Secure the skin moisturizer and restock the Kleenex supply: there's a masturbatory storm brewing on the horizon. (Didn't I say I would write about something that the Gazette blog probably wouldn't touch?)
I have two boys aged 8 and 10, meaning that within the next year or so and for the subsequent eight to ten years - and that's a conservative estimate - there's going to be a whole lot of self-pleasuring going on. It also means my wife and I are going to have to decide what to do about the Internet.
Back in my doodle-yanking heyday, we didn't have a vast and varied on-line fantasy world at our busy little fingertips. We had to use our imagination. If we wanted to enhance the experience, our options were pretty much limited to the women's underwear section in the Eaton's catalogue or the occasional racy album cover (my personal favorite was Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.) This required an element of stealth, as no teenaged boy I know of who came of age in the 1960s and/or 70s ever produced a plausible answer when their mother asked them why they were going to the bathroom with a department store catalogue or an LP jacket. My Dad never asked. He knew the score.
Sometimes, Christmas would come early, and I'd find a copy of Playboy or Penthouse in the Old Man's closet.(God, I hope my mother isn't reading this). Compared to the hardcore smut that's so readily available today, Playboy and Penthouse are about as raunchy as Archie comics, but back then they were on the cutting edge of the assault on morality, and represented an adolescent boy's best opportunity for doing some serious wood-buffing with genuine material inspiration.
It's probably a good thing that there was no Internet when my hormones kicked into overdrive. I was busy enough tickling Elmo with little or no visual stimuli. I might have damaged the thing beyond repair in the cyber age.
The greater concern, though, is how the boys are going to interpret what they see on the Internet. I'll always remember and be grateful for my parents explaining to me that pornography was not an accurate representation of a healthy and loving sexual relationship, and their comments were based on material that was arguably artistic by comparison to what's out there today. Will common sense prevail, or do I have to explain to my kids that bukkake and fetish BDSM aren't part of a normal and healthy sexual relationship? Or is that in itself a moral judgement on my part that could be disputed by bukkake and fetish BDSM enthusiasts?
These are not rhetorical questions. I'm honestly looking for answers. I know there's Net Nanny among other ways of policing your kids on the Internet, but let's face it: they're already more computer savvy than I am, and even if they can't access it at home, they'll access it somewhere else.
If you have children - especially boys - who've gone through adolescence in the Internet era, I'm all ears.
Meanwhile, I have to go to the bathroom with this Fausto Papetti album cover. I'm, uh, trying to learn Italian.