The Latin etymology of the word masturbate references “defilement,” “dishonor,” and, of course, the “hand.” Despite all that, the ancient Romans were kind of nonchalant and even joked about masturbation. Ancient Pompeii graffiti read “when my worries oppress by body, with my left hand, I release my pent up fluids.” That’s because if an ancient Roman was going to masturbate and not just take a pale-skinned, red-lipped slave boy, he’d do it with his left hand. The left hand was considered the “sinister” hand, but intellectuals like Ovid, Pliny, and others, knew that the left hand was “a mistress in Venus” and a good metaphor for self-love and self-stimulation.