He Said, She Said

The difference between masterbation & 'misses'bation

Paige Nick and Jason Mykl Snyman share some insight into how men and women pleasure themselves

03 July 2017 - 13:00 By Paige Nick and Jason Mykl Snyman
Image: Getty Images

'Women have as active a mental 'wank-bank' as men do': Paige Nick

Spanking the monkey has long been a more openly discussed activity among men than women. I'm not saying that's the way it should be, or that women don't partake, hell no. It's just that, for women, until more recently, it's mostly been a private affair.

It's even masculine in its identity. Maybe if it were called "misses"bation instead of "mastur"bation, women would have been more inclined to go public with their pubic athletics.

A guy friend once advised me (with a shudder) to never borrow a friend's pornography collection, "because you'll only discover what they like".

I picture popping over to a girlfriend's house and asking to borrow her well, her what?

Our "visual aids" are more likely to be books, online, or simply stored; women have as active a mental "wank-bank" as men do, if not more so. We just don't talk about it.

I know this because a few years ago I co-authored a series of choose-your-own- adventure erotic novels, with Sarah Lotz and Helen Moffett. And writing some of those hundred-plus sex scenes, forced me to consider what kind of visual aids women need to start the party.

More recently, an author friend visited a book club of 50-something-year-old women. They had a copy of one of our novels, A Girl Walks into a Bar (Jonathan Ball 2013), placed on top of, and almost as well-thumbed as, the Bible.

The book lay in the club, untouched, until a club member took it on holiday, when her husband asked if he could read it. Next time she saw him, activities ensued. Ever since, whenever one of the club go on holiday, she takes the book out "for her husband".

'The masturbating man can hear like a bat': Jason Mykl Snyman

I knew we'd get onto this subject sooner or later. Masturbation is the reason I had to stop wearing activity-tracking fit-bands.

Let's begin with a cautionary tale, because there's a reason the French call an orgasm "la petite mort" - the little death.

In 2013 a 16-year-old Brazilian boy died after masturbating 42 times in a row. Three years later on Valentine's Day, a 19-year-old from the US masturbated 56 times and died of a heart attack.

Now, obviously, these guys saw those "Are You Tired Of Jerking Off?" Tinder advertisements on porn sites and soldiered on with a firm "No".

Here's another bit of edutainment: the masturbating man can hear like a bat. Nothing says "almost caught rubbing one out" like when you walk in on another man just staring at the Google home screen.

What's the deal with all these ads on porn sites? When I'm going down to the palm prom, I'm not going to stop halfway and go: "Oh man, that jacket looks great, and what a bargain on these V-neck sweaters."

Now I've reached an awkward age. It happens only once in a while and it has to be uninterrupted, and immediately after I'm done, I usually find a much better video and regret everything.

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• This article was originally published in The Times.