Warning: This post includes extensive discussion of erections, masturbation, pornography and incest. If any of this makes you uncomfortable for any reason or in any way, please tear your eyes away and read a different article here.


At a middle school sleepover, I got my first erection. My friend and his brother were in the room. I stood on the bed and proudly displayed it. I told them to show theirs, but they wouldn’t. Our friendship faded after that.

One day at school people were talking about a guy who would jump out from behind the bushes naked and masturbate.

They conjectured he got turned on by scaring people. They called him a pervert. They were grossed out by him. They mocked and laughed at him.

Some time around then my class was at the movie Geronimo. Lauren put my hand on her leg, kept it creeping closer to her crotch. She told me to touch myself.

The next day someone got in my face and yelled: “Geronimo!”

I laughed and figured it was because he liked the movie.

But then another kid yelled “Geronimo!” at me and then another.

Finally, someone broke the news to me. It’s because you masturbated during the movie. I felt so utterly ashamed.

At some point around then, I decided I was not and would never be a masturbating pervert. I hid my erections. I learned that masturbating in private got rid of erections, so I did that a lot. I grew afraid of my nudity, avoiding taking clothes off with girls and covering my erections with sheets or plastic wrap during exploration with boy friends.

I wonder if there’s a connection between hiding my physical erections and how frightening it is to publish talking about this part of my body.

Obviously, it’s inappropriate… wait, why?

Is it because my mom might read this?

Is the idea that I don’t want to give her graphic ideas about my sexuality? Is that just a biological gag reflex? To hide sexuality from our parents?

BTW, how come SOOO much of the front-page uncookied porn on the big sites is about families having sex? Mom-son, dad-daughter, siblings … Porn sites are constantly testing headlines and go with what draws engagement, so there’s something super-prevalent going on there.

Am I so afraid to blog because I’m hiding my erection from my mom?

I so don’t want to be ridiculed like they ridiculed the naked masturbating guy jumping out from behind the bushes.

But I’m jealous of his freedom. Yeah, sure, he’s someone who can’t help himself. That sounds like a compulsion or addiction. But there’s so much freedom in letting oneself experience compulsions without trying to repress them. The rub here is that his compulsion affected other people who did not give permission. His freedom cost other people theirs.

So I don’t think my goal is to find a great hard-on reveal bush. But it’s also not the extreme opposite of hiding myself to the point that I can’t even think out loud about my sexual energy.

How do I live in the world as a Man Who Masturbates without being a man whose masturbation harms others?

More importantly, how do I let myself keep talking and thinking publicly about my personal reality without succumbing to the shame that’s kept me locked up for so many decades?

If nothing else, it feels good to let some part of myself be naked with you.