The Masturbation Sensation
Updated: Dec 20, 2018
Editors Note: This is the blog post I wish I got to read in high school.
When is the last time you truly regretted doing something? And I don’t mean cutting someone off on the highway or pistol-whipping your kid’s face with a belt buckle. I mean guilt where you felt that you fucked up to such an egregious level that it was irreversible?
For me, that was the first time I masturbated.
I never talked about the idea of masturbation when I was in religious day school. Having never been exposed to the outside world, it wasn't even a concept in my mind. Instead, it was something I discovered on my own with the assumption that nobody else knew the magical properties needed for tricking your body into thinking it was having sex.
Since frumkeit refuses to allow adolescents to talk about sexuality — a beneficial stage of development— discovering this activity on my own made me feel completely scared and isolated. During that time period, my mental health plummeted with the thought that I was the only one of my peers irreparably destroying his neshama.
Let’s backtrack a little.
I was in third grade when I first heard about sex.
It. Was. Earth-shattering.
Until that point, I assumed you needed to be married for the phenomenon of babies to occur. Only once Hashem saw you chant some brachos under a chuppah and smashed a glass, he was like, “I think they’re ready, lemme shove a baby in that uterus.” The entirety of the human population was a product of immaculate conception according to my naïve brain.
To be honest, it scared me that there was no way of controlling the number of babies you could have. I assumed couples needed to keep popping them out until Hashem decided he was done amusing himself — Later in life, I learned about the hanger method and all my fears of population control vanished. ‘Probe the head, discard the dead’ — isn’t that the motto of Planned Parenthood?
In first grade, my secular studies teacher got pregnant. She made the mindless mistake of telling us that she had a boyfriend and NOT a husband. Naturally, our world was flipped upside down and like a scene from Truman Show, she was ripped out of the school building before she could reveal to us that everything we knew was a movie set built on lies.
We couldn’t understand how she managed to get pregnant.
At recess, we all gathered to discuss the reasoning behind this. After a few suggestions from the crowd, one kid came up with the only plausible explanation that, “Goyim can get pregnant without being married.” We all bobbed our heads in agreement, deciding that to be the most logical reasoning for the pregnancy fluke.
To yeshiva kids, goyim having the magical ability to get premaritally pregnant was more logical than something as fictitious as the theory of evolution.
My friend Avrumy was the person who burst my bubble.
“Last night, my mom sat down with my brother and told him the weirdest thing.” He said to me as we were collecting rocks at recess.
“What did she tell him?” I asked with feigned interest as I proceeded to rummage through the rocks.
“She told him that in order to have a baby, your dad needs to stick his penis in your mom’s vagina and that’s how it gets put in there.” — The rocks suddenly lost all intrigue.
“Yeah, you get naked and then you put it in, and the longer it’s in there, the more babies you can have.” — He didn’t grow up to be a doctor.
“WHAT?” I was shocked. “You need to be naked?! There’s no way I will ever do that!” The nudity was the most perturbing part for me — a little foreshadowing of the body dysmorphia that would appear in my later years.
“I promise, well I can’t promise, but Blei Neder, I’m telling you the truth!”
“I don’t believe you,”
“Fagel, I’m serious. You have to do it if you want to have kids.” — Irony strikes now as I have never had a sexual encounter where I felt that it was something I had to do, and I can also guarantee that there was never a concern that a baby would be the end result of it.
“I don’t believe you!” It seemed like a medieval torture method to me.
Until that point, I had never been exposed to sexuality.
Any time two people appeared on screen kissing, my parents would shield their children’s gaze from the two people expressing romantic interests in each other. I was trained to associate sensuality as something wrong.
The action of shielding me away from any form of sensuality had major, negative ramifications in my adult life. I still had ingrained guilt and shame when I transitioned into the sex-positive world; contrary to what should have been, it was not an easy or fun experience shifting into it. Instead, it was filled with a shameful lack of experience and an inability to easily feel comfortable in another’s presence.
Exposure to this should have been explored at a much younger age. It’s still something I work on and will be spending years of therapy trying to repair.
The night the secret of the birds and the bees was exposed, I came home with many questions percolating in my mind.
Expectedly, my parents refused to answer any of my questions.
In frum culture, halacha dictates that there is an obligation to respect your elders. Due to this, there’s an unspoken hierarchy formed where the older siblings receive more respect and silently demand it from the ones below them.
When there's a massive amount of children belonging to one religious family, a class division is created where the older half of the siblings undertake parental roles over the younger half. The youngers are left to live under the elder's dictation while the parents struggle to keep their shit together while trying to save money by sewing clothes out of old curtains and having us sing songs about our ‘a few of our favorite things’ instead of paying for therapy.
Being on the lower end of the totem pole, my brothers and sisters refused to answer any of my questions since I was not as mature as them to be privileged with the sacred information.
Out of necessity, I turned to the one person I knew would answer anything — My grandmother.
My grandmother has always lacked a filter.
It must be a hereditary condition because my filter never developed in utero either.
Grandma Fagel is a hell of a woman. She has gone to the extremes of discussing her and my grandfather’s use of whips and handcuffs at our Shabbos table — and I love every minute of it.
“This one time,” she told me years back at my brothers bar-mitzvah, “I was thinking about getting a boob job — just a lift — but then decided I would rather go to India with grandpa. So I guess the nips will have to graze the hips as I eat rice and get diarrhea at the Taj Mahal.” She obviously didn’t say that, but let’s all pretend she did.
Naturally, Grandma Fagel was the person I knew to be fit for the job. She would explain to me the rules of sex with no holds barred.
Luckily, my opportunity presented itself a few days later when she drove me home from school.
“Grandma, my friend said that his parents had kids by getting naked and putting his penis in his mom. Is that true?” I got right to the nitty-gritty.
“Yes,” she said bluntly.
“Does everyone do it?”
Panic sprouted across my face.
“You have a penis, don’t you?” She asked, trying to do damage control as she saw the look of terror in my eyes.
“And girls have a vagina, right?”
I nodded again.
“And one day you’ll put your penis into a woman’s vagina in order to have something called sex.” I had never even heard the name of the activity before. SEX.
“It’s natural, everyone does it.” She assured me.
— she was a fucking liar because I have NEVER put my penis in a woman’s third eye socket.
Years later, when I was approaching my bar mitzvah, I was taking a shower.
I had gotten horny on numerous occasions without knowing how to process where it was coming from or why. When finding myself erect, I just waited for my unicorn horn to drain of blood and disappear. I didn’t have a rhyme or reason for receiving those boners, they simply appeared without prompt; kinda like the annoying classmates you had in college who still ask you to meet up for coffee whenever you bump into them on the streets, but you know you’re never gonna do it.
Anyway, my penis was at full sail that day in the shower.
When drying off, I pulled the towel upwards towards my face and the fibers grazed the tip of my penis, causing me to feel something that felt better than what I was used to. I did it again, letting my penis feel something invigorating. I squirmed a little and felt a shortness of breath.
It was amazing.
I flossed the towel between my legs as if I was trying to sandpaper my penis off and was immediately rewarded with a burst of pleasure to my turtle head. I had no idea it could produce a feeling like this.
After a long session of exploring that activity, I went to bed with a red rug-burn on my Little Fagel. My body radiated with excitement for the journey of self-pleasure ahead of me waiting to be discovered.
And it was quite a journey.
A week passed.
While waiting for the rash to subside, I was left to wonder why the toweling session felt so good.
By this point, I had heard rumors is school about there being a way to get sperm to come out, and I decided I wanted in on that venture.
I figured that what I needed to do to make this happen was to trick my body into thinking it was inside a vagina so I could unlock the jizz canals. I assumed that there was some magical property vaginas had that made the semen want to spring forward faster than a fat kid running for his insulin shots. The concept of thrusting or pumping was completely absent.
In the shower that night, I wrapped my fingers around my penis the size of a hobbit’s pinky and squeezed it as tightly as I could. I was hoping it would simulate the vaginal feeling for my penis, but it didn't work.
It felt good but wasn’t a microwaved slab of cold cuts, ya know?
Pondering my next method of stimulation, I was hit with an epiphany,
No, a stroke of brilliance.
What I was doing wrong was that I didn’t need to make my penis think it was inside a vagina, I needed to make my penis think it was entering a vagina.
Forming a ring with my index finger and thumb, I lubed up my penis with body wash and pushed my turtle head into the makeshift opening I created with and ran it all the way down to the base of my penis. It felt really fucking good. Too good.
I did it again and pumped my penis into this opening.
My body shivered as it radiated through me and I felt my first sense of sexual pleasure.
On the third pump, my body felt like it sneezed a thousand times all at once and I experienced my first orgasm, cumming all over the shower wall-
And. It. Was. Amazing.
The last part of my journey was the worst.
After wasting seed, guilt followed with more pain than when one of your friends makes fun of your deepest insecurity and all you do is laugh on the outside but die on the inside.
Every teacher I ever had made sure to instill fear and guilt when experiencing anything in life. Religion takes precedence over all aspects and it is more important to follow the rules instead of doing what is best for you or your family.
I would have rather died than experience the guilt I endured.
I knew I was going to hell.
Night after night I would shake in bed crying as I knew I had fucked up all the chances I had of going to Shamayim or seeing my family in Olam Habbah. I would cry for hours, trembling as I knew I had done the unforgivable act of spilling seed and having the equivalent to premarital sex.
I felt that life was no longer worth living since I wouldn’t be given the rewards promised to us after death.
I was scared.
I was so alone.
I didn’t know I could talk about this with anyone. I didn’t know that all my peers were probably also internally tearing themselves apart with the turmoil that they were going to feel the wrath of Hashem.
Exploring sexuality is healthy and normal, yet we were told that the one thing our bodies were craving and insisting we do, is the thing that is going to ruin our souls if we even think about.
There was no sex education or assurance that these feelings were normal.
I thought I was a freak — a monster who was going to bring shame to his family.
Day after day I did teshuva, crying to Hashem as I davened with hyper-intensive kevannah and tears in my eyes. I wanted to be able to see my family in the world to come and not endure the pain of gehennom.
As time went on, I couldn’t control myself and I continued giving in to the need to explore those feelings that my body was aching for. Each time, my chest was heavy with the guilt and I felt I was being watched, but I couldn't stop.
And the guilt grew deeper as I kept count of how many times I was destroying my soul.
I kept lying to myself saying, “I’ll stop once I have my bar mitzvah.” or, “I’ll never do it more than fifty times.”
But those were all lies.
Because I continued to do it. And over the years my fear turned into anger at the religion that made me feel like a disgrace. Anger at the institution that made me feel worthless once my homosexuality was thrown into the mix of reasons to feel shame.
And eventually, as I hope all of you have reached in your life, I came to peace with the fact that I can now explore my body without guilt because there is nothing wrong with it. And I hope our religious institutions will change the way they brainwash their kids to associate these things with negativity.
Let’s bring sex education into religious schools so children know that what they're feeling is okay and healthy ways to incorporate it into their lives when the time is right.
Let’s remove fear and guilt from the equation when there’s nothing wrong with giving into those urges.
Let’s not be scared to talk about things so we don't feel alone.
I never want my children to go through the dread and fear that I did.
So one day, when my child comes to me with questions about sexuality, I will tell them that everything they are feeling is perfectly normal and that they should never be scared to ask questions or explore their feelings.
They should know that nothing is wrong with THEM.
There is nothing wrong with YOU.