DOs and DON'Ts of Masturbation in Cinema
Masturbation is perfectly normal. It's a natural part of human development. Moreover, masturbation is not limited to teenagers; it's a common practice among adults -- men and women -- of all ages. Do not be ashamed. Even married people sometimes masturbate. In some cases, married people masturbate even more than single people. Indeed, masturbation can be a part of a normal, healthy sex life. It's important to understand your own sexuality so that you can better share your sexual desires with others.
It's a common misconception that masturbation is just for perverts and deviants -- it's for everyone, young and old alike. It is true, however, that gays masturbate more frequently and that women only masturbate during a full moon. Nevertheless, the idea that masturbation can cause blindness is just absurd (it can, however, stunt penis growth). Also, though it is not true that masturbation will cause you to grow hair on your hands, it is true that men with hairier hands tend to masturbate more frequently. Finally, just to dispel one last myth: Masturbation does not affect the amount of sperm you can create; however, it does weaken the ability of your sperm to swim (this is why frequent masturbators trying to conceive should do so at a 90 degree angle).
Now that we've dispelled many common myths about masturbation (and confirmed the truth about some others), we should turn our attention to masturbation in film. With the practice of self-gratification such a common practice among Americans, it follows that masturbation should be a frequent subject of cinema. This is not the case. Masturbation is seldom seen in film, and when it is, it is often depicted as an unhealthy practice or used as a comic device. Let me reiterate this point: Masturbation is not funny, and it should not be used to further comedic narratives. To do so further stigmatizes the practice, and increases the level of shame that some may feel for participating in a perfectly normal activity.
As such, I would like to look at five depictions of masturbation in film, and explore how those depictions align with what is considered normal, healthy, and safe.
5. American Pie: In the 1999 teen comedy, American Pie, several high-school seniors attempt to lose their virginity. Like many teenagers who have not yet been deflowered, they masturbate frequently, not because they are pathetic losers, but because they can't convince a woman to voluntarily consent to intercourse. In one key scene, which gives rise to the title of the film, a character played by Jason Biggs is caught by his father masturbating into a warm apple pie.
Analysis: Intercourse with an apple pie is not recommended. It does not, as suggested in the film, reproduce the sensation of having intercourse with a female. To do reproduce that sensation, one is better off microwaving a banana peel for no more than 20 seconds and using it as a masturbation device. Moreover, there is some danger involved in masturbating into baked goods: Namely, that the pie in question has not sufficiently cooled, which could burn your pubic area. This is particularly true if you have not been circumcised. (I should further note that there are suggestions that men with uncircumcised penises are more susceptible to the HIV virus. This is not a rumor. It is 100 percent fact).
4. Spanking the Monkey: The title to this movie refers to a slang and somewhat crude phrase for masturbation. In the 1994 movie, which stars Jeremy Davies (now of "Lost" fame), a teenage son is forced to stay at home for the summer and tend to his mother's broken leg. There, he begins to experience sexual feelings for his mother, and attempts to masturbate while fantasizing about her (a dog, however, often interrupts), culminating in a sexual tryst with the woman who gave birth to him.
Analysis: While it is perfectly natural to masturbate and to fantasize about your mother sexually, one should never do both at the same time. It is not considered proper, and it is disrespectful to touch your penis while contemplating your mother without proper attire. One should use sexual fantasies with one's mother as pre-game fodder to help encourage the mood. However, once you actually engage in masturbation -- a perfectly natural activity -- one's thoughts should drift away from immediate family members. However, it is perfectly normal to fantasize about distance cousins or those who are related only by marriage).
3. Mulholland Drive: I cannot offer a short plot description of David Lynch's Mulholland Dr., because unfortunately, no one knows what the film is about. However, there is one prolonged masturbation sequence involving a character played by Naomi Watts that is worth exploring. In that scene, the character masturbates furiously on the couch, struggling mightly to come to climax, unfortunately to no avail. Her inability to climax causes her much grief and quite possibly some damage to her genital area.
Analysis: If you are unable to climax within the first few minutes of initiating masturbation, it is highly encouraged that you put aside your genitals for a short period of time and turn your attention elsewhere. Take a walk. Make a warm glass of milk. Reflect on the day's events. Then return to your vagina or penis, as the case may be, and try again. If you are still unable to complete the task, it is permissible to use the Internet to help stimulate yourself. There are a variety of images and videos on the world wide web that will suit all number of predilections. I do not, however, encourage you to provide your credit card number to any of these website services. Additionally, I would try to remain discrete, as certain government types have the ability to watch your actions through your computer monitor.
2. There's Something About Mary: In the 1998 Ben Stiller comedy, there are two masturbation scenes, which we will analyze in turn. In the first, the character played by Ben Stiller -- posing as a teenager -- is interrupted while masturbating in the bathroom and inadvertently catches his penis in his zipper, leading to a hasty trip to the emergency room.
Analysis: Never attempt to masturbate through a zipper. You are advised to completely remove your jeans or shorts before initiating the act. However, it is perfectly acceptable to wear a skirt or dress while engaging in the act, regardless of gender. The removal of your undergarments, further, may further facilitate your ability to insert objects into your anus, for maximum effect. It is not encouraged, however, to insert any object larger than a office-sized stapler into your backside.
In another scene, Ben Stiller -- in order to ready himself for a date with a character played by Cameron Diaz -- masturbates to "unload his gun." As Stiller's friend explains, "the most honest moments in a man's life are the few minutes after he's blown his load -- now that's a medical fact."
Analysis: That is, indeed, a medical fact. Defense attorneys often instruct their clients to masturbate to fruition before they are given a lie detector test for this very reason. Moreover, semen does make for an appropriate hair product substitute in a pinch, although it should not be combined with other hair products, as the combination can be flammable.
1. The Exorcist: This 1973 William Friedkin film is about a teenager who is possessed by Satan. In one very disturbing scene, the teenager played by Linda Blair masturbates with a crucifix causing all matter of blood and gore in her pubic region, after which she demands that her mother "lick it."
Analysis: While using the Lord's name in vain while masturbating often heightens the climax, it is not advisable to use items with sharp edges to masturbate with, as lesions and sores may very well form. If you use a device to enhance sexual pleasure, it is encouraged that you find one that is rounded and made of soft materials; very often, you can find one that vibrates using battery power. Moreover, as discussed above, members of your immediate family should not be in the general vicinity while you are pleasuring yourself, unless you live in one of the following five states: Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Tennessee.
For more instruction on do's and don'ts of masturbation, see also Eva Mendes in We Own the Night for proper techniques and Daryl Sabara in World's Greatest Dad for an example of the potentially lethal hazards of improper masturbation practices.