She Bops while I’m turning Japanese: Masturbating for a Cause

‘Tis soon the close of the merry month of May; a time of rejuvenation, spring bloom and it is the time we commemorate that most esteemed of pleasurable delights, masturbation. Perhaps you are of the kind that, like that thing you do with the trampoline, peanut oil and four Albino Lithuanian gymnasts, masturbation is a private affair, not worthy of public attention or support. It is a double edged sword, sex.  On one hand there is the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” attitude in the generational peer groups with the added bonus of being blamed for many of the social ills of modern society yet sex is used to sell products and “doing it” infers maturity that is often projected onto children rather than focusing on the experience of childhood. Masturbation is a triple edged sword, for along with the above there the stigma of touching oneself that is frowned upon even when one is considered of the age of consent for sexual intercourse.

Masturbation has not always been on the low scale of acceptability that it wallows in today.  In the Temple of Karnak in Egypt is marked with art and hieroglyphics that explain how the Ancient Egyptians conceptualized the creation of the universe: “With the hand of God Amun masturbated and brought forth the first pairs of souls”. For the argument that Christianity scorns the touching of oneself, one could simply look at the “Gospel of Thomas”, though it was looked over by the Council for inclusion in the Bible, for Jesus’s words on the matter of masturbation:

“Anointed in the sacred wetness with the magical spell of Merh, drinking the Nectars of Gods and giving your soul to my womb, all your fears vanish. Naked as a little child before the altar of God, in the presence of angels with eunuchs of God as your witness, you rest in the realization that you are the alpha and omega, the eternal perpetuating one. Your mind is silenced, resting composed in thoughtlessness.

You are innocent, before your fellow humans, sanctified, and never ashamed. Receiving the endowment of silence from your incarnate master, your female, ever so gently, caresses your male. Lovers are your male and female, and in their merged breath flows the wind of life. Feeling the outward inward, you see your female soul no longer female and your male soul no longer male, but one in pregnant togetherness.

Born in the scent of the soundlessness within you, the endowment of communion with the master. You awaken into the goodness filled with the ecstasy quiverings of Merh, restfully relaxed and floating in the orgasmic milieu of creation. One with the mysterium of creation, you never die in the wetness, but continue on eternally. For you have awakened to God within. You are at-one-ment with the universe.”

Perhaps I simply look at the world in simplistic terms, or it could be that I statistically am on par with a small Central American country, but masturbation could be considered a religious rite, perhaps a sacrifice or, if one is too close to their sleeping partner, an anointment.

So why today is it acceptable to boast about having a four hour marathon of sex with some cocktail waitress over espresso and bagels but people will become uncomfortable or leave when you boast about the four hour marathon of masturbation you had?  Masturbation has its place in society, it can be utilized for several different aspects that though a solo endeavour, the rewards are societal – unless you accidentally sit on the wet spot that some good citizen of Earth lazily left in their haste to share with the world the boons of masturbation.

First off, I would like to point out that the expectation of inexperience is that of an early, if not close to premature end result, which the partner perceives as flattering as it is proof of your desire for them – the first time.  This “aw, don’t worry about it, baby” attitude quickly fades into irritability then downright hostility of being left on the landing pad as the rocket takes off into orbit. When one hits the higher double digits of partners, inexperience is no longer a label attached to your person; ‘player’ is the term that now is associated with the sexual behaviour.  Partners expect that it is a roll of the dice on whether or not they will be sexually satisfied as a player is self absorbed in that department. After one has made it through three quarters of the triple digits, however, partners tend to amend your amateur status to triple A – where you aren’t getting paid but the expectation is that of one with professional standing. The professional standard is staying in the game for all the innings, only leaving the pitching mound after at least one homerun has been thrown for the opposing team. Masturbation gives, particularly in the male dominion, a natural culling of the early grand finale of the act of sexual intercourse.

I you are a guy who has suffered through the agony of “Blue Balls” (and yes, I  have heard rumours that women can experience a similar condition but “blue fallopian tubes” just doesn’t have the poetic roll off the tongue) then you have considered all the potential remedies available. Women enjoy the idea of “Blue Balling”, they think its ‘cute’ that they can get a person so worked up that they need a scraper to take off their jeans. Women do not understand that it is quite similar to the  pain of severe menstrual cramps but we have a secret weapon – masturbation, much like a sauna, can take the severe muscle tension and make it disappear.

The third benefit of masturbation is the release of the natural ‘feel good’ hormones that make a person relaxed.  There may not be any statistics to document the positive effects of masturbation but for a brief span of time it decreases the feelings of stress.  Stress leads to health, mental and physical, problems and can potentially kill.  There are all kinds of little pills on the market that act as de-stressors, why not utilize the one that is free, and though it can be addictive, its nothing that a little hand soap can clean up.  Heck, with enough, de-stressing, perhaps one can even embark on a new career as an arm wrestler.

The fourth reason that masturbation should not be discounted or its importance lessened is that it plays an important role in a person’s enjoyment of sexual intercourse serving as a benchmark for pleasure. A healthy outlook on a person’s sexuality and sexual expression is based on the amount of pleasure one receives from the act of sex.  Masturbation lets a person discover the differences in their comfort levels and what they are willing to let another explore without feeling pressured to remain silent if something their partner is doing isn’t pleasurable for them. Masturbation should be considered a part of a healthy self image and not something disgusting or dirty that impacts negatively on that self image and self worth.  Should everyone masturbate? While some may prefer not to, it shouldn’t be seen as a flaw in the personality of those who do.

Official Masturbate-a-thon Poster by Mona Caron

To honour and highlight the end of the official status of May, the masturbation month, The Center of Sex and Culture, located 1519 Mission Street in San Francisco, with Tube8.com, are holding their twelfth annual Masturbate-a-thon on Sunday May 29th,2010.  The money raised from this event are doled out to various non profits groups that promote a healthy sexual image for not only adults but for teens as well in the form of funding some public education programs that under the normal funding pyramids would not exist. There are similar events occurring in other cities in America such as Portland, as well as in other countries such as Denmark – we Canadians do not have to set aside a day for this particular form of exercise, we have an entire season dedicated to masturbation- it’s called winter.

What is a masturbate-a-thon you may ask.  It is an event where a person collects pledges on how long or how many or how far one can participate in masturbation.  In San Fransicso there is a voyeur seating where a person can sit and watch the participants masturbate for $25 dollars and for those who are unwilling to collect pledges, there is a ‘self pledge or donation’ of $40 to partake in the event. For those who  wish to participate but do not wish to be part of the media spectacle, there are off-media areas of men, women and mixed gender where the participant can masturbate in a communal setting.  The event is primarily a draw for those who are exhibitionists at heart, with the voyeur seating and the web cast aspect, but though the participants may be getting a thrill of being watched there will be groups far more thrilled that the needed money for their programs is being generated.

Perhaps you are not an exhibitionist at heart but you have a competitive based personality – there is an aspect to the masturbate-a-thon that may interest you.  There are records from the 2009 event in San Francisco just aching to be broken.  In the category “longest time spent masturbating/male” the event record(and world record) was set at 9 hours and 33 minutes by a gentleman from Japan while in the women’s event (set in 2008) is 7 hours and six minutes.  For those who don’t have long attention spans there is the male record (world) set in 2008 of 31 climaxes and the women’s record set again in 2008 of climaxing 20 times. There you go ladies, for the stereotype of women just warming up while the men have already turned off the key to their engine, there is a concrete discrepancy; guess you could say that the proof is in the pud-ing.

At the Center’s Masturbate-a-thon page a summary is given of not only the hows and what nows of the event but also an explanation of how this magnificent charity event came into being:

“In 1995, Good Vibrations invented National Masturbation Month in protest of the firing of Clinton appointed U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Elders lost favor in the administration when she responded to questions about safer sex by saying that “Masturbation is something that perhaps should be taught.” Elders’ statement was both practical and supported by sex-positive sex educators everywhere. The folks at Good Vibrations realized that the conservative factors that booted Elders from office were making sex less safe and fun by making masturbation seem shameful. And what better way to make masturbation more visible and accessible than to give it its own month of fun events and education? “

It could be said that sex education should be a parental/guardianship responsibility however the muting of honest sexual communication has been a multi-generational trend.  They have been taught as well that what happens in the bedroom, or in the bathroom at McDonalds while some rude woman is banging on the door whining about having to use the washroom because she’s too prissy to go over to the men’s washroom then gets all huffy when you walk out with her 20 year old daughter – I’m sorry; it may be a fast food world but it still takes time to put that special sauce into her fish fillet-, is not a subject of conversation between non-peer groups other than “don’t do it” or “touch my daughter and I’ll take a knife, cut open your scrotum and let the cats play with what dangles out”.  Social conditioning has castrated realistic sexual information for the over the top mime performances of the adult entertainment industry where the actuality of STD’s or STI’s are non-existent but where women who order a pizza with extra salami gets some mutant alien clone with 14 inches making a very special delivery and pick up . Sexual health should not fall victim to being branded ‘unmentionable’ in order to mask the want and will of the American teenager to have sex.

Some may wonder why sex education in American schools and of the American public would be an issue at all, or why a Canadian, or any other foreign national, should give a damn whether it is or isn’t. The answer, my friends, is simple: American kids grow up and travel.  It’s a global concern as there are generations of American adults and soon to be adults with raging hormones spreading their legs and whipping out their junk ignorant of the safety basics of the sexual tango. Conditioning kids to accept the sphere of silence leads to a lack of sexual accountability and ignorance that could endanger partners from other countries who in turn may end up next to some drunken, long haired aging punk rocker with his tongue stuck in his beer bottle and accurately perceive that there is a way to get him to stop singing “No feelings” through his nostrils. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has some statistics that bolster the importance of having a comprehensive sex education program in place:

In 2007, 48% of high school students admitted to having sexual intercourse, 39% of those did not use condoms.

Though several years older, in 2002, 55% of males and 54% of females aged 15-19 engaged in oral sex. 11% of kids aged 15-19 engaged in anal sex with a member of the opposite sex; 3% of males 15-19 engaged in anal sex with a same sex partner.  What is interesting is that some of the high school  students interviewed for an episode on the program “The Doctors” in 2009 stated that they did not plan to give up their virginity until they were married, yet engaged in anal and oral activities.  These teens were surprised when the hosts informed them that these activities were considered sex.

In the year 2006, 14% of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were 13 to 24.

Of the 18.9 million new cases of STI’s each year, 9.1 million occur in the age bracket 15 to 24 (Weinstock, H. Et al, Sexually Transmitted Diseases among American Youth: Incidence and Prevalence Estimates, 2000, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004 36(1):6-10)

Personally, I would prefer not having to ask to see a passport for country of origin before I take the time to thoroughly disappoint – that time could be better spent sneakily writing their name on my cigarette pack so that I don’t have to resort generic terms of intimacy such as “babe”, “hon”, “dear” or “yer holeyness”. Though the Center’s  aim is to use the taboo-ness of the event to create a media stir, it does invite conversation, whether it be negative or positive. If you feel inclined and live in the San Fransciso area, follow this link to pledge or donate for the endeavours of The Center of Sex and Culture: http://www.masturbate-a-thon.com/images/donor-form.pdf or phone the Center at 415-255-1155. Support the future of America – grease the axle, tickle your fancy, awaken the spitting cobra, uncap old faithful and let your concern flow…and flow…and flow.