[Content Warning:  This post talks about masturbation and anatomy beyond the read more.]

At the start, I had a few puzzle pieces, but I didn’t have the box to know what the picture was supposed to look like.  This piece says “requires erection”.  This piece is marked “simulates intercourse”.  “This piece looks like it reads “feels good”.  It seemed like it would be worth seeing the finished picture, but how?  There was a lot of trial and error while trying to understand out how the pieces fit together.

I didn’t have access to any informational resources on the topic.  I didn’t have access to the Internet at that time.  (We didn’t even have a computer with a modem then, and people these days barely even know what a modem is.)  My parents didn’t leave books on sex in the bookshelf for my curiosity to explore.  I didn’t have anyone in my social circle who showed me what they discovered.  The pervy neighbor kid didn’t blab about his secret porno mag stash.  I never walked in on anyone.  Maybe some of that was related to being asexual.  I never thought “Wow, she’s hot” and had a conversation about that, which might have led to the question “Do you jack off thinking about her?”  I was on my own to get it figured out.

Adding to that, the problem was physical in one way.  When I was born, my parents, like many parents of penis-bearing children, decided to spring for the unnecessary and pointless genital mutilation option package, and had my foreskin removed without asking me.  The foreskin is a sleeve of skin that wraps around the head of the penis, and I’ve heard that many people discover masturbation when they pull it back and learn that the movement feels good.  I’ve also heard that it helps with the act by providing a way to stroke the penis without lube and that the head is more sensitive with one, not to mention how sensitive a flap of skin in that area would be.  (It’s important to note that circumcision gained widespread non-religious acceptance in this country specifically as a way to prevent masturbation.  All that “It’s cleaner!” nonsense came later.)  So, because I was circumcised, masturbation was harder to discover, harder to do, and probably doesn’t feel as good as it could have. 

So anyway, I had those puzzle pieces and those challenges, but I was determined to figure it out.  “Requires erection.”  That one was easy for me at the time.  Thinking about getting an erection usually gave me an erection, and sometimes they’d happen on their own.  So if I needed one, it wasn’t far away.  “Simulates intercourse.”  This is one thing the pervy neighbor kid did blab about, somewhat.  Intercourse is where a guy puts his penis into a woman’s vagina.  Okay.  Makes sense.  But what’s a “vagina”?  Well, the penis is sort of like a hot dog, so is a vagina sort of like a hot dog bun?  I tried folding things into the shape of a hot dog bun and putting my penis into them, but didn’t have much success.  Eventually (probably in sex-ed the next year) I learned that the vagina is more of a tube, and the penis actually goes inside it.  Okay, so let’s try tube things.  Toilet paper tube…  Nope.  Wrap a towel around it?  Nope.  I’d heard vaginas described as “tight” as being a good thing, so okay, wrap a towel around it tightly?  That ain’t working, either.  At some point, I learned that there was motion involved in intercourse, that it wasn’t just insert tab A and wait five minutes for it to feel good.

Just so you know, even if you introduce motion to a toilet paper tube or a tightly wrapped towel, it’s still not going to work all that well…  I don’t think I wanted to use my bare hand, out of fear of the low, but apparently non-zero risk of unwanted hair growth that everyone warned about.  But even if I had, the lack of a foreskin would have made that difficult.

I don’t remember how or why, but eventually I got the idea that the whole thing needed to be a bit more slippery.  Maybe it was the next year’s sex ed class that provided the necessary hint, I don’t remember.  Anyway, I needed something slippery, and soap lather while in the shower was slippery.  Plus, soap washed away germs and things, so whatever microbes or spores or whatever that were supposed to lead to hair growth would probably be washed away when using soap, so I decided to risk using my hand for it.

And even that didn’t work right away.  All the pieces of the puzzle I knew about were there and in place, but there were still holes in the picture.  Pieces I didn’t know the puzzle even had.  Everything had implied that it would be a simple rub and done, but nope.  Grip strength, stroke speed and depth, different parts with different sensations.  All that had to be figured out, too.  And when I eventually did have my first orgasm, it was a weird, nauseous, muscular pumping sensation, rather than something pleasurable.  It took more tries and experimentation before it started to feel good.

In all, it was probably two years between when I first heard of the word “masturbation” and decided I wanted to try that out and the time I was successful.

Two years.

And that was just for a basic, reliable, quickie orgasm.  No frills race to the finish.  Over the years that followed, there were small improvements or enhancements.  It was probably another ten years on before I discovered a few things that fundamentally changed how good it felt, and there were still things I learned after that.

So basically, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not instant, you shouldn’t expect to naturally just know what to do.  Don’t get discouraged, keep trying, and you might eventually figure out how it works.  Plus, you have the benefit of learning from others, something I didn’t have.  (Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a missing puzzle piece over on the left side that I still need to figure out…)

And I do wonder how much asexuality played a role in that.  If I weren’t ace, would I have figured it out sooner?  Would I have gotten better at it earlier?  Or would I still have been clueless and fumbling, just thinking about a girl while I was clueless and fumbling?