A year ago today: Reflections on the Step Your Game Up masturbation survey
By Nayla Lee
I don’t want to get too sappy here, but as my last semester as the Happy Trail editor comes to a close, I can’t help but look back fondly over my time with the section.
One of the Happy Trail’s core values is to demystify natural sexual urges and activities. A topic near and dear to my heart (and hand) has always been masturbation. When I was a staff writer, I decided to make a bold move: I created an anonymous survey that asked people to “HMU with those tips on spicing up your solo sex life!” I titled it “Step Your Game Up,” and with a knot in my stomach, I typed out a short paragraph about my intentions and posted a link to the survey as my Facebook status.
I knew my mom, my kindergarten teacher and people from high school who I hadn’t seen in years would see it. I knew I would have to post it all over campus pages in order to get any significant number of responses.
I told myself I would be proud to get 20. That would mean 20 people would have to be willing to open up about something that we’ve been taught to hide.
I was elated when I checked in at the end of the week and saw that I had received 38 responses. At the time, none of them were published in full for space reasons. I wish we could have fit all of them, but there was one that truly captivated me. I am not being hyperbolic when I say I’ve thought about this submission at least once a week for the last year.
“True story here, my friend got me a nice cheap pocket pussy in Thailand, but it had holes on both ends, and so my penis would go in one end, but come out the other end when I was f—- it. The pussy also got cold quickly and that sucked. So sometimes, I would…cook up some ramen noodles, without the seasoning, and put them in a ziplock baggie. Then I would put the pocket pussy coming out the end of the ziploc bag and lube it up and put it under the lower couch cushions, so that the end of the device was coming out of the couch. Then I would f—- it, and it was awesome, felt very warm and real, especially since…my imagination was engaged.”
I have so many questions left for the prince who submitted this. He has since revealed himself to me, but in the heat of the moment, I was too nervous to ask them. Did he live in a house with other people? Was the couch in his bedroom? How high were the cushions from the ground? How many times, exactly, had he done this? Did any of the ramen ever slip out of the bag and get caught in the cushions? Most importantly, did he eat the ramen afterwards?
I truly don’t mean this facetiously: writing this article and receiving this submission changed the way I perceived sex journalism, and the role of the Happy Trail on this campus.
Here’s what I had to say at the time, in the final version of the article that got published. “What made my heart smile the most was how many people wrote in about how important it is to destigmatize masturbation. It can be a gratifying, joyful way to express one’s sexuality that often gets left out of traditional sex ed.”