Masturbation Is Sex, Duh!

The discussion about whether masturbation is sex or whether it is an aperitif before sex takes place (either as a prelude to intercourse or practice/substitute for the “real thing”) is one that likely won’t be resolved in this writing. It is also one which – for better or worse – immediately reveals one’s core understanding of sex and sexuality. At the start of a new year, it’s worth thinking about where one falls in this debate, as it likely deeply impacts how one views themselves as a sexual being, and their role in relation to other sexual beings. It is an indicator of sexual openness, experience, and maturity.

In my personal experience, people who believe that the only activity definable as “sex” is penetrative intercourse often think that way because of a lifetime of unconscious conditioning. So often this is thrust upon them and reinforced by pornography. Particularly what could arguably be termed “mainstream” studio pornography, which follows the same activity pattern – kissing, fellatio, rimming, anal penetration, top cumshot, bottom cumshot, in the case of most gay porn – with a rotating cast of performers and set dressings. It would be difficult to consume a great deal of this script in its varying guises and not come to the conclusion that “sex” was, of course, kissing and then sucking and then penetrating and then ejaculating. That is a completely logical reduction of that input.

Imagine for a moment that one’s introduction to cooking and cuisine was the daytime offerings of the Food Network stars. It would be natural to begin to deduce that canned food was the same as fresh (preferable, even!), that Tortilla Casserole was something edible, or that Bailey’s Irish Cream was somehow a natural “pairing” for deviled eggs. That these things were what “food” was.

If all one learned about food was what one saw in these mainstream studio programs (which follow a similarly strict timeline of gathering ingredients, cooking ingredients, plating and prepping ingredients, and then showing and sampling the finished product), one would quite naturally believe that “food” began and ended with what was presented in these shows. It would make sense to label (consciously or un) things that weren’t demonstrated in these programs as not being “food.”

But our understandings of food and what food is, as well as our varied tastes and experiences, are inherently more vast and well developed than our understandings of what sex is. This is because without the taboos ascribed to sexuality, we begin learning about food at the earliest of ages. We watch our family members prepare foods they enjoy, we learn what types of things we don’t like the taste of, and we learn how to collect and prepare ingredients and even to cook and eat food on our own, often before the end of childhood.

Sexuality is afforded no such early establishment in our lives. The venues we have for learning about even the basic mechanics of sex are limited to pornography and to fumbling, often emotionally-fraught personal experience.

What we learn about the acceptability of any sexual behavior usually comes from our immediate surroundings (our siblings, parents, schoolmates) and from the institutions implementing rules about them, and purporting to educate us about them (our churches and schools). Today, the internet plays arguably the largest role in teaching young people about what is sexually acceptable, but is still guided by what is most marketable or mainstream (so – back to pornography).

These lessons in the acceptability of sexual behavior aren’t always as prima facie as they seem either. Often times, young brains are left to try and make logical conclusions by reading between the lines of the explicit rules laid out around sex. If one were trained early on, for example, that sex was acceptable in the context of a male/female marriage, but that self-abuse was unacceptable in any case, the sideways lesson gleaned from that (obviously preposterously false) information would be that masturbation was somehow bad and forbidden, but also that sex and masturbation were somehow distinct things!

They’re not.

Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. Intercourse is the stimulation of the genitals for procreation or pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm, by insertion and thrusting into an orifice. But both things are sexual and both things are classifiable as sex.

In the same way that preparing food and eating food is the same core thing – whether you choose to do it alone, with a partner, or with a large group – sex is sex whether you are stimulating your genitals to orgasm alone, with a partner, or with a large group. There is nothing mystical or of greater significance to penetrative sex that makes it entirely removed from the broader web of sexual behaviors titled “sex.”

People who have told me that they’ve never masturbated in front of another person or believe they can only orgasm from fucking, are very often people who have been deeply impacted by social rules and value judgements about particular types of sexual behavior early on. Because of this and because of instinctual fear of varying from cultural norms, they never learned to stimulate their own bodies, and never learned the mechanics and significance of their own pleasure. They rely instead on a type of external gratification or guidance in accomplishing what they have been trained are appropriate or acceptable kinds of sex, while excluding aberrant or undesirable behaviors as “not sex.” Penetrative sex is normalized (particularly in the context of heteronormative top/bottom role structures for homosexual men), and therefore desirable. Masturbatory sex is aberrant and excluded from normalization, and therefore undesirable.

Those who decry masturbation as not being sex, are effectively channeling the same thought patterns and programming as super straight people who proclaim that homosexual marriage is not marriage. It is. The defining mechanics and significant markers are the same, it just hasn’t been normalized in a meaningful way to you, and so you see it as being distinct or different; undesirable.

Sexual behaviors, particularly those resulting in orgasm and ejaculation are sex. Whether they happen alone, with a partner, or with a room full of partners. The more sex you have, and the more comfort you learn to have in your own skin, with your own penis, the clearer these ideas become.

Follow Tyler @tylerdarligulv on Instagram and @tylerthebadwolf on Twitter. You can subscribe to his blog at badwolf.blog

15 replies
  1. apalmer5
    apalmer5 says:

    Interesting… Amazing how sexual pleasure for many (most) of us is really by trial and error. Despite our being ‘hard wired’ for it its one that comes with very little instructions, especially for older generations of us. There really wasn’t a how-to book for sex yet we’ve got the equipment, the curiosity and the interest – what’s down there between our legs.

    With a big of self discovery and a condom I discovered masturbation when I was about 12. And after the initial omg I’m never doing ‘that’ again wore off – I’ve been an avid bator ever since. But always thinking that masturbation wasn’t the proper way to have sex. Then in my early 20’s I ended up in bed with a lovely gal who had modeled nude for me and I was super curious about meeting my first pussy and having real sex. Except that my cock stayed totally softy when it was time for sex. Ah geez, how disappointing. Yet I’d totally firm for masturbation every time but never for a fuck. And I’ve been like that every attempt, Always thought I’d share with a gal friend about my love for masturbation – but always chickened out.

    Reply
    • ratherbnude
      ratherbnude says:

      But, do you get hard looking at naked men with hard cocks? Most of us do, gay, straight or bi or we would not be here.

      Reply
  2. Dreboi91
    Dreboi91 says:

    I don’t believe that masturbation is sex. I didn’t really agree with comparing masturbation to being married. Marriage is the same whether it is heterosexual or homosexual because it entail the same conditions. The only change is the partner. I would rather compare it to something more appropriate. Like snacks. Sure you consume sustenances from both snacks and food but one has more value than the other because one has more nutrients. Snacks aren’t really considered actual food because of the lack of nutrients. In the same light, you are able to ejaculate from both masturbation and intercourse but one has more significance because the difference of penetration. Just my thoughts.

    Reply
  3. Saboteur (M.B. Timothy)
    Saboteur (M.B. Timothy) says:

    Another great article by the supremely wise Tyler. I think it’s really important to see and value masturbation as sex. Teaching young people that masturbation is not only normal but it is in fact a wonderful sexuality to cultivate will help in so many ways. Young people will feel better about their bodies; young men won’t grow up so obsessed with plundering for their sexual gratification; young women will not feel pressured into premature sex… because they are all fostering solo sex naturally and happily. For many masturbation is the sole sexual outlet – irrespective of partner status – and instead of this feeling unsatisfying, we should make a community which suggests that you can have an active and fulfilling sex life by you own hand. That’s a community I want and so I do think it’s important to value masturbation as sex!

    Reply
    • apalmer5
      apalmer5 says:

      Great idea, perhaps the younger generation of men & women will foster that idea – discover masturbation is a great way to enjoy and learn about sex. Instead of pressuring gals/guys into having penetration. I’m from the generation where sex ed at school (70s) required written permission from parents. Don’t recall masturbation ever being mentioned. And now the topic’s an easy one to “study” on our own or perhaps in modern day sex ed classes.

      Reply
    • Masturbator
      Masturbator says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said and masturbation is my preferred form of sex. I can masturbate as frequently as I want and always it is the absolute best sex for me. A person can take as much or as little time as they want and I lose myself in the utter extasy of masturbation. I was not always of this mind and grew up in a time when to touch one’s own penis for pleasure was the most hideous thing a man could do. Fortunately those days are well gone and men that I know have a much more healthy idea of touching their own body.

      The benefits of Masturbation should be included with all sexual education, it is one of the most healthy activities a human being can engage in both mentally and physically. Do it often and without the silly guilt which society and religion puts on it. In fact, to be closer to the Creator of all life, I believe that healthy lustful masturbation is important.

      Reply
  4. doggyboner
    doggyboner says:

    Great article, Tyler. Thanks for contributing to our understanding of sexuality. I agree that masturbation is a wonderful form of sex on its own. Some people will categorize it as not sex for the sake of avoiding “cheating.” I’m cool with that too if a couple defines it that way so that one or both can masturbate with others openly and guilt free.

    But you make an important point about growing up learning all about food whereas sex is too often dirty and hidden. It seems to me that everything in life is communal, with people around, literally from birth to death. So why not sex? It certainly explains the popularity of circle jerks and other forms of group sex, orgies and swinging.

    The author of “Divine Sex” advocates for an open door at home when it comes to sex and masturbation so people learn it naturally like everything else. He even argues that historically that was most common.

    Reply
  5. Hadrianus
    Hadrianus says:

    Thank you, Tyler. I find your articles informative, wise, amusing, thought-provoking, whether on the Batorblog or on your Badwolf blog. In fact, it was your review of your visit to the London Jack Off Club that got me to go for the first time and be a regular participant. You succeed in communicating the simple, but powerful and important, message that masturbation is a natural, healthy, fun, enjoyable and fundamentally essential to human beings.

    I like your analogy to cooking programs and food. I often use the example of food when I chat with friends about masturbation and sexuality generally. A hungry man does not desire food because of the sight and smell of his favourite dish placed in front of him. His hunger is from within and craves satisfaction. There is no object of desire but one’s appetite can be stimulated by the sensual aromas of spices and herbs or the luscious scent of fruit on a summer’s day.

    Similarly, sexual desire emanates from within. It is not created by the sight of an arousing lover or potential lover; that appetite can be stimulated by the presence of a sexually arousing person or an image or video, but fundamentally the desire is there and can be satisfied alone.

    In knowing how to masturbate freely, understanding one’s body and its reactions it, I believe, possible to achieve intense sexual satisfaction in the absence of another person. Personally, I enjoy the closeness of sex with another person but that it principally the emotional and social dimension of sexual pleasure; the sensations themselves can, in my experience, be equally – or even more so – pleasurable through masturbating.

    Your writings have inspired me often to think more deeply about these topics; being very at ease with my own body and sexuality and inspired by a lot of your articles has prompted many conversations with friends which have resulted in their deriving the benefit of what you say and write even if they have not read your work themselves.

    Please keep writing … your words delivered with your level of honesty and humour are helpful, erotic, fun.

    Reply
    • Hadrianus
      Hadrianus says:

      I’ve just re-read this now that it has been posted. Please forgive the typos. I hope it still makes sense and conveys what I wanted to express.

      Reply
  6. SFBator949
    SFBator949 says:

    For me, masturbation IS sex. It’s probably the best, most satisfying sex I’ve ever had. And I’m not talking about jerking off. There is a difference between that and genuine masturbation, imo. I have not enganged in partnered/penetrative sex in years. I don’t miss it. I love being a chronic addicted solosexual masturbator.

    Reply
  7. apalmer5
    apalmer5 says:

    That’s the beauty of masturbation, if its something you enjoy, as they say, just do it. And be flexible, try different techniques.

    Reply
  8. solocanoer
    solocanoer says:

    Nice article. At 65 I grew up in a time when heterosexual marrige was the only way to have sex. Other forms were not just frowned upon, they were almost worthy of being cast out of society. When I first started masterbating at 13 I made sure I was alone and could not be found out. I am still that way because of what my close personal friends and wife believe.
    Because I masterbated though it was frowned on, I had no problem with sex on a date. However if I met a gay man who wanted sex I ran like hell because of my life conditioning. It was not until after my divorce later in life that I began to change my mind about being with men. It was most likely a combination of changeing morality and a desire to masterbate with another man. One time of doing this was enough to know I liked being with men for sexual plesure.
    As far as masterbation being sex, for me it is not always the case. Sometimes I do it for sex and sexual release and sometimes I do it just for fun without worrying weather I go to completion or not. I like this site because I can express my true feelings to those who are like minded and enjoy their cock and pleasuring themselves.

    Reply
    • apalmer5
      apalmer5 says:

      Solocanoer, I’m from the same generation. Masturbation was totally an accidental discovery and frowned upon. Well not that there were really any conversations about bating or sex. Even in high school sex ed class back then not a peep was ever made about likely many of us were already doing – masturbating. Fortunately we’re able to be much more open about IT these days. Hopefully the younger generation of ‘bators are able to easily learn and enjoy what masturbation has to offer them. And to realize its really OK and normal to want and enjoy masturbation.

      Reply

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