Very interesting and very good points you make, Tracy Moore.

It’s a shame that there’s such a divide between how girls and boys typically think about masturbation.

Your article reminds me, though, about how very culturally dependent attitudes about masturbation really are. For example, until this past January, I wrote quite a lot on Quora about sexuality and LGBTQ issues.

Quora has a large and rapidly growing population of readers from South Asia, particularly from India. One thing that really struck me is how many of my Indian followers were quite comfortable with issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, but completely uncomfortable with masturbation.

I was taken aback by how many men and boys asked me for advice about how to stop masturbating. Many of them were quite apparently consumed by guilt and quite convinced that they were severely compromising their physical health, mental abilities, and character development.

Being gay for many young men who corresponded with me seemed almost a trivial issue in comparison to indulging in the “solitary vice.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

So reading your article, I appreciate how much work we have to do to deal with unequal views of sexuality in our society, but I also can’t help but think about how far we’ve come.

After all, it’s not been so very long at all since Americans were raised with the same toxic ideas about masturbation that appear to be common among some South Asians now.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.