testicles, but cosmically empty, tired, done. My experiment was over, and the release was not any more satisfying than a regular Saturday morning hungover rubbing.
I had been holding onto my purpose, and now it was gone. Which purpose was stronger: Biology had come like a thief in the night while my rational brain was out, but I jumped at the first excuse to call it quits. Was my animal instinct more powerful than my human will? The experiment was definitely over. My failure is both scary and silly: This experiment was like giving up Slip 'N' Slides for 30 days. In terms of the two initial reasons I set out - logistical and creative - the experiment did shed some light.
Logistically, it was a breeze. Creatively, I didn't feel more productive. If anything, not masturbating and documenting not masturbating came pun intended to occupy more of my brain space.
If my goal were to minimize the amount of time spent thinking about masturbating, I failed. It would have been easier to work with my given urges, masturbate, and move on, rather than fight against my hardwired nature. My friends who all asked, "Why? Masturbation is rarely a conversation topic, whether out of shame or to keep a thing private we by definition share only with ourselves. Did it remind them how dependent they are on masturbation, that despite Chaucer and history and Einstein and opera, we're no better than a dog in heat?
Or was it just good ol' American shame baked into our being like apple pie? Or a desire in our increasingly tracked and cookied world, to keep a private secret to ourselves? What will reading a masturbatory story about a man trying not to masturbate and failing make you feel?
Further studies must be conducted.