I'm 47 years old, and I can't remember when I didn't know what an erection was. When I had one, it was lots of fun to play with. I remember being a little boy in the bathtub with a little tiny erection, rubbing it between my fingers, and it felt so good. My parents didn't give me much grief about it; they just studiously ignored the matter. I got the subliminal message that I should do it in private, or maybe not do it at all.
Fast forward. I was 12 or 13 years old, riding in the back of a camper with a friend on a church day trip, of all things. He showed me (clothed) that if you lie on a pillow and squirm your hips in the right way, you could simulate having sex. Cool, I thought, and that night at home after lights out I slipped off my pajama bottoms and tried it. Mmm, nice. I had a full erection, and rubbing it against that smooth cloth gave me this delicious tingly feeling. So I did it for a while, and then I quit and went to sleep. As I kept doing it every night, I noticed that an odd feeling would build up, a sort of pressure that felt to me like a need to urinate. This was annoying. Why did I have to pee now, when I was having so much fun? Then one night, I kept going and going, somehow unable to stop, even as the pressure built higher and higher, and then BLAMMO! I'd just had my first orgasm, ejaculating all over my pillow. I remember thinking two things: First, I was absolutely astonished that anything could feel that good. Second, the whole mysterious subject of sex, and why adults made such a big deal out of it, suddenly all made sense. "So this is what it's all about! Well, no wonder!"
With that wondrous and life-altering (if messy) discovery, that pillow became my best friend. This required a few adjustments. For one thing, at that time I was sharing a room with my little brother, sleeping in single beds. He didn't fully understand what was going on with me, as it would take another few years before he himself made the Great Discovery as I just had, something you cannot understand except through direct experience — but he quickly grasped that in the nasty little game of teasing and embarrassing his big brother, he had just been handed nuclear weaponry. I immediately began a campaign to convince our mom that I just had to have my own room. She gave in fairly easily, even though it meant giving up her sewing room. But she did the laundry in the house, and the condition of my pillowcases must have made it obvious what the real issue was. She also asked me if I would launder my own sheets from then on. Uh, okay.
All through my teen years I masturbated using that pillow every night, and most mornings as well. I felt kind of guilty about it afterward, as if I were doing something wrong, but I never felt guilty enough to stop, not for one night. Eventually I learned of the "fist" technique, and I started trying it out in the shower, which led to the discovery that sex could be even better than I thought. I was 16, on vacation with my family, taking a shower in a motel bathroom and wanking. Suddenly everything just clicked, and I was hit with the most powerful orgasm by far I'd ever had — so strong that my knees buckled and I almost fell. What I'd felt before had been great, sure, but this was the first time a climax had been utterly overwhelming. I now know that this was to be expected, since I was growing up, maturing, and approaching my full sexual potential, and I consider that evening's adventure to be my first true adult orgasm.
I have since switched exclusively to masturbating with my hands, my left hand primarily, though I'm right-handed in everything else, using oil-based lube. Now that I've discovered all the wonderful and varied sensations that my practiced hands can give my penis, thrusting against a pillow seems awfully crude. One can now be left alone in a room with me in perfect safety.
As for my friends, when we were growing up we didn't talk about it much, although we certainly knew we were all doing it. I remember once on my high school campus coming across two friends who were talking, one of them being the boy who had tipped me off years before to the pillow technique. Masturbation was the topic, and the third boy was being rather embarrassed and reticent. My erstwhile instructor was gently chiding him, trying in a friendly way to coax him into being a little less uptight, and he pointed out that he did it himself all the time. He then indicated me, and said he knew for a fact that I did it regularly, too. I was a little taken aback, not expecting to be held up as an onanistic role model, but I certainly didn't deny it.
From overheard remarks, I think some of my friends were occasionally masturbating together, and probably having some mutual encounters as well. But although I think I would have had the nerve to go through with it, I was never invited to join in, and this may be just as well. That would have forced an inner confrontation with the sexual-orientation issue before I was really ready for it. When I humped that pillow, I would often try to visualize a guy and a girl having sex. As time passed, it became more and more difficult for me to deny to myself that it was really the guy that was turning me on.
But as we know from JackinWorld, one of masturbation's most important functions is to allow you to explore your feelings and desires in fantasy, and from that decide what you will do in reality. By the time I was about to enter college, I was ready to go a little further. One night as I lay in bed doing the deed, I deliberately allowed myself to imagine that I was having sex with another man, and it was great! It was intensely pleasurable, and it just felt right to me, emotionally. And whaddaya know, I hadn't been struck dead by a lightning bolt from heaven. I never felt guilty about masturbating again.
So years of gentle warm-up exercises with my left hand had me prepared emotionally when I met the love of my life. He was a professor at my university, older than me by 23 years, and he had become utterly smitten by me when I was in his class. The next semester, after I no longer was under his direct authority, he called me up, talked to me on the phone, gently and shyly moving the relationship from professional to personal. Eventually he asked to take me to dinner, and I, knowing full well that he was inviting me not just to the restaurant, but into his bed, decided that this was what I wanted and said yes. Goodbye, virginity, and good riddance. After that first glorious night, we began serious dating, and I found I was rapidly falling in love with him too. Now, I realize that these days this would be considered terribly inappropriate, politically incorrect, not respecting proper role boundaries and so forth. Tough — we've been together 27 years and sleep snuggled together in the same bed every night. So there.
This of course completed my emergence into a fully active, adult sex life — and man, has it been fun, but I certainly did not stop masturbating after we moved in together. In fact, I progressed on to a whole new phase of exploring solo pleasures. For some years after being a student, I looked after the house while he continued teaching, which left me considerable guaranteed alone time. You wouldn't believe some of the sessions I had when I had the house to myself, exploring my body, seeing just how far into ecstasy I could take myself, free to yell my head off during a really intense climax. Even when he was home, the layout of the house was such that our bedroom was upstairs, very private. On many evenings, when I went upstairs around 6 PM to take a shower, I would close the door and indulge myself before showering and changing my clothes.
Did my partner know I was doing this? Of course. Did he mind? Not in the slightest, as he was doing the exact same thing. We have both always enjoyed solitary masturbation as well as sex with each other, we have both always known it, and we have never had a problem with it. At most, knowing the regular pattern of our sex life, he would sometimes say, "Now, you behave yourself," as I headed upstairs. This translated as, "Don't you dare masturbate tonight, as I know I'm going to be horny in the morning and I want you ready." I always followed these instructions, as I knew the payoff in the morning would be worth it.
So we allow each other space and are careful not to "catch" each other, not that it would matter much anyway. I've only twice been seriously embarrassed by getting walked in upon, long ago. For two years in college I lived in the dorm, each time in a tiny duplex room with one roommate, a different one each year. Each of them managed to walk in on me once (and once was enough), when I had started masturbating after he had left for class but had forgotten something essential and had run back to get it. It was the same each time. I was lying on my back on my bed, naked and uncovered, stroking my erect penis, totally lost in the pleasure of an imminent orgasm — then frozen in shock to the hear the door to the dorm hallway open. My roommate came charging in, then pulled up short when he saw me, looking incredibly embarrassed to see me fully exposed like that, and in that, um, condition. Sure, he'd seen my penis before, when I was getting dressed or in the communal shower — but it had been "at rest" then, and this was a wee bit different. He grabbed his book and left, fast, making a conspicuous point of not looking at me. Neither time was it discussed afterwards. I was a bit shaken myself, but I realized that while he was definitely gone this time, my need wasn't, so I figured I might as well keep going, and did so.
The curious thing is that the second roommate and I had long since acknowledged to each other that we were both gay. After I started dating my former teacher, there was some gossip in gay campus circles about Prof. So-and-so dating an undergrad. This got back to my roommate and, being uniquely well placed to put two and two together, he confronted me and I fessed up, to great mutual relief. Being open about that made many things more comfortable. Neither of us had to speak in code on the phone any longer, for instance.
Now, you might think that two 19-year-old openly gay guys sharing a dorm room would be natural masturbation buddies, especially after he'd caught me wanking like that, but you'd be wrong. We never did it together, not even once, and he was as rattled about catching me in mid-session as the first, straight one had been. I think he was determined not to risk interfering with my budding relationship, for he certainly wasn't shy about sex in other ways. I can think of several times he came in late in the evening, flopped onto his bed with a contented sigh, and said, "I had the most incredible sex today." I'd stop studying, say, "Oh, really?" and I'd get the details, all about the guy he had met and how hot it had been. But there was a line between us he would not cross, at least not on his own initiative.
I rather regret this, as I've read on the Internet fascinating and, to me, very exciting accounts by men, gay and straight, who did have just such a friendship with their college roommate. They write of what a bond of friendship it would build up to deliberately do it together, morning and evening, and not covertly in the dark, but fully in the open, covers down, lights on, two best friends enjoying watching each other ejaculate. Men who have since led thoroughly contented lives as husbands and fathers write with great affection of how much it meant to masturbate with their best college buddy every single day. I think I would have really enjoyed being this kind of friend with that guy, my second roommate, but it's a bit late now. Maybe if I'd broken the ice myself he would have gone along, but frankly I'm better at responding to sexual advances than making them.
As for today, well, growing older does slow you down a bit, but I know I'll never lose my love for masturbation, and I'll never stop. Maybe I'm not up to 3 or 4 climaxes a day like when I was 19, but I'm so much more skilled and experienced now than I was then that it all evens out. I sometimes have to ration myself, as my partner is also older, 70 now, and he's also slowed down, although definitely not stopped! Sex is a little more carefully scheduled now, and if necessary I will restrain myself for a day or two to make sure I'm ready when he is. This is just growing older, and I accept that. To paraphrase Maurice Chevalier, whatever the difficulties involved in growing older, it beats the alternative hands down.