This post continues the brief answers about male body and sexual issues begun in Frank Answers Briefly About Male Body Issues. That archived post was getting too long so I moved the questions and answers given in early 2021 to this new post. More questions are invited as we continue through 2021. I’ll see if I can answer them. Questions posted on the blog platform come to me anonymously. Comments on the answers are welcome.
Warning: some explicit images
Boys and Nudity – July 2, 2021
The Father-Son Talk – June 8, 2021
Man Masturbates With Wife’s Approval – May 21, 2021
Erection on the Massage Table – May 6, 2021
Excursus on the “Happy Ending”
Nude Roommate Masturbates to Porn – April 24, 2021
Crucifixion Erection – March 29, 2021
Excursus on St. Augustine and Erections
Homiesexual Boys on Tik Tok – February 19, 2021
Sexual Fantasizing – January 23, 2021 (with gifs)
Self-Care and Self-Touch – January 13, 2021 (with gifs)
Boys and Nudity
July 2, 2021
Hello Pastor Frank. I’ve followed your blog for several years, especially your posts on swimming naked. I’m retired from a health profession (pharmacy) living in rural Oregon. Like you, I experienced swimming nude as a youth and I enjoy sleeping naked, walking around the house naked, and being outdoors naked in the nice weather. My wife accepts this, although she doesn’t join me in everything. In the summer we’re happy to entertain our daughter’s two boys. One is now a young teen and the other is a pre-teen. Since we’re all boys except for my wife I continue my practice of sometimes being nude even with the grandsons here. They’d be welcome to join me, if they wanted to. The younger boy sometimes does, but not the older one. There’s a quiet lake nearby and there are seldom people around so I take the boys swimming and rowing, for which I’m nude if no one is around. My youngest grandson will join me in this state, but not the older one. I doubt that my son-in-law practices much nudity at their home. I would enjoy it if my older grandson will give it a try, but I don’t want to force him. But I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about the situation and why the two boys have different attitudes toward nudity.
Dear naked grandpa,
It’s hard to make any specific comments without knowing your family, but I have a couple of hunches. The younger boy has not yet entered adolescence when youth are obsessively insecure about their bodies. Perhaps he ran around the house naked as a child and enjoyed the experience and is still closer to that experience than the older boy, if he engaged in this behavior as a child. Being older, he probably has that oldest child’s sense of responsibility, and is also looking forward to being even older than he is now. He has no adult male model who exemplifies social nudity at home. And probably no peers who comfortable with nudity either, since boys no longer shower and swim totally naked in gym classes.
At your house, you are a model, but his grandmother is also around and as a teenage boy who is (I assume) past puberty, he doesn’t want to be naked in front of a female. But this shouldn’t be an issue at the lake if no one else is there. If you and his brother are naked in that venue, it’s clear that your grandson is quite determined not to be.
Since your younger grandson is happily nude with you (and enjoying your approval), you probably have a better chance of influencing him to have a more positive attitude toward the naked body than his older brother. But even he will need more experiences of social nudity than just being with you. If his father would join you, for example, in swimming naked in the lake, that would boost your influence. You probably need to have a talk with your son-in-law about this since he is the boys’ father. You should make sure that he’s comfortable with what you are modeling for his sons.
Remember that boys growing up in the 1950s and 1960s had experiences of required swimming naked in the schools and YMCA that most of us were comfortable with. The practice was waning in the 1970s and was practically gone by the 1980s. By the 1990s it was considered “gay” to swim naked. So there is that stigma to deal with also, that may linger on even today. (Ironically, in the 1950s boys who were shy about undressing in front of other boys were called “queer.”) The generations that came after ours have no social or cultural frame of reference for the practice of swimming naked at school, or skinny dipping in creeks or lakes.
Another angle would be if you allowed your grandsons to each bring a friend on a visit and invited them to join you in swimming naked at the lake. If at least one other boy joined you and your younger grandson in swimming naked, that might cause your older grandson to give it a try. But the chances are that it’s a lost cause for him at this point. There’s just not enough modeling. As you have probably observed, the only guys walking around nude in the gym locker rooms are older men. Most of the younger men shower in their bathing suits and change in and out of their clothes with a towel wrapped around their waist. I suspect that many boys in high school don’t bother showering after gym class. The only places where nude swimming could be practiced are in secluded spots like your lake or “clothing optional” beaches (which are actually increasing in tropical tourist destinations).
In any case, a non-judgmental conversation with your older grandson about the issue of nudity might reveal some deeper issues. One wonders if he experienced something negative toward his body or has a self-generated negative body image. A chat would at least give you an opportunity to present your views about the health benefits of nudity on the basis of your own background. After all, he knows you’ve had a career in dealing with the health of the body. I think that if he could try nudity once, he might experience it as liberating. You could also discuss with him the fact that he will at some point in his life be naked with other people, such as in a college dormitory and eventually with a life partner. He might actually be more willing to discuss issues about sex and sexuality with you than with his father. Many youth have found it easier to discuss things with indulgent grandparents than with their parents.
The point should also be made that nudity doesn’t always imply sex, which he must surely see from your example of just being comfortable in your body. The naked body is how God made us. Being clothed was God’s concession to our fallen condition. There’s nothing sinful about nudity in itself, and nothing shameful about the body God created.
Best wishes. If I were visiting you, I’d join you for a dip in your lake on a warm summer day.
The Father-Son Talk
June 8, 2021
Dear Pastor Frank: My wife walked into my thirteen-year old son’s bedroom and interrupted him masturbating with his computer screen open in front of him. She quickly retreated as he closed the screen. She assumes he was looking at porn. She informed me of this encounter and suggested that perhaps it is time for me to have “The Talk” with my son. I see from your blog that you are open about discussing masturbation and pornography. Do you have any suggestions for how I might approach my son about these issues?
My father never had “the talk” with me and perhaps your father didn’t have “the talk” with you either. But it’s time to break the tradition of silence around sexual issues such as masturbation, and pornography also.
If you have “the talk” with your son it will not be easy for either of you. He will suspect that his mother saw what he was doing and told you about it. But this could be the ice breaker to begin the conversation.
You should ask to see him in his room, since it’s his private space within the household. Sit down on his bed and just tell him that his mother is sorry that she interrupted him and that his parents weren’t aware that he had discovered masturbation. “My God, you’ve reached puberty and we should have paid more attention to the changes taking place in your body.” But admit that he’s of an age when all boys discover this pleasurable exertion with their penis, and the family members will have to adjust by knocking before coming into his room to respect his privacy.
If you had a personal experience of being discovered while “jerking off” (use the colloquial term also), tell him about it. This let’s him know that you also masturbated when you were a kid and can identify with his embarrassment. You might ask him if he has any questions about what he has been experiencing physically. Point out that sometimes when we’re just getting started with masturbation the mystery of sex can be scary as well as pleasurable because at first we don’t know what’s happening down there. If he has questions, answer them as honestly as you can, even about your own experiences. If he doesn’t have questions, tell him that if questions come to him, he should be free to ask them. It’s not necessary at this point to give a sex education talk. Too much information can be overwhelming. He’s already overwhelmed that you’re openly talking with him about his secret sex.
Cover a few practical issues, like the cum squirts all over the place (which he may have already experienced) and he should try to keep it contained. He could get naked and put a towel under himself instead of getting the sticky semen (use the word) all over his bedding and clothing. He should keep a Kleenex box under his bed so he can wipe off his hands and other body parts and squeeze the residue out of his penis. Then remind him to collect the Kleenex tissues and put them in the garbage, not the toilet. Point out that he could also go in the shower and experience what it’s like to masturbate standing up.
As for the chat about porn, your wife assumed that’s what your son was watching. I wouldn’t accuse him of that. But you might tell him that you’d also like to have a discussion with him about the use of pornography. Admit to him that you didn’t have the internet to supply you with porn when you were his age (if you didn’t), but that boys were not lacking it in girly magazines that they used for the same purpose as those who look at internet porn: to masturbate. (That may whet his appetite to hear more.)
Your son has to realize that what he’s watching may not be real (unless its in chat rooms, which he shouldn’t be entering). It’s entertainment, and our own sexual practices may not be that acrobatic, just like we probably wouldn’t be able to do the things done in action films. Point out that there are good reasons why age limits are placed on entering porn sites. Young teens may not be mature enough for pornographic sex, just as they aren’t mature enough for actual sex. There’s some kinky and nasty stuff on the internet that we shouldn’t get into. The internet can be a dangerous place. There are bound to be pop up ads, and it would not be safe for your son to clink on those ads.
Point out that we often fantasize when we are masturbating. Fantasizing is a creative mental activity. We do it all the time, and not just about sex. We don’t need stimulating images in order to fantasize. We should also just enjoy our bodies and the pleasures we experience when we touch ourselves all over. Encourage him to explore his body and experiment with different ways of reaching orgasm (use the word). (See the question I answered about fantasizing down below.)
If you are a religious family, I would tell your son that we should be thankful for the gift of our body and its sexuality. We should honor the bodies God has created. If he’s interested in looking at beautiful bodies, introduce him to great works of nude art. (I’m serious!) There’s nothing shameful about the nude body and your son should not be ashamed of his body.
These are my thoughts about how to proceed. The main thing is that you want to be able to keep open channels of communication with your son as he grows into the complexities of the later teenage years. Maybe a good discussion about sex will open the possibilities for good conversation about other topics. I hope it works for you and your son.
Man Masturbates With Wife’s Approval
May 21, 2021
During the pandemic, sex has slowed down with me and my wife. She hit menopause mid-pandemic, and sex really slowed down. I masturbate regularly, and she is fine with it. I also have masturbated occasionally with another male friend, just for fun. My spouse is fine with it, just thinks we are silly. But I wonder if that is a sin. And the guilt takes over. I have enough guilt masturbating solo, but now with a friend? It gets bad. Even though my wife just laughs it off. What do you think of it all?
Frank answers: I don’t think masturbation in and of itself is a sin. There’s nothing about it in the Bible. Masturbation has sometimes been called Onanism, with reference to Onan spilling his seed in Genesis 38. But the sin of Onan had nothing to do with masturbation. His sexual act was coitus interruptus so that he wouldn’t have to fulfill the Levirate law and provide offspring for his deceased brother. For this he was stoned to death.
The sin involved with most sexual acts has to do with relationships, not with sexual practices and techniques. Many men think they have to cease masturbating when they’re married. But your wife seems to be okay with you masturbating while she is “indisposed.” She even laughs off your scruples. She doesn’t want you feeling guilty about masturbating when she can’t have sex. It’s not adultery, like consorting with prostitutes or having a mistress on the side (although some wives have tolerated their husband’s sexual dalliances).
Masturbating when married actually happens a lot. For example, during pregnancies and after child birth, as well as during menopause, men might practice solo sex simply because they need a sexual release that their wife can’t provide. The wife might be willing to help the husband “get off” when she isn’t up for sex by masturbating him. Marital sex would resume when she is ready. And on occasions when the husband isn’t ready, he might help his wife achieve orgasm by masturbating her.
Masturbating with a buddy would stretch the marital relationship for a lot of couples. Adolescent boys often masturbate together, and even in groups, when they are exploring sexuality. Buddies have been known to do this even in adulthood, although usually before marriage. In recent years, however, men’s circle jerks have increased among both gay and straight men.
You say your wife just thinks it’s “silly,” which suggests she doesn’t take your buddy-buddy masturbation seriously. It’s probably not easy for you to explain your desire to do this. You need to come to terms with your own reason for doing this. What need is being met by masturbating with a buddy? Masturbation is a release of sexual tension, and doing it with someone else can heighten the intensity of the ejaculation (and maybe also overcome inhibitions).
You don’t say whether your male friend is gay or straight. It shouldn’t matter as long as it doesn’t lead to an entangling relationship such as a bromance, which is a close relationship between two men that goes beyond ordinary friendship because of its strong bonds of emotional intimacy. But if the male friendship doesn’t lead you away from your wife, there’s nothing wrong with intimate male friendship. Women often have their own intimate female friendships. Men also need buddies with whom to share intimate details of their lives. Some buddy relationships from youth last into adulthood and even when one or both buddies are married.
The important thing is to be open with your wife about your friendships and activities. You seem to have her permission for you to have a jerk-off buddy, just as you have her permission when masturbating alone to satisfy your sexual needs.
That’s nice for you. But I would also recommend being intimate with your wife in ways that are acceptable to her, including kissing, hugging, cuddling in bed at night, being naked with her if she is comfortable with that. You should show her that you are still committed to her as your wife and help her to feel better about herself. Hopefully her menopause will end along with the pandemic.
Erection on Massage Table
May 6, 2021
Question: As a young gay guy I really enjoy your blog and appreciate your openness on many issues about the body and sexuality. When I read your blog post about massage I thought I’d like to get one when that’s possible (obviously not during the coronavirus pandemic). But I have a question. What happens if you get an erection during the massage? Is that normal? Sometimes I can’t control myself, and I worry I may enjoy it too much, if you know what I mean…
Frank answers: You should get a massage when that becomes possible again. Actually, in some places it is possible now. Responsible massage therapists will wear masks and require their clients to do so also. They will wash sheets used on the massage table with disinfectant and wipe down surfaces like door handles. I’ve had a couple of massages so far this year from a massage therapist I have gone to for many years and whom I know to be professional and responsible.
Massage is good therapy for your body if you’ve been tense. This pandemic has created anxieties we may not be consciously aware of but are held in the body. You’re concerned about getting an erection. Well, erections are known to happen because the massage is helping your blood circulation (which also flows to your penis) and when you’re lying face down and the massage therapist is rubbing and pressing on your back, your penis is rubbing against the massage table, which will also stimulate it. That doesn’t mean an automatic erection. But it could happen, especially when you turn over on your back.
Quite frankly, massage is sensuous. You have a lot of erogenous zones throughout your body from head to foot, not just your penis, and the massage therapist is likely to press on several of them (they can be different in different bodies). If you get an erection, don’t worry about it. Professional massage therapists have seen them before and are they are used to dealing with them (mostly by ignoring them).
Anyway, why should a guy be worried about getting an erection. It’s a sign that things are healthy down there. You’re in the privacy of the massage studio, not out in public, and there is therapist-patient confidentiality. There are a lot of men with erectile dysfunction who have difficulty getting an erection. You should be grateful that erections come easily to you. If by “enjoying it too much” you mean having a spontaneous ejaculation, your massage therapist has probably seen that too and if it happens it will add to the release of all the tension in your body. If you happen to ejaculate, he will just get a hot wet towel and wipe you off. On the other hand, if none of this happens (which is just as likely), you can still enjoy the massage.
Speaking man to man, as one who has had a lot of experience with massage — experiencing different modalities in different countries — , I recommend that you find a male massage therapist. I’d even recommend a gay massage therapist whether you’re gay or straight. Gay men know and love the male body. They know what they like for themselves and they will show that to their clients. I’ve experienced a couple of good female massage therapists. But male massage therapists have added strength. You don’t want just a rub down for relaxation. You want someone who does deep tissue and trigger point release to really relax those tense muscles, loosen the connective tissue, and expel the toxins. I’ve seen my massage therapist for years. He gives really intense therapeutic massages and tells I’ll feel relaxed by tomorrow as his work settles into my body. It’s true.
You also want someone who will allow you to be nude on the massage table so that no muscles are missed and long strokes can be given without being impeded by draping. A warm blanket can be provided as covering later on when you’re body is cooling down toward the end of the massage.
How to find a massage therapist
You can check out day spas or massage studios in your area online to see if they have a male massage therapist. Some private massage therapists, like mine, have their own studio and web site. Or you can go on masseurfinder and look for private massage therapists in your area. The site includes what they write about themselves and what kind of reviews they have received from clients. The site sub-divides listings into therapeutic, sensual, and erotic massages. My advice to a young guy who hasn’t received a professional massage before is to begin with therapeutic or sensual massage. You want a massage that is more about addressing the issues of the whole body than just a sexual experience. Massage is about healing the whole body. In a sensual or erotic massage the massage therapist might also join the client in being nude, if you’re okay with that.
The important thing to remember is that nothing is going to happen in any massage that you don’t want to happen.
Excursus: About That “Happy Ending”
When I talk about massage with men, the question of the “happy ending” usually comes up. You’ve probably heard about the “happy ending” in which the massage therapist brings you to ejaculation/orgasm at the end of the massage.
Technically, in the U.S. the “happy ending” is illegal and most massage therapists will not offer it. But many private male massage therapists who advertise a sensuous or erotic massage on masseurfinder will provide it as an organic part of the massage. it is illegal only if your pay extra for the sex. Sex for pay is prostitution. The massage therapist will not offer you a happy ending. That would be solicitation for sex. So don’t ask for a happy ending. But you can indicate your interest by the way you respond to his touch. The therapist will understand. If the “happy ending” is simply part of the massage, it is not illegal; it would be construed as consensual sex. But you may show your appreciation by adding to your tip.
However, I want to argue that a genital massage is actually therapeutic. The penis is a muscle that needs work just like the rest of the body to help with blood circulation and loosening connective tissue. This genital massage, which includes the surrounding area and scrotum, is actually offered in men’s spas in Singapore and Malaysia under the category of men’s health.
Prostate massage is also healthy for men, especially older men. At one time, years ago, you could routinely receive a prostate massage from your family medical practitioner. Maybe if that continued to be done today more instances of prostate cancer would be detected early. Access to the prostrate is through the anus, and some massage therapists know how to give it. But it does involve fingers going into the anus, which many men experience as pleasurable, even if a bit painful at first (like any rectal exam). You could, quite bluntly, ask a massage therapist if he knows how to give a prostate massage.
Anything that happens between the massage therapist and client is by mutual consent and develops over a period of time with repeated visits. I enjoy a hug before or after a massage. This is also a healing touch. I told my male massage therapist that the Austrian woman massage therapist I had before him used to give me a hug. He said, “That can be arranged.”
If you find a massage therapist who seems like a good fit for you, stay with him. He will get to know your body and you will get to know his routine so that you can relax when you go to see him, knowing what to expect. I hope you do have a professional massage experience and find a massage therapist who is right for you. A good massage therapist should be added to your health and wellness team.
Nude Roommate Masturbates to Porn
April 25, 2021
Question: I am 18 and just moved into the dormitory. My roommate is open about nudity and he seldom wears anything when in the room. One morning I woke up and he was jerking off on porn, sitting on his bunk. I felt a bit embarrassed but on the other hand I felt aroused. What should I do?
Frank answers: If you’ve not lived in a dorm before, you’ll find that it is a unique experience. At age 18 you are undoubtedly away from home for the first time and now you need to develop a relationship with a guy you didn’t know previously and in a tight living space. You say you were embarrassed by the fact that he masturbated while watching porn while you are present in the next bunk. You also may not be used to someone who enjoys nudity.
First, let’s deal with the fact that your roommate is uninhibited about being nude. The degree to which domestic nudity is accepted differs from one family to another. You are under no obligation to join him in his preference to be unclothed. But I think it’s not possible to be living in close quarters with someone and not see each other naked at some point. I mean, you change clothes and take a shower every day and your roommate is likely to be in the room. Even in the 1960s when I lived in dorms, some roommates were more modest than others; some seemed to have no modesty at all and would just walk around naked. You will have to figure out to what degree you want to be nude in the room and the two of you will have to accept each other’s preferences.
Second, there is the issue of masturbation. All men do it, and young men do it a lot. I presume you do also. But you’ve probably not seen someone else do it. Again, in close quarters it’s hard to be coy about this. Even if he were jerking off under the covers you would still know what he’s doing. What do you do when you want to jerk off if you don’t want to be seen by your roommate?
There’s a lot of tension to being away from home in college during a pandemic. Masturbation is a form of safe sex that is also tension-relieving and helps one to sleep better at night. One could even regard it as therapeutic in our present pandemic situation. It’s been recommended by health authorities like Mayo Clinic and the New York City Health Department.
You could have a discussion with with roommate about this. For example, you could work out an arrangement where one leaves the room when the other has an urge to relieve himself. You could also just ignore him when he is doing it, perhaps by rolling over in your bed so you are not facing him, or burying yourself in a book (as if you would be able to concentrate with your roommate jerking off!). A degree of tolerance would be the best recommendation for getting along.
Most young people also watch porn. That should be considered private viewing unless you want to share something on the screen with each other. You are under no obligation to participate in this pass time with him. Guys have probably always jerked off to porn. Back in my college dorm days we had Playboy and other girlie magazines. I think focusing on the screen results in poor orgasms because your energy follows your attention. But that’s another matter that I’ve addressed elsewhere.
You said that your roommate’s behavior embarrassed you, but you were also aroused. What aroused you? The sight of him masturbating or the porn he was watching or your roommate’s nude body? All three together could be a powerful arousal combination. Maybe you wanted to join him in masturbating at that moment and that’s what has created your conflicting feelings.
Waking up in the morning you’re likely to have a morning erection, which most boys and young men feel an urge to touch. If you wake up and your roommate is jerking off, what would you think about joining him in that activity? My guess is that he wouldn’t object. A lot of boys and young men have had the experience of masturbating together. It’s not necessarily a gay thing, if that would concern you. It’s a guy thing. If you just give into your arousal and join him in jerking off, it might be an icebreaker that would open conversation about some of these issues.
Best of luck in navigating these issues with your roommate and getting to know him better. I hope you have a successful term in college. If you have further questions, please ask.
March 29, 2021
Question: I’m 16 and sometimes when I go to Mass and look at the large crucifix I get an erection. Today at Mass, being Palm Sunday, we heard the whole passion story and thinking about Jesus on the cross really made me horny. At home I sometimes think about Jesus on the cross and I lay spread eagle on my bed as if I were being crucified. As I lay there stretched out thinking about Jesus on the cross I get an erection and, I confess, sometimes I masturbate. Is it sinful to do this when thinking about Jesus? I wonder if Jesus got an erection when he was being crucified… or ever. What do you think you?
Frank answers: Dear sixteen-year old Catholic boy,
I think it is commendable that you go to Mass and focus on the crucified Christ who was hung on that tree as a sacrifice of atonement to reconcile us to God. In your own way you want to identify with Jesus in his suffering. Christians have done this down through the ages by penitential acts and participating in passion plays. They’re doing this to identify with Christ in his suffering as an act of devotion. You’re also meditating on the suffering of Christ in an embodied way, but as a horny teenager.
I think it’s not unusual that a sixteen-year old gets erections and has erotic thoughts. Maybe it happens a dozen or more times a day for you, even in math class. Looking at the figure of a nude adult male body fastened to and exposed on a cross for all the world to see may also produce erotic thoughts. And as a devout Catholic you are encouraged to gaze at that figure. That’s why the crucifix is centrally located above the altar. As you act out that scene in your bedroom you become sexually aroused and seek relief.
Since you are a Catholic boy I should point out that masturbation is still considered a venial sin in Catholic teaching. It is in the category of “objectively disordered sex.” That means that self-pleasure is not what ejaculation is intended for, even in marriage. In Catholic teaching sex is only to be used for procreation. But the Church recognizes the force of biology, habit, and our subjective thoughts in its pastoral counsel. You should really have a discussion with your priest about this. In the Catholic catalogue of sexual sins, masturbation is at the bottom. Scripture says nothing about it and theologians through the centuries gave little thought to it. There’s been more concern about sexual practices between two people than solitary sex except in celibate religious communities.
It’s not unheard of for Catholic boys to act out the crucifixion. In the Catholic world some men actually get to act out the crucifixion in passion plays or the way of the cross (Via crucis) during Holy Week and on Good Friday. In 2013 in Chicago’s Hispanic Pilsen community, eighteen-year old Alejandro Aviles got to play the role of Jesus in its annual Via Crucis. Alejandro, perhaps the youngest member of that community to portray Jesus, was hoisted onto the cross semi-naked. With the cold late March wind blowing on his naked body it’s amazing that he didn’t get an erection. But I’m sure he was controlling himself by being totally focused on his role as Jesus.
It’s not sinful to wonder just how human Jesus was. If he was human enough to go through suffering and to die, we are not out of line to ask exactly what he suffered. Romans crucified their victims completely naked, and part of the humiliation of this public torture and execution was that the victim couldn’t control his bodily functions. That included urinating, defecating, getting an erection, and maybe even ejaculating. Artists usually haven’t portrayed Christ totally naked, especially in art that will be displayed in churches, although Michelangelo carved a naked Christ on a crucifix when he was nineteen and sculpted a naked Christ rising from the grave. But he didn’t give Christ an erection. There was a traditional view that just as Christ directed his own crucifixion so he also contained his biological functions. It was the same in ancient Greek sculptures of athletes. They were in control of their bodies. That’s why they were all sculpted with little penises.
We have great difficulty acknowledging Christ’s true manhood. Even the Italian gay artist Vittorio Carvelli didn’t give Jesus an erection in his painting of the crucifixion scene, though the two criminals crucified with Jesus were given erections. Getting an erection was a natural response to having their butts resting on an uncomfortable pole to keep their bodies from slipping down the cross. It was uncomfortable and probably required a lot of wiggling around. The eroticism of the situation cannot be denied. But artists have presented Jesus in control of his body.
I think as you grow older you will also be able to control your erections and hopefully you will also move in your thoughts from the physicality of Christ’s crucifixion to its spiritual depths, although we should never forget that what Christ did “for us and for our salvation,” as we say in the Creed, he did in his body, as St. Athanasius taught in his little book On the Incarnation.
There’s nothing wrong with you embodying your meditation on the crucifixion of Christ. It can be a powerful experience to be actually naked before God—vulnerable and open to whatever arises. God’s blessing on your devotion to the crucified Christ.
Excursus on St. Augustine and Erections
I can’t resist adding this story from The Confessions of Saint Augustine. This North African church father who later became the bishop of Hippo and one of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church, went to the public baths with his father when he was sixteen. These facilities, built throughout the vast Roman Empire, combined a gymnasium for exercise, pools of various temperature for bathing, and massages with perfumed oil, and the day was spent being nude. You removed your clothes upon entering and put on clean clothes when you departed. Augustine wrote in this autobiographical work (actually addressed to God):
“The brambles of lust grew high above my head and there was no one to root them out, certainly not my father. One day at the public baths he saw the signs of active virility coming to life in me and this was enough to make him relish the thought of having grandchildren. He was happy to tell my mother about it…” (Book II, 3).
Young Augustine admits that his hormones were raging (“the brambles of lust grew high above my head’) and that his father associated what Augustine called “signs of active virility coming to life in me” with procreation. Young Augustine was clearly having an erection in the public baths, perhaps at the sight of so many nude men or the sheer sensuality of the bathing experience. His father saw young Augustine’s erection and happily reported it to his mother. And the future saint wrote about it to tell God and everyone who has read his book over the last 1600 years.
In a later book called The City of God, Augustine was pondering whether Adam and Eve had sexual desire in Paradise, and if not where did this desire come from. In the process of thinking about it he observed that the penis is the one muscle in the body that we can’t control by will power. In Book XIV, chapter 16 he wrote: “Sometimes the impulse is an unwanted intruder, sometimes it abandons the eager lover, and desire cools off in the body while it is at boiling heat in the mind.” In other words, you get erections when you don’t want them and Mr. Penis doesn’t always rise to the occasion when you want it to.
Augustine of Hippo was a horny teenager and into adulthood he never stopped thinking about sex. But he turned out to be one of the great bishops and theologians in the history of the church. For better or for worse he gave the Catholic Church its theology of sex. I recommend him to you as a patron saint.
Homiesexual Boys on Tik Tok
February 19, 2021
Question: Do you watch Tik Tok videos? There are a lot of videos of shirtless Gen Z boys on Tik Tok engaging in homoerotic behavior in their dancing, kisses, and cuddles. I’m sure most of them are straight. Do you think the ease with which boyfriends interact with each other physically helps to mitigate the “toxic masculinity” you wrote about?
Note: I wrote about “toxic masculinity” in an article on Frank Answers About Male Body Issues.”
Answer: I am a follower of Tik Tok because my daughter, who is a professional singer and musical actress, has found it to be a profitable vehicle for performance during the pandemic when theaters are closed. She has made up songs about current news events and got lots of young adults interested in current issues and even registering to vote. Newsweek found out about her and did an interview. Google Emily Senn or follow her on Tik Tok.
Because I’m a subscriber to Tik Tok, some of the kinds of videos you mention pop up when I check FB notifications. They seem to be mostly boys in their late teens, some of whom have some talent for lip syncing and swaying their hips and pelvis to hip hop songs. They also spend a lot of their video time fussing with their hair. Some of these boys are on Tik Tok Video Boy.
I looked for some examples of success stories and found Jaden Hossler. He’s a 20-year old from Tennessee who was raised in a Christian family and was in musicals in high school. He attracted a following in the millions on Tik Tok in 2019. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that “As of November 2020, Jaden Hossler has more than 8.7 million followers on TikTok, 4.4 million followers on Instagram, 1.7 million followers on Twitter, and 1.29 million subscribers on YouTube.” He sometimes includes Bryce Hall in his videos. Bryce is a 21-year old from Maryland, who has as of February 2, 2021 a TikTok account with 18.6 million followers and a YouTube channel with 3.46 million subscribers. A number of these 20-year-old guys live in a Bel Air mansion in Los Angeles called Sway House and got busted this past summer for holding hard parties in the midst of a pandemic without observing any of the standard social distancing to mitigate infections with COVID-19. I think a lot of high school students got on Tik Tok as a way of dealing with the depression caused by social isolation during the Pandemic. Jaden speaks of teen depression. Bryce speaks of being bullied when he was younger.
Typical of teens is a desire to attract attention and be on the cutting edge. It’s not surprising that straight boys put on gay performances with their boyfriends. Gen Zers grew up in a time when same-sex marriage has been legal. But homosexuals still aren’t generally acceptable by everyone, sometimes including by their own families. There’s still enough stigma attached to being gay that these young men call themselves “homiesexuals” to disavow being regarded as homosexuals. There are undoubtedly also some genuine homosexual boys in Tik Tok and You Tube videos. But the issue here is straight guys acting gay for the sake of gaining a following on social media.
Gen Z has grown up in an social context in which gender fluidity is more acceptable. Boys wouldn’t kiss or hug another boy publicly in the 1980s and 1990s because they would be perceived as gay. Some boys are now more willing to be intimate with other boys and are less worried about being perceived as gay. How far their intimacy on video actually leads is another question. They don’t go the distance. On a 15-second Tik Tok video they only have to lead up to a kiss. They don’t have to get into a passionate embrace. They can touch each other’s pecs or abs to show interest in the other’s bodily development through workouts, but they don’t have to erotically rub their partner’s torso. They go far enough to tease their fans and receive a lot of “likes” or “loves.” For these boys their antics are clickbait.
There’s no question that these boys are conveying a softer masculinity. This appeals to the girls, who click their hearts and thumbs-ups and increase the boys’ social media followings. These boys might draw a life lesson from this experience in terms of male-female relationships. Women do like more sensitive men. To the extent these “homiesexual” boys are countering the toxic masculinity that doesn’t show feelings or express vulnerability by demonstrating male intimacy, they are making a positive contribution to cultural change.
The problem is that homiesexuals make “coming out” as gay look easy, which for real gay boys it isn’t. If this trend of acting gay becomes less trendy, those who are looking for “likes” can back out of it and move in a different direction. Gay and lesbian teens have to live with who they are and navigate the social pitfalls that lie in their path. If the “homiesexual” movement helps make life easier for real homosexuals, well and good. But perhaps some of these talented boys performing on Tik Tok might use their creativity to show in their little skits the difficulties of “coming out,” portray the learning curve of a real gay-straight “bromance” (with humor, of course), or sympathize with the heart-break of some gay relationships.
Pastor Frank Senn
January 23, 2021
I broke up with my girl friend just as the coronavirus hit last year. Our relationship had been deteriorating for a long time and we felt it was time to end it. I felt bad about that but at first I thought I could socialize with my friends. Then as everything shut down I couldn’t get together with my friends. I live alone. I’m able to do most of my job-related work from home on the computer. I spend a lot of time watching TV, prowling the internet, text messaging friends, and playing with myself. I’m lonely, sex-starved, and I have a lot of sexual fantasies. I fall asleep at night fantasizing about having a woman in bed with me and what we might be doing sexually. This feels like making a confession. But you’re a pastor who has addressed a lot of interesting questions. So I thought I would write and ask you about sexual fantasizing. Good or bad?
Dear sex-starved young man,
First of all, only you can tell whether you’re lonely and not just alone. There’s a difference. Many people are content to be alone and this pandemic hasn’t affected them as much. It seems that you are more used to a social life and miss it. Perhaps, like a lot of people, you’re feeling isolated. It’s too bad we’ve called maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from one another “social distancing” instead of “physical distancing.” We’re physically apart while socially together. But now even being socially together is discouraged as we go into a soft lock down to try to mitigate this deadly second surge.
I assume you have family and that you’re in touch with them through social media like FaceTime and Zoom. You indicate that you text with your friends to stay in touch with them even though you can’t meet up with them now in bars and clubs. And undoubtedly you have to check in with your employer or fellow workers. Unfortunately, our human connections will have to be virtual for a while longer.
This includes our sexual relationships. You say you’re “sex-starved.” “Prowling the internet” might mean looking at pornography and maybe dating apps (although you also found my blog site!). This in turn feeds your sexual fantasies. You seem worried about having them. I ask: haven’t you always had them?
We actually live in fantasy worlds most of the time. We’re seldom in the present. We fantasize about the past, how good it was or how it might have been better. We fantasize about the future, what possibilities we look forward to when this pandemic has been overcome. You can fantasize about what sex you would enjoy and who you would enjoy having it with. We all do. It’s good to realize that fantasy isn’t reality. But fantasizing can heighten even solo sex. It puts us into the subjunctive world of “what if “ and takes us momentarily out of the indicative world of “what is.” It gives us some hot hopes to play with instead of cold reality to work through.
A lot of studies have been done on sexual fantasizing. Obviously there is a lot of interest among clinical sexologists in fantasies about deviant sex such a fetishes and sadomasochistic sex such as bondage and rape. But ordinary sexual fantasies deal with having sex with previous partners, other persons we have known in the past, acquaintances we know now (such as among your group of friends), or even celebrities we might meet and nameless people we’ve never met. Fantasies include practices we have experienced and also practices we would like to experience. Married persons even fantasize about what they’d like to do with their marital partner.
Generally, psychologists believe that fantasizing is a healthy mental activity and good for our sex life. Some people claim to watch porn to get ideas about how to spice up their sex life. The psychologist D. Stroller suggests that “sexual fantasies are a private pornography in which we rehearse over and over again needs that are nearly impossible to fulfill in actual sex” [D. Coleman & S. Bush, “The liberation of sexual fantasy,” Psychology Today (1977)]. As such, sexual fantasies are a way of combating sexual dissatisfaction. That would include your apparent dissatisfaction with solo sex (“playing with myself”), since masturbation would be one way to feed your sexual hunger. I suspect that masturbation already accompanies your viewing habits and mental imagination. I suggest that if you jerk off while watching porn, this gives you unexciting orgasms.
Let me fill you in on a little secret I learned from my physical trainer (who has a Master of Science in Applied Physiology) when I attended a couple of workshops on men’s sexual energy that he offered. The main things he taught is that your energy goes where your attention is. That includes your sexual energy. If your attention is focused on the computer screen while you masturbate, your sexual energy goes into the screen. Your fantasies are guided by what the screen images furnish. If you forget about the porn and give your attention to your body, by touching and rubbing it all over, and taking your time with ejaculation while you imagine what you would like being done to you, you will have a much more satisfying orgasm.
Here are some suggestions: hold off on masturbating for a day or two or even three. Prepare your body by awakening it physically and sensually. Physically, you can bounce up and down, swinging your arms freely, undulating your pelvis, and bouncing your penis. Vigorous movement will get your blood flowing throughout your body and into your penis.
Then lay down and continue to focus on your body by touching yourself all over (a self-massage) the way you would like to be touched by that woman in your bed: your nipples, pecs, abdomen, pelvis, balls, penis tip, buttocks, anus, thighs, etc. While touching your body try edging: slowly rub your penis with your free hand to the point of ejaculation, then back off, use both hands to rub your body, and return to rubbing your penis again, maybe backing off several times, until you’re ready to explode.
When you’re ready to ejaculate, continue to focus on your body with whatever fantasies come into to mind. We all have sexual fantasies and for the most part they contribute in a positive way to healthy sexuality. They also engage the mind in creative exercises that we can act out even when we are alone as we sexually engage our entire body in the service of our imagination. There’s no reason playing with yourself has to be boring.
Self-Touch as Self Care
December 20, 2020
Question: I’m a young man who lives alone. In this COVID pandemic we’ve been deprived of human touch. Christmas has come and gone and I only saw my family through Zoom. There has certainly been no sex. I long for human touch, especially the sensuous kind. Do you have any suggestions?
Frank answers: Dear alone man,
Yes. Practice self-touch. Our body needs to be touched and massaged. Deprived of the touch of others we must touch ourselves. It’s a form of self-care.
Back in 1899, the psychologist Havelock Ellis invented the term “autoeroticism.” He defined it as the whole complex of sexual emotions “generated by the absence of external stimulus, proceeding directly or indirectly from another person.” In fact, he regarded autoeroticism as the core of sexuality. Animals touch themselves, Babies touch themselves. Boys and girls touch themselves. It might lead to masturbation. With young men this is almost certainly the case. But it doesn’t have to. Self-touch can be a way of satisfying the body’s need for touch by giving oneself a massage, as far as your hands can reach. Self-touch is a way of affirming our body. Self-massage can provide the stimulation of the circulation of blood and fluids and the loosening of muscles and tissues that any massage provides.
So this is something to experiment with. Stimulate your body in different ways. Let self-touch also stimulate your mind by allowing fantasies to serve as your “external stimulus.” The following gifs are intended to inspire your experiments and imagination as you care for yourself during this pandemic.
We look forward to the ending of the mitigations that are in place because of the pandemic, especially social distancing. We need to be together socially in the flesh, not just virtually online. We need the human connectivity and touch that social contact provides, especially with our loved ones. In the meantime, there’s nothing shameful about touching ourselves to stimulate our sensuality and sexuality. Your body will thank you for it.
Thanks for visiting Frank-Answers.com. Visit Frank Answers Briefly About Male Body Issues for more questions and answers about masculinity and sex. Prowl around my blog and look at other topics that may be of interest to you. Comments are welcome on all the Frank Answers.