This One’s for You Leo
Leonardo Dicaprio taught me to masturbate. I’m not talking about my first celebrity fantasy fap, either. I’m talking about the moment, many many years ago, when I first connected the words ‘jerking off’ with a clenched hand moving up and down along a penis.
I was eleven, the movie: ‘The Basketball Diaries’. I was Helen Keller and seeing Leonardo Dicaprio masturbate on that New York City rooftop was my water pump.
While I don’t remember much else about the film, the scene where Jim Carroll (played by Dicaprio) masturbates naked under the stars with the city as his backdrop was a lightbulb moment for me.
Firstly it was the mechanics. While I knew my genitals were a sensitive area that could give me pleasure, and I knew my penis could get hard and become soft again, I didn’t know much more than that. I had been told that wanking was depraved and dirty; it was something you accused others of doing, but never did yourself.
I knew it involved touching your genitals, but the actual act itself was a mystery. The scene wasn’t graphic by any means, but it did give me enough of a clue to ‘grasp’ the concept.
I stopped the video, went into the bathroom and later emerged, wad and mind blown.
I have shared this story quite a few times with fellow Sex Geeks and been known to ask the question, ‘Do you remember the first time you masturbated?’ at both appropriate and inappropriate social settings. Over the years I have heard all manner of ‘discoverbation’ stories.
A lot involve playful curiosity that ends with feelings of shame. Some involve disgust and fear. Rarely do they seem to involve the freedom, rebellion and pleasure I felt. Which brings me to my second lightbulb moment: pleasure is more than pure mechanics.
Erogenous zones are not solely clusters of nerve endings, rather the ‘zone’ can be a mental state. For Jim, the act was enhanced by the devil-may-care hedonism that surrounded it. This was completely counter to the messages I had received about masturbation. As Jim Carroll says at the end of the scene, ‘time sure flies when you’re young and jerking off’, and that made a lot more sense to eleven-year-old me than the wank-shaming culture I had encountered.
Leonardo Dicaprio aided my discovery of something that not only felt good and felt right but is healthy, exciting, exploratory and has been immensely beneficial to my sex life. My first wank laid the foundation for my current sex-positive stance and enthusiasm for peer-education.
Not a condom demonstration goes by without me suggesting participants go home and practice masturbating with a condom on. It is always my first suggestion when couples ask for advice, and it is my golden rule for first time anal play.
It marked a turning point, where I realised, although much of what feels good comes naturally, education is important and pleasure-based, sex-positive education is where it’s at.
Who taught you to masturbate?
For more stories from the water pump follow @GarethDurrant
Note: Image by Celtic 89 via Wikimedia Commons