As some of you may know, May is National Masturbation Month. Someone asked me about this “National Masturbation Month” thing and whether there would be some festival or public celebration. First, there is no parade or festival (that I’m aware of); although some cities, like my home city Philadelphia, just a few weeks ago began its annual fund-raising Masturbate-a-Thon. That event runs to May 27th this year. Such events have been held somewhere nationally and throughout the world.
National Masturbation Day started out nearly twenty years ago, in 1995, in San Francisco at the sex-toy retail chain store Good Vibrations. It was started in response to the forced resignation of then-U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after a speech she made at the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994. When asked about masturbation as a safe alternative for sexually active teens, Elders said, “…masturbation is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.” Due to the heat then-President Bill Clinton received from the political and religious front and many other prudes in society, Elders lost her job (read: was fired). People who understood the benefits and the pleasures of masturbation supported Elders and her comment and campaigned for her to keep her job.
Over time, National Masturbation Day, which at one time was held in some areas every May 7th, would grow into National Masturbation Week (or “wank week” to use a more playful term) and eventually became National Masturbation Month. It is also sometimes called World Masturbation Month, since campaigns to recognize and protect one’s right to masturbate is now recognized worldwide.
The most important point of National Masturbation Month is to recognize that masturbation is a safe sexual activity. It can be an alternative to partner sex. If you have a sexual partner, mutual masturbation is just as enjoyable and fun. The benefits of masturbation are simple: it’s natural, healthy, normal, fun, and free. Like anything, there are certain responsibilities that go along with masturbation – i.e., time, place and frequency, but the activity should never be discouraged or made to be thought of as being some shameful, disgusting or even sinful thing.
To quote one anonymous writer:
“Masturbation is our first natural sexual activity. Masturbation is the ongoing love affair that each of us has with ourselves. Masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun, and even necessary for a male’s sexual health. It is not something to suffer through. It is not something to get rid of. It is something to enjoy and practice every day, if need be.”
More info is on Dr. Joycelyn Elders is here.
Philadelphia’s Masturbate-a-Thon info is here:
Now that you know, you know what to do. Celebrate loving…and enjoying yourselves!