Did you know that May was Nastional Masturbation Month, that this past Friday was National Masturbation Day, and that this weekend was National Masturbation Weekend? No? Good luck you’re masturbating now, right?
(A version of this article also appears on Gamelink’s Naked Truth)
You’ll agree that masturbation is one of those things that everyone does but few people talk about. Complicating matters is sometimes the people who do talk about it are just gross and you don’t want to imagine them in a sexual way. But you’re missing the point. The fact remains that too many people across the country and world associate masturbation and sexual feelings with shame and, as Master Yoda said when he got caught masturbating, “Leads to suffering, shame does.”
A legal drinking age ago, in December, 1994, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was fired by feel-good, groovy President Bill Clinton for—among other things—suggesting that masturbation was a natural part of sexuality and that perhaps it should be taught as an alternative to riskier sexual practices, like the ones that might give one AIDS.
Along with her views on drug legalization and abortion, Elders’ take on masturbation proved too much for the Clinton administration, which she had worked for since then-Governor Clinton appointed her head of the Arkansas Department of Health in 1987. Elders was in and out of the Surgeon General job in less than two years because she spoke plainly about public health.
We already know that it is the most God-fearing, conservative states that consume the most porn in America, so not too much has changed in the country since then. Surgeons-general since Elders know to keep their educated mouths shut when dealing with Old Testament-level infractions.
But that is why our local treasure, Good Vibrations, instituted International Masturbation Month (with May 28 being International Masturbation Day) in May of 1995. If just a handful (ahem) more people per day were persuaded to remove shame from a natural act of self-pleasure through the even-keeled (yet whimsical!) efforts of Good Vibrations luminaries like Carol Queen, Ph. D., Betty Dodson, Jackie Strano, and Shar Rednour, then it is worth it.
Now don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to see you masturbating in the street like some of the more colorful residents of Gamelink’s San Francisco neighborhood. Some shame is absolutely right on. But grab a friend or loved one and show that person how you do it. Take notes on how he/she/they do it. Send your mom a Rechargeable Wand. Send your dad some Nina Hartley. Stop covering the eyes of your pets (unless that’s some consensual stuff that you’re into with them).
“Masturbation is fun and pleasurable, it teaches you about your own unique sexuality, and it’s a great way to postpone partner sex if you’re not ready for it,” says Carol Queen, one of Masturbation Month’s founders. “Why on earth isn’t everybody celebrating masturbation?”
As you are well aware, my employer also encourages your masturbation. Visitors to GameLink.com will receive a 10 percent discount on all hand-held strokers, which are made of high-quality materials in a variety of shapes and sizes. To view a full listing of these products, click here.