What was the common attitude towards masturbation when you were a teen?

The same-sex school thread got me thinking about the times when I went to an all-boy Catholic HS (mid-80’s). Back then the most common insult was “So did you jack-off again last night you faggot?” Touching yourself made you less of a man, meant you were gay, meant you were going to hell, etc etc etc.

I wonder how much this attitude has changed in recent times. I would suspect the prevalence of pr0n would change things a bit. In my day, getting porno mags was actually difficult, and we didn’t swap them around. I’d think that nowadays most everyone knows that the majority of pr0n is not consumed by heterosexual couples. i.e. that most people use it to masturbate.

Also, back in my day, girls didn’t double-click the mouse at all. We were told that girls didn’t have that kind of sex-drive, so they never had reason to touch themselves. :rolleyes: It was only the 5% of guys that lied about it.

What are/were the attitudes you experienced? Condemned? Explored? Reviled? Joked about with hatred or simple amusement?


It was understood even if never explicitly stated that all boys masturbated; amusement, occassional embarassment, but that’s about it. We speculated wildly about the girls, but never actually talked to them about it. Too scared. :wink:

This was a small co-ed school in India, early to mid 90s.

Boys were assumed to masturbate.

Girls didn’t even know if such a thing as female masturbation existed.

Masturbation seemed to involve “touching yourself down there”; some of the priests would rain fire and brimstone on anybody who did it, some would get beetle red and stammer if you asked them about it, some would laugh. Same with nuns and “regular teachers”. I wouldn’t have dared mention it to my parents if my life had depended on it, and anyway I had no particular interest in “touching myself down there” except for reasons of hygiene.

You see, I started masturbating when I was 11, months before getting my periods. But because it doesn’t involve touching, I didn’t find out “that” was masturbation for something like 15 years, when an erotic novel that described my technique won some big prize or other. The same revelation came upon many of the women I know.

Those fire-and-brimstone people need to get their descriptions straightened… but let 'em not, teehee!

I attended high school in a small, semi-rural town in the Southwest during the mid '90s. The subject was fairly taboo – in fact, the best way to insult a guy in the locker room was to imply he was either a homosexual or a wanker.

Luckily, when I was an adolescent, I managed to procure a medical book which asserted that masturbation was a normal, healthy, and nearly universal behavior among both males and females, or else I would’ve suffered through years of unnecessary guilt.

My first girlfriend came from a very religious, uptight family, and I still remember the look of shame on her face when she confessed that she sometimes, you know, touched herself “down there”. Needless to say she was very happy and relieved when I replied with a hearty, “Me too!” and showed her the aforementioned medical text.

Rural Maine, mid to late '90s:

Elementary school:
Health class:
Not spoken of. Human sexuality wasn’t a taboo subject, but one very carefully approached.

Spoken of only in the third person, but it was acknowledged as something people did. It wasn’t seen as disgraceful, but still wasn’t something you’d freely admit to.

Middle school:
Health class:
Almost everyone masturbates, and it’s a perfectly healthy and expected thing to do. Sex education was seen as very important and not something to let social mores get in the way of.

Rarely spoken of. Taboo subject, unless speaking very clinically and impersonally about it.

High school:
Health class:
Same line and reasoning from middle school.

Openly spoken of and unashamedly admitted to.

Among Korean girls, it was a “some guys do it, but surely not the guys WE know!” kind of attitude. The possibility that girls could do it as well never crossed our minds. Like Nava, I masturbated without even knowing that I did for most of my teenage years.

Some boys do it- gross, nasty boys with serious deviancies. The term does not apply to girls.

In high school I pretty much assumed every guy I saw was doing it, and they probably assumed the same. Yet, at the same time, you would insult a guy about it. Like is some guy said his arm was sore, someone else would say,
“Oh, too much gerkin jerkin’ last night?”
The funny thing was, as soon as I was in college, suddenly not only was it fine to admit to doing it, but suddenly you were proud of doing it! It was almost like you won if you admitted to doing it more in a day than someone else!

Oh, and while I learned through some book or another that yes, girls can masturbate, I never even thought about them doing so until maybe my senior year of high school, and even then I was of the mindset that only a couple girls out of several hunderd might do that. Because after all, we all know that girls don’t really like sex and guys had to convince them to do it, right? :rolleyes:

Again, it was like the second I walked into my college dorm, I had a complete attitude change and was like “OIh, of course lots of girls do! Guys do, so why wouldn’t girls?”

Though my first girlfriend I ever had (freshmen year of college, in 2000-2001) maintains to this day that she has never masturbated. Like I said, considering that we actually talked about it somewhat openly and there wasn’t any stigma, I see no reason for her to have lied about it, so I’m inclined to believe her.

I’m from rural Ohio, a very religious part of the state (Amish Country, although my family wasn’t Amish) and I went to high school from '90 to '94. I got a lot of my ideas about sex from books I found in our basement my mother had bought years earlier in a liberal phase and forgotten about. There was some borderline porn, such as “The Sensuous Woman” and an old copy of Easyrider. (A biker skin mag one of Mom’s friends must have left.) There were also some old nursing textbooks with photos of female anatomy and clinical discussions of sexual behavior.

So I was a lot more informed about sex than most kids my age, without ever asking my mother or anyone else a single question about it. I remember being accused of masturbating as a mild insult in high school; the few times someone said that of me I just shrugged it off. I was usually either impervious or oblivious to what other kids thought of these subjects, so no one kept after me about it. What Devorin said pretty much holds for where I grew up too.

The real influence on me in this area was my mother herself. She was unbelievably paranoid about me masturbating; I recall her waking me up at 4 a.m. and asking me what I used the Vaseline for. I told her I used it to lube my bike. What the hell COULD I say?? It got so that if I was in the bathroom for literally more than two minutes she would hammer on the door. To compound this situation, the area was extremely religious and porn was impossible to find. My hormones were raging, and I would’ve killed for a Playboy, but I had to settle for the S.I. Swimsuit Issue.

It’s tempting in retrospect to look at my mother as an uptight freak, but she was a product of a conservative Catholic school upbringing. From what I understand about that, she sounds like par for the course. She remains uptight to this day.

Nobody. Did. It. Ever.

Nobody. Talked. About. It. Ever.*

But all of us fourteen year old boys were getting laid, of course.

*Apart from assuming the unpopular kids did it.

Umm…maybe I just lack imagination, but how does one masturbate A) without realizing that they’re doing it & B) without touching?

As I recall, I had the same kind of setup as TLD - nobody waxed it, but they sure did get laid at least once a week. At least.

We beat off like banshees, and we weren’t ashamed to let the world know about it.

My peer group was uncommonly honest and well-adjusted! :smiley:

b) By humping some object, using a stream of water, etc. (You realize we’re discussing women, right?) a) Because of b), or because of not knowing that girls masturbate, not realizing that what you’re doing is technically masturbation too.

A reason to exist.

As a Mormon (teenager in the late 70s, but this is one area of the Church which I’m sure hasn’t changed) masterbation was a sin. The Church was very vocal about condemning it, and no one would admit to that. I was part of a pretty much non-Mormon crowd in high school, the D&D group, but we didn’t talk about it at all. I was too brainwashed to think that it was anything but a sin.

Naturally, some times the sex drive won out, and I would do it, but feel guilty as hell. When I went on mission, I was asked flat out by the bishop and was told to repent of this evil habit.

Confession time - I can’t orgasm from touching myself. It’s like trying to tickle myself - it just doesn’t work. Give me a pillow to hump or a stream of water in the bath and I’m good, but my fingers just don’t do a thing! Other people’s fingers feel great, so it’s not that I don’t like to be touched with finger shaped objects, but they can’t be mine.

As for the OP, no one really talked about it much. The guys would tease one another, I guess, but it wasn’t a horrible insult like “fag!”, more gentle ribbing (heh) about “jerking off”. I don’t remember the girls mentioning it at all.

High school 1988-1992, Chicago suburbs.