Back to the drawing board
"Hi Doctor Blue," said the man on the phone. "I'm 55 years old and I'm a compulsive masturbator."
"How compulsive?" asked the radio psychologist, a woman in her 60s with more than a little experience with the subject at hand.
"Oh," said the man. "It's pretty bad. Five, six, seven times a day."
"Oh," said the psychologist. "And do you have a job?"
"Yes," said the man.
"Are you successful?"
"Yes," he said, sounding somewhat incredulous. "Believe it or not, I am. But I'm sure I could be a lot more successful if I wasn't... you know. Taking matters into my hands all the time."
"Right," said the psychologist. "Here's what I want you to do. Are you okay financially? Do you have a partner? Does your partner work?
"Yes," said the man. "Yes to all of the above."
"Good," said Doctor Blue. "Here's what I want you to do."
"Hang on," said the man. "I need to get a pen."
"Don't bother," said the doctor. "This is easy to remember."
"Okay," the man said. "Shoot."
"What I want you to do," said the doctor, "is schedule a vacation. Take six or eight or... hell... even 20 weeks away from your job. And do nothing but masturbate... all day, every day."
The man said nothing in response so the doctor said, "Are you still there? Did you hear what I said?"
"Uhh, yes," said the man. "I heard you."
"So?" said the doctor. "Can you do that for me? Seriously. Just try it, alright? And call me back when the time is up, and see how you're feeling."
So the man took the radio psychologist's advice. He cancelled all his work obligations and, for the next six months, did little other than eat, sleep and masturbate. His world grew very small and dark, lit only by his fantasies.
At the end of this period, his penis was rubbed raw. Even with the slipperiest lubes he could find, his skin couldn't handle the friction.
There was friction in his relationship, too. His partner soon grew tired of his "therapy," not to mention having to be the household's sole provider. On top of that, the partner wasn't getting any sex because the man was too busy (and sore from) masturbating.
When the six months was done, the man called back to Doctor Blue and her radio show and reported what had happened. He was not feeling happy. Not at all.
"Good," said the doctor. "See?"
But the man didn't see. "What do you mean?" he asked. "What am I supposed to see?"
"Well," she said. "How do you feel about masturbating now?"
He paused. "It hurts."
"What else?" she prompted.
"Well," he said, "it's ruining my relationship. And, after months of not working, not bringing in any money, I feel like a loser, like a parasite."
"And what do you have to show for your six months off?" she asked.
"Other than a VISA bill the size of Mount Everest? And a bad case of chafing? Not much," he said.
"See?" she replied. "You've learned your lesson."
"Huh?" he said. "I don't follow. What, exactly, do you think I've learned?"
"That anything done to the exclusion of everything else soon loses its attraction."
"But," he said. "I still want to masturbate. Every day. All the time."
"Yeah, well," said the doctor. "That's life. And that's your other lesson from all of this. You are who you are, and you do what you do, and the way you've found to cope with it, all on your own, is probably the best you'll ever do."
The man was silent.
Not because he had nothing to say. In fact, he had a lot to say. He was angry. And let down. And frustrated. And chafed, dammit. But no one in the listening audience got to hear that part, because, as soon as the man had said "I still want to..." his phone line had, courtesy of Doctor Blue's producer, gone dead.
So the man went back to work, and back to his old routines, and that was pretty much that. He got over his anger, and his chafing healed, and he started having sex with his partner again, and masturbating half a dozen times a day again.
One afternoon, as he was rushing to squeeze one more in (or out, as the case may be), he felt his brain go back to a place where it hadn't been in a long time. He found himself, fleetingly, wishing he could just chuck everything else and do nothing but masturbate, forever.
And then he remembered: he had tried that. And six months had been too long. So, surely, forever would not be a good thing. And speaking of things, his apparatus was suddenly limp in his hands. As if it had, finally, lost its allure.