Recently after class I went into the washroom and accidentally walked in on a one-man show: A guy in one of the stalls was going at it, masturbating furiously, with what I assume to be his right hand.
The experience—which involved a few subtle moans and the unpleasant sounds of fast hand movement—made my visit to the little boys room very uncomfortable. I don’t know if he just didn’t notice that someone had walked in on him, or he actually just didn’t care (being in the middle of such a pleasurable activity makes it really hard to stop, even if it’s for mere common decency), but the entire situation was totally uncomfortable, and I was left completely shocked and horrified.
After leaving the washroom with what some would consider to be a traumatic experience, I started wondering why it is socially unacceptable to masturbate in a public washroom.
I had the urge to go ask my friends if they would ever rub one out, flick it, or masturbate in public. Most answers were followed by a look of disgust, as if the question should not have been brought up in the first place. But I chose to face the fact that this kind of thing happens, and some of us have at least thought about it on occasion, even though societal norms dictate certain public washroom etiquette.
A friend of mine actually called the behaviour to be exhibitionistic. Exhibitionism, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is the act of indecently exposing one’s genitals in public to non-consenting individuals. It mostly leads to sexual gratification for the perpetrator.
In this particular case, knowing the frequent number of visitors who could walk in can easily be classified as a form of exhibitionism. When you think of it that way, the excitement of exposing your act through sounds can be enticing in a kinky way.
But is it truly unethical or socially unacceptable? Where do we draw the line?
To me, it seemed clear in that moment, standing in the middle of the washroom, that I was not OK with this kind of behaviour. But after thinking about it for a while, I found it hard to determine what was unacceptable about the situation.
If you think about it, the washroom is a place of relief. You go in and expel whatever needs to be ejected (pun most definitely intended). Whether it is urine, feces or semen, relief is relief. The public washroom provides a facility where such service can take place and be executed with the most comfort possible.
At the same time, who amongst us can say they haven’t had sex in a public washroom or know a friend who has? Sex in public washrooms in bars or clubs is pretty common nowadays.
So why can’t this type of tolerant reaction be applied to those who masturbate in public washrooms? It’s still a sexual act that involves just one person. It almost feels discriminatory to deny individuals the pleasure of such sexual act. Given the circumstances, those who engage might for the most part be single.
Just cause you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t have washroom sex. So just do you and ignore the rest of us.