Glass

Masturbation: Sex or Not?

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Glass

So, I'm asking this because it's at the heart of whether I should consider myself asexual or not:

 

Is masturbation sex? Or, is some masturbation sex and some not? Such as: if you are using porn/fantasizing about other people, does that tip it into the "sex" category, as opposed to pure manual stimulation? Does it depend on how you approach the act, for example enjoying your own caresses in the manner that allosexual people enjoy the caresses of their lovers?

 

Or, alternately, does sex (in the context of determining a place on the allo-to-a spectrum) require another person?

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Philip027

Sex does require another person, so no.

 

Obviously it's still *sexual* because you're still stimulating the sex organs to produce a sexual response, just as you would if you were having sex, but it ain't like someone who masturbates is no longer a virgin.  Nobody I know of defines virginity that way, anyway.

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SecretCows

Masturbating, having sex, and desiring to have sex are all different things. What defines an ace is that we don't desire to have sex. A lot of aces refer to masturbating as "cleaning the pipes" or "scratching an itch." 

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Claire1983

Not sex.  As it relates to asexuality, I think the key is where your head is.  I have a libido and "take matters into my own hands" but I'm not really interested in actual sex with other people.  I usually fantasize about fictional characters and have a hard time picturing myself.  I mostly just do it because it's a good stress reliever

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RedOwl5

Yeah, I think it's different. I have masturbated a few times because of curiosity, but decided I don't really want to do it much.  When I did, I never thought of a person or imagined having sex, my mind went off on mundane tangents about things like a song I liked or what I was going to eat for breakfast. The physical sensation is enjoyable of course, but not something I "need" the way I've heard allos talk about sex as a fundamental like food or water. To me, if I was fantasizing about another person and imagining being with them, that would be an indication of sexual desire and therefore more like "sex," but there are differing opinions on that.

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Glass
8 minutes ago, RedOwl5 said:

To me, if I was fantasizing about another person and imagining being with them, that would be an indication of sexual desire and therefore more like "sex," but there are differing opinions on that.

Oh, thank you for phrasing it like that. While other people do sometimes feature, either in my head or on screen/paper, I don't imagine being with them; I look at/think about them because they arouse me, but they're... over there, in a way, while I'm over here.

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Glass
23 minutes ago, Claire1983 said:

I think the key is where your head is. ... I usually fantasize about fictional characters and have a hard time picturing myself.

I suppose when I do use porn, they are "fictional characters," in so far as I know nothing about the actual people. Thanks!

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Glass
45 minutes ago, Philip027 said:

Sex does require another person, so no.

 

Obviously it's still *sexual* because you're still stimulating the sex organs to produce a sexual response, just as you would if you were having sex, but it ain't like someone who masturbates is no longer a virgin.  Nobody I know of defines virginity that way, anyway.

Ha! Very true. Stupid etymology, getting me to conflate "sexual" with "sex."

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raevins

I think the "fantasizing about other people" is the closest thing you've mentioned that tips into the sexual category, since that implies some kind of sexual attraction to that person.

 

Then again, I know some people like watching porn/fantasizing about things while masturbating, but would be turned off by imagining themselves actually doing any of those acts. 

like the idea of the situation is more sexy than actually participating, if that makes sense.

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RhuinHruda

I think that you can consider yourself asexual regardless of what others might decide the definition is, if you feel that "asexual" is the appropriate label. 

 

For me, I don't think of myself as a virgin because I consider masturbation to be the sexual activity that I want to engage in, and nothing else. I realize that's a little strange, but labeling myself as a virgin doesn't seem right either. I knew a guy in college who had oral sex all the time and still called himself a virgin and that didn't exactly seem accurate. I don't feel like someone who had no sexual experience, so I don't label myself as one.

 

But that's my definition for me. I don't apply it to someone else who would feel like masturbating doesn't make them a virgin, nor would I suggest that I'm right and they are wrong.

 

My fantasies do include other people. Actually, they include other people more than they include myself. I don't think that's a barrier to being asexual either.

 

Labels are flexible. 

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Shieldmaiden WinterDragon

I do not masturbate, watch porn, fantasize about sex or watch anything with it, including romance which for both  I avoid at all measures.

Masturbation on some levels for those who do it, it's sex but by one's self if they're not interested in doing it with another. Some do it to stimulate themselves or to satisfy their wants of sex if they don't have someone and have no desire to do it with someone they do not know. 

It will vary on how others see it and experience it.

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Glass
1 hour ago, raevins said:

like the idea of the situation is more sexy than actually participating, if that makes sense.

It makes a lot of sense! And actually, I can think of fantasies that people have that they don't actually want to be real or can't be real (home invasion, vore, etc.). Curious that I never considered that you can have vanilla fantasies that you don't want to participate in IRL....

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Glass
1 hour ago, RhuinHruda said:

I think that you can consider yourself asexual regardless of what others might decide the definition is, if you feel that "asexual" is the appropriate label. 

 

For me, I don't think of myself as a virgin because I consider masturbation to be the sexual activity that I want to engage in, and nothing else. I realize that's a little strange, but labeling myself as a virgin doesn't seem right either. I knew a guy in college who had oral sex all the time and still called himself a virgin and that didn't exactly seem accurate. I don't feel like someone who had no sexual experience, so I don't label myself as one.

 

But that's my definition for me. I don't apply it to someone else who would feel like masturbating doesn't make them a virgin, nor would I suggest that I'm right and they are wrong.

 

My fantasies do include other people. Actually, they include other people more than they include myself. I don't think that's a barrier to being asexual either.

 

Labels are flexible. 

I definitely agree about labels! I think they're useful in helping us understand ourselves better (which is what I'm currently trying to do), and in communicating salient features about ourselves to others. But they're tools- they don't determine who we are.

 

I definitely feel that masturbation is the sexual activity I want to engage in- and in a way it's quite beautiful to lose your virginity to yourself. And thank you for saying that your fantasizing about other people doesn't bar you from being asexual. Experiencing arousal by looking at/imagining other people is a big reason why I'm questioning whether the "asexual" label is right for me. I really appreciate your perspective!

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Claire1983
7 hours ago, raevins said:

like the idea of the situation is more sexy than actually participating, if that makes sense.

Yes!  I second this. I enjoy erotica, erotic art and it does get me going but it's the idea of the situation more than a desire to participate and act it out that excites me.

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Nowhere Girl

I agree with the dominant opinion. Yes, it's a sexual activity - but it's NOT sex. "Sex" is better left understood as "partnered sexual activity" only.

Well, on the other hand, I'm against limiting the definition of sex from the other side - such as that petting is not sex, for example. The idea that only PIV, PIA and PsubstituteIV constitutes "real sex" is, on the other hand, erasing for lesbians since a lot of lesbian sex tends to be non-penetrative (though, on the other hand, lesbians who like using dildoes shouldn't be made to be ashamed that they "imitate straight sex") - and this kind of thinking actually contributes to not taking lesbian relationships and lesbian identity seriously. I also recall a guy on this forum - this very one or perhaps the "Sex Talk" subforum - who asked whether he is asexual if he enjoys some kinds of sexual activity but not others. And from what I remember it seemed clear to me that he is very unlikely to be asexual, he seemed to be simply a gay man who doesn't like anal sex. Why should that be perceived as contradictory? So let's not limit sex to be understood as "penetrative sexual activity" only, but also let's not frustrate aces with the opinion that anything sexual is already sex and so if they have pleasured themselves, they "must admit" that they have had sex.

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Erik Soriano

In my personal experience, I rarely masturbate but I do it because I cannot stand getting those random "get ups", and perhaps once a week, I just take care of it so it does not bug me afterward, and I don't mean to bother people with this, but I usually just force it out within a couple of minutes, I don't enjoy spending countless time at it. I believe if any of you  feels the same as me about it, it does not question our asexuality, because afterward, at least in my case, I don't think of sex, or remember the performers from the video I was watching, I actually get grossed out if I imagine sex after i've taken care of masturbation. hopefully this answer helps anyone else who feels similarly.

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Glass
2 hours ago, Nowhere Girl said:

I also recall a guy on this forum - this very one or perhaps the "Sex Talk" subforum - who asked whether he is asexual if he enjoys some kinds of sexual activity but not others. And from what I remember it seemed clear to me that he is very unlikely to be asexual, he seemed to be simply a gay man who doesn't like anal sex. Why should that be perceived as contradictory? So let's not limit sex to be understood as "penetrative sexual activity" only, but also let's not frustrate aces with the opinion that anything sexual is already sex and so if they have pleasured themselves, they "must admit" that they have had sex.

So right! I mean, consider: "I don't like seafood. Therefore, I don't enjoy eating." I would say that there is a strong pressure within the gay community to equate "real sex" with "anal sex."  

 

And thank you for adding your vote to the "sexual =/= sex." Exactly the kind of thing that's helpful to me in figuring things out.

 

Also: just as having a heterosexual experience doesn't make you straight, having any sexual experience doesn't mean you're not asexual. Sometimes that is how you figure things out. (Which it sounds like you agree with.)

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andreas1033

For me masturbation is not sexual.

 

Masturbation is not sexual intercourse. People are energy, and when you masturbate your not having sex with yourself. You are just getting rid of energy thats built up, or released.

 

Masturbation is not sex, otherwise it would be seen as having sex with yourself, your body does not work like that.

 

People associate masturbation with sex, as most people use sexual imagery in there brains probably to do it. But you can masturbate without seeing another person, or fantasising about another human.

 

If masturbation was sex, then you would be sure, less people would want or need partners. Masturbation is not sex, its just people associate it with sex, as thats how most people see it.

 

Masturbation is not sex, its impossible to have sex with yourself.

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Philip027

Many things can still be sexual without outright being sex.

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will123

Add me to the list of those who don't consider masturbating as having sex. I may or may not fantasize about certain sexual activities as a source of arousal (besides manual stimulation) but I don't actually feel that I want to have sex with another person.

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Philip027

I don't really think anyone considers masturbating as having sex.

 

But it is still unavoidably sexual; it's still basically simulating a sex act, it's still manipulation of the sexual organs to acheive a sexual response, like you would be during an actual sex act.  I'm not sure what the point of trying to deny at least that much is.

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Glass
On 3/30/2018 at 6:27 AM, Nowhere Girl said:

Well, on the other hand, I'm against limiting the definition of sex from the other side - such as that petting is not sex, for example.

May I ask you where you might draw the line, in this case? For example, is video chatting with someone while you both masturbate sex? What about masturbating next to someone in the same room, without touching them? With touching them?

 

And I'm only asking because I think it's interesting, not trying to make you formally decide on the diving line, which I'm sure is gray, and is probably case-by-case.

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Glass

Hey, I just wanted to thank everyone who's stopped by to give their opinion! It's been very helpful to me, not to mention fascinating to hear everyone's thoughts on the issue!

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Nowhere Girl
12 hours ago, Glass said:

May I ask you where you might draw the line, in this case? For example, is video chatting with someone while you both masturbate sex? What about masturbating next to someone in the same room, without touching them? With touching them?

 

And I'm only asking because I think it's interesting, not trying to make you formally decide on the diving line, which I'm sure is gray, and is probably case-by-case.

Not intending to hurt you in any way, I'll say that answering this question is pointless. This is precisely the gray zone and everyone should decide about it on their own.

 

All I can say about its relation to anything personal is that yes, I pleasure myself, but no, I don't want to engage in any kind of behavior (including completely non-sexual behavior) which would include being naked in someone else's presence.

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Glass
On 4/2/2018 at 8:52 AM, Nowhere Girl said:

I'll say that answering this question is pointless.

You know, that's very right. Something of a thought experiment in naming, if you're inclined to that sort of thing, but yes, pointless, to ask in real life. A word like "sex" can never capture all the nuances of what sex is, and so it doesn't make sense to assign those nuances to "sex" or "not sex." (Fun as a thought experiment, perhaps?)

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James121

Masturbation is having sex with yourself. Full stop.

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James121
On 02/04/2018 at 3:26 AM, Philip027 said:

I don't really think anyone considers masturbating as having sex.

I do. Masturbation involves sexual arousal, plateau, climax and resolution. Identical to sex. It’s the human sexual response cycle.

Masturbation is having sex on your own. Simple.

Theres no other logical explanation.

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Deus Ex Infinity

Masturbastion is a sexual activity but you can still identify as asexual nevertheless since it doesn't involve intercourse or sexual attraction towards another person.

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Flower Boy

As in pleasuring yourself alone? No, definitely not sex. Sex requires two or more people.

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Glass
On 4/19/2018 at 2:34 AM, James121 said:

I do. Masturbation involves sexual arousal, plateau, climax and resolution. Identical to sex. It’s the human sexual response cycle.

Masturbation is having sex on your own. Simple.

Theres no other logical explanation.

I think you make a good point: masturbation "feels like" sex.

 

But may I then ask, do you consider people with a desire to masturbate but no desire to have partnered sex asexual? Or, do you think that someone who enjoys masturbation should be referred to with a different term than "asexual" (while still being in the same conceptual vicinity)? (If there wasn't so many negative connotations, I'd suggest "narcissist.")

 

 

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