Playing with yourself. Pleasuring oneself. Wanking. Jerk off. Whack off. Frigging. Self-abuse. Self-pollution. Spank the monkey. Flip the bean. Onanism. etc.
Tuesday Ten: 255: Me Myself and I
There are many ways of describing masturbation, and as I’ve found out this week, there are many more songs than I thought there were preoccupying themselves with the subject. It all started with an e-mail from Karen this week titled “A Cheeky Tuesday Ten suggestion” after she heard Oops (Oh My) by Tweet and Missy Elliott, a song very much on the subject (and probably one of the biggest hits about it, too).
So, I thought, why not. Delve, as it were, into a different realm from most of my Tuesday Tens, and while there are some familiar bands in there, there are a few definitely not covered before.
amodelofcontrol.com on Facebook
I Touch Myself
Yes, so I’ve featured this before (in 072: Lust some seven years ago), but it’s probably the first song most think about on this subject. A massive hit across many countries when released early in 1991, this was a song where Chrissy Amphlett was upfront and clear about her intentions – when her partner is not around, memories of said partner fuel her fantasies and she isn’t afraid to act upon them. The video is less than subtle, too…
Body of my Own
One of a new generation of pop stars, Charli XCX has been more successful with co-writing other people’s songs (this relentless earworm), or guesting on them (this other earworm), perhaps, than with her own material despite critical attention and lots of airplay. One of the songs on her latest album, though, makes it very clear that she’s happy to go her own way (“Yeah, I can do it better when I’m all alone“), even if that means getting her sexual kicks without the help of anyone else.
Rub ’till it Bleeds
Rid of Me
Way back before she was delving into the bleak concepts of geopolitics and war, Polly Harvey was an angry firebrand, writing deeply personal songs that frequently crossed the line into, er, frankness, while Steve Albini’s production on this album only made everything sound so much more stark and raw. Which rather suits this song, where Harvey reminds that this week’s subject does not have to be aimed at the self – it can also benefit others, so to speak. Although maybe not until it bleeds.
Amanda Palmer has always been another artist unafraid to bare all, both physically and psychologically, all the way through her career, both in the Dresden Dolls and in her solo work since (indeed as time has gone by, she has probably shared even more). This has been in the form of the good things in life, and also the bad – and I guess this song very much falls under the latter. This song details masturbation as part of a cold, lifeless and dull routine, one where it fits in as part of a coping mechanism with loneliness, and what she actually wants is someone to be there, to take the loneliness away – and maybe not necessarily be a sexual partner. (See also the ever-marvellous Coin-Operated Boy, which at least in part covers this week’s subject…)
Under The Pink
Tori Amos fits into a similar lineage, too – being brutally frank on matters of love and sex all the way through her now lengthy career, and following her own experiences has been active in helping others in so many ways. Icicle, needless to say, is just as frank, it’s stark realism brought to bear by the simple arrangement of just piano and her voice. Amos has explained the meaning of this song in great detail, so I’ll leave the rest to her.
Ménage A Moi
Rather less serious, and more, well, raunchy, is Rebekah Delgado’s still bloody marvellous song about sexual frustration. I say frustration – it’s more about being teased, and having mutual fun from afar, with the lyrics being somewhat explicit about what is going on. Remarkably this was played uncensored, as I recall, a few times on BBC 6 Music…
Short Music For Short People
From an album that is forty-nine minutes in length, contains 101 songs, and features one band best-known for writing and performing a certain well-loved series theme. Here though, the band are not thinking about Buffy (well, they could be I guess, but they don’t name who they are thinking about, which is probably for the best), but they are thinking about someone, and that thinking involves the use of an Argyle sock…and you can guess the rest for yourself. For sure, they aren’t yet doin’ laundry, but they are going to need to do soon…
The People’s Common Sense Medical Advisor By R.V. Pierce M.D.
This May Be the Reason Why the Men That Will Not Be Blamed
for Nothing Cannot Be Killed by Conventional Weapons
As always, we can look at the past too, and this time we can thank The Men for writing a song on this subject…kind of. Set in a Victorian surgery, the Doctor somehow manages to blame anything and everything on the patient masturbating (As the V&A note, Victorian attitudes to Sex & Sexuality generally were rather different to now in many respects, but in particular seemed to blame all manner of social ills on what people got up to by themselves!), much to the confusion of the patient, but even by the end he’s convinced too…
Orgasm Addict 7″
A song that Pete Shelley is apparently embarrassed by nowadays, it remains one of the ultimate songs to sum up teenage sexual experimentation. Two minutes of rudimentary punk rock, with Shelley ranting and moaning through the song as he details compulsive masturbation, fantasies about everyone and anyone…and to probably no-one’s surprise, saw the song banned by the BBC. Even so, this probably resonated with many teenagers who heard the song at the time.
Amongst Women Only
Don’t Stop The Night
Not an artist I’m particularly familiar with, this song was suggested for this list and interestingly is the only one where a man is writing about a woman’s experience. This song covers a woman who has jettisoned the narrator’s hand (or other parts) and in something of a voyage of sexual discovery finds that she knows herself far better than she thought. Back in the early nineties, allegations of sexism against the artist were addressed in a short film released a year or two after the song. This is also one of the only songs I’ve ever featured in this series where I cannot find the song itself to add to the playlists.