What Are You Doing In There With That Magazine?

What Are You Doing In There With That Magazine?

 It's confession time this week! 

Does anyone remember going into the bathroom with a magazine and “doing the nasty” or “wanking off” when you lived at home? 

Or maybe you just were able to close your bedroom door and lock it from the inside? 

“Jimmy! What are you doing in there? It's nearly suppertime and your father will be home!” shrieks your mother, curlers in her hair. 

“Mommy, I gotta go, and Jimmy's still in there!” whines your little sister, dragging her Malibu Barbie along the green shag carpeting. 

Bring back memories? 

Do you even remember which magazines or books you took into your secret places? 


Ideal Toilet

There's an element of humor here, but also there was a palpable, paralyzing fear and shame in those days, because if you were caught with dad's Playboy, that might be understandable, if naughty in a “boys will be boys” sense; but if Mom was cleaning and found a Playgirl or a Honcho under your bed in most situations that would be a major catastrophe. In the sixties and seventies, for example, you could even be institutionalized and treated with electroshock therapy to turn you straight. 

Honcho Magazine

Attitudes have drastically changed since then, and of course nowadays the source of your hard-on is more likely to be found on a computer or phone, which would make the logistics of orchestrating a private “release” much different and even more dangerous, what with the potential to track web sites visited, caches, downloads, et al. 

Perhaps the real issue here is not just the awful shame that many gay guys felt in the seventies about their sexuality, but also the value of privacy, which isn't necessarily a synonym for shame. I find it rather ironic that now being gay or even just jerking off no matter what your orientation isn't in most circles a ticket to eternal damnation, but privacy and a subsequent respect for boundaries between what is public and what is private seems more and more elusive. 

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