Sex talk
Speaking of Self-Pleasure

Simon Sheppard,

Be nice to yourself. You deserve it.

As one gay guy says, "My mom was one of those self-punishing people who never seemed to allow herself the luxury of feeling good, and both my parents were homophobic. So – as you can imagine – I've had to work at letting myself feel pleasure without guilt."

While endless self-indulgence is dysfunctional, even boring, so is compulsive self-denial. If it's sexual enjoyment you crave, go for it. It's OK. Really.

When at least one other guy is involved, that means making sure that your own sexual needs are met. "I'm not all that hot-looking," says a fellow in his early 30s, "so I always figured the other dude was doing me a favor. I enjoy servicing, yes, but in practice that meant I used to walk away from a lot of sex unsatisfied. I'd even be reluctant to stroke myself, like my own pleasure was irrelevant." As long as sex is consensual and safe, there are no universal "should"s involved – but you really should have as good a time as the other guy.

And what if nobody else is around?

That's where the ancient art of jacking-off comes in, well...handy. Sure, there are times when a man needs to get his rocks off in order to get on with the day. But self-pleasuring need not be restricted to a furtive wank in the bathroom. As corny as a fancy solo session may seem to some, it can serve as a reward for good behavior, an occasion for self-exploration, or just a good, dirty time. "I know it sounds like something out of some women's magazine," confesses one sybaritic lad, "but every once in a while, I like to arrange a date with myself. I usually work real hard, so I set aside an evening for myself, take home food from my favorite Chinese restaurant, light some candles, and drink some nice wine, and then go play with my dildos for hours."

Even if an elaborate merlot-and-bubble-bath evening isn't quite your thing, there are plenty of possibilities for pleasing your own penis. It can be empowering to put the focus squarely on yourself. Usually wank to dirty DVDs? Drag out that big mirror and star in your own porn movie, instead. There's really nothing wrong with an occasional bit of bedroom-based narcissism.

Deluxe lubes, bounteous buttplugs, and elaborate beat-off toys all make for sweetly self-indulgent sessions. Hot for jockstraps? Slip one on before you stroke off. Like your nipples to be worked? Get out those titclamps and enjoy yourself. Even kinkier hijinks need not require a partner. As one bondage bottom says, "I love the feeling of being tied up, so sometimes before I jack, I'll get out some rope and tie my ankles and legs together, then struggle as I stroke."

Solo sessions can be a great opportunity to try out new things, too. Are you an anal virgin? Playing with your own butt is a great – and safe – way to discover what feels good to your asshole, without the added tension of having to please a top. Been thinking about cock-and-ball torture? Try giving your dick a few swats. You have nothing to lose but your innocence.

The world at large gives us mixed messages, selling us sex while suggesting that guys who have to do themselves are somehow losers. But being alone on a Saturday night is no crime, so don't punish yourself. Need release? Treat masturbation as more than just a goal-directed quickie. Pamper yourself, instead. Who else, after all, knows better what feels good to you?

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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