Do your characters ever masturbate?

Posted on | July 9, 2012

I write a lot of erotica shorts, and after a while there are only so many ways to insert tabs a through g into slots 1 through 6.  Hey, much of it’s science fantasy, I can make up as many insertables and orifices as I like.   And after writing the inevitable threesomes, moresomes, complicated geometrical shapes that come with hexapeds and zero gravity and tentacle assist from friendly AIs, my stories always get down to the nub of what a characters wants.

And sometimes, what a character doesn’t want.  I have been struggling with a character who thinks she knows what she wants, but is terrified to go after it.  She comes from a repressed background, and is wrestling with temptation.  No, not that kind, not yet.  Which is why I decided to write a scene showing her masturbating.

This is fairly unfamiliar territory.  Obviously, I’m not a woman, although I still hope someday to be a cybernetic spacer princess on Mars– albeit a really normal one.  I write from the point of view that women like sex, for much the same reasons that men do, and if they’re more reluctant than men to wallow in it that’s because they run bigger risks, not because they have lesser desires.  Our heroine is in a place where that kind of trust comes only from a singular, fixed course of life– one she’s not yet willing to follow, but also not yet ready to abandon.

I’ve read a lot of erotica in my time, but I don’t recall many masturbation scenes.  Oh, I’ve seen plenty of “doing it for the audience” scenes, where the pornography overwhelms any story and the point is just to convince the (expectedly male) reader that “hot women exist” (uh… duh), but rarely have I seen masturbation scenes done deliberately to expose character or  to push the plot forward, scenes where the character ends up momentarily physically satiated but emotionally dislodged, resolved to a course that seem risky or shadowed.

What are some good contemporary examples of that?


5 Responses to “Do your characters ever masturbate?”

  1. Mark Atwood
    July 10th, 2012 @ 12:42 am

    Well, there is that scene in “Pleasantville”.

  2. Elf Sternberg
    July 10th, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    That’s a great example! Thanks.

  3. Luna Lindsey
    July 10th, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    For mainstream stuff, as mentioned in Twitter, Single White Female has a scene where the crazy stalker girl masturbates to the MC, which the MC sees, and it gives her a creepy vibe, to set the stage for insane stalker terror later. I don’t remember the details, it’s been a long time since I saw that movie.

    I dabble in erotica (too rarely), and I have a masturbation arc, which proves to the reader that the girl is attracted to the guy. She resists in the first scene due to religious teachings, and fails to resist in the second.

  4. Panda Kahn
    July 15th, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    If you have not seen it, the masturbatory scene in Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch,2001) is one of the most intense and disturbing ones I have ever seen. The level of malice and hate born of love gone bad is striking.


  5. Gideon Kalve Jarvis
    September 28th, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Amazingly enough, I did actually use masturbation as a way to introduce both a character and the underlying tension of a story. Weird, I know. is the link to it, if you don’t mind the self-advertising too much.

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