My wife and I were talking about masturbation recently, and she asked me a question that I really had to think hard about to answer precisely: When was the first time you masturbated? I remembered the first time vividly - how could you forget that transcendent thrill - but when was it? How old was I? Somewhere around 13, I guessed, but I'm a stickler for detail, and I wanted to see if I could pinpoint it.
I had actually started masturbating long before that, but I didn't know that's what I was doing. It wasn't sexual then, just sensual. I remember being quite young, probably just 5, and humping against the bed or the floor, simply because it felt good. I would cup my hand around the base of my penis - one hand if I was on the floor, two hands if I was on the bed - and press up and down until I felt a wave of pleasure. (It's the same movement, in fact, that my daughters used when they were young.) I must have gotten the message at some point that this was something to be done privately, because I remember becoming more discreet about where and when I did it. I particularly liked to do it before I went to sleep.
So when did that pleasant feeling become something more sexual? When did I start to connect it to my curiosity about girls and what they looked like? I remember several moments in what must have been seventh grade. First was watching one of the girls in my class doing a cartwheel in the playground at recess. I went to a Catholic school where the girls wore skirts, and I stood there transfixed by the sight of her panties as she turned upside down. I can still see them now - white briefs with small pink dots. She must have known that she was too old to still do a cartwheel like that when boys were around, because she stared right at me and said, 'What are you looking at?' I thought about her when I was humping against the bed that night.
I became very interested in panties after that. Now you can go online and find naked women everywhere; back in the early 1970s, the pickings were much slimmer. The Sears catalog and I grew quite close. I spent a lot of time looking at the women's underwear pages. (I wonder what my mother must have thought when she picked up the catalog and it fell open to a spread of women in bras and panties?) I thought about them when I humped, too. Then there was Ann-Margret. I remember watching her dance in those tight pants in 'Viva Las Vegas' and feeling that same stirring that the panties pictures gave me.
And then, finally, there was the most vivid moment of all, and this is how I started to zero in on the date of that first real masturbation. I worked the summer before high school cleaning offices, and in one of the offices was a pinup calendar - a topless blonde in white bikini panties holding her own breasts. Nobody else was around, so I closed the office door behind me, got right down on the floor, put a hand beneath me and started humping. That's the first time I remember being so immediately moved, and where the connection between what I was seeing and what I was doing was so direct.
No ejaculation yet, though, just the same feeling of riding a wave until it breaks. No wet dreams either. The humping became more purposeful after that, more directly tied to these kinds of visual stimuli. That means we're getting closer now - so it was sometime after that summer, in my freshman year of high school. I would have been 14 then, not 13. That was also when we rearranged the room I shared with my brother, and it was in that reconfigured room, with the divider down the middle, that I remember so clearly the first time I ejaculated.
It was late fall or early winter, I'm pretty sure, the season of early darkness, and my brother must have been sleeping at a friend's house, because I was alone in our room. I had been getting erections more frequently, and it occurred to me that it might feel better to rub my penis more directly with my hand rather then to rub it against the bed. I had no idea what masturbation was - had never been told about it, never read about it. I'd had some rudimentary sex education, the Catholic school version, so I knew what sperm was, and that it came out during intercourse. But I didn't know you could make it come out on your own, and how wonderful that could feel.
I went downstairs and brought the Sears catalog back up with me, closing the door and opening to my favorite picture - a rear shot of a woman in white nylon briefs looking over her shoulder. My bed was pushed up against a corner, and I leaned back on a yellow bolster pillow against the wall. The woman in the picture had a beautifully round bottom, cupped snugly by the panties. I was wearing light blue pajamas, and my hard penis poked right out of the fly, standing straight up. I slipped my bottoms down to my ankles, and unbuttoned my top. I looked at the catalog spread open next to me on the bed.
The pressure had been building inside me like water behind a dam. What I did next was purely instinctive. I wrapped my right hand around my hard penis and started rubbing up and down. It felt like humping, but better. I kept going, and it kept feeling better, and better, and better. I looked at the panties. I looked at my penis. I got to the point where the humping usually got me - right before that gentle whoosh of release - but the feeling kept growing, kept getting bigger. I didn't know what would happen if I kept going, but I wasn't sure I could stop now even if I wanted to.
Everything started going faster - my breathing, my hand, the rush of feeling. And then there it was - the dam broke. I gasped. My hips jerked upward. A warm pool of semen spilled onto my belly. I felt as if I had been shot to the moon - so transporting was the pleasure.
It reordered my world. You could do this for yourself? Any time you wanted? Sex was not just about reproduction? It was actually about physical transcendence? Why didn't anybody tell me about this? Why doesn't everybody do this all the time? Maybe they do, I thought as I reached for the tissues, already thinking about doing it again. I certainly planned to.