A handy guide to not whipping out your penis and masturbating in front of people

Pulling out your penis and masturbating in front of someone who didn’t consent to it is not a moment of weakness, an accident, borne out of confusion over what is and isn’t okay, or difficulty adjusting to ‘the culture’. It should be perfectly obvious that if someone doesn’t enthusiastically ask you to take out your genitals and start masturbating, you shouldn’t do it. And yet, there are men who seem to be confused. In response to multiple allegations against him, Harvey Weinstein said that having come of age in the 60’s and 70’s, he has ‘since learned’ that this is not an excuse for sexual assault. Louis CK said that ‘now’ he’s aware of the impact of his actions – his actions being masturbating in front of women. He ‘learned later in life’ that asking people he had power over if he could take out his penis is not ‘okay’. Both of these replies suggest that the idea that a sexual act done without the other person’s consent is wrong is a new one. It’d be easy to dismiss this as an issue of fame and power. But ask women if they’ve ever been masturbated at or near without their consent, and you may be startled by just how many say yes.

I’ve been masturbated at on a train home, as the man tried to catch my eye when I read a book. A friend of mine was pushed down in a club as someone attempted to masturbate on to her before, thankfully, her friends pushed him away. These incidents are deeply uncomfortable. They can feel dangerous. If a man is willing to impose a sexual act on you without your consent, is he also the type of man who will attack you if you say anything? If that man has power over you, what will happen if you speak out?

But if there are some men who don’t understand this – who feel they simply cannot help masturbating in front of people without their consent – clearly we need a guide for not wanking into a plant pot. This way there’s no excuse. You can’t even attempt getting away with the ‘I didn’t know!’ angle or the ‘this is just what men need to do!’ line. So, here’s a guide to not whipping out your penis and masturbating in front of people – and why it’s not okay. If you are suddenly struck with an intense urge to masturbate, go home Look, it’s possible that you are suddenly intensely, desperately horny. That might be an issue to bring up with a therapist, but on we go. In that instance, you do not need to force anyone to bear witness to your need to sexually gratify yourself. It sounds simple, but you really can excuse yourself from your business meeting, party, or friendly chat with another person, and say you need to leave. Take yourself to a private place. Your home, if you’re close by. A toilet cubicle, if you’re not. Make sure there’s no one around who can see your penis. Congratulations, you have masturbated without causing anyone distress.

If you are with a woman and think that she desperately wants to see you masturbate, ask her if that’s the case In an ideal world, you’d be able to read the signals. For example, if a woman has been kissing your neck and putting her hands down your underwear, it’s possible that she may want to see your penis (although it’s still wise to ask). If a woman has come to meet you to talk about her career, it is very unlikely she wants to see your penis. But hey, sometimes these lines get muddled. Woman are so confusing, right? So just to be absolutely sure, ask the person if they would like to see you masturbate. If they give you an enthusiastic yes, hooray, you go right ahead. If they say no, or look uncomfortable, or say yes and then don’t seem that keen, or try to leave, do not take out your penis. Leave that member in its cosy trouser prison.

Remember that power and responsibility has a massive impact on consent If someone feels threatened – whether that’s physically or in terms of the impact another person could have on their success or reputation – their consent isn’t legitimate. If someone is saying yes not because they actually want to see your penis, but because they’re worried about what will happen if they say no, it is not okay to show them your penis. Ask yourself some questions before you ask someone if they would like to watch you masturbate.

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