The Outbreak | Getting off in the time of coronavirus

The Outbreak is a new blog describing the different ways the coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives.

I’m sorry to say it, Golden Age of American Television, but you’re just not doing it for me anymore. Watching people go to bars, congregate in parks, touch every single thing in the convenience store — I don’t understand the life you project anymore. I cannot connect.

I’ve turned away from Netflix and towards another modern — or, well, classical — sin. Constant masturbation. 

That’s right, I said it — constant. Masturbation. I am not ashamed, and none of us should be, because come on — we’re all doing it. I’ve seen the memes — the panel on the left will say ‘What I thought I’d be doing in quarantine’ and it’s a dude playing video games or cooking, and on the right it says ‘What I am doing instead’ and it’s men punching giant sacks of hanging meat.

I’ve seen those sacks of meat in real life, at butcher shops. They always kinda freaked me out. But that’s not the point here. The point is that I am beating my lady meat, and you are beating whatever kind of meat you have, way more often than usual.

The coronavirus has me so bored out of my mind that the other day I clocked four times. Four times where my brain was like, “Aw to heck with it, murder me so I can stop staring at the clock,” and I visited our trusty pal Pornhub. (Not to say that I’m keeping a tally here. Although it would interest historians, in say a hundred years, if they found my Pandemic Diary and the entire thing was just a list of times I did it. Sunday, 4 p.m., because what in the name of God is there to do at 4 p.m. Tuesday, 3 a.m., thinking about Brad Pitt in Fight Club.)

Just kidding! I rarely use Pornhub — I definitely don’t trust it as a site that produces ethical porn. I get my juice from Reddit or, oddly enough, Twitter. The amateur stuff is better and it’s easier to tell that the women involved aren’t being tortured and/or raped. I can’t really get off to insane violations of other people’s rights, ya feel me? And on Pornhub the women with women stuff is always way too stylized — I can always tell this isn’t for me but for some dude who thinks he knows how sex between women actually works. 

Anyway. Flicking the bean now isn’t all that different from how it was before the pandemic, but I think we can all agree we’re definitely doing it more out of sheer “there’s nothing else to do”-ness. And for me at least, it’s been way harder to get into the mood. I don’t know about you, but worrying about my grandma going to the grocery store isn’t exactly an aphrodisiac. I’ll get my mind off the coronavirus for 15 precious minutes, thinking about Alison Brie’s tight sweaters in “Community,” and then right as I’m almost there my traitor brain will be like, “Hey, so hey, what if all the grocery stores close and your city turns into a tribe of factions looting to survive? You haven’t lifted more than 20 pounds since high school. You might have to sell your body for garbanzo beans. What would you tell your parents? Oh wait, in this scenario they’re dead. LOL.” 

So actually, scratch that. Masturbation is different right now. I think if I had a penis maybe it would be easier — from what I’ve heard, y’all can just tug it out in under five minutes. My body doesn’t work like that, and my brain definitely can’t shut off like that. It’s been a nightmare.

Regular masturbation for me, regular as in “before Trump started saying the stock market’s health is more important than the lives of American people,” was already a bit of a battle. When you’re anxious by nature and you’re a bit too prone to stream of consciousness, sexytimes can be genuinely fraught and odd. Like, one time I was really into this video of this strapping British chap, but then I started thinking well wait he’s been tugging for a while now with no lube or lotion or anything, is he okay? And what if he has to shoot another video after this? I mean, it’s his job and all — he’s gonna hurt himself. 

And then I remembered Brexit, another thing that could hurt this poor fellow. And what does this guy think of Brexit, I wonder? How will it affect him? If he has a family and kids, will they be okay? How will their job prospects fare in the ever-changing British economy, helmed by one insane Boris Johnson? Joris Bohnson, man I hate that guy. And my mind went down that route and I was no longer horny, because you can’t be horny thinking about Boris Johnson. As Pooh Bear himself said — oh bother.

That said, I’m still trying. Being stuck inside has sapped my joy more than I thought it would — I’m an introvert and love to avoid crowds as much as the next gamer guy — but there are still activities that give me some semblance of feeling. Touching myself, eating multiple pints of Ben and Jerry’s, trash-talking jars when I can’t get them open, masturbating again. The circle of life.

Once this is all over — and I have to keep reminding myself, it will be over — I’d like to think all our masturbating will have given us some kind of elevation. Maybe not a spiritual elevation, definitely not a career elevation, but a personal one. Masturbating teaches you more about what you like sexually than actual sex with another person. If you can master how to make yourself feel good, then you can teach other people how to make you feel good. And when we all feel good, we’re kinder to each other. It’s a better world.