On the surface, my first experience masturbating was pretty mundane. I was 12 years old, alone in the house, looking at my dad’s penthouse collection and touching myself. Suddenly I was surprised by an overwhelming sensation of pleasure throughout my whole body. I remember my first thought was “no wonder adults are so obsessed about sex!”
This was my first orgasm. If you count non-orgasmic self touching with sexual motives as masturbation, then I have been masturbating as long as I remember. I was fascinated by sex as a child. I loved looking at pornography, especially comics and stories.
Only later, as an adolescent male, did this urge feel normal and legitimate. Before puberty I was intensely embarrassed and confused by these desires. I had learned a lot about how sex works, but nobody had ever, ever discussed the idea that children could have sexual feelings. I knew people would be weird about it, and I knew the last thing I wanted was any attention directed toward this aspect of myself that I did not in any way understand. After all, sexual desire was an Adult Thing that was supposed to be kept from children at all costs. Even now, I am even nervous about providing too much detail in this article, in case readers see it as sexualizing a 12 year old boy.
I certainly never mentioned this to my parents. My father is very sex positive, but also pretty clueless about how to talk to children about sex. His sex talks were sometimes educational but always extremely awkward. I learned that he had no problem sharing sexual details that made people uncomfortable, and judged those who were less open than himself about such matters. As a result, I didn’t want to share with him any sexual details of my own that I would prefer to keep discreet. I probably would have been more comfortable talking about these things with my mother, who at least would share my awkwardness and discretion.
In this context, it was a relief when I finally had an orgasm. Suddenly masturbation had a clear, socially acceptable goal. All of the advice and education I was reading started to become relevant, and I felt like I could start learning about my body’s sexual response rather than wondering whether I was really supposed to have one yet.
I was only 12, so my body did not work the way most adults’ bodies do. I thought something was wrong with me because I only produced a tiny amount of semen that dribbled out of my cock. It seemed impossible that I could ever shoot across the room (like in the Penthouse stories I read), or even to reach my ear (like in Something About Mary). Of course I just had to be patient, but nobody ever mentioned that to me. Of course the quantity or velocity of ejaculated semen doesn’t really matter, but nobody ever mentioned that to me either.
Despite all of my confusion and self consciousness, I kept at it and have been masturbating on a daily basis ever since. Over time I learned to stop worrying about how my body was supposed to work, which let me focus on how it actually does work.
Ned Would is a bay area queer geek with a background in experimental Physics and a very dirty mind. He has been involved with the porn industry since 2010 as a performer and adult industry web developer, providing software support for independent performers and small studios (including, for a while, his own DIY porn site). In 2011 Ned created a biometric buttplug capable of wirelessly streaming live data about muscle contractions, heartrate, and other physiological signals of arousal and orgasm to a nearby computer in real time. Ned's work in the adult industry focuses on fighting stigma, created a safer work environment, and increasing performers' agency over their role in the adult industry. He is currently working on a suite of privacy and security tools designed for adult industry performers and studios.8 Articles