Keep your lube handy: May is International Masturbation Month.
It all started out in May 1995 in San Francisco thanks to Good Vibrations, the first sex-positive and women-friendly American store to revolutionize the retail sales of sex toys and erotic accessories by taking the pleasure objects out of the gloomy sex shops decked out like sex hovels and displaying them into new welcoming bright spaces committed to promoting sexual health, pleasure, and empowerment.
The celebration was in response to the forced resignation of the then U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders under Bill Clinton’s governance following a speech she gave at a United Nations conference on AIDS.
When a member of the audience asked about masturbation as a way of discouraging risky sexual activity among young people, she responded “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught. But we’ve not even taught our children the very basics.” (source: The New York Times). That was the end of her career in the government and, a few months later, the beginning of Masturbation Month.
Since then, May is the month dedicated to encouraging a more open and positive dialogue about masturbation which is both a right and a safe, healthy and natural way to express one’s sexuality with multiple benefits (it can reduce stress, strengthen muscle tone in pelvic and anal areas, and relieve menstrual cramps and muscle tension, to name a few).
Over the years, something has changed, thanks in part to groundbreaking movies and tv shows that helped to debunk masturbation myths (take a look here).
It was in 1992 that the 51st episode of Seinfeld, The Contest, introduced masturbation to network TV, without ever mentioning the word (but instead coining fine euphemisms like ‘Master of my domain’, ‘King of the county’, ‘Lord of the manor’, ‘Queen of the castle’). The episode was centred around a competition between the four friends Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine to see who can go for the longest period of time without indulging in self-pleasure. The episode also acknowledged female masturbation and some common misconceptions about women’s sexuality.
A few years later, HBO was broadcasting the episode The Turtle and The Hare of Sex And The City where Charlotte is introduced to the rabbit vibrator and ends up getting addicted and spending her nights at home in the company of her new long-eared friend.
20 years later, no matter how many rabbits were sold all around the world, with many new mainstream tv shows portraying self-pleasure as an essential part of one’s sexual life (Grace & Frankie, Orange Is The New Black, Broad City, to name just a few with different approaches and audiences), we are still reluctant to talk openly about masturbation, especially female masturbation, with this causing unnecessary feelings of guilt and shame to many girls and women.
Things are changing slowly, at least on the practice side (sex toy market has been continually expanding and brands like LELO and Iroha are producing toys that look a lot more like design pieces and a lot less like realistically veined silicone penis), but we still have misconceptions, taboos and stereotypes that have to be broken.
For those who come from Mars, things are better but not by much. Although we all think that boys and men are supposedly masturbating 24/7, masturbation is still considered as a solitary tool for single, sad, desperate people, and sometimes is seen as cheating within a relationship.
While today a woman with a sex toy seems to attain a blissful status of empowered, liberated and confident, a man buying a toy is a lonely loser who can’t get laid and needs a piece of plastic in which he can act out his animal urges. Or worse, he’s a gay who has fun with a prostate massager. Thankfully, the age of the vivid pink plastic pussy is (almost) over and brands like TENGA contribute to spreading a healthy and positive idea on male masturbation by designing erotic toys that look like 3d sculptures and elegant pieces of technology and heighten the stimulation to offer a new experience of pleasure.
If you’re looking for ideas to actively celebrate Masturbation Month, there’s plenty of possibilities in the sexual menu.
Besides solo sessions in the company of your hand, the pillow or the last sex toy released on the market (perhaps the LELO SONA sonic massager?), masturbation can be a pleasurable game for two (or more). Watching your partner masturbating or touching yourself in front of your other half, gives you the chance to learn about your body, to know what you and your partner want, how you move your hands and bodies and put it into practice during the lovemaking to increase pleasure, intimacy, and satisfaction. To boost the connection, You can also try mutual masturbation (here are some ideas), laying down closely together and start toughing next to each other. To make it even more mutual, you can touch you partner with your hands and have your partner touch you, and try to synchronize your pleasure.
To help you set the right mood, there’s also a playlist for masturbation on Spotify.
And don’t forget the lube.
Pictures by I’M