Why Do Men Feel the Need to Jerk Off in Public Spaces in Front of Women?

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 07:57
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Dear Betty and Carlin,

There is something that I don't understand. Why do men feel the need to jerk off in public spaces in front of women to excite them?

I have had two moments in my life when a man (complete stranger) wanted me to stare at him while he is jerking off, once in a train and once in a street (while I was waiting alone in a car). On both occasions, the man started masturbating while looking at me and then asking me for sexual favours. I refused and they would insist making me feel so stressed and anxious about the whole situation. Fortunately, I would threaten to call the police and they would walk away. I feel so used for their own pleasure and disgusted by it all. How can this still happen and go unpunished?

Thank you for all your work!

My Dear Girl,

There are millions of reasons why there are sexually sick people in this disturbed world of ours. Some exhibitionists just want to show off their penis or like the guy who wanted you to watch him masturbate. These men are severely repressed. Most important is our response to these poor sick souls. For all we know, your masturbating exhibitionist could have been tortured by his mother or some care giver who severely punished him for masturbating. A natural act during childhood sexual exploration! But once it’s blocked, most often anti-social behaviors take hold. So now he’s acting out or getting even every time he upsets some poor unsuspecting girl by masturbating defiantly in front of her.

Let’s look at the same situation in a broader context with compassion and understanding. Many societies (especially American) use sex to sell everything. Also our entertainment revolves around sex like books, films, video games and social media on up to hard core Internet porn. Don’t forget advertising and fashion. It's all about sex, sex, sex! Then we add the built-in biology of reproducing our species. There is a natural sex drive or human urge to mate like other animals on the planet. All of this is very potent stuff.

Meanwhile, a vast number of girls and women are knocking themselves out to look as "sexy" as possible with make-up, hairdos, short skirts, low cut shirts with cleavage to show off titties with very tight garments below to emphasize curvy butts. To top it off, their often walking around in high heels, those chase me, fuck me shoes!

Okay, I can hear you saying you were just wearing jeans with your hair pulled back and no make-up. All he needed for a target was a young girl, sitting alone. You were smart to say you would call the police. Another smart move would be to lean forward and get better look. A girlfriend of mine said, "You call that a sex organ?" One time a little guy ran past me while yanking on his dick looking to see my reaction. The whole scene plus the look on his face was so goofy, I just both up laughing. He slinked off. These poor guys need a victim, a woman who freezes in fear, not one who will speak up, take it in stride, or verbally threaten to call someone.

Victorian ladies dealt with men who had roaming hands in crowded places by stabbing them with a sturdy hat pin that kept their elaborate bonnets in place. A perfect solution I’d say. When I moved to NYC as a young girl from the Midwest, the first time some guy was rubbing his hardon against me in a crowded subway, I literally froze. The feeling was beyond awful; I felt sick and utterly helpless. Finally I was able to get in touch with my anger. That’s when I turned and glared at him, making eye contact. He moved away.

When it comes to sex, we can pretty much assume that men want it and women flaunt it! Women need to acknowledge that to some degree, we are bargaining with our sex. Yes, a women will have sex, but under certain conditions. A sex professional will give a man her hourly fee, but "good girls" need to be courted. Meanwhile on the first date, she's deciding if he’s just a fun time, a one-off or possibly someone who might be more serious like marriage material. Most often he’s simply horny and just wants to get laid, but she might get pregnant, so sex represents a far bigger risk for her. Plus the responsibility of birth control unfairly rests upon women.

Most sexual rules are established by organized religions, adopted by society, and policed by the nuclear family which is primarily "Mother." That's why so many women turn into sex cops or social arbiters of what's sexually allowed, what's ignored, what's punishable. And while most men openly agree to these sex rules, many think they apply only to girls and women. Or there are those guys who pretend to agree knowing they will probably cheat without getting caught, thanks to the sexual double standard. Then we have rigid patriarchs who view women as their property to do with as they please. However, they cannot function without the support of their wives. Since most wives are financially dependent while raising his other children, she is trapped. Too often she’ll look the other way when he's heading towards their daughter’s bedroom late at night.

I'm sure this basic human activity of masturbation was spotted by church fathers as the ideal activity to call a sin. They couldn't prohibit intercourse because the Church always needs members. However touching our genitals when no one is looking just to enjoy the pleasurable sensations? Ah Ha! That’s the perfect sin.

People’s sex organs would be there to tempt them at all times, especially when they were alone in bed. Here was an activity most children do night after night, but always with guilt feelings and fearful of being caught. Childhood masturbation is our first natural sexual activity and when it’s inhibited or punished, it becomes the basis of human sexual repression. Once this powerful sex drive is denied, anti-social behavior takes hold to replace our blocked pleasure.

After years of being plagued by obscene phone callers, one in particular who was a phone stalker throughout my marriage, instead of hurling a stream of nasty words and slamming down the phone, I simply quietly hung up the receiver and blessed this poor soul who was a victim of severe sexual repression. Compassion was a powerful healer for all my frustration and anger toward these sexually disturbed men. We were both victims of an unfair society that denied bodily expression of human sexual pleasures unless it was within the sanctity of a monogamous heterosexual marriage.

My Sexual Memoir, with the final version to be published in the fall, tells my story of how I ended up designing my own sex life like I painted a picture. The creative process is my life saver and an important part of my spiritual path.

Dr. Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Frustration in all genders

Gestal'thiano's picture
Fri, 08/08/2014 - 15:55

You are wise, Betty.


Sat, 08/09/2014 - 05:55
Anonymousa (not verified)

Why did you jump straight to mother blaming to explain the perversion of a decrepit male who won't take responsibility for his own behaviour.

Male and female exhibitionism and repression

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 16:06

Betty often shares much wisdom with us, as she does here. If our sexuality were allowed to develop without interference and without harsh punishment from religions and parents, we'd simply be naturally sensual and sexual. We would all have to learn the basics of appropriateness and self-protection (when and with whom to be sexual), but we would never question the rightness of enjoying our bodies and the pleasures they give us.

I think that adult exhibitionism has its roots in wanting to have our sexuality at last seen and acknowledged by others---in positive ways if possible, but any way is better than none. If the repression was severe and created a lot of rage, showing oneself to unwilling persons can be a defiant act meant to punish (by proxy) the sex-denying parent.

What most people really want, I think, is to have their sexuality acknowledged in the positive ways they never got when they were growing up. In childhood, when our attention is constantly re-directed away from touching our bodies and when we're forced to cover ourselves up, there's a part of us that longs to have our sexuality met with approval rather than with shaming. There seems to be no shortage of young women willing to bare themselves and masturbate on sites like ifeelmyself, for example. My sense of this is that the participants deeply want their sexuality to be welcomed and admired rather than forcibly hidden away. They didn't get this positive reinforcement growing up, so it's an understandable act of self-affirmation and self-completion to seek it on their own. They're making an unmistakable public statement about the fact that they are sexual people with powerful sexual feelings, and nobody's going to tell them they're not. And of course, everyone likes to get compliments and to be thought sexy. If sex-positive childhoods were the norm, aggressive sexual acting-out would virtually disappear. We'd all still love positive feedback about our sexuality, but we'd feel so relatively secure that we wouldn't have to go out of our way to try to find it.

Because they're jerks

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 05:15

There is a difference between understanding and accepting.

It is possible, as Betty suggests that men jerking off in public are reacting to a society that has repressed or oppressed them. It is perhaps more likely that they are reacting to a society that unduly empowers and entitles them, that gives them power over women and a sense that they should abuse them. Maybe these are two sides of the same coin.

At some level the cause does not matter. These are adults. Adults take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Unwanted sexual attention is abusive. Men jerking off in public is all about dominance, control and power.

Sites such as everydaysexism highlight how common this behaviour is around the world, so common it has become normalised and trivialised in our "egalitarian" developed world.

As we bemoan a fake model shoot depicting a woman being held down on a bus in Delhi as mock rape, how can we shake our heads and tell ourselves to be more understanding of a man masturbating and ejaculating in the face of an unwilling woman on a train in downtown NY/London/wherever?

This is not acceptable behaviour.

Understanding is not accepting

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 14:26

Understanding means looking at the possible root causes of wrong behavior so that those causes can be addressed and the likelihood of that behavior reduced in the future. That doesn't mean sitting around theorizing while bad things are happening. The first priority is to STOP the offensive behavior from occurring and to extend protection to those who need it. But without some knowledge of what lies behind the unacceptable behavior, we will just be reacting to each new occurrence of that wrong behavior while doing nothing about preventing such things from happening again.

Sexual repression, sexism, arrogance, rage---they could all be involved and interacting here. Some of these causes are not in our direct reach; they will have to be addressed by overall societal changes, of the kind that are gradually making women's rights and human rights a universal concern. But we can do something about demanding quality sex and interpersonal education, for example. Schools are one of the best places to reach young people and teach them not only that sex is fun---it's also an area of great responsibility, where how we treat other people is everything. We can teach them the basics of empathy and mutual respect, in other words. We hope they will have learnt these things at home, but we know that's not always the case. There will probably always be people whose backgrounds make getting through to them very difficult, but it's our responsibility to try. When we strive to understand the origins of such unacceptable behavior, and apply what we've discovered to creating possible remedies, we're going beyond reacting after the fact. We're doing what we can to build a safer and more respectful society.

Less acceptance reqd

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 08:36

There is too much acceptance of this kind of behaviour by men in public space. It is so commonplace that women are obliged to come up with defensive strategies to cope.

I do not know a single woman who has not had someone masturbate infront of her, against her or on her in a public place at some time in her life, usually more often than once.

I will worry about the root causes of this behaviour, when I can be assured that a simple bus or train ride in the middle of the day will not require me or my young daughters to deal with a man thrusting their dick against our backs with a smile or a smirk.

Or when the other men in the carriage, stand up and intervene rather than ignoring the behaviour. Reacting to individual events would be a huge step forward. I have promised myself that if I see this happening (again) to a woman, I will support her.

& just came across this link which sums it up quite well for me:

Root causes

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:40

Yes, I certainly don't think this sort of action should ever be accepted as 'routine' or dismissed with a shrug. 'Predatory exhibitionism' is clearly quite wrong, although where I live it sparks outrage rather than acceptance. My impression was that aggressive public displays of this sort were rare, but apparently not. They should certainly not be tolerated. At the same time, there is another sort of simple exhibitionism that is more pathetic than predatory. While this also isn't right, it seems to me that the interventions in these cases ought to be somewhat different, and that the typical root causes might well be tied more to sexual repression and childhood disapproval. There is also female exhibitionism, which I've witnessed a time or two and which might have similar motivations.

What I think we have to do is to stop the intrusive, predatory behavior while at the same time looking in a practical manner at its origins. The origins are relevant, because they might hold the key to eventually having that safer society we want for our children. I think it's also useful and necessary to distinguish between a person who passively 'wants to be noticed', and someone who clearly has bad intentions and is actively being as aggressive and offensive as possible. If we had a sex-positive, healthy society, we (and our children) would not be horrified by simple nudity, but we also would not tolerate sexual intrusiveness because we'd know what healthy boundaries are and when someone was trying to cross them.

cosmopolitan ran an artical

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:35
kuu (not verified)

cosmopolitan ran an artical about why women should masturbate in public.
so then, "why can't a man?" right?

gooses and ganders. their boats will float the same.

You need to define "public" because it makes a big difference

Betty Dodson's picture
Thu, 09/11/2014 - 17:52
Betty Dodson

where this takes place. If it's Times Square you will get arrested. If it's at sex party I would highly recommend it. Privataely with your lover iit's practically a must to learn about each others sexuality.