Elle Cosimano

I promise you won't go blind…

(Disclaimer: This post is about masturbation. All those too chicken to talk about it may abort now. I promise you won’t go blind. But you may stay ignorant. I can’t help you with that.)

So here we go…

I have a Facebook page with a small clan of loyal followers (mostly friends, family, and old colleagues). My “Average Daily Users” hover in the neighborhood of five. One of them is usually my mother.

It’s cool. I get it. I’m not very important.

This morning, just because I was curious, I checked out my Insights Report, neat functionality that allows me to see a snapshot of activity (or lack of) on my page.

Here’s what I saw…

Active Facebook Users Feb 7 Daily Post Views

My “Average Daily Users” and my “Average Post Views” shot up to 85 on February 7th.

From 5 to 85 in one day! WTF?

What did I post on my page on February 7th? So I went back to my Wall and looked.

This huge spike in traffic occurred the day I posted a link to “Sticky The Movie” — a documentary about masturbation. I can’t embed the trailer, but here’s a link. If you haven’t watched it, go ahead and check it out now, and then come back… I’ll wait.

So I crunched a few numbers with a calculator (cut me some slack… I failed Basic College Math 101 all three times) and then I threw the calculator out the window. But here’s my best estimate:

Video link + masturbation theme = a big freaking increase in traffic in one day… for one post.

And yet, not one “Like” or one Comment. And not one person shared the link. Hmmm…

Obviously, everyone is very interested in the subject of masturbation. And we all know everyone’s done it. (Any brownie points you think you earn by denying it are wasted. You just wipe them out by lying about it.) Is it possible, that in this modern day of progressive and liberal thinkers, we are still too afraid to talk about masturbating? Seriously?

So, you might say “Elle, your followers are all teens who are probably just too embarrassed to talk about “it” [giggle into your hand and insert creative euphemism of choice here].”

But you would be wrong.

The vast majority of my followers are not teens. And I’ll prove it…

Facebook Page Gender and Age chart

So now you say, “Big deal. We’re grown ups and we don’t have to talk about it.”

To which I respectfully call bullshit.

Those of you in the big, fat column marked “Ages 25-44” are also probably parents. Many of you are parents of teenagers, or will be very soon. My guess is most of you have not, and will not, talk about masturbation with your kids. Most don’t. And we can’t rely on MTV or American Pie (as awesome as that movie is) to do the job for us. These are just vague references, watered down in bathroom humor and flashy lyrics. (Most of my adolescent friends and I thought Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” actually was a dance move or a day-glow plastic o-ring bracelet, and The Divinyls “I Touch Myself” didn’t come on the scene until I was college-bound.)

So my point is, no one is really talking about it.

And here’s a true story about that.

When I was a freshman, one of my best guy-friends from high school called me. (For those of you who’ve known me that long, no, I will not share his name, so don’t ask.) For today’s story, we’ll call him Fred. Fred was a little late to bloom and struggled a bit in the cruel and sadistic middle school/high school social mix. He was distraught and crying on the phone (yes, guys sometimes cry).

Fred told me he thought there was something wrong with him and he wanted to kill himself. So I asked him why. He told me he’d touched himself. I asked him if it felt good, and did he make a big mess. He said yes. I assured him his plumbing was fine. There was nothing wrong with him, and not to forget to wear a condom if he had any plans to do it with anyone else.

That’s the problem, he said. Fred assumed his desire to touch his own penis (yes, I said it… go ahead and get your giggles out now. We’ll probably say it again… penis, penis, penis…) must be an indication of sexual preference. He assumed it meant he was gay. And he was devastated by the sudden and frightening implications of what he’d just done to himself.

So I asked him, Fred, what were you thinking about when you got excited? He told me he’d pilfered his Dad’s Playboy (back then, porn came delivered to your house in conspicuously inconspicuous paper sacks) and he was thinking about the centerfold, a blonde with particularly large breasts.

Scary dilemma #2 was solved. No, Fred, you’re probably not gay, I said. And touching yourself when you think of naked ladies is normal. And even if you were fantasizing about boy parts and hot guys, there would still be nothing wrong with you!

But it’s a penis, he argued. He didn’t like penises. Why did he want to touch one? And if it was normal, and all the other guys were doing it, why wasn’t anybody talking about it?

Fred raises a great question. Why isn’t anybody talking about it. Not joking or giggling or making up dance moves about it. Really talking about it. I couldn’t answer that question then. I still can’t. But here’s what still bugs me about this…

1- Fred was scared to death because he touched himself, and he felt dirty and guilty and wrong for doing it.

2- Fred wanted to kill himself because he thought he might be gay.

Now here’s the real eye opener…

3- What if Fred was your teenager? What would you say to him if you could? What if you never got the chance?

Three really good discussion points. Who volunteers to go first?

I know we can’t expect the schools to tackle this subject in Health Ed. And frankly, there are a few teachers I can think of who might be the exception to the “everyone is doing it” theory. Or maybe it’s just been too long since they’ve tried. Not sure how effective that class lecture might be, and a little afraid to think about it.

So where do we begin having some intelligent adult conversations?

Here’s a start. If you’re curious (don’t lie, we all know you are) here’s where you can watch the trailer, “Like” the trailer, and/or share the trailer. “But Elle,” you whine, “people will see I liked it on my Wall. What will they think?” Who cares what they think! You’re a progressive individual with an open mind, and you’ve got backbone!

And most importantly talk to your kids. If you need ideas, here’s where I plan to start with my boys once they’re old enough to hear it. I’m starting with two Health Ed lessons too often forgetten.

#1 – It’s okay to love yourself, both physically and emotionally.

#2 – You’re okay, and I will love, respect and support you, no matter who you love.

Feb

24, 2011 |

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