International Masturbation Month is an actual thing, Inquisitr community, and we're right smack dab in the middle of it.
That's right. May marks the 20th annual International Masturbation Month and its dubious flagship event -- the Masturbate-a-Thon.
Just what is the purpose of this monthlong event? According to Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen -- one of the minds behind the celebration -- it was created because there's too much "shame and opprobrium" that goes along with the idea, in spite of the fact that virtually everyone does it.
In comments to Salon, Queen said that "it's not rare, yet when someone notable says something neutrally, carefully respectful about it, they get the axe."
One such occurrence that Queen is referring to served as the impetus for the event and involved Dr. Jocelyn Elders, the then-US surgeon general, who in 1994 said masturbation is "something that perhaps should be taught about in sex-ed curricula."
From there, National Masturbation Month was created. Over time, it became so popular that the National was dropped for International, and it's now a global event.
Queen admits that she doesn't understand why the practice gets such a bad rap.
"It can provide extraordinary pleasure, or just help you get to sleep, teach you about your body and sexual responses, and help keep the blood flowing in the nethers, as they might say on Firefly," she said. "It's good for you (a statement verified here) unless you do it so much that you forget to eat or run afoul of the laws of physics -- here I'm really talking about friction."
Over the years, the participants have really gotten into the experience, with Queen noting that one man set the world record, going for nine hours and 58 minutes non-stop.
Most of these occurrences take place in the well-publicized Masturbate-a-Thon venue.
Just what is that? From Queen:
"So there are two sorts of Masturbate-a-Thon: One is the kind Good Vibrations' brainstormers came up with in 1999, in which a participant got pledges for their involvement, masturbated — presumably privately, or maybe with a partner — and then remitted those pledges to Good Vibes so they could be passed on to nonprofits who dealt with sexual health. Good Vibes was always trying to cook up new Masturbation Month angles, and this one got lots and lots of attention; it went on for many years.
"The Live Masturbate-a-Thon was a riff on this. For about a decade I would wake up agonizingly early during Masturbation Month season to talk to shock jocks and drive-time radio folks. They all wanted to come be Masturbate-a-Thon judges! I'd have to explain that there was nothing to see — it was just as private a practice as usual. The whole thing was about asking people to sponsor you — it was supposed to make it easier to talk about self-love. Finally my partner Robert and I said, 'Well, we could host a live one.' Good Vibrations would never do that, but they gave their blessing to our version, and we ran with it as a Center for Sex & Culture benefit event. This year, on May 31, we'll hold the 13th one, I believe."
What are your thoughts, readers? Does International Masturbation Month provide a positive benefit to society, or does it make public things which should never be?
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]