Masturbation Is Underrated

Photo by Anthony Tran

There is really nothing more disconcerting than that need we sometimes have as humans to look at things we shouldn’t be looking at. Our ex-girlfriend’s Facebook and Instagram where they are sexily kissing their new lover, or both of them going on a family outing with our kids — this is the sort of thing that nightmares are usually made of. I recently experienced something even worse than this.

I had a two-week long friendship with a woman that was the most vexing, strange and inexplicable period of my life that I can call to mind at the moment. It began as friends. This was what she said she wanted it to be. Shortly after that, we decided I would mentor her in writing. A few days later, she sent me a message saying that she was confused about her feelings and might want to have sex. After showing up at my place, she changed her mind and then just wanted to go to sleep. She kissed me good-bye the next morning and then just began to completely ignore my texts.

Recognizing all of this for the mind f*ck that it was, I gracefully bowed out. And by gracefully, I mean I blocked her on all forms of social media and my phone. I wrote an article where I explained that I didn’t really know what her game plan was, but I wasn’t interested enough to try and figure it out. I just wanted to keep it moving.

And this brings us to the peeking into people’s worlds when we really should just mind our own business. I saw that she wrote a poem (I think it was a poem) about a rock singer who spent an entire evening drooling over her like she was a T-Bone steak and, upon being informed that he couldn’t have her, discarded her like she was the kitchen garbage.

It’s fairly obvious that even though we were both in the same room that night, we experienced two completely different evenings. Mine, confusing and frustrating. Hers, victimized once again by the curse of her fabulous beauty. Yes, I am injecting a little sarcasm here, but on a more serious note, the whole thing has elements that border on the very serious and fragile subject of sexual harassment and everything relating to the #metoo and #timesup movements.

How? Well, if it is possible for a man and a woman to go through an apartment date like the one I just described — and both participants walk away with such completely different stories — who is to say that this couldn’t have spiraled into something much worse? I’m really not entirely convinced that, hypothetically, if we did have sex, that it would have been the same experience for both of us. I could have walked away thinking it was truly wonderful and she could’ve driven straight to the police station and filled out a report. Given what I read in her poem (I think it was a poem) this theory is not outlandish. I’d venture to say it’s entirely plausible.

Maybe I’m being a little alarmist and, then again, maybe I’m not. It’s too hard to say. I will, however, admit this: I’m going to be very careful from this point forward about who I allow into my space under any circumstances. I am certainly not pigeon-holing all women, I am just adopting a new policy of being overly cautious from here on out.

Overly cautious may not be any fun, but jail, legal issues and the possibility of becoming a social pariah are even less so. I have to be completely honest. That poem (I think it was a poem) scared the hell out of me. I still feel the need for human connection but not quite as much as my need for liberty and the joy of being free.

Masturbation is underrated.

Masturbation Is Underrated was originally published in P.S. I Love You on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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