Masturbating On Valentine’s Day

I suppose there’s no better day to talk about masturbation than Valentine’s Day. It’s the gift you give yourself really, and much better for your waistline than chocolates. But you can also share it with that special someone if you want to 🙂

“Having sex is natural but talking about sex is not natural,” said sex educator Jane Langton. I think her TEDx talk is a great place to start:

Talking about masturbation and orgasm for me started back in 2007. I had embarked on a series of orgasm portraits, which began with a painting about my first experience of masturbation. After that I thought it would be fun to see what other people’s orgasms “looked like” and ended up interviewing a whole bunch of other people, including a few couples. By 2009 there were 40 portraits and interviews and I turned into an ebook – The Book of O: Orgasm Portraits – which you can check out here.

nikita

The story behind this painting is about me discovering myself as an 18 year-old, which I painted as a 20 year-old. So it’s a retrospective piece, but like most people, I remember my first experience very well.

My favorite colors at the time were cobalt blue, red, and black. I wasn’t actively thinking about this painting as an orgasm until it was near completion, but it felt sexual. It originally started out as a self-portrait, but rather than painting a realistic representation of myself, an explosion of color was what felt most true. I remember thinking, “This is my energy…  I am an orgasm!”  Unlike the other portraits, I wasn’t answering questions about my sexual experiences or including other aspects involved in having an orgasm. I was most concerned with feeling, energy and the interactions of the colors.

The painting was primarily based on feeling. Nothing was consciously planned; instead it unfolded as every brushstroke was a reaction to the ones before it. Rather than representing my sexual energy, I focused on who I was under all the layers – under my clothing, skin, language. I wanted to get to the core and express that. Betty Dodson said that masturbation is our first and most natural form of sexual activity and if that’s inhibited or damaged, then we suffer for the rest of our lives; I had experienced my first orgasm in the dorms at University and thankfully my first successful attempt occurred uninterrupted.

I was sitting at my desk and was supposed to be writing a paper. I was procrastinating; I don’t even remember what I was supposed to be researching. It was so close to the end of the year and I could taste the freedom. My pants were unbuttoned and one of my hands rested on my lap as the other one clicked between pages on the computer screen. The light switch went on in my head and I started rubbing myself under the desk – I looked over and saw my roommate was fast asleep on her bed. I quietly continued, half paying attention as I continued reading the same paragraph over and over. Finally I concentrated on myself, and after about ten minutes I came. It was a perfect feeling, short, but sweet.

I started to laugh victoriously, and then ran out of the room and up the stairs searching for my best friend so I could tell her what had happened. We had debated about whether you could get yourself off without help – she insisted she needed a device – I felt like a whole new world of possibility had just opened up. Anyway, I saw her down the hall and I started exclaiming “You can do it yourself! You can do it alone!” She looked confused. I started waving my hand as I got closer and then quietly motioned – “I just had an orgasm with my hand!” She was shocked, curious; it took her a moment to process the words before her confusion turned to enthusiasm. She was like “I wanna try,” so she went to her room – luckily her roommate was gone, and I went back to writing my paper. Half an hour later she knocked on my door, smiling. I knew. We started nodding our heads like we had it made. We gave each other hugs and high fives. We were two girls without a care in the world.

I’ve explored more since then, but that moment set the tone and will always make me smile. Whatever you end up doing today – with a partner or by yourself – I wish you well!

– Nikita