Liberate yourself from masturbation shame

Alex de la Cruz started his career in advertising and moved into product design, specializing in drinkware and dinnerware for some of the largest retailers in the country. After 15 years, he felt stagnate and needed a change. His creativity, innovation and own traumatic personal journey led to the beginnings of Bator Balm, a men’s edging lubricant that enhances the bating experience and has strengthened a sense of community among bators.

In a recent Smart Sex, Smart Love podcast, I talked with Alex about his personal and professional journey that has helped him find his true self and speak on behalf of bators.

“I wanted to get out of advertising and do what I like to do most: getting off,” he laughs. Bator Balm evolved from his desire to leave a passionless career and his desperate need to overcome the shame he had been living with for many years as a bator (those who prefer masturbation over intercourse).

“I was caught masturbating as a teenager. The person pointed at me, laughed at me and ran away. I assumed he was going to tell others. I was horrified and felt so much shame,” he retells his emotionally painful story. “I had no one to talk to; my parents weren’t around, I had no one to console me. I had to keep it all inside. It was very traumatic. It affects me to this day.”

That’s when Alex started exploring hookups but was worried about STDs. On his very first hookup, he asked the guy if he was clean, and he told Alex he was. One week later, he learned the guy had lied to him. He had gonorrhea.

“I had to go to a clinic, and they asked me so many personal questions,” he remembers vividly. “It was awful. I had trust issues after that.” To prevent it from happening again, Alex stopped having intercourse.

This was when he found, a social media site for men who enjoy masturbation. “It’s very affirming,” he finds. “We share stories, we video chat, we support each other; we help each other understand there is nothing to be ashamed of because we chose masturbation.”

Through this group, Bator Balm was born. He learned men were using Abalone, a makeup remover for women, as a lubricant. “It’s great for edging, but as a product designer, I had issues with it. Abalone is very sticky, it is hard to wipe off and the packaging was not men-friendly,” he found. “I needed to create a product designed just for men, one that meets our needs. We deserve something just for us,” he asserts, adding, “99 percent of men masturbate, whether they admit it or not.”

When talking with me about edging, Alex shares that he finds it a type of meditation for him. When he is edging, he can focus on his body, his mind and his desires. He describes the experience as self-soothing, peaceful and fulfilling.

“This is your erotic life, and no one should take that from you,” I said to Alex during the podcast.

When I asked him about bator groups, he described them as a place to find camaraderie and enjoy the act of masturbation in a safe atmosphere. Each group has its own rules, he explains. In general, you must get consent if you want to be with someone. No touching is allowed without permission, and no intercourse or anal sex is permitted.

When I asked him about some people liking it dry, Alex noted that he has “converted” some to Bator Balm because it feels so good. “It’s all about experimenting and finding what you like,” he points out. “Find the sensation you like.”

In concluding the podcast, Alex shared a very emotional message: “no one can shame you with your truth. Those who are against masturbation shouldn’t change me or shame me. Bator Balm is my protest against people who shamed me! It has given me confidence. I am proud. No one is going to make me feel bad about what I do. I live my life with my husband the way I want,” he asserted with passion.

Two years ago, Alex de la Cruz and his partner started an event called Sausage Fest. Because of Bator Balm’s success, they were able to create this event for bators to get together once a year and form a big community and a bonding experience. “It is a safe place, very inclusive, open to adults only, and very body positive,” he notes. To learn more about Bator Balm and Sausage Fest, visit