Note: sex talk ahead.

You find the funniest things on the internet.

Yesterday, I was up bright and early (too early) to drive a friend to the airport. As we zipped up the freeway into outer suburbia, we chatted away, somehow landing on the subject of masturbation.

"I hate doing it," my friend commented. To me, this was the kind of jaw-dropping comment that nearly made me fly across three lanes of traffic.

"You hate it?" I asked, bewildered. Now, to me, masturbation is one of those miracles of the human condition. Think about it: every person on this earth has a built in capacity to experience incredible pleasure, accessible any time they have a few minutes and a little privacy (and for some the privacy is even optional). I know that this is just a side effect of the built-in instinct to reproduce, but when you think about it, it's really quite amazing. We are driven to do all kinds of things that produce relatively little pleasure, yet here's one where we might have wound up with a tremendous urge to seek sexual activity without all that pleasure. But no - we've all got a built-in pleasure machine that just takes a free hand to activate. This, to me, is proof that the universe is an interesting and surprising place to live.

"Do you hate it because it feels like a weak substitute for sex?" I asked. Yes, my friend said, that really is what it is; it makes him miss the real thing. I thought that was interesting, because I don't see it that way at all; to me it's just something different. Yes, it lacks the intensity and the emotional component of actual sexual activity with another person, but what it lacks in intensity is made up for with a certain simple perfection; it's there all the time, and you generally know exactly how to bring yourself pleasure. And at its best, it's got an element of self-exploration that is quite wonderful.

I've always hated the clinical term for it, and the way that it's used as a metaphor for pointless activities: "that's just mental masturbation," and so on. The slang words are a lot more evocative and get closer to reality.

The British has some lovely terms - wanking, tossing off, and so on - and so when I clicked the "next blog" button on a blogger.com blog (as I sometimes do just to see what comes up next) later that day, I was amused my the coincidence, given the morning's conversation, of what came up next: The Wank Blog, the writings of two gay boys in Birmingham, England. They call themselves "Wanker" and "Tosser" and the header states, "Hopefully, every wank should end up here."

Now, I don't think someones diary of their wanks is something that will make exciting reading over a long period of time, but I actually love the happy, "ain't this grand!" tone of what they've done. "I had a few minutes, so I closed the door and opened my jeans...."

They've been at it for three months now, meaning that they've been more consistent about recording their jerk off sessions than many would-be bloggers are about recording their deep thoughts, political broadsides, or accounts of the lives of their cats. I guess it's a topic that never gets old - at least if you're the wanker.

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