Self-pleasure is a well-covered topic in the history of pop music, and perhaps for good reason. As Woody Allen put it, “Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love.” The artists behind the following tunes would likely salute that sentiment, were there hands not, well, otherwise occupied. Check out this list of 10 Songs About Self-Pleasure and celebrate the joys of getting it on with the one person who's always a sure thing.

  • 10

    "Pictures of Lily"

    The Who

    It all starts with discovery. In this case, a young man can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. His father’s advice? A good wanking should do the trick. OK, maybe he doesn’t suggest that explicitly, but the pin-up picture he gives his son seems to give the kid the right idea. Unfortunately, the kid so appreciates the relief Lily’s image brings that he falls for the woman, and dad has to explain that Lily is long gone. In the end the kid learns it’s OK to take refuge in a fantasy.

  • 9

    "Orgasm Addict"


    Once you’ve, um, gotten a handle on masturbation, you may find yourself taking to it like a champ. After all, “its a habit that sticks," as the Buzzcocks tell us here. Before you know it, you’re fantasizing about “making out with school kids, winos and heads of state" and even “children of God with their joy strings” and “international women with no body hair.” You’ve got to sneak porno mags into the house, and before long, your ma is asking, "What are those stains on your jeans?” But who cares? “It’s a labor of love, f---ing yourself to death.”

  • 8


    Faith No More

    For some masturbators, guilt can set in. You’re spending all this time alone, secretly playing with yourself, and you fixate on the meaninglessness of it all, believing it’s nothing more than “spilt milk.” Then your “skin is a layer of soot” and you’re “trying so hard to act like nothing happened.” Which leaves you plagued with guilt and paranoia as you surmise, “I am what I do. I am what I’ve done. I’m sorry.”

  • 7

    "She Bop"

    Cyndi Lauper

    It won’t take long, though, before something new stokes your fantasies, and you “wanna go south and get me some more.” Sure, there may still be some who think “you better get a chaperone” because you “can’t stop messin’ with the danger zone.” But you know what? “There ain’t no law against it yet.” And as Cyndi Lauper says “She bop, he bop, we bop,” i.e. everybody’s doing it.

  • 6


    Tori Amos

    Once you’ve made peace with your new hobby, you might find it adds a bit of buzzy transgression to the proceedings if you can cleverly do it under people’s noses. For Tori Amos, it’s the sacrilege of a nice diddle in the middle of church that does the trick. Or as she puts it, “And when they say ‘take of his body,' I think I’ll take of mine instead.” Even just the sound of hymnals gets her motor running as she’s “getting off while they’re all downstairs singing prayers / Sing away / He’s in my pumpkin PJs.” Now that’s what you might call seeing God.

  • 5

    "Dancing With Myself"

    Billy Idol

    When you get older, your teenage pastime may serve as a comfort against the “crowded lonely night.” Billy Idol would like a partner for the evening, “but your empty eyes seem to pass me by.” So he’s just going to “sink another drink, ‘cause it will give me time to think.” At which point he concludes that supplying his own action is better than no action. After all, at least with self-love “there’s nothing to lose, so there’s nothing to prove.”

  • 4

    "Solo Flights"

    Eagles of Death Metal

    Sometimes self-gratification is preferable to the hassles of wooing somebody anyway. Pouring on the charm, shelling out the money for drinks -- who’s got the patience for that? It’s easier just to “close my eyes and picture you and cut out all the aggravation.” Because frankly “nobody does me like I do.”

  • 3

    "Holding My Own"

    The Darkness

    Even if you’re in a relationship, there's no guarantee your itches will be properly scratched. Instead of satiating your desire, you may find yourself saying, “Lady, all we seem to do is talk about” and “take apart and analyse our ins and outs.” Nothing kills one's sex life like monogamy, eh? Then you realize it’s better to have “no one to answer to. I won’t spend a lifetime begging you.” And what better way to commemorate the act of regaining, via self-love, the “spring in my stride” and the “twinkle in my dying eyes” than with a gloriously overwrought metal power ballad?

  • 2

    "Praying Hands"


    Like all things in life, though, masturbation can become rote -- a daily task that has to be accomplished. Then you’re going about it with limited inspiration, as “the left hand’s diddling while the right hand goes to work.” You’re knocking it out with the the same passion that compels you to “brush your teeth the following way / Wash your hands three times a day.” What’s it going to take to bring that spark back?

  • 1

    "I Touch Myself"


    Ironically, probably the same thing you need in your interpersonal relationships: true love. Nothing gets the home fires burning hotter than someone “who makes [you] come runnin’,” who feels like the “sun who makes me shine.” Then you don’t need a fantasy. Just “close my eyes and see you before me” because you don’t want anybody else when you touch yourself. Aw.

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