A holiday I missed

Somehow May came to an end without my realizing that it was National Masturbation Month (and, in fact, without my realizing that there was such a celebration). From Wikipedia:

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. …  Alongside NMD, the month of May is celebrated as the National Masturbation Month.


The Wikipedia piece continues:

The NMD is organized to protest against social stigma against masturbation. Sexologist Carol Queen, an organizer of the NMD, argued, although 90% of men and 65% of women in North America masturbate regularly, masturbation is viewed negatively in contemporary culture and deliberately excluded from the formal education system. According to Queen, “We gave our heads a shake and said it’s about time we fought back. That’s when we founded National Masturbation Day.”

The NMD in the United States was being organized from its beginning primarily by the San Francisco-based sex toy retail chain Good Vibrations [with which Queen is associated] and its supporters.

On Queen:

Carol Queen is an American author, editor, sociologist and sexologist active in the sex-positive feminism movement. Queen has written on human sexuality in books such as Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture. She has written a sex tutorial, Exhibitionism for the Shy: Show Off, Dress Up and Talk Hot, as well as erotica, such as the novel The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Queen has produced adult movies, events, workshops and lectures. Queen was featured as an instructor and star in both installments of the Bend Over Boyfriend series about female-to-male anal sex, or pegging. (link)

In related news:

In May 1995, San Francisco–based sex toy shop Good Vibrations declared May to be “Masturbation Month”. Since then, it has encouraged people to get sponsors as a fundraiser for charities with a sex-positive focus.

In 1999, the Masturbate-a-Thon was originated by the collective Open Enterprises, which operates Good Vibrations. The slogan “Come for a Cause” was coined by Rachel Venning, the founder of the sex toy shop Babeland, formerly Toy in Babeland, which has branches in Seattle, in Brooklyn, and (two) in Manhattan. The Masturbate-a-Thon was built up by Good Vibrations, which encouraged other modern sex-toy businesses — such as Babeland; A Woman’s Touch, in Madison, Wisconsin; Toronto’s Come as You Are; and Boston’s Grand Opening — to hold events coinciding with “masturbation month” (May in the United States).


Events have also been held in Europe.

Now on attitudes about masturbation. From a posting of mine about wank:

In BrE, the derived noun wanker (and its abbreviated variant wank) has both the transparent sense ‘one who masturbates’ (attested from 1950) but also the sense ‘an objectionable or contemptible person or thing’ (both variants attested from the early 1970s, but surely earlier).

And along with these linguistic usages go two long-standing social attitudes (connected to one another) about masturbation. I’ve written several times about the idea that masturbation is unproductive sex, which leads to a thicket of metaphors about various activities (judged to be unproductive) as equivalent to masturbation [mental masturbation is an especially common collocation]. And then there’s the bad end of jacking off, reported by the OED under the heading of wanker’s doom, in its wanker entry:

One who masturbates; wanker’s doom, disability caused by excessive masturbation.

Jacking off makes you grow hair on your palms, makes you blind, makes you go crazy. (What you need is vaginal intercourse, preferably with your wife.) The idea is that masturbation is not only unproductive, but unnatural, against God’s will, hence dangerous and destructive. Fucking your wife a lot is good, indeed what God wants, but jacking off a lot is dangerous craziness. I think *that’s* craziness.

One Response to “A holiday I missed”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    I used to help out at a food co-op that had an awful lot of mice. I got a bunch of old fashioned mouse traps and put peanut butter in them. Every time I went there I ran my “trap line”, ejected the dead mice, and reloaded the traps.

    They used to call me the Old Master Baiter.

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