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Question of the Week


[Notes: When people are younger, in late childhood and early adolescence, they seem more likely to deny that they masturbate. As they get older, they become easier with the subject, first among same-sex friends, and later among opposite-sex friends. Most people never seem to become easy talking about masturbation with family, unless one or both parents have been open and accepting of their children's sexuality. This progression seems to parallel people's development of sexual awareness: When sexuality is new, exciting, and unfamiliar, they are most likely to deny a sexual practice as controversial as masturbation. However, when people accumulate enough sexual experience with a number of others to feel better about themselves as sexual beings, it becomes easier to acknowledge their sexuality, at least with trusted peers. People seem to be more comfortable discussing masturbation within relationships that are more intimate (in a non-sexual way). When casual acquaintances try to bring up the subject, it is more likely to be considered "one's own business."]

This Week's Best Response:
Actually, I have never denied masturbating. Once when I was in grade 11, I was walking up the stairs and overheard two girls talking about how guys never admit to masturbating, even though almost all of them do it. So, just as I came around the corner, one of them said, "Hey! You! Do you masturbate?" Having heard their previous comments, of course I said, "Yes, actually, I do," and then walked away. I don't think I've ever seen two girls more shocked!
- age 20, Canada

This Week's Wackiest Response:
When my pet carrot asks me, "Have you been playing by yourself?" I say no. When I say, "Have you been trying to fertilize yourself?" he says no.
- age 15, United Kingdom

I've never denied that I masturbate, but I have pretended that it wasn't a big deal in my life, when in fact it has always been a favorite activity and I've done it at least once a day since age 7 or 8. Those kinds of conversations only came up around puberty — like at summer camp, when it seemed that one boy was always uninhibited and trying to get the rest of the boys in the cabin to join him in masturbating at night. For a couple of nights, I pretended I wasn't interested, even though I was doing it furtively under the covers while watching him. However, after a couple of days I gave up the pretense and joined in, as did almost everyone else. My best friend hotly denied masturbating — once he even said, "It doesn't, really," when someone said it felt really good. I knew he was lying, and that very night I watched him carefully. I saw him doing it very quietly and slowly in his sleeping bag. The boy who denied ever masturbating was doing it every night.
- age 32, Virginia

On the bus, a friend started giving me crap about being a masturbator — right in front of a hot girl. Of course, I was embarrassed and denied it repeatedly.
- age 13, California

I haven't really lied about masturbating. I masturbate; it's fun; I know other people do, too, but they just don't talk about it. The whole world seems really quiet about natural things like this. I think it's mostly religion and conservative politicians who cause this overdeveloped sense of modesty. The way they've affected people's minds is quite sad.
- age 18, California

I've always been honest about masturbating, and so have all my friends. I know if I tell the truth, so will they; plus, it turns me on to know if they masturbated the night before.
- age 17, United Kingdom

I have never denied that I masturbate, because it's perfectly natural. The funny thing is, most girls are like, "Eww, that's so gross!" But I know for a fact that they do it. So when people ask me if I masturbate, I'm like, "Yes, I do, and I enjoy it."
- age 15, Pennsylvania (female)

On a school trip, a guy in my room asked me if I masturbate. I said no. He said that he does and would I mind if he did then. I said no, go ahead. Shortly afterward, he found out I had lied when I took out my penis and started to masturbate with him.
- age 21, South Carolina

I have never denied the fact that I masturbate. I never bring up the subject, but if it does come up, I have no problem saying I do it. Besides, it usually leads to an interesting conversation about what techniques we use.
- age 17, Rhode Island

A girl and I were very good friends. One night on the phone, she asked me if I liked her, and I said yes, that I did. And then she asked, "Do you ever masturbate and think of me?" I said no, because I was too scared to tell the truth. (That was the most scared I had ever been in my life.) Eventually, I told her the truth, and she said that she masturbated and thought of me, too. It felt really cool to know that.
- age 16, South Carolina

I've never said that I don't masturbate at all. I think to say that would be statistically questionable. I *have* denied that I masturbated at specific times. For example, in college I was hanging out with my female roommate and two male friends, when the conversation turned briefly to masturbation. My roommate had one guy rather embarrassed, and then pointed to me and said, "She was doing it just last night. I heard her!" I denied it and told them she made it all up, but the night before, I had my boyfriend on the phone and was having phone sex with him while using a massager-type vibrator. I *tried* to keep my moaning down, but I guess she heard the buzzing. Live and learn!
- age 32, Maryland (female)

A male friend and I were hanging around downtown with a few friends that are girls. Somehow, the conversation got around to masturbation, and the girls asked us boys if we do it. We denied it right away. But we kept glancing at each other and laughing.
- age 13, Connecticut

I've never had any reason to lie about masturbating. The subject usually doesn't come up in conversation. However, I can't imagine denying it, certainly at my age. And I don't recall ever being asked under circumstances that would have provoked me to deny it. I'd like to think I never would have denied it, but it's one of those things you can't really know for sure if it never happened.
- age 47, Tennessee

Woman: "Masturbation is gross!" Me: "Uh... Ummm... Well, *I* don't masturbate!"
- age 16, Minnesota

During my school-exchange to America, my guest-brothers asked me if would masturbate. Because I didn't know them very well, I wasn't really happy about that question and said I didn't understand them. It was like, "Hey, I am just a German — I don't understand what you mean." But I think they knew that I understood and was just not happy about the question.
- age 24, Germany

When I was around 13 years old, my brother, who was 16, was masturbating in his bed across from me. He noticed I was awake and was watching him, and he told me it was no big deal since all guys masturbate. I began to deny that I ever did it, and he kept telling me I was lying. The more he said I did it, the more I denied it. Several months later, he was supposed to be sleeping over at a friend's house after the movies, and I thought I had the room all to myself. I was in my bed with the covers pushed down around my ankles, my underwear off, and really going at it when all of a sudden, there he was, standing inside our door and laughing at me. At first I didn't know what to do, but he said to keep going, so that's just what I did until I finished. Afterward, he just laughed and reminded me that he had told me all the guys do it.
- age 18, California

Actually, the other night I told my father that I do masturbate — what a huge mistake!
- age 13, Pennsylvania

Funny thing! I admit that I masturbate to guys but not to other girls! I'm a lot more comfortable talking about sex or masturbation with guys!
- age 21, Canada (female)

I've only denied masturbating once in my life. It was in 7th grade, and I wasn't embarrassed about it; I just thought people would use it to make fun of me. Now, I'm pretty open about it with my friends, although I think I would have trouble admitting it to a future girlfriend. I suppose the main reason that I'd be less comfortable talking about it to girls is the fear that I would come across as some sort of pervert by admitting too openly that I masturbate.
- age 14, Canada

At a 9th-grade sleepover, the topic came up and I was first to have to respond. I didn't want to look like a weirdo, so I said I didn't — and I stuck to that story, even when every other guy there not only admitted to it, but also seemed a little too excited by it.
- age 19, Maryland

As well as I can recall, I have never denied masturbating, although it has been a *long* time since I have ever admitted it, except on this, much-needed Web site. About 4 years ago, a young co-worker asked if I "do it." Given the 40-plus years of age difference, I was floored by his directness, so I resorted to the memorable quote of an older fraternity brother, a senior-active when I was a lowly pledge back in the 1950s. He said, "There are two kinds of liars about masturbation: the ones who claim they never did it, and the ones who say they have stopped."
- age 65, California

Actually, thanks to this site, I have never denied that I masturbate. I had never masturbated before finding JackinWorld, because I didn't know how. This site taught me what to do and to be comfortable in doing it. And that's why I've never once denied it. I am proud to say, "Yes, I masturbate."
- age 17, Illinois

When I was first married, I denied masturbating. My wife said she had never done it. I believe that, too, because when I finally told her I do it and talked her into trying it, now she can't get enough. We do it together as part of our regular sex routine.
- age 32, Tennessee

It was in 7th grade in a short conversation that took place in the small corridor to the locker room. Someone asked me if I masturbate; like everyone else back then, I quickly said "no," without even knowing what the word meant — I just had the feeling that it was bad. (Mind you, I knew full-well what it was, just not what it was called.) Now all of us guys at school — at least in my class — are open about our habit; we get many laughs from thinking about how we used to deny it! It's sort of like we sometimes hear the junior high kids doing now. If only they were open, they might feel a huge burden off their shoulders — at least that's how I felt when I let the "secret" out.
- age 17, Iowa

I grew up in the late 1940s and early '50s — hardly a time of cultural openness about sexuality. Having discovered masturbation on my own when I was 8, by the time I began to ejaculate at age 11, I had already practiced some different strokes and tried "edging" even though I had no idea that was what it would be called. My brother and I lived with our mother, and she knew that I was fond of sex play (an interest that she vigorously tried to suppress and I just as vigorously continued), but I doubt that she knew of my masturbation until I began to stain the sheets. (Well, what *was* I supposed to wipe it up with?) So began the masturbation wars where my mother would try to catch me at it and I managed to hide it while doing it as much as I could all over the place. When she would confront me with direct questions, of course I would lie. At school, I usually managed to avoid any discussions where I might be asked or forced to reveal my practice, but once in 7th-grade gym the kid who had a locker next to mine took one look at my curvy penis and snorted, "Wow — look at that curve. You must beat it every night!" I knew masturbation by another term, so I pretended not to understand him, even though I was pretty sure what he meant.
- age 62, New Jersey

I used to deny to everybody that I masturbate because my group of friends wasn't very open about it. Now, my guy friends and I can admit to each other that we do it, but we won't talk about any details or anything. As far as girls go, we decided as a group that we would tell them the truth if they asked us directly, but wouldn't purposely steer the conversation in that direction. Most of the time with friends, I just admit it; we've broken past that barrier, but with anybody else, I usually deny it.
- age 15, Minnesota

My girlfriend thinks masturbation is gross and wonders why I do it. She thinks that people who have partners and still masturbate just don't want to have sex with their mate. She makes me feel ashamed, so I deny it.
- age 30, Kentucky

I have denied masturbation to my dad a few times! When we had that father-son chat thing... I don't masturbate very often, but still, it was really hard to lie to my father (not that he would do anything to me). However, at that time, I masturbated a few times a week; so when I said no, there was this voice inside my head yelling: "Liar!" It's really strange, though: I have known my father all my life, and since starting high school last year, my friends for only around two years. I can talk freely to my friends whom I have not known all that long, but deny masturbation to my father.
- age 14, Australia

When I was a teen I would deny that I masturbated to my friends. My family — mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother — knew better. All of them had seen me masturbate. I was taught that masturbation was not discussed outside the family.
- age 46, New Jersey

My sister teases me about how I masturbate (when she doesn't even know if it's true), and I just deny it. What I do is my business; if I want my masturbation to be private, that's my choice.
- age 14, California

In boarding school, we *all* knew that we *all* did it, and the dorm was a busy place every night. I was on the top bunk and the other boy and I knew *exactly* what the other was doing. Yet we always denied it... strange.
- age 65, Australia

Denying masturbation is a sort of "little white lie" because everyone masturbates and nearly everyone will deny it at some time or other. My wife doesn't like to be around when I masturbate. So one Saturday afternoon, I was alone and had a nice long masturbation session, ejaculated, and felt great, but then she came home unexpectedly and we had a chance to be alone and have sex. She skeptically asked if I had masturbated and I denied it. I was so excited to be naked with her and to feel her body sexually aroused that I got an erection again in just a couple of minutes. We had intercourse and enjoyed it incredibly. I probably didn't ejaculate much semen that time, but she wouldn't have noticed because she was enjoying herself so much. I'm glad I didn't tell her that I had masturbated because she might have thought that I didn't have enough interest left over for her. As it was, I had more than enough.
- age 31, Tennessee

One time I was in the car with my family (mom, dad, brother, and sister) and we were talking about how my 10-year-old sister walked in on my brother having sex with his girlfriend (mainly how inappropriate it was). My mom told all three of us that if she ever caught us do things like that, we would be thrown out of the house. She said to me, "Don't have sex until you're married!" I was 14 at the time, and a virgin. I try to be funny all the time and so I said, "Does it count if it's with myself?" in a joking manner. She asked if that was why I spent so long in the bathroom every evening. I kept denying it, but I don't think she bought it. I can talk easily to my friends about masturbation, but when it is with my mom, especially with my siblings in the car, it's weird.
- age 15, Nebraska

To the best of my knowledge, that topic never came up. My friends were as repressed as I was, so no one ever mentioned such activities. I recall that I once questioned a close friend, who vehemently denied anything, despite the crumbled tissues and crusty briefs in his bedroom. I further recall that my mother once rejected the idea after a good friend called to wish me success on a hernia surgery; he ended his conversation by saying, "You'll be playing with yourself in no time." My mother refused to accept that my friend was serious; she dismissed the notion by saying, "Kids might do that, but not adults." I needed her to bring me ice packs and cook for me in the days immediately following the surgery, so I decided not to press the issue.
- age 63, Michigan

I don't believe I've ever totally denied that I masturbate. Occasionally, when I've been masturbating and someone calls me on the phone, I ask if I can call them back. Then they say jokingly, "What... are you fingering yourself or something?" In that case, I'll say no. But when the subject's come up, I've never said that I don't masturbate at all.
- age 15, Florida (female)

At one point in my life I often denied to my wife that I masturbate... I was too ashamed of the fact that I did so and enjoyed it. Remember that this was around 20 years ago and times were different. Anyway, we eventually divorced and I remarried to a very understanding woman who not only knows about my masturbation, but also encourages mutual masturbation as a regular part of our sex lives.
- age 55, Florida

Unfortunately, yes, I have denied that I masturbate. I grew up in an area that was quite conservative and sexually repressive. When I arrived on a much more liberal college campus, where people were much freer to talk about sexual matters, a friend asked me if and how often I masturbated. Of course, with my upbringing I denied it to the bitter end. However, now thanks to a sexology class and many conversations with other people, I now admit and embrace my solo sexual practices.
- age 24, Indiana

No, I've never lied about masturbating. My parents are open to it and so are my friends.
- age 14, Philippines

I've only lied about masturbating once and I've regretted it. I was 12, and a friend asked me when we were having a sleepover. I knew that the reason he asked is that he wanted for us to do it together; when I said no, he looked disappointed. A little while later, he sneaked off to do it in the bathroom. I would have loved to do it with him, and swore I'd never lie again if asked that question. But, no one ever asked again. Still, all was not lost; a couple of weeks later, I got up the courage to blurt out to him, "But now I do." He gave me a funny look and asked, "Do what?" "Masturbate," I said, really embarrassed not only that I came out and said that, but that I was making such a fool of myself. His answer? "Yeah I know. I didn't believe you the other time." So we did it together, and it was really fun.
- age 20, Virginia

I never actually deny it; I just change the subject if I don't want to discuss my masturbation with a particular person.
- age 15, Australia

Actually, I've only now started to deny that I masturbate. In middle school, I was sort of the "class clown," always talking about masturbation and things like that — always making people laugh. That was part of what I was known for in middle school, being the perverted one. Then came high school, where people start having sex. I have my standards and I have chosen to abstain, but this also means that I can't brag about masturbation anymore. If I do, people start to ask if I've ever felt the "real thing," and it's not like I can say, "Oh, I'm saving myself," after all that talk about masturbation. I'm really trying to reinvent my image here, especially to some people who went to middle school with me, so I sometimes have to deny it just so that I'm not put on the spot and asked about things like sex. I prefer to pleasure myself the only 100% safe way there is.
- age 15, California

For most of my life I denied that I masturbate. We never really talked about it in my family, although that isn't because anyone is a prude or thinks it's bad; it was just never discussed. I started masturbating very early, like maybe one or two, and that continued until around third grade. After that, I just thought everyone else had stopped and I continued. Now I think that's pretty unlikely; once you know about it, it's hard to stop. Anyway, I just always felt like it was a boy activity and people would be disgusted if I said anything about it. I always felt that I was considered fat and ugly, and that no one wanted to think about me sexually. Lately, I've been able to be freer, since I have a boyfriend and I've started to believe that I'm really not that fat after all, and that it's possible for people to actually be turned on by the thought of me being sexual.
- age 18, New York (female)

I don't think I've ever outright lied and said, "I don't masturbate," but it's not something that my friends ever discuss in specific terms. Whenever the topic is mentioned, it's just understood that everyone does it.
- age 20, Sweden

Once after masturbating, I walked into the bathroom to clean off and my dad was in the bathtub, but I was at an angle so I knew he couldn't see my piece. He said something to the effect of, "You're not the only one," but I replied, "I don't know what you're talking about," and with an immense effort of will forced my erection to die and peed before leaving. However, my dad is very smart, so he probably wasn't fooled. Also my girlfriend asked me once if I masturbate. I replied yes, but said that I had been doing it only since I was a freshman (in high school) and not the truth — that it was since I was a 7th grader. I don't know why I did that.
- age 16, Rhode Island

I feel free to talk about masturbation with most of my friends, but not with my parents.
- age 19, China

My second wife didn't want me to masturbate. She didn't do it, and saw no reason for me to do it. After all, we had sex every night and sometimes twice on Saturday and Sunday. She caught me a few times and told me that she wanted all my semen for herself. So, whenever she'd ask me if I was still masturbating, I'd tell her that I wasn't. Of course, I still was, but I was careful not to get caught again. After we were divorced, we still had sex occasionally, since it was still good and familiar. Once, I took her hand and used it to stimulate her clitoris and vagina and she got unhappy with me because I hadn't done that a long time ago. She really enjoyed it and started to masturbate regularly after that. I was really surprised that a woman could get to be 35 without ever masturbating, especially since I have done it for as long as I can remember.
- age 71, California

I usually just say, "No comment." I have never denied it.
- age 15, New Jersey
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