Unease as public self-pleasuring climaxes
Wambui Virginia @vergie_wambui
A video surfaced online showing a man publicly pleasuring himself in broad daylight.
This caused uproar in local netizens after another video of the same man engaged in a similar act in a different location in the CBD had emerged.
This is not an isolated case. Last October, a parent in Uthiru complained of a man who specifically hides at a certain corner on a road every evening and wanks himself away as he lusts after schoolchildren walking home.
Nyonga monkey is the slang name for public masturbation. As extreme as it may sound, this issue is raising concerns as many unsuspecting people find themselves involved without consent in this act.
Jack Kimanzi, a security guard at Jeevanjee Gardens has encountered such cases at this public garden.
“During one of the public forums at the gardens, a man was caught in the act by fellow men who beat him up senseless.
I was minding my business when suddenly commotion erupted, and in no time, a group of men were raining blows on him,” he says.
The number of incidents at Uhuru Park is higher. “We make more than 10 arrests in a day, especially during festivities because it gets crowded,” Dominic Muhinja, a security guard at the recreation park says.
“I see it all the time. We call it ‘kula nyoro’. Most women have no idea what’s going on and a few of them who do, shockingly enjoy it.
When we arrest these men, they confess that it’s a habit they can’t stop doing even for those with spouses at home,” said Muhinja.
Why masturbate in public
Acts of public self-pleasuring are on the rise, including in public transport and at bus stations.
Aicy Juma, while in a squeezed queue at a matatu terminus went into shock after realizing a man behind her was rubbing himself against her behind.
This act, known as frotteurism, in which a person rubs an erect penis against an unsuspecting person for sexual pleasure, is nothing she had experienced before.
“I got this feeling of unease and when I abruptly turned back I caught this stranger in his act,” said Aicy.
Public masturbation is a crime in Kenya, and when caught, it’s possible that one will be charged with indecent exposure.
Unlike Kenya, other countries do not concern themselves over it as much. In 2016, Italy’s Supreme Court declared public masturbation not a crime.
This came after a university lecturer did the act while in class. The country says the act is legal as long as it’s not done in front of minors.
Under the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, public masturbation is considered exhibitionism, a type of mental disorder where an individual feels compelled to display their genitals to the public for sexual pleasure.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, says, “It is considered abnormal only when it inhibits partner-oriented behaviour, is done in public, or is sufficiently compulsive to cause distress.”
Exhibitionists expose their genitals usually to unsuspecting strangers, and become sexually excited when doing so.
They may be aware of their need to surprise, shock or impress the unwilling observer. The victim is almost always a woman or a child of either sex.
Exposing genitals stirs sexual excitement. They get a strong desire to be observed by other people during this sexual activity.
Exhibitionistic disorder involves acting on exhibitionistic urges or fantasies or being distressed by or unable to function because of those urges and fantasies.
Elmard Rigan, a counselling psychologist explains that the brain works in a pleasure and reward system. The pleasure in masturbation results in ejaculation, which is the reward.
That’s why in that process of pleasure, he says, the mind won’t stop until it is rewarded, and more often than not, leads to addiction.
“When an individual masturbates publicly, then that indicates a psychological disorder because generally humans have the inbuilt guilt system that triggers the brain to alert them that what they are doing is wrong,” says Rigan.
So, when this act happens, it means they have coded off the guilt system because of that repetitive action. So masturbating publicly would mean these people have an underlying psychological disorder they are not aware of, he adds.
“In psychology they are called sexual addictive disorders. They include masturbation and fetishism,” he explains.
Addiction is a process and it gradually escalates. Once a person understands they have a problem, the first step to recovery is to accept they need help and with the extent of the problem the specialist will point out what intervention they need.
Mind of public masturbators
Public masturbators, more often than not, believe as long as it is not rape, then it is okay.
Silas Kiriinya, a counselling psychologist says once a victim, who is the object of pleasure, discovers what is happening, the feelings of shock kick in, which is what the perpetrator relies on.
They enjoy feelings of being in control, after they climax and, especially when a victim doesn’t raise alarm.
“These men often target young women, who can be intimidated into helplessness. The challenge is these incidents go unreported, thus encouraging the perpetrator to do it over and over.
It is important for women to stand up for themselves and raise alarm whenever such happens,” says Dr Kiriinya.
He explains once a person decides they need help, they need to go through exploration and processing where the specialist will determine what the problem could be. This is because masturbation was a reaction from maladaptive behaviour.
When a person decides to get treated for the disorder, they will first need to talk to a psychologist, who will monitor the extent of the problem.
When it’s an addiction, more likely therapy would be recommended. However, when the problem transcends addiction to a disorder, a psychiatrist is then called in to prescribe medication.