Everybody Masturbates

30 Jan

…and by masturbate I mean to engage in something pleasurable that offers no results.  Obsessive shopping, overeating, dysfunctional relationships, self-medicating…all examples of masturbation.  Is feeling good worth the energy when would could be engaging in intercourse with something; being intimate with something, or someone? A mentor of mine first gave me this metaphor, relating time-wasting (and really life-wasting) activities to the act of self-pleasuring.  It caught me off guard but immediately resonated throughout my body, I understood his words to be true.  Pleasure…do you remember Cannon’s theory about Fight vs. Flight? Well self-pleasure is flight. Are we not escaping? Leaving our present to enter a world where our body feels alive, alert, and stimulated yet we are stagnant in those moments.  We are not working towards survival by having intercourse–or intimately connecting–we are tricking ourselves.  We have escaped the here and the now because there is something threatening present and rather than engage and connect, we would rather feel good.  Even if the feeling only lasts temporarily…

A friend of mine said once, “not all sex is good sex; but masturbation always feels right!” A teacher of mine once said, “always mind the ‘always’ its ‘never’ right.”  This lesson, of course as it always does, came to me in a number of different ways.  First the metaphoric display from my mentor, then in a book.  In Women Food and God, Geneen Roth writes:

As long as I believe that pain is bigger than me, as long as I define being open and vulnerable as being vulnerable to annihilation, I believe in an image of myself: that I am someone who can be annihilated.  And when I believe this, I bolt from different situations by engaging in various mind-altering and body numbing activities.  I shut myself down or walk out the door when pain threatens to destroy me–which is any situation that involves another human being or whose outcome I cannot control.  I live an autistic existence (43).

After reading that I thought, “wow”. How many of us live in an autistic existence? Not truly connected to the life around us, unable to communicate our wants or needs nor understand the wants or needs of others?  Our interaction is impaired. Our communication is impaired.  We have flown.  We checked out, and we’re masturbating to make ourselves feel better in a painful present we can’t bear to face.

In reading treatments for patients with eating disorders, the suggestion for bibliotherapy (journaling) always comes up, and invariably so does the question what are you hungry for? Not in the literal sense, but figuratively.  Are you starving yourself to prove that you have constraint and control in your life? There are a number of things that a person who over or undereats may be hungry for, but getting to the answer to that question requires them to stop masturbating and have intercourse with their reality; it requires presence.  Careful of the things that “always” feel good, especially the ones that do not produce. Choose to fight, not fly.

What are the things in your life that make you want to check out, mentally?


2 Responses to “Everybody Masturbates”

  1. Miss Lucy February 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    I’m still wrapping my brain around this because it gets deeper and can branch off into different discussions but…NICE!


  1. Tweets that mention Everybody Masturbates « Black Girl, Cry -- Topsy.com - January 31, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ms. Buuurry, Jess Dubb, obviously. Jess Dubb, obviously said: **NEW BLOG POST** Everybody Masturbates: http://t.co/cuM0a0C […]

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