Tuesday, 30 April 2013

May is National Masturbation Month

What? I don't remember that on my Hallmark calendar. Besides, isn't every month masturbation month? Rah, rah! Or is it raw, raw?

Good Vibrations is a sex store in San Francisco founded in 1977 by sex therapist and educator Joani Blank. It was initially established with the goal of being a sex-positive and woman-centered alternative to the 'adult' bookstores of the time, Good Vibrations offered sex information and education, featured erotica and books about sexual health and pleasure, and pioneered the concept of the "sex-positive, clean, well-lighted place" to buy sex toys. (Wikipedia: Good Vibrations (sex shop): History)

Minnie Joycelyn Elders was the first African American and second woman to hold the position of Surgeon General of the United States, being appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. (Wikipedia: Joycelyn Elders: Career and Tenure as U.S. Surgeon General) Like many of the surgeons general before her, she was an outspoken advocate of a variety of health-related causes. She argued for an exploration of the possibility of drug legalization and backed the distribution of contraceptives in schools.

In 1994, she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS. She was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity, and she replied, "I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught." This remark caused great controversy and resulted in Elders losing the support of the White House. ... Elders was fired by President Clinton as a result of the controversy in December 1994.

In 1995, California sex advocate Dr. Carol Queen with the assistance of Good Vibrations, held the first National Masturbation Day on May 7 while declaring May masturbation month.

Surveys indicate that 90 per cent of North American men and 65 per cent of women masturbate, Queen notes, "yet masturbation continues to be maligned in our culture, censored from our education and scorned as the sexual expression of those who can't get a date.

"So much so that when the American Surgeon-General Joycelyn Elders endorsed the teaching of masturbation in high school sex-ed classes six years ago, she was fired by the Clinton administration.

"We gave our heads a shake and said it's about time we fought back. That's when we founded National Masturbation Day." (Toronto Star, May 20/2001: NMD: A touchy subject by John Karastamatis)

Good Vibrations: May is Masturbation Month
[I apologise to Good Vibrations for quoting their entire web page in full without prior permission but this was just too good to pass by.]

Good Vibrations began celebrating National Masturbation Month in 1995. Earlier that year, then-Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders was fired for saying that masturbation should be discussed as part of young peoples' sex education. We were astounded. It was one of the most sensible things we'd ever heard a government official say -- and it cost Elders her job! We started National Masturbation Month to raise awareness, and because we wanted to highlight the importance of masturbation for nearly everyone: it's safe, it's healthy, it's free, it's pleasurable and it helps people get to know their bodies and their sexual responses. Of all the kinds of sex people can have, masturbation is the most universal and important, yet few people talk about it freely -- worse, many people still feel it is "second best" or problematic in some way. National Masturbation Month lets us emphasize how great it is: it's natural, common and fun! This year's theme is "D.I.Y." Do it yourself! Nobody does it better!

Why May?
Because "the merry, merry month of May" has long been seen as symbolizing sexual awakening. Also, because "May" and "masturbation" both start with "M" -- it's nice and alliterative.

Why talk about masturbation?
Because many people still feel guilty about it, or feel they do it too much, or feel it's a second-best substitute for "real" sex. We think it's important to bring it out into the open and let people feel better about what they're doing -- and, for those who may not be doing it, we want to encourage it! Masturbation is, for many, the cornerstone to a healthy and good sex life. It isn't second-best -- it can give you the information and awareness you need to enjoy the rest of your sex life. Self love rules!

Why Masturbate?
* Because masturbation is immensely pleasurable, invigorating, rejuvenating and fun.
* Because sexual pleasure is each person's birthright.
* Because masturbation is the ultimate safe sex.
* Because masturbation is a joyous expression of self love.
* Because masturbation offers numerous health benefits including menstrual cramp relief, stress reduction, endorphin release, stronger pelvic muscles, reduction of prostate gland infection for men and resistance to yeast infections for women.
* Because masturbation is an excellent cardiovascular workout.
* Because each person is their own best lover.
* Because masturbation with a partner can be educational and hot.
* Because masturbation increases sexual awareness.

For these and many other reasons we celebrate National Masturbation Month and affirm the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness and sexual pleasure!

History of the Masturbation Taboo
Almost everyone masturbates, but all too few of us are willing to admit to enjoying this simple pleasure -- mostly because of the taboo against masturbation in our society, which has its roots in historical misconceptions that have survived to the present day. Concerns about masturbation tend to fall into two general categories: that masturbation is dangerously wasteful or that it's immature. The notion that masturbation is wasteful springs from the widespread misconception that men have a finite allotment of sperm and that every ejaculation depletes precious semen, resulting in exhaustion and weakness. Although women don't produce semen, it was once believed that masturbation was similarly destructive and debilitating to them. The belief that masturbation is such a dangerous drain on energy that it can lead to enfeeblement, illness and ultimately insanity was so persistent in 18th, 19th and even 20th century Europe and America that treatments for preventing masturbation became something of an obsession.

Turn-of-the-century magazines featured advertisements for penile rings which were spiked on the inside so that if the wearer experienced an erection during the course of the night, he'd wake from the pain. Bondage belts, restraints, straitjackets, cauterizing irons and even clitoridectomy (the surgical excision of the clitoris) were all methods used to prevent young women from masturbating. American health reformers of the 19th century preached, as in these words from John Kellogg, that masturbation was "the vilest, the basest and the most degrading act that a human being can commit."

Although most men and women today are aware that masturbation isn't a "degrading act," many are still constrained by the notion that it's a selfish, immature activity or a second-rate substitute for partner sex. We live in a society in which sexual expression has always been legislated and restricted and the pursuit of pure pleasure is frequently condemned as selfish and childish. A lot of people who consider themselves free of sexual hang-ups have simply rewritten the equation "sex is only good if it involves procreation" to "sex is only good if it involves two loving people." The fact that masturbation is a pleasurable end in itself gets short shrift in mainstream sex manuals, which focus on masturbation as a useful tool in the building of a better sex life with one's partner. While it's certainly true that masturbation provides valuable information about your own and your partners' sexual responses, masturbation is much more than a means to the exalted end of better partner sex. Masturbation is our first sexual activity, a natural source of pleasure that's available to us throughout our lives, and a unique form of creative self-expression. Each time you masturbate, you're celebrating your sexuality and your innate capacity for pleasure, so give yourself a hand!

Masturbation Today
While giving yourself pleasure may seem as natural as taking a breath, masturbation is by no means a widely accepted form of sexual activity. Today, in many parts of the world (including the U.S.) children are punished if they are caught masturbating, which can affect their sexuality for the rest of their lives. Adults in cultures across the globe are presented with heterosexual marriage as the only acceptable form of sexual expression. Masturbation is not honored as an important form of safer sex, much less as a way a person can love herself, learn about himself, or exercise, as one wonderful Chinese euphemism puts it, "self-comfort."

Masturbation can be a radical act, and the culture that suppresses masturbation may suppress many other personal freedoms as well. While celebrating National Masturbation Month and doing your part to bring self love out of the closet, keep in mind that erotic freedom is essential to true well-being, everywhere.

Think About It
Sexual pleasure is each person's birthright. What? Really? Am I not supposed to be going to hell?

I'm saying that tongue in cheek but in all seriousness, since starting this blog and writing about various issues, I have been startled, no taken aback by the amount of misinformation and politicized B.S. being passed around as fact. We may pooh-pooh our ancestors for worshipping the sun as a god or some other superstitious nonsense; however I clearly see that we are no better off today with our extraordinary ignorance of the world and our adamant and misguided belief in our own misinterpretation of religious ideas.

The other end of the spectrum: the American Life League
The American Life League (ALL) is one of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States. Not only are they anti-abortion, they espouse a policy of abstinence until marriage and I mean abstinence from all sex. In my blog Planned Parenthood: addicting children to sex!!!, I describe in chilling detail how ALL is going after our bodies, trying to stop funding to Planned Parenthood, trying to stop all abortions, trying to stop sex education, and trying to stop contraception. In a jaw-dropping promotional video, ALL compares Planned Parenthood to your neighbourhood drug pusher attempting to get kids hooked on sex using masturbation as their "gateway drug". It is a stunning display of a puritanical mentality that would have all of us hiding shamefully in the closet.

Just imagine what would happen if Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann or even the president of ALL, Judie Brown, somehow came to power. We would all be knocked back to the Dark Ages. We would be burning people at the stake, using blood-letting as a home remedy and putting chastity belts on girls. Am I exaggerating? Planned Parenthood gone. Legal abortions gone. Sex Education gone. Free condoms gone. Sex gone. It would truly be George Orwell's 1984 with its dystopian double speak and mind control. Your dalliances would be secretive, shameful, and under risk of discovery. ... No wait, that's right now!

Do we need sex education?
In my blog Sex Ed: Betty Dodson: educator, author, pro-sex feminist, I refer to a letter where the writer makes this startling admission: "I am 27 years old, never had an orgasm. I'm married 5 years with 2 kids."

In my postings Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn and Book Review: Make Love Not Porn by Cindy Gallop, this self-professed New York cougar talks about her experiences of dating younger men whose sole source of sex education has been pornography. While some would immediately jump to the hasty conclusion that porn is bad, Ms. Gallop points out that the issue is not porn at all. "We all do it, yet we don't talk about it. Most parents are too embarrassed to teach their children about sex and talk to them about the issues surrounding it. ... Most countries around the world have not formalized and integrated sex education into the educational system and curriculum. ... hardcore porn has become, be default, the sex education of today."

How to teach kids about sex
One woman blogger is involved in her church with her son in a program about sex education which involved the handing out of condoms. Another woman blogger has had frank discussions not just about sex but relationships with her sons and has said she will allow sex under her roof so she has some control over the matter and that's better that them sneaking around. Those are two examples of the zillions of families out there trying to figure what to say to their kids... or hoping the whole issue will magically disappear.

The following reference web sites and authors who deal with sex education and covering, tying this to the month of May, masturbation.

my blog: Sex Ed: Scarleteen
This web site is an independent source of information about sex which was founded in 1998 by Heather Corinna. Presenting a "sex positive" resource with the tag line "Sex Ed for the Real World", this amazing site speaks frankly of every possible topic connected to sex and relationships. Staffed by Heather and a group of volunteers, the site is apparently viewed by tens of thousands of readers each day, as the site says, between the ages of 15 and 25.

my blog: Sex Ed: Sue Johanson
For those of you would are unfamiliar with the name, Ms. Johanson is a veritable institution in Canada and the United States in the area of sex education. Her informed, fact based approach to discussing the "final frontier" has garnered her accolades from many corners. She received Canada's highest honour in 2001, the Order of Canada.

Sue Johanson, born 1930, is a registered nurse, Canadian writer, speaker and sex educator. Her first real foray into media was a 14 year stint on the radio station Q107 in Toronto between 1984 and 1998. The Sunday Night Sex Show was dedicated to advice on sex and from 1985 onwards, a parallel show existed on the community access channel of Rogers cable. It became a national show on the Women's Television Network and was picked up by Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Network in 2002. [sigh] Unfortunately, Sue retired from weekly broadcasting in 2008. Fortunately, her materials live on via the Internet and she does continue to lecture.

[I have a link to a video of Ms. Johanson, age 79, demonstrating with a dildo how to put a condom on using just your mouth.]

my blog: Sex Ed: Violet Blue
Ms. Blue is an author, blogger, sex educator and sex columnist. She has contributed to a number of publications over the years in various formats: a weekly sex column for the San Francisco Chronicle, podcasts, a video blog as well as a regular blog and a feature about porn for woman in the magazine O, The Oprah Magazine. She has written 11 books on various sex topics; edited 9 anthologies of erotica and a half a dozen audio books plus writes for, edits and manages several web sites. However she does work outside the area of sex itself by contributing tech articles for ZDNet and both writes for and edits her own tech blog called techyum. Forbes named her one of The Web Celeb 25 in 2007. A busy woman indeed.

my blog: Sex Ed: Dr. Laura Berman
Laura Berman is an American sex educator and therapist. She has made appearances in various media including The Today Show and Oprah Winfrey and also stars in a reality TV series called Sexual Healing on Showtime. With her sister, Jennifer Berman MD, she has co-authored a book called "FOR WOMEN ONLY: A Revolutionary Guide for Reclaiming your Sex Life". She heads The Berman Center in Chicago, "a specialized health center focused on women's and couples' sexual health".

In my other blogs about Sex Ed, I discovered that Sue Johanson recommends sex toys; Scarleteen discusses them and Violet Blue is pro-sex toy. Dr. Laura Berman is no exception. Her web site talks about how to select the best one and she has partnered with a company Pleasure Me Now to offer various toys to the public.

Some funny stuff: Slang Terms for Masturbation
We, and that is the collective we, have both an active imagination when it comes to euphemisms and metaphors coupled with an amusing sense of humour. Considering that of the sexes comes with different equipment, some expressions vary. We all know "jacking off" for guys but have you heard "jilling off" for the gals?

Men have "polishing the stick" while women have "buffing the box". "Getting in touch with yourself" and "being your own best friend" seem to be applicable to both sexes.

DirtySlang.Com: Male Masturbation Slang Terms

A big date with Rosy Palms
A date with Mrs. Palmer and her 5 slut daughters
Abusing the usual suspect
Shaking the hand of the self-employed

DirtySlang.Com: Female Masturbation Slang Terms

A Night in With the Girls
Hiking Through the Grand Canyon
Visiting the Magic Kingdom
Waking the Butterfly

My all time favourite for the ladies still has me guffawing out loud at my computer desk: Tiptoe Through the Two Lips

Final Word
A month dedicated to self-love because sexual pleasure is each person's birthright. On the other hand (no joke intended), the American Life League and those associated with the far-right would have us abstain and hide this part of our being. I've said it before; I'll say it again: we are a confused society. We are ignorant and inexperienced and as a consequence guilt-ridden by a traditional puritanical streak dating back centuries. The Dark Ages indeed.

Prohibition failed to stop the use of alcohol. Abstinence does not stop people from having sex. Instead of trying to sweep the issue under the rug, we need to face it head-on. Minnie Joycelyn Elders, Surgeon General of the United States, may have been fired by President Bill Clinton for political reasons, but she will be vindicated in the long run as her ideas about sex education must prevail if we are to have a better society. You can run but you can't hide. After all, you can't hide from your own sexuality; you always have it with you.



References

EmpowerHer - Apr 30/2010
May is National Masturbation Month By Stacy Lloyd
May 1 marks the first day of Nation Masturbation Month. If you didn't know this, you’re not alone. The annual observance is not high profile.

Wikipedia: National Masturbation Day
National Masturbation Day (NMD) is an annual event celebrated on a day in May to protect the right to masturbate. The first National Masturbation Day was observed in 1995. Till 2001, NMD was celebrated on May 7, but in 2005 NMD was celebrated on May 28. Alongside NMD, the month of May is celebrated as the National Masturbation Month.

Wikipedia: Good Vibrations (sex shop)
Good Vibrations is a San Francisco-based corporation associated with the sex industry. It operates six retail stores (five in in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one in Brookline, MA); a mail-order business; an e-commerce website; a wholesale arm; and an erotic-video production company, Good Releasing.
...
A notable part of the store was the display of antique vibrators, which were initially developed as a treatment for "female hysteria". This became a tourist draw known as "the antique vibrator museum", which was listed by Frommer's in the category "Best Free Things to Do in San Francisco".

Wikipedia: Joycelyn Elders
Minnie Joycelyn Elders (born Minnie Lee Jones on August 13, 1933) is an American pediatrician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the first African American appointed as Surgeon General of the United States. Elders is best known for her frank discussion of her views on controversial issues such as drug legalization and distributing contraception in schools. She was fired mid-term in December 1994 amidst controversy.

Wikipedia: Masturbate-a-thon
The Masturbate-a-thon is an event in which participants masturbate in order to raise money for charity and increase the public awareness and dispel the shame and taboos that exist about this form of sexual activity. During the past six years, the Masturbate-a-thon has raised over $25,000 for women’s health initiatives and HIV prevention, education and treatment organizations, and has contributed to debates about safer sex and alternative safe methods of sexual expression. The event awards several honors for those who raise the most money as well as for multiple orgasms and endurance.

Wikipedia: Masturbation
Masturbation refers to the sexual stimulation of a person's genitals, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation can be performed manually, by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods. Masturbation is a common form of autoeroticism, providing sexual pleasure or orgasm in the absence of a partner. The act, when performed with a partner, is called mutual masturbation and is sometimes used as an alternative to sexual intercourse.

Wiktionary: Onanism
1. ejaculating outside the vagina during intercourse; (the performing of) coitus interruptus
2. masturbation

Etymology
From the biblical name Onan: In the Book of Genesis, Onan, son of Judah, in fulfillment of the laws of levirate marriage was to impregnate his brother Er's widow, Tamar, in order to raise offspring from the union in his brother's name. In order to avoid raising descendants for his late brother, however, Onan spilled his semen on the ground when he went in to his brother's wife, so that he would not give offspring to his brother. (Genesis 38:9). Thus the word Onanism was coined, meaning ejaculating outside the vagina, or masturbation (because this also spills semen, rather than using it for procreation).

Wikipedia: Onan
Onan is a minor biblical person in the Book of Genesis Chapter 38, who was the second son of Judah. Like his older brother, Er, Onan died prematurely by Yahweh's will for being wicked.

Biblical account
After Onan's brother Er died, his father Judah told him to fulfill his duty as a brother-in-law to Tamar, by giving her offspring. Centuries later, in the days of Moses, this practice was formulated into a law of a Levirate marriage, where the brother of the deceased would provide offspring to the childless widow to preserve the family line.

However, when Onan had sex with Tamar, he disregarded this principle when he withdrew before climax and "spilled his seed (or semen) on the ground", since any child born would not legally be considered his heir. This he did several times, disregarding the principle of a Levirate union, and was accordingly sentenced to death by Yahweh for this wickedness. (Genesis 38:8-10)

Criticism
A number of scholars maintain that the story does not refer to masturbation, but to coitus interruptus, and that the Bible does not claim that masturbation would be sinful.

The Boston Phoenix - May 27/2009
The original DIY, observed: Celebrating the safest of sex
We all know that masturbation is totally normal and healthy, but did you know that it's so ordinary that we start doing it before we even come out of the womb? True story! In Mary Roach's Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (Norton, 2008), she tells readers about in-utero masturbation, apparently observed in a sonogram image by an Israeli doctor who in 1987 sent a letter to the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine that was accompanied by pictures of a seven-month-old fetus "grasping his penis in a fashion resembling masturbation movements." Whoa.

Wikipedia: The Contest
"The Contest" is the 51st episode of the NBC sitcom, Seinfeld. The 11th episode of the fourth season, it aired on November 18, 1992. In the episode, George Costanza tells Jerry Seinfeld, Elaine Benes and Cosmo Kramer that his mother caught him unaware while he was masturbating. The conversation results in George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer entering into a contest to determine who can go for the longest period of time without masturbating.

The episode was controversial when broadcast because NBC thought that masturbation was not a topic suitable for prime time television. As a result, the word "masturbation" is never used in the episode. Instead, the subject is described using a series of euphemisms, while the meaning of the subject is still made clear to the audience. The writer of the episode, Larry David, won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series for his work on the episode. One euphemism used in the episode is "master of my domain", said by a character when still in the contest. It has become a catchphrase in popular culture, although it is not always used in reference to masturbation.


Uploaded by ishapiro1 on Jun 24, 2010
YouTube: 3D fetal ultrasound - amazing things fetuses do in the womb - Dr. I. Shapiro
"Life in 3D" -- Real-time 3D ultrasound ("4D") video showing what fetuses do in the womb: smiling, yawning, urinating, masturbating, kicking their co-twin and much more... The video clip was presented in The Second Philadelphia Prenatal Diagnosis Update Conference (organized by Drexel University College of Medicine, June 4, 2010) at the end of Dr. Shapiro's lecture on "3D ultrasound - gimmick or breakthrough?" The lecture was aimed to demonstrate the significant medical benefit of 3D ultrasound, but though this is the purpose of the examination, some amusement makes no harm. - Ultrasound and video editing -- Dr. Israel Shapiro, Haifa, Israel

2013-05-01

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1 comment:

D. A. Wolf said...

Mr. Belle,
You always brighten my day. Now you've brightened my May.

Thank you for this PSA. Delightful.