10 songs about wanking

For when your propeller won't spin, and you can't get it started on your own

Birds do it, bees do it – from time to time, probably even Jay-Z does it. Self-love is extremely on-trend in 2018, and we raise a loosely held fist to anyone that says otherwise. Here, then, are 10 self-love anthems to enjoy while you are – that’s right – enjoying yourself.

Arctic Monkeys, ‘My Propeller’

Wankiest line: When are you arriving?/ My propeller won’t spin and I can’t get it started on my own”

Alex Turner has denied that this ‘Humbug’ album track sees him implore someone to pleasure him. “If that was a euphemism”, he said, “then I wouldn’t be saying that my propeller wouldn’t spin, ’cause you wouldn’t wanna go shouting that out, would you?” You might, Alex, if you wanted a hand.

Beyoncé and Nikki Minaj, ‘Feeling Myself”

Wankiest line: I’m feelin’ myself, I’m feelin’ myself / I’m feelin’ my, feelin’ myself””

Female masturbation is a bit like Miles Kane’s solo career: everyone knows it happens, but no-one ever talks about it. So well done Bey and Nikki for tackling this taboo.

Prince, ‘Darling Nikki’

Wankiest line: “I knew a girl named Nikki, I guess you could say she was a sex fiend, / I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine.”

Print titles are closing all over the shop, so it’s going to become increasingly difficult to masturbate with a magazine. If only there was some way you could do it with the internet…

Billy Bragg, ‘St. Swithin’s Day’

Wankiest lines: “With my own hands / When I make love to your memory / It’s not the same / I miss the thunder / I miss the rain”

Billy is claiming here that his love-making is so astonishing that it affects the weather.

The Vapors, ‘Turning Japanese’

Wankiest line: “I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so” 

Some listeners claim that this 1980 hit is an ode to masturbation. The band’s lead singer David Fenton counters that this is not the case, and once told the music channel VH1: “‘Turning Japanese’ is all the clichés about angst and youth and turning into something you didn’t expect to.” Yet an American magazine at the time wrote that ‘turning Japanese’ is is British slang for wanking, and the misinterpretation stuck like the pages of a mucky magazine. But song lyrics are open to interpretation and, as such, this one has entered the wank canon. Sorry, David, in you climb.

DiVinyls, ‘I Touch Myself’

Wankiest line: “I don’t want anybody else/ When I think about you, I touch myself”

There were four songwriters – two in the band – behind this ’80s smash. One of the guns for hire, Billy Steinberg, later said that a successful four-way collaboration was unusual: “Four people, for me, is too many.” Yes, like many of the musicians on this list, it seems Billy prefers to go it alone.

Charli XCX, ‘Body of My Own’

Wankiest line: Lights out, I’m on / Got my darkness / I’m into myself, don’t need you”

A fan tweeted pop star Charli XCX to ask, “is body of my own really about masturbating…[?]” Charli responded: “yes it is.” Her attitude to social media, then, is as direct as her preferred route to sexual nirvana.

Green Day, ‘Longview’

Wankiest line: When masturbation’s lost its fun / You’re fucking lonely”

This is a track in which frontman Billie Joe Armstrong talks about being bored and lazy, and doing little more than playing with himself. He doesn’t say that he’s watching pornography, though, which must lead us to believe that he’s using his imagination to get off. This is known in certain mastubatory circles as an ‘imagiwank’, and requires some level of sustained creativity, so he shouldn’t be too hard on himself.

Britney Spears, ‘Touch of My Hand’

Wankiest lines: “Imagination’s taking over / Another day without a lover / The more I come to understand / The touch of my hand”

Britney has said that this was the first song that she wrote for her smash-hit fourth album, and that when it was underway, “We just went from there.” Once you get going, it’s sometimes hard to stop. No wonder the album’s called ‘In The Zone’.

Radiohead, ‘Thinking About You’

Wankiest line: Still see you in bed / But I’m playing with myself”

There’s a great of imagiwanking going on in this list, but it’s surprising from Thom Yorke, a man famously au fait with technology – he wrote ‘OK Computer’, for goodness’ sake. He’s also famously distrustful of tech, though, which perhaps explains why he’s taken matters into his own hands.