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I caught up with my Twitter-buddy MännerSpa and asked him a few personal questions.

Can you remember the first time you jacked-off?

I was nine years old. It was spontaneous, but I can’t re-call exactly how I discovered what would happen if you rubbed yourself.

I wasn’t taught by anyone, it was a completely natural action. But once that was discovered, and the revelation of orgasm and ejaculation were felt and experienced — I never turned back.

How did you feel when you first jacked off?

I loved the feeling. I quickly became a dedicated masturbator, and have been ever since. There was some guilt or fear of being caught — there was more of that in those days. For years I hid it from any parental discovery.

Did you talk about it with anyone?

Not until I was 11. For some reason got into a discussion with a class-mate. He revealed that he was masturbating, as were a large number of our other class-mates. In that discussion, I learned how others were doing it as opposed to my method. After that, we would get together and very quickly get into sessions.

Later in middle school years, my cousin and I had a revelatory discussion, got turned on and masturbated together — the first of a number of sessions we’d have through our teen and university years.

Did you try any different techniques in those early years?

I didn’t vary my technique for some time. It was an issue of concealment in those years. Lube came later. At the beginning it was always a dry approach — I’d use either a sock, underwear, or an undershirt as a cum-rag and then hide it under the bed.

The cum-rag would accumulate a huge number of loads, then another one would be initiated. Some time later one of the ‘rags’ was discovered when the bed was moved.

I also loved long sessions in the shower or tub. Looking back, I’m sure that my parents or at least my Dad must have known what I was up to in there. But I was very dedicated in concealing any evidence.

How has your jack-off style evolved over the years?

Widely — I’ve experimented a great deal over the years. I’ve tried just about any method you know of, could think of, or devise. That includes all manner of hand and grip configurations, pressure and stroke variations, positions, humping methods, lubricant types, and devices.

What’s your preferred way to jack-off currently?

I’m currently enjoying many of the mechanical, electrical, vibratory, and tech means and devices that are widely available — I try as many as I can get. Electro and vibrating are currently extremely enjoyable.

What jack-off hints or tips would you give a young guy just starting to explore his sexuality?

Masturbation is now way more ‘out of the closet’ than it was when many of us started. Compared to 15 or 20 years ago, it’s much more discussed, seen as normal, and accepted as a natural part of human sexual development and life.

During the AIDS crisis, masturbation was lauded as a form of safe-sex. That period saw the rise of what some term the ‘solosexual’ — an entire culture or subset constructed around masturbation, its glorification, and enhancement practices such as edging, group, and mutual. We saw the appearance of clubs and groups, as well as informational websites. Later, that evolved into internet-based means of connection and exposure to the act — platforms like BateWorld and Chaturbate.

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As with all things sexual, there’s now just so much more — more information, more stimulation, more opportunities — it would be hard to imagine anyone finding out about it on their own as I did.

In terms of any hints or advice, I’d tell a young guy to enjoy it and experience it as a part of what makes you male — it’s a gift of nature. It’s a pleasure you can have your whole life.

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Arts & Culture

Photography that embraces naked men

“Stop comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet…”

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Arrested Movement by Anthony Patrick Manieri (image supplied)
Arrested Movement by Anthony Patrick Manieri (image supplied)

I caught up with photographer Anthony Patrick Manieri to talk about his ongoing series of work known as Arrested Movement.

Why do you think this project has captured the imagination of gay men around the world?

Because we’re all the same really, except we don’t all look alike. We usually just see what society deems to be the ‘perfect’ body types, flashed across TV and social media all the time.

This project encompasses a wide variety of men that are photographed equally and beautifully. I feel that the variety of men and body shapes being highlighted are recognisable to most men. We need to see diversity represented more in the media. That, and also the idea of male body positivity is refreshing in a world where the media seems to only push female body positivity. In this day and age, where depression and anxiety are extremely commonplace, it’s nice to know that we’re not alone in the struggle.

Why are men so keen to be photographed by you for this project?

Because we all want to fit in. We all want to be accepted, and here is a photographic series celebrating all men, all body types, and showcasing them artistically. I think men look at this and can relate and identify with some of the participating models, because they see themselves in the photos.

Most of the men you’ve photographed for this project appear to be first-time models, most likely being professionally photographed naked for the first time. Was that experience confronting for many of your models?

From what I’ve seen, and from what some of my assistants mentioned to me, for most of the men that participate there’s a definite shift in their overall energy levels from when they first arrive at the studio to when they’re done. One assistant asked me — “What is going on in the studio? Because when they arrive they’re quite scared, some even shake with nerves, but when they leave they glow and have this sense of empowerment.”

I make sure that the studio is private and a safe space for them to try and feel as comfortable as possible. I brief them, and coach them with suggestions of possible body movement. I also stop periodically to show the gentlemen their progression so far in the shoot.

Most men, after seeing themselves on the screen during the shoot, are delightfully impressed by how they look. They look at themselves in a positive light artistically, and not what they usually expect to see. I talk to them about how their hands are positioned, their facial expressions, pointing of their feet, and the overall lines of their bodies in the frame.

When you’re not quite happy with your body, putting yourself out there is brave. I watch some men almost lose themselves in the moment and in the music. I’m grateful that I get to witness such a personal moment of self-evolution. For others, they’re determined to take an amazing photo, so they push themselves so that their final image is strong and unique.

Should everyone tackle a naked photo shoot at some point in their lives?

I don’t know if that’s the answer. What people should do is take time to appreciate and accept themselves, to put themselves first. Fill their own cups before extinguishing their energy with others. Uniqueness is special. It’s okay to look different on the outside, because we’re all the same on the inside.

How is the project continuing to evolve?

I’m currently working on the design of the book — I’ll be releasing a Kickstarter page this Fall. I’m also looking at gallery spaces to have the first of many shows.

Are you still actively shooting guys for this project?

I’m still actively photographing men. If it were up to me, I’d be in a different city every weekend photographing.

Since I’m funding this myself, I need to take breaks between cities. Travelling, studio costs, and hotels add up quickly. There are a few cities in the US, Canada, and Mexico that I’d like to do before heading back to Europe. Beyond that, there’s talk of Australia, and possibly some cities in South America for 2019.

How can we help each other feel better about our bodies?

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I think we really need to be kind to ourselves, and each other — daily. Judgement and self-judgement is such a human flaw, it’s like a vibrational plague. We should be detaching ourselves from our smart-phones and social media regularly. Yoga and meditation are great ways to feel centred and grounded, to be in tune with our higher self. Eating right always makes for a happier body and mind. We need to encourage and validate each other to be the best we can be.

What do the images that you’ve captured through this project tell us about gay men and their relationship with their bodies?

Gay culture is meant to be inclusive, and we celebrate that inclusiveness. Though within the gay community, there’s such a divide between men. We’re labelled and put in categories, therefore creating almost a hierarchy of what’s acceptable.

Body-image and self-esteem start in your own mind, not on Instagram. We need to literally stop comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet. We need to make mental health a priority in the gay community.

I hope that when people see this project, they know their worth, they know that they’re beautiful, and that it’s okay to be different.

Meet the participants

Follow Arrested Movement on Instagram

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