Dear Ty

Illustration: Rame Abdulkader.
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Dear Ty,

I’ve been masturbating three or four times a week since I hit puberty, but some recent life events have put a kink in my routine: living in residence. My roommate and I share a room with virtually no privacy, so I’m finding it difficult to masturbate and I’m incredibly scared of being caught. I’m finding that this disruption is really taking a toll on my health and well-being. Help!

—Residence masturbator

Dear RM,

You’re not alone in your concern.

According to a 2009 study from Indiana University, close to 65 per cent of women and over 80 per cent of men aged 18 to 24 masturbate at least a few times a month. Masturbating is incredibly common.

Also, it’s no surprise that this cums (wink wink) as an upset to your day-to-day life.

While I’m sure you’ve heard some of those negative childhood myths surrounding masturbation (that it can lead to hairy palms, infertility and even shrinking genitals, etc.), research suggests the exact opposite.

Masturbation can be extremely beneficial in a number of areas of life. Among these noted benefits include reduced sexual tension, reduced stress and anxiety, improved body image and overall self-esteem, and improved sleep. In fact, masturbation can even be a great way to relieve menstrual cramps. For those gym rats out there, masturbating won’t only strengthen your favoured arm but also your pelvic and abdominal muscles.

Now that we understand masturbation is normal and good for you, no matter your living situation, let’s brainstorm some ways to help you self-pleasure in res.

The most obvious but also trickiest solution is simply being honest with your roommate. As we’ve seen, masturbation is very common, and chances are they could be going through the same dilemma you are.

If your roommate is thinking the same thing, why not set up a schedule? Compare class and work calendars and pinpoint some individual time each day where you’ll give or be given space. Alternatively, if you both feel comfortable masturbating in the same room, go for it, but do make sure this is something you both agree to.

If you want to go down the more private route, there are plenty of ways to masturbate discreetly in residence.

As you become closer with your roommate, you likely will get familiar with their schedule. Take mental notes when they mention having work or class on a certain day—figuring out parts of their schedule can give you an idea of when you’ll have alone time.

Beyond your dorm room, the shower is a good option and can even be an opportunity to spice up your normal routine. Try using different kinds of lubrication, positioning, technique, and toys. If your res has communal showers, however, not a good idea. And guys, no matter what the next viral meme may say, masturbating in the shower cannot clog the drain.

A locked bathroom stall on your floor is a good choice too, but nobody likes a mess—be sure to clean up after yourself and leave the bathroom cleaner than you found it. If you want some more time and space, getting to know some of the nooks and crannies of campus can be helpful. Find a quiet building and make yourself at home in an unknown bathroom stall. Top floors of buildings and basements are great places to start. While single private bathrooms may be hard to find, they can be self-pleasure gems.

Whether you’re flicking the bean or choking the chicken, hopefully these tips help you come up with some innovative ways to keep on self-pleasuring in residence.