In Praise of Masturbation
Darklady is dating again. Alert the authorities. Leaflet the press. Clear the streets. Warn parents of good conscience. Double bolt the front door. Do not look directly into her eyes. Do not get close enough to smell her cologne (dark amber, thanks for asking). For the sake of your soul, do not engage her in conversation.
As part of my nefarious plan to further infiltrate the mainstream, I have recently had a few dates with a few men who will make wonderful partners for a few lucky women once they finally meet one another. I’ve been called a “dangerous woman,” been told that all dates start as “one-night stands” with bonus rounds earned after the goods have been sampled, and been reminded by my therapist that it’s possible to live a fulfilling and un-partnered life. Not bad for my first month of official singularity. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Shortly after my first foray into the wonderful world of 21st century dating, I was released from post-surgical restrictions against both sex and tub bathing. I declined a generous offer of goods inspection from an eager date and opted instead for a dragon’s blood scented bubble bath. I made the right decision. There is no performance anxiety in the bath tub. No need to make idle conversation or wonder if I should shut up. No worry about whether my scars have freaked anybody out. No concern about whether I’m emotionally stable enough to enjoy the experience and keep it in perspective. In the bath tub there are no hidden agendas, no unspoken expectations, no silent moments requiring a psychic to fully comprehend the implications. All I need to do is lay back, sink into the hot, fragrant, and foamed water, rest my hands wherever they land, and smooth the tension out of my body however feels right. No wracking my brain for a name in the morning, no wondering when I can have my privacy back, no hunting for spent condoms, no explaining that I really need to get back to work and that no, I don’t need any help.
I find it amusing that some people call me the “Masturbation lady,” because of my annual May Masturbate-a-thon fundraiser, although I suppose it’s a natural association. It’s amusing because I’m still such a fledgling masturbator. I’m easily distracted, surprisingly self-conscious, and have a hard time committing time to the worthy activity. Given that I slept in the same room as my mom until I was 21, my opportunities for anything more than furtive, utilitarian exploration had to wait until later in life. Fortunately, and quite accidentally, my mom introduced me to the discreet pleasures of the shower massage, which has been a faithful partner in carnality ever since, regardless of my relationship status. (Cheap Plug: learn more about my shower massage by reading my essay, “Mother, May I” in the Black Book anthology Guilty Pleasures.)
The more I date, the more I appreciate masturbation and hot bubble baths. They help me to think more clearly and avoid making potentially stupid decisions. Good Vibrations has declared May National Masturbation Month, so it’s a great excuse for me to temporarily bow out of the awkward early dating sex bee dance and conduct a systems check to make sure everything still works. I can think of a lot worse ways to end an evening than with a hot bubble bath and a satisfying shower massage.
– Originally published in Playtime Magazine –