Mr. Vandermast stood in front of his fourth period health class. “OK, boys, we now would like to welcome Dr. Chapwick from the university to talk to you about masturbation.” The boys in the class began giggling. “Boys, please.” He held up his hands. “Dr. Chapwick is a world-renowned psychotherapist who has studied human sexuality for over forty years.” He shook Dr. Chapwick’s hand. “Welcome, Dr. Chapwick.”
“Thank you, thank you. I should say I’m no longer with the university, but I’m not allowed to discuss that.” Dr. Chapwick said.
Mr. Vandermast looked puzzled.
“OK, let’s get started,” Dr. Chapwick said.
He placed his laptop on the small podium at the front of the classroom. “When I was in school we didn’t have anything this fancy. All these projectors and everything. It’s hard to get used to this. We were lucky to have an overhead projector. That’s where the teacher wrote on pieces of clear plastic and projected them.”
“Don’t scare them,” Mr. Vandermast said and laughed. “There’s nothing like old technology to scare a kid. You’re going to send them to therapy.”
Some of the boys laughed.
Dr. Chapwick eventually found his laptop’s video port and plugged in the cable. He pressed some keys on the keyboard, but nothing appeared on the screen in the front of class except a big blue box with VIDEO 2 in the corner. “Does anyone remember what keys I press?”
“I hit Function-F5 on my laptop,” Mr. Vandermast said.
Dr. Chapwick pressed some keys. “Which one is Function?”
“That’s the one that says Fn.”
Dr. Chapwick put on his bifocals and hunted around for the Fn key. After pressing a few keys, his laptop’s desktop appeared on the screen in front of the class. “But I can’t see it on my laptop now.”
“That might be Function-F7,” Mr. Vandermast said. Dr. Chapwick pressed some keys and the projector flashed.
“That’s it, thanks.”
“I have to go to the principal’s office,” Mr. Vandermast said. “I’ll leave you boys to Dr. Chapwick.”
“Thank you, Mr. Vandermast,” Dr. Chapwick said. Mr. Vandermast left the room.
“I have some PowerPoint slides. I love PowerPoint. You boys should really learn how to use PowerPoint. Being an expert at PowerPoint is a sure way to get ahead in this world. There are some people who just make PowerPoint slides for a living.” He laughed. “OK, no more preaching.” Dr. Chapwick walked to the light switches and turned some on and some off to find the correct ambience. “Oh, and don’t believe any of that nonsense you hear about PowerPoint causing the space shuttle to crash. That’s just hogwash.”
Dr. Chapwick launched PowerPoint and opened up his slide deck. Masturbation appeared in large white letters against a green background on the screen. The background flashed a few times and turned red. He cleared his throat. “I especially love the animation features in PowerPoint.” He looked around the classroom.
“What I’d like to talk about today is masturbation and some disturbing results I’ve uncovered in my years of research about masturbation.” Dr. Chapwick clicked his remote and Edvard Munch’s The Scream appeared underneath the word Masturbation. There was some nervous laughter around the classroom. “That’s how some of you boys will look at the end of this lecture.” There was more nervous laughter.
“OK. First is the case of a fellow named Jeff.” Dr. Chapwick clicked his remote and the next slide showed a black-and-white picture of a boy with the caption, “Jeff,” underneath. It was a grainy photo, and it looked as if it had been taken from a clip art collection with a title like Everyday 1940s Pictures, Royalty Free.
“Jeff was masturbating one day when he caught sight of his dog in the yard.” Dr. Chapwick clicked again, and the slide showed a dog, a German shepherd. “Seeing his dog triggered something in his mind, and from then on, he found himself becoming more and more attracted to animals, particularly dogs.” The next slide showed Jeff and the German shepherd on the same slide. Click. The next slide showed a snarling Jeff and a snarling German shepherd. “This resulted in his subsequent arrest for having sexual relations with animals.” The noise of chairs sliding on the floor could be heard. Click. The next slide showed some hands in handcuffs with the caption, “Arrested.”
“Because this thought passed through his mind while he was masturbating, his normal defenses were down, and he was unable to rationally reject the notion of having sex with animals. Jeff’s life was ruined. Masturbation ruined Jeff’s life.” The next slide showed Jeff with prison bars overlaid. “In fact, Jeff’s case is why this state now has anti-bestiality laws. There was nothing to prosecute Jeff with the first time, so the legislature hastily passed a law. The next time Jeff pleasured an animal, he was prosecuted.” Dr. Chapwick looked at the boys for any response.
“Next is the sad case of Jim,” Dr. Chapwick said. He clicked the remote and a slide showing a boy from the same click-art collection appeared. “Jim,” the caption read. “Jim was masturbating when he thought about a new boy in school, who turned out to be some kind of a ruffian.” The next slide showed Marlon Brando. “Incidentally, I asked my son to make a slide of a so-called bad boy. I think he said he would use Christian Bale. I had no idea who that was. I asked him to select someone I’d be familiar with, and he chose Mr. Brando.” Dr. Chapwick looked around for responses. There were none. “That’s something that would get more of a response from female audiences.” He looked around the room for a few more moments and then laughed. “Or maybe a female audience of my age.” He laughed again. “Or maybe if I mention it’s a young Marlon Brando.” He looked around the classroom again. “OK,” he said. “Moving along.” He adjusted his glasses.
“Anyway, Jim probably thought of the boy because the boy was new and Jim had had a conflict with him earlier that day. Once again, the normal inhibitions were not there because he was masturbating. So he found himself attracted to members of the same sex, in particular, the rough-trade subculture…” the next slide showed several thumbnails: a junk-strewn alleyway, a filthy service station bathroom, a chain link fence, some barbed wire, an overflowing dumpster. “Does everyone understand the rough-trade subculture?” No one responded. “OK. Good. All this even though he had been dating and having sex with a fine young woman, a woman whom he had planned on marrying after college.” The new slide showed a woman sitting on a bench in front of a church and waving. She was wearing a hat decorated with a small train. “His life went downhill after that. He was unable to accept his new sexuality, a sexuality that had formed in a blink of the eye.” The next slide showed someone holding his head in his hands. “Despair,” the caption read.
“Ironically, the reverse can also happen. Take Luke.” The slide showed a head shot of a handsome man. “Luke was gay and always knew he was gay. He was a proud gay man. He was masturbating one day when he saw some of his roommate’s straight pornography sitting on the floor in his dorm room.” The next slide showed an array of vanilla men’s magazines, Playboy, Hustler, and Penthouse. Underneath, the caption read, “Exhibit 21-G, State of Washington v. Dr. Dennis Chapwick.”
“Oh, I thought he fixed this slide. Ignore the caption.” Dr. Chapwick selected the caption and hit Delete. “That’s better. OK, so his inhibitions were lowered, and he found himself attracted to members of the opposite sex. He had a lot of trouble dealing with his newly changed sexuality and entered a deep depression. He was unable to cope with heterosexuality. His boyfriend left him. His life was ruined.” Dr. Chapwick took off his glasses and cleaned the lenses.
“Another young man, who showed a lot of promise, had some sort of sports contest on the television while he masturbated.” The slide showed a curling competition. “Now the only way he can obtain sexual gratification is through participating in that sports activity. Sexual gratification is thus very difficult now: it requires a lot of people and a lot of equipment and can easily result in arrest for public indecency.” The next slide showed a broom leaning against a wall. Two curling stones sat on the floor on either side of the broom.
“It can be so quick. You’ll be masturbating and catch sight of your mother’s shoes or your sister’s panties….” The slide showed a pair of pink panties on a bed. “Incidentally, I laid these panties out on the bed for my daughter and saw it as a perfect photographic opportunity to illustrate an important point. Which is: suddenly you can be aroused only by shoes or panties. It’s very frightening. The worst part is there is no cure. You can inadvertently form your entire sexuality in a heartbeat. Once it is formed, it can never be changed.”
“Masturbation is a very dangerous activity.” The slide showed a nice arrangement of question marks in different fonts and colors. Some of the question marks were animated. They changed their size or color. “I advise each and every one of you to think long and hard about the implications of what I’ve just discussed and whether you want to gamble away your sexual lives on a few moments of autoerotic enjoyment. Now, boys, I’d like to move on to—”
Mr. Vandermast reentered the classroom, walked up to Dr. Chapwick, and whispered something into his ear.
“Right now?” Dr. Chapwick said.
“Yes, unless you want me to call the police,” Mr. Vandermast said.
Dr. Chapwick nodded and collected his materials “Goodbye boys,” he said. Dr. Chapwick bowed and left the classroom.