Guys, if you have any questions about masturbation, "wet dreams," size, or anything, talk about it. Find an older male to ask questions or to observe — no matter how embarrassed you feel. I didn't do this, and it really screwed me up for years.
I am a 45-year-old male who just now understands that masturbation is not something to be ashamed of. Very early in life I was sexually abused by a neighborhood boy 8 years older than me. This lasted for several years. Each time it was done with hatefulness and force, and because of these experiences, I grew up thinking masturbation and sexual thoughts or self-pleasure was bad — very bad.
Going through puberty was a rough time for me. I would have "wet dreams" and thought there was something wrong with me. I would wake up during the night with an erection and would panic because the only way I could get it to go down was to work my hand up and down on it. I related this to the fear I had when I was abused. Because stroking my penis gave me pleasure, I knew I was bad. When I would get an erection during the day, I couldn't understand why it was happening to me. I was totally convinced I was evil. I didn't have a good relationship with my dad, and my brothers were a lot older than me, so it was easier to hold all these evil thoughts in and pretend I was "normal," not the bad person I knew I was. Because of this I found myself hiding everything I found pleasure in, and I quickly became overweight. I thought boys were always bad, and I allowed myself to be around girls only.
When I started 7th grade I was horrified when I learned I had to take a gym class and the dreaded shower afterwards. I matured quickly and grew hair on my chest and pelvis earlier than the rest of the guys. My penis was longer than the rest of them, and I thought this was because of the evil inside of me. The sight of a naked male body scared me to death. One day our gym teacher told us right before we hit the showers that he had gotten complaints that some of us were not taking showers and smelled bad, so he was going to monitor the showers to make sure that each boy took a correct shower. I panicked, but as usual I kept my fear inside and took the long walk to the showers. He stood in the shower room naked watching each of us shower and would yell at us if we didn't lather up his way. He would make comments about our bodies; he would call some of the guys "tiny dick" and compare them to me calling me a real "man's man" because I had hair on my body. He would tell all of us that if I lost weight and did some bodybuilding, I would be a "real stud." After a few days of this, I ended up having sort of a nervous breakdown and was medically excused from gym class. This was a relief, but I had to listen to the jokes and rumors about me because of it. I was called "big dick" by the older guys, and when I would go pee, the older guys would stand around me wanting me to "show it" — then they would tease me and say I needed "lessons" to learn how to use it. I didn't have a clue what they were talking about. This lasted all through high school.
When I went to college, most of the guys in my dorm were comfortable showing off and would not think twice about hanging around the shower talking about girls. A few of them would get an erection and end up going back to their rooms and masturbate. My roommate was one of them. I acted like it was cool with me and then have panic attacks. I continued to believe I was evil. It was even worse when I joined a fraternity — sex was very open, and it was common for guys to just hang out naked. Some how I made it, though.
I never dated through high school or college. When I finally got the courage to ask out a fine-looking lady, I freaked out when she wanted to have sex with me. This is when I started having nightmares about my abuse. I finally went to a doctor and started going to therapy to get help. I learned that other than the sexual abuse I suffered, I was normal — my growing up wanting to have my hand in my pants was a good thing, and that the pleasure of orgasm was natural. I learned it was okay to masturbate and that the male body is okay. I started to lose weight and found comfort with my body.
I still don't date much, but not because of fear. I have had sex with women and I have had sex with other men. I don't consider my self "gay," nor do I consider myself "straight" — I don't know what label I should call myself. I don't really care; I enjoy the company of both. But most of all I enjoy the company of me — with my clothes on or off.
A couple of years ago, 3 of my friends and I went on a week-long fishing trip to a private lake deep in the woods. One of them brought his sons, 16 and 17, with him. I was surprised how open they were. The only plumbing in the cabin was the sink in the kitchen and a showerhead outside next to the kitchen window. The outhouse was down a path closer to the lake. The first night, after a long day fishing, both of the boys went to take their showers and didn't bother to cover up when they came in to get clean clothes. I thought it was kind of strange — then their father did the same. The other two guys with us acted like it was no big deal either, so they one by one did the same. Me, well, I had to have my bathrobe with me and waited until dark to shower.
One evening we were taking about sex, and the subject of masturbation came up. Both of his kids talked openly about it and didn't show any signs of being embarrassed by the subject. Later I asked him how he started to talk to them about all this. He was a single parent, and because they were boys, he was never really concerned about being naked around them. He said it wasn't like he ran around the house naked, but when he finished showering he would walk to his bedroom to get dressed without covering up, and he slept naked. He made sure his door was always open to them when he was alone, but if he had company over he would need his privacy. He said he would make a point of talking openly with them about sex and masturbation. No subject was ignored nor taboo. He taught them that sex and nudity is natural under controlled environments. He said that as far as he was concerned, he was with friends he trusted, and that the boys told him they felt the same way — so it was second-nature for them to be naked around us. He made me and our other two friends feel comfortable about it as well.
He also told us that a couple of years ago his youngest son wanted to know how to have sex with someone else, so he proceeded to explain the basics. His son said it was "gross" and that he thought he was making it up. My friend was somewhat shocked and decided to drop the subject. The next day he couldn't get his son's comments off his mind, so he rented two videos and took them home. Both were about sex — one with women and one with men. He asked his son if he wanted to talk about it again and told him about the videos. His son openly watched them, and when he had questions, he went to his dad right then and asked. They ended up watching them both together and had a very open conversation about how the "actors" did what they did. He made it clear that what they were doing was natural, and that some guys enjoyed sex with women and some would rather be with men, and that some women would rather be with women. He told them it was okay whichever way was comfortable. He said he also told him that in order to have the best of the best, it should be with someone he really cared for, and that sleeping around freely could be dangerous. It wasn't long before his older son started asking questions about what his younger brother had told him, and he did the same with him.
He said he makes sure his sons are well informed about STDs. Condoms are always available, and both kids were taught how to put one on and how to take it off. He used a banana to show them. He doesn't ask questions when he needs to restock the bowl they are kept in, but he thinks they are supplying their friends as well. Both of his sons are very open about their lives with their dad and have even brought friends to talk with him about sex. They grew up knowing that it was good to masturbate, but it is best done in privacy. They are comfortable with their bodies and it is no big deal to be naked around each other, but they don't make a habit of being naked.
I often wonder how much easier my life would have been if I had found someone to talk to as a kid. Talking would have eased my fears about my body and sex. I would have had years of enjoying masturbation instead of feeling I was evil. I would have understood that being naked is good in the right places. And I would have been comfortable with me.
Guys, talk to your dad or someone you trust about growing up. Don't be afraid to talk about your penis or ask questions. It is natural for a guy to have an erection and to want to masturbate. Dads or trusted friends of younger guys, talk to them. Open the door and be honest — don't act embarrassed, even if you are, when they ask questions. It is natural. We would all have been better adjusted to our bodies, penises, and life in general if we knew what was going on as we were growing up.