Self-Pleasure is in the Eye of the Beholder

By on September 24, 2013

Is it ever okay to masturbate in public? One court in Sweden says yes.

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I’m a big fan of masturbation, for Onan’s sake, I wrote a book about it. So, it’s with mixed emotions that I write a post about masturbation in public. According to The Independent

“A court in Sweden has ruled that a man who openly masturbated on a beach in Stockholm did not commit an offence because he was not “pleasuring himself towards a specific person.”

Sure, it may not have been towards a specific person, but people, specifically those who have no desire to watch an older man’s erection at full, or half-staff, may have been subject to a sight that could take some hours of therapy to erase from their minds.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for mutual masturbation, even public sex, especially at a sex party, as long as I’m aware that’s what I’m getting myself into, and it’s something I agree to watch. But to unexpectedly walk by Mr. Happy Hands fine tuning his skin flute, yeah, not so much.

On the other hand, I don’t think he should have been convicted, after all, sex in public isn’t making those doing it feel bad (just those who may see it). And he was charged with sexual assault, which seems totally off the mark, since the only thing he assaulted was his own chain. He should be able to toot his own hard-on, and let it blow, just not openly in public, where anyone who comes upon the masturbation at hand could be taken aback and be put in a situation that they really may not have wanted to bear witness too.

If I walked into a sex show in, say, Amsterdam, I’d be happy to see him wanking off. In fact, I’d feel like I was getting what I paid for. But to lay involuntarily eyes on some 65-year old guy on a beach having his sexy time, or to have to explain to your children, “Remember how I told you if you had to touch your penis or vulva, you should do it in the bedroom, well, uhm, unless you’re an older man on a public beach who got court approval, it’s still better to do it in private”….How do you teach them proper sexual etiquette when obviously there’s something at least slightly off here? And yes, telling your children to touch themselves in private, as opposed to never touching their privates, is a healthier way to educate your children about masturbation and self-touch. But when some senior gets the green light to stroke his snake in public, how do you explain proper sexual etiquette to the next generation? Do you say, you can only touch yourself in public when you reach 65 and you’re on the beach in Sweden?

The story takes me back to a sight I can’t unsee. I was in college, traveling alone, I found myself staying close to Kings Cross in Sydney, Australia. And although I wasn’t actually staying in Kings Cross, I was close enough to be in a seedy part of the city. I looked out my hotel room window late one night and saw an image that has still, almost 20 years later, haunted my thoughts and never once fueled a fantasy. It was a man, on a bed, his hands clutching his long, hard erection. Briskly, he rubbed back and forth, and as someone who can’t stop watching a train wreck, my eyes were glued on the man and the motion.

That was, until he came, and yes, I saw it all. And even though I could have looked away, and even though he was in his hotel room, this was a man who choose to masturbate in front of an open window so there would be a possibility that prying eyes would be privy, and I was privy. And yet, I can’t imagine how different it would seem if I was walking in a safe place for family fun, say like a beach, and saw a man going to town on his boner by the bay.

Of course, if he was discreet and under a blanket, and even in his car, or in a tent, parked far away from all other vehicles, I’d totally be down with sex in public. At least, then, I wouldn’t have to watch.

Do you think it’s okay to masturbate in public?