The Divinyls are singer Christina Amphlett and guitarist Mark McEntee. They wrote this with the songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who have a knack for writing hit songs for female vocalists. They also wrote "I'll Stand By You," "Like A Virgin," "Eternal Flame," "True Colors" and "So Emotional."
This is clearly about masturbation, but there's more to it. In our interview with Billy Steinberg, he said: "What I like about the song is that in spite of the fact that the chorus kind of boldly says that, the verse was much more sort of poetic and kind of meaningful. It says, 'I love myself, I want you to love me, when I feel down I want you above me, I search myself, I want you to find me, I forget myself, I want you to remind me.' Those words I think are very strong and it's not an obvious start to finish jack off song. I like playing with words, and whether it's 'Like a Virgin' or 'I Touch Myself,' I like taking phrases or words that are sort of untapped and find a way to write something meaningful and that has a rebelliousness because really that's what rock's all about. Talking 'bout my generation, you know."
This was certainly not the first song to touch on the subject of masturbation, but it was one of the most obvious. Very few places banned it, probably because it was so lighthearted.
Billy Steinberg told us how this song came together: "I got together with Christina Amphlett, I met her at a little club in Hollywood, I think it's called the Cat and the Fiddle. Sometimes when Tom and I were going to work with an artist versus just write by ourselves, I would get together with the artist and go over some lyric ideas. I had a notebook and I had a lot of lyrics that I'd been accumulating. I wanted to see which ones she responded to, so I nervously pulled out my notebook and allowed her to look through these lyrics. I say nervously because I feel really nervous and self-conscious when someone's reading my notebooks. I had 'I Touch Myself' in there, I had written the first verse and the chorus lyric and that's the one she liked best. I was glad she liked that one because that was the one I liked best. The next day we got together with Tom and with Mark McEntee. Generally speaking, Mark and Chrissy wrote all The Divinyls songs. The four of us got together - four people for me is too many. Two people can write a song together, three people can write a song together but four is kind of awkward, but Tom and I by that time had our own method for writing a song and we knew we could read each other's minds. I put the lyric in front of Tom and he started singing, 'I love myself, I want you to love me,' which is one of my favorite first lines in any song I've written. From there Chrissy and Mark contributed their bits, but it was mostly Tom and I doing what we do best."
Putting the song structure together took a lot of trial and error. It was recorded to 2-inch tape (this was before digital workstations), so it wasn't easy to edit. After a lot of experimentation, they came up with an unusual structure, with the bridge ("You're the one who makes me come running...") placed after the first chorus. The verse melody ("I love myself, I want you to love me...") leads off the song.
Christina Amphlett of The Divinyls died from breast cancer and multiple sclerosis on April 21, 2013 at age 53. She was not not just a dynamic frontwoman, but also a talented songwriter, co-writing most of the group's songs. When we spoke with Billy Steinberg, he said: "Getting together with The Divinyls was great because as a songwriter, a lot of times you don't get your favorite artist to sing your songs because a lot of times the best artists exclusively write their own songs. For example, you wouldn't try to write a song for Kurt Cobain or Prince. The Divinyls were great. Whether it was The Pretenders or The Divinyls or the Bangles, those were examples of great opportunities for Tom and me to write songs for artists whose records we admired."
Before she died, Christina expressed hope that "I Touch Myself" would remind women to perform annual breast examinations.
An up-and-coming director named Michael Bay did the video for this song. The clip shows many angles fo the intriguing Amphlett, but there's a lot of other stuff going on as well: floating artwork, black-and-white scenes, mystery girls, etc. It did very well on MTV and kept Bay on the rise; he directed videos for Tina Turner and Meat Loaf before getting a crack at feature films with Bad Boys, which was released in 1995.
This was the only US hit for this Australian group. It went to #1 in their home country.
Lou Reed is a big fan of this song, telling Rolling Stone it "captures a whole different world of being in love than these other songs."
This was used in a memorable scene in the 1997 movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery when Austin slays the Fem-Bots with his Mojo.
Their best song 'Boys In Town', released in September 1981.
They hit New York and Connecticut in 1982., with mimimal press. Played a bunch of small clubs (750 or so) for $1500 per Gig, before riding 'Boys In Town' to the next level.
I saw them at Candlewood Lake (Connecticut). Kicked out some good 1960's Rock Songs as part of their Song-Set, including a few Tommy James and Shondells songs.
Paul from Southern Pines, NcChrissy was a 'Raw and Harder' version of Pat Benatar -
I saw them perform in Harford, Connecticut at a small club (750 or so). Good group, who even performed a Hard-Rock Version of several Air Supply songs.
Chrissy had an awesome 'raspy voice'.
Michelle from Adelaide, AustraliaI took them less seriously after this. It seemed like a stunt. They were actually a good band, I loved their song 'Victoria'. Chrissie still performs despite now having MS. She became quite a bad alcoholic but reformed.
Brian from Boston, MaI think I touch myself means that She pleasures herself sexually.Also known as Masturbation.This is just a theory
Martin from Randers, DenmarkRandy Jackson, the judge in American Idol, played bass on this song.
Eugene from Minneapolis, MnOne hit wonder usually means that they have either had one Top 40 "pop hit" or one song that they are most remembered for. This song "I Touch Myself" fits the description, unfortunately. Hey, one hit is better than no hit!
Nooz from Newton Falls, OhDivinyls was NOT a one-hit wonder in the U.S. They hit the American charts in 1985 with "Pleasure and Pain," which reached #76 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Top Rock Tracks chart. Get your facts straight before you post!
Logan from Troy, MtThis song was referenced on Robot Chicken. A man goes to Heaven, and is given a book where any questions he asks gives him an answer about his life.
One of his golden questions: "How many times did I listen to the Divinals' song 'I Touch Myself'?"
The books response: "106"
His Response: "Huh, I thought I heard it a lot more."
Susan from Toronto, CanadaThe best description I've read for why these lyrics are so great is that the song "is both naughty and nice."
Sam from Jo'burg, South AfricaThis is a fabulous song and one I listen to all the time!
Jenny from Garland, Txthis song is reffered to in the freshmen by the verve pipe. if you listen to the son, you can understand why i can naver listen to this song again.
Ben from Gosford, AustraliaI remember the first time I heard this song was in 1990 when I was 5 years old. I was in the car with Mum and I thought the song was about someone who felt realy good about themselves and was giving themselves a pat on the back. Then when I was 14 I heard this song and went "Ohhh!"
Tony from Detroit, MiThis song isn't about masturbating guys. She meant touch myself emotionally, not physically....
Bayden from Alice Springs, AustraliaI Love this song and liked it more after watching Austin Powers Dancing to it to it
Dominick from New York, NyTo Natalie:
> Eight albums of new material in a 20 year career does not a one hit wonder make. <
Yes, but they had no other hits despite the eight albums, that's why they are one hit wonders. They only had one hit song.
Dave from Mcalester, OkI was 12-yrs-old when this video came out in 1991...it has been a fond memory ever since. I only just recently rediscovered it online and it still gets me. Chrissy Amphlett's voice is just as buxom and voluptuous as her body and who doesn't love a redhead? It just so happens that I was at work when I found it on Google Video...and it quickly became the theme song for my workspace. Everyone I work with is singing it now. It's catchy and sticks with you.
Gerry Walsh from Melbourne, AustraliaThis song was a goody and deserved to be a hit in America at least, though not in the leauge of there early stuff....... Christina's book would be a great read,it came out last year, i've been meaning to read it. I seen then play in Moorabbin in 1990...... Loved the movie Monkey Grip. Great Aussie movie. I'll finish with stating Chrissy is Australia's most powerful/energetic female performer ever. Oh and sexiest!
Ernie from St. Louis, MoTo me, this song is about the total absolute love of one person for another, ?I don?t want anybody else.? (That?s Total Devotion.) ?When I think about you I touch myself.? (That?s Absolute Infatuation.) Sex is a major part of human relationships and this song blends that with romantic love incredibly well.
Sara from Traverse City, MiI like this song, and not just beacuse of it's underlying theme either, even if it is a song about mastuerbation, it's a done in a clean matter. And handel with great grace
Daniela from Banfield, Argentinathis song is great, it is so funny, in here people sing it but they don't know what it says!!!!
Luke from Manchester, EnglandI change the lyrics for people I don't like to "I would have anybody else 'cos when I think about you I s**t myself
Dallas from Natick, MaA great 80s song, about mastering your domain, sexier than She-Bop. It's got double, even triple, entendre, being romantic, mental, and sexual all at once!
And yes, don't put in a note 2 girl u like, because you will get suspended. In fact, kids, cover your ears and get back to your homework :)
Mark from Wee Waa, AustraliaChrissy is a very sexy chick,
Mark from Wee Waa, AustraliaThe Divinyls as one hit wonders in Australia is very laughable, thay had many hits in Aus, you should grap a copy of some of their eariler material and have a listen. Some their hits are Boys in Town, Pleasure and Pain, Back to the Wall, Science Fiction, Only Lonely and any more.
Jimoh from The Bronx Ny, NyI honestly didn't realize what this song was really about until last year! :)
Gisella from Cordoba, Argentinahahaha i didn't know where it was filmed...I'm from Argentina and I realized that this song was from the divinyls because of a publicity
Dennis from Anchorage, AkThe thing about this song that gets to me is that despite the obvious masturbation theme, it is actually deeply romantic. It actually echoes a letter a girlfriend of mine wrote me once when we were apart. There's no 'winking' in this song about wanking. It is actually , pardon the pun, very touching.
Jameson from Lexington, KyPerhaps I'm merely a pig (and if so, I proudly proclaim "oink!"), but Chrstina Amphlett was, and still is, a goddess. :)
Natalie from London, United StatesOne hit wonder????? Eight albums of new material in a 20 year career does not a one hit wonder make.
Alex from San Diego, CaThis song rocks sooooo much...it's great because of the innuendos and the actual melody/ beat arrangement. Very good soft rock song.
Lydia from Tulsa, OkThis song was covered by Scala, a group of sixty Belgian girls. To hear their version, go to:
I wonder if they know what they're singing about...
Kendall from Thomasville, GaThis song goes nicely with Turning Japanese. Theres one for boys... and for girls. Yay We all Win!!
Elliot from St. Louis, MoUmm....I guess there is nothing wrong about a sonf about masturbation, or is there? I am not sure, but, at least on the surface, this song has "Fun For The Whole Family" written all over it. Lol
Anthony from Clearwater, FlDamn good video!
Derek from Carmel, InGee, I had no idea about this songs meaning! (Insert sarcasm here)
Kent from Latrobe, PaThe video was filmed in a... CONVENT!!!!!!!!!!!! The nuns stayed in a hotel!
Erik from Davis, CaThis song is funnier than most "Weird Al" Yankovic songs, and I don't think this song was even written to be funny!