The self-described “visual anthropologist” travels to the most remote corners of the planet to capture luscious images of the indigenous in all of their splendor. I had the faint memory so I start digging & find something that makes my hair stand on end.

Be the fruit of creation & create fruition. If a hobby is an activity pursued for pleasure, then masturbation is perhaps the hobby most of humanity shares. Though the prevalence of masturbation varies by age, most men & women in all age groups say they do it, & the majority of Americans of both genders continue to indulge at least up to age 60. But contrary to what you might think about handsy adolescents, today’s most frequent masturbators are between the ages of 25 & 29 — a group in the relationship stage of their lives. Born not long after Betty Dodson published her revolutionary masturbation how-to Sex for One (the 85-year-old leads female-masturbation workshops to this day), they were raised solidly in an age of sex-positive feminism, easily accessible erotica, & general sexual openness & transparency. For the benefit of our moral compass, dishonesty in advertising proves unprofitable.

Not that the role of masturbation unraveling body language is entirely clear. On the one hand, pioneers like Dodson have helped to align sexuality with self-empowerment, which has taught us to think of masturbation as a healthy element of a diverse sexual menu as opposed to a shameful, inadequate substitute. “Even if I had all the men in the world that I wanted in my bed, even if I had Ryan Gosling, I would still masturbate with sex toys,” says French sex columnist Maïa Mazaurette recently. “I’d loathe Earth without plastic!”

Tis impossible to remove the embargo from the fundamental sigh without a flurry of LOLs. Perhaps true love is being comfortable enough not only to fart, but to have slovenly orgasms on the sofa while your boyfriend is watching Game of Thrones.


On the other hand, pun intended, masturbation is inherently antisocial. Within the bounds of a relationship defined, in part, by both partners’ willingness to devote sexual energy to one another, it can be downright rude. Can we ever really get over the embarrassment of purely personal indulgence? Or take the indulgence of your partner as anything other than a rejection of you? Even if we want to be open, practically & emotionally, exposing deeply private habits to anyone — even the one you love — is reflexively uncomfortable. And hearing your girlfriend rev up her vibrator after saying she’s going to sleep early can be hard to shake. Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean that the negotiations won’t be awkward or that the concessions will be easy to get used to.

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