A Crude Guide to Hostel Masturbation

What is this blog about? What is this blog for? Both of these questions trouble me in my more existential moments. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know it’s all over the place – in tone, in subject matter, even in its intended audience. Sometimes it’s written for my friends, sometimes for the general public, and sometimes – often, if I’m honest – it’s written for me. It’s my diary.

Fortunately, the thematic purpose of my blog crystallises beautifully this week in a profound, meditative piece that is sure to delight all my current readers and win a whole new legion of fans. Wait, what? What’s that? It’s an entire blog about masturbation? Who on earth sanctioned this?

Yeah, that’s right. This is happening. Sure, it’s crude and unnecessary, but masturbation is a silly thing to have as a taboo, so we may as well try and break it down. Anyway, I made a promise to a friend who I accidentally mentioned the idea to once as a joke. If you don’t want to read it, now is the time to bail.

Still with me? Let’s begin…

Almost everyone masturbates. Let’s just get this fact out of the way early. The ‘almost’ prefix is almost superfluous but it’s there for the sake of pedantic accuracy. In my gentle opinion, it is ridiculous to be squeamish or offended by talk of masturbation. It is a natural, healthy, enjoyable, harmless impulse and the only negative side effects are guilt and shame for those who are led to believe otherwise. Yes, it can get out of hand, like, say, eating. And just like eating, that’s not an argument that doing it at all is a bad thing.

So in regular life, masturbation is a normal, private function that you can complete easily enough in your own time. Living in a hostel makes this more difficult. You have no guaranteed privacy so you have to plan it. And people do really think it through: I have yet to experience anyone obviously masturbating while I’m in the same room.

Interestingly I have experienced – on more than one occasion – people attempting to have sex while I’m in the same room. Indeed, it was the final straw for my tolerance of Nomads hostel in Auckland, when – AT 4.30AM – two people of different nationalities started getting it on in the bed next to me. Not just the bed next to me, but the bed next to me at right-angles, so that my head was approximately a foot away from theirs.

Saying that they were of ‘different nationalities’ may sound somewhat irrelevant, even racist, but in fact it presented a whole new level of glorious awkwardness, because they couldn’t speak the same language. Therefore all their sexy talk had to be conducted in the one language they both kinda knew… Thus I lay there – AT FOUR-THIRTY IN THE MORNING – listening to sex being conducted in very bad English.

Yes – oh you – how is you think is good?

Yes! Good – no! No! Oh – okay.

You like – I like – you very pretty.

Very pretty. Yes. No!


These stories are not atypical, and almost every backpacker has their own tale of being stuck in the presence of hostel sex. (If you don’t have one of these stories, you might want to consider if you’re one of the people causing them.) Sex is an accepted part of hostel life, and there are numerous Internet articles about proper hostel sex etiquette. The etiquette, by the way, is really damn obvious: don’t have sex in the presence of other people, for goodness sake! Even if you think they’re asleep!

So if there are guides for hostel sex, then there should also be guides for hostel masturbation, because the latter is happening more than the former. (Reader: Especially for you, JT. Me: HAHAHA.) Here are my helpful pointers.

  1. Look at your schedule. How long are you in this hostel? When’s the next point at which you won’t be in a hostel? Can you wait? If not, then don’t panic. Take a deep breath and get organised.
  2. Don’t do it in your bed at night. Just don’t. No matter how subtle you think you’re being, you’re not going to get away with it. You’re in a cheap hostel so your bed squeaks. A lot. Also, no, not everyone you think is asleep is asleep. Most people you think are asleep are actually just thinking about how to masturbate. If you start, it could cause a dangerous chain reaction.
  3. Don’t do it in your bed in the day. No, not even when your dorm room is empty. You have no way of knowing that a cleaner or a guest isn’t about to walk into the room, which will easily be the most awkward moment of your entire life unless you’ve ever had a proposal rejected on national television. Also, even if no-one enters until you’ve finished, as soon as anyone else walks into the room, they’re going to know from the reduced quality of the air. They will know, and your eyes will meet, and you will know they know, and your attempts to talk about the weather will be more miserable than the weather they attempt to describe. If you really insist on trying to masturbate in your bed, then make sure you do it in between the hours of check-out and check-in, and after the cleaners have been round. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  4. Don’t do it in someone else’s bed. Just to be clear.
  5. Ideally, do it in the shower. Yes, good. Water covers sounds, and people are already peeing in the shower, so whatever. But for the love of all that is good and dignified, please aim carefully (not at the shower curtain!) and clean diligently.
  6. If you have to, do it in a toilet cubicle. Shower is better. Sealed toilet cubicles are okay. Toilet cubicles with gaps in between them are bad because of diminished privacy and disruption from close-proximity farts. If this is your only option, then you have to get really crafty and execute a sneaky flush of the toilet at the exact right time(s). Do not aim! Use toilet paper. By the way, even if you think you’re masturbating in silence, you’re not. Anyone in an adjacent cubicle will be able to work out what you’re doing.
  7. Don’t not do it. Look, it’s okay. You should avoid being rude or unhygienic, but it’s not a sin, I promise. (Yes, I totally have the authority to promise this.) It’s not naughty or bad or shameful. It’s fine. In other words: pull yourself together and pull yourself off. (I only put this paragraph in so that I could write that line.)

Still with me? Cool, I bet you’re not a member of my family.


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