From Any Human Friend, out now on Sub Pop.
Not the most subtle video ever made, but that’s okay. Sometimes you want your message to come across loud and clear: Diddlin’ is fun.
Hackman said, “I wrote ‘hand solo’ as a bit of light-hearted relief, a wank anthem for women everywhere. I loved the idea of playing on old wives’ tales about the dangers of masturbation and pushing the boundaries about what is socially acceptable. I met Sam and we came up with this playful, tongue-in-cheek idea about hands all over the world masturbating on everyday objects, and even places, and eventually the world. The hands were directed by the wonderful Evie Fehilly, a sex educator who runs sex-positive workshops in London at the famous sex shop SH!. Despite the video being quite fun, I wanted to make a serious point at the end, after the world explodes in its orgasm, that masturbation is still for many women perceived as something shameful and embarrassing -- the moment of shame after the ecstasy. We asked for any female-identifying people to anonymously submit their experiences of shame relating to masturbation, and we received so many heart-breaking and heavy stories. I hope that when people see these accounts, they can relate and realize that there’s no shame in masturbation.”
She also told Apple Music, “One lyric that will get overlooked because I don’t think many people are gonna understand the reference, but the first half of the song is looking at old wives’ tales about masturbation. One of them I read is that you get hairy hands if you masturbate too much. There’s a line in there that says, ‘Oh, monkey glove’—it’s talking about having hairy hands. It’s quite abstract but it sounds sexual as well. It sounds like something you might call your vagina. And it’s quite gross, that song. ‘Dark meat, skin pleat’—it’s all quite visceral. My favorite lyric is obviously ‘Under patriarchal law, I’m gonna die a virgin.’ That is insane, that is crazy! I feel like people don’t take my sexual experiences as real. The song is also a massive f**k-you, because it’s very funny and empowered with a bit of sass.”
When I was 11 years old my recently widowed mother read me a book called Preparing for Adolescence by Dr. James Dobson. My mom’s heart was in the right place and she felt a great responsibility to steer me in the right direction. I no longer had a dad to teach me about puberty and sex stuff, but can you imagine anything more embarrassing than having to hear a chapter titled “Something Crazy Is Happening to My Body” read out loud by your mom? Worse, Dobson’s views weren’t designed to create a particularly healthy attitude about sex. The bits of advice I can remember include “never do anything on a date that you wouldn’t want someone to do with your sister” and to remember that Jesus is always watching you. Impure thoughts offend God. If you’re feeling a certain kind of way, it’s best to take a cold shower.
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t take any of this advice. But I felt a lot of guilt and shame about it and that’s a bummer. These were also the early days of AIDS when we were taught that sex can straight up kill you. Hopefully kids these days have a healthier attitude about sex, but who knows? There’s an endless supply of creepy stuff out there to warp young minds. Every generation gets its own hangups.