Not that long ago, when I was a teenager, my trademark outfit was a fedora, track pants, and a sports jacket. I fervently browsed 4Chan on the daily. I had a 12-gigabyte folder of shitty memes. I was the epitome of that guy.
I also used to watch a lot of porn—like, a lot, even for a teenage boy—and it got to the point where I was probably beating off five times a day in order to satisfy a never-ending need for stimulation. At a certain point in a man's life, however, the hand is simply not enough, and we all must make a choice.
Some of us, many of us, move onto real people; we form relationships, we have many awkward and/or awesome sexual encounters; and jerking off becomes less of a necessity and more of a failsafe for those dry spells. But all this came later in life for me. For the intervening years, I improvised physical intimacy with inanimate DIY objects. Trying everything from microwaved melons to surgical gloves wrapped in a towel, I chased the next best orgasm like a dope fiend.
In my case, Fleshlight-type objects—or "sleeves" as they're called in the community—are really all I was into, which seems pretty boring as far as the world of sex toys goes.
A lot of us, perhaps understandably, have some reservations walking into a shop and handing cash to a stranger for a mass-produced simulated-flesh wand to use on our genitalia, so we get creative. Sites like YouTube and Vimeo contain endless video guides and reviews about how to assemble and use a variety of McGyvered objects to get one off, making the online world of homemade pleasure devices deep and vibrant. In my case, after seeing ads about the Fleshlight back in 2010, I immediately wanted to up my masturbation game with the help of a mass-produced plastic vagina.
But there were a number of obstacles to my plan, the first of which was that, at the time, I had neither a credit card nor the money to order one. Even if I convinced my parents to let me use their Visa in exchange for some allowance money, I worried they'd get their monthly statement only to find "POCKET PUSSY 5000 - $69.99" next to their Grocery Gateway order.
Another problem was the actual arrival of the thing at my doorstep. I'd probably be at school and my mom would most likely be the first soul to lay eyes upon it. The idea of my mom unwrapping a package only to find a mechanical vagina that looks like it could suck the dimples off a golf ball seemed much worse than your usual, "My parents walked on me when" scenario.
So with my options limited to my imagination, I had to Frankenstein my own creations. The first video I found after YouTubing "Homemade pocket pussy" (which I am very happy to say is still online) described in just three short minutes how I could duct tape, heat up, and decore a banana into a tunnel of temporary love.
At 99 cents a pound, this was economically the best option. That's roughly 12 cents per fuck, and my parents would never second guess why there was a shortage of bananas in the house or why I happened to be on a sudden potassium kick. The downside to this was the mess: excess remaining banana goop and sugary starch would stick to my legs or drip onto the floor. Also, after you bust into a banana peel, that gut-churning feeling of shame that follows after beating off triples in size.
I dabbled in a dozen or so different DIY fuckables, and some are arguably better than others. A heated up watermelon, for example, totally sucks. While the concept of cutting a penis-sized hole in a big ball of microwaved fruit sounds like a potentially interesting sexual experience, the lack of pressure that can be applied due to the melon's hard shell leaves you with a loose, slobbery mess. You just don't get the grip or control you have with a banana. Also, it's pretty heavy to hold when you're a weak-ass teenager, so you'd need to use a table or another of your family's furniture for stability.
Then there's things like making your own cocksleeve via a complex molding process, like the one laid out in this video. This shit, in my opinion, is way over the top and is generally just done by wank enthusiasts. After all, if you have the skill, willpower, money and resources to do pull this off, you should probably just go out and buy a motorized Tenga.
The best thing I'd found (after the banana) was the use of a rubber surgical glove stuffed inside a tightly-wrapped towel. Popularised in prison and dubbed a "fifi," this little contraption is absolutely fantastic and way less shameful than wiping post-climax banana pulp and splooge from your thighs. It's legitimately the closest thing to an actual vagina (before there were actual vaginas in my life) that I have ever experienced. Squirt some of your favourite lotion in, strap it on and go to town. When you're done, just throw the glove away and voila! The only downside is trying to explain what you're doing humping that brand new towel your mom just bought at The Bay when she eventually walks in on you.
In my time spent browsing forums and watching uncensored how-tos on sites like Liveleak and Pornhub, I've heard of and seen just about all of it. Dudes fucking jello. Dudes fucking packaged meat. Dudes fucking anything and everything they can get their hands on. We got to the top of the food chain for a reason. I mean, why settle for a rough, callused hand when you could tape six Boston cream donuts together and plunge your dick into them like Jim the Pie Fucker.
In the end, what irked me the most about all of this—even after I stopped trying to fuck pillows, mattresses with holes cut out of them, and various pieces of food after I finally lost my V-card in high school—was the defensiveness and embarrassment my guy friends had when we talked about the topic. Although they all later admitted that, at some point in their lives, they had tried to use something other than their hand or another person to get them off, I distinctly remember them laughing at me in disgust when I brought my fruit-fucking escapades to our lunchtime gatherings. That said, they were high school guys, so I don't know what I expected.
Now, whenever I can, I make an effort to bring up this story at parties, at dinner gatherings, while people are eating the very food I used to fuck. I do this to have a conversation, to riff on new ideas (recently I was suggested to try a rising loaf of bread, which sounds amazing, although I've yet to give it a go) and most importantly, to help people feel comfortable enough to talk about all the weird shit they do in private.
Also, believe it or not, it makes for some pretty good pillow talk. Followed by breakfast in bed.
View more of Alex Jenkins' illustrations on Instagram.