“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”




May is International Masturbation Month


If you want something done right, do it yourself.”


Beginning in 1995, the sex toy store Good Vibrations began a celebration of self-love as a protest against the firing of the Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders. After a speech at the 1994 UN World AIDS Day conference, Dr. Elders was asked about masturbation as a way to discourage youth from engaging in partnered sex to avoid the AIDS virus. She responded, “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.” She was forced to resign from working for the government.

Acknowledgment of masturbation as a sexual practice is essential to having a healthy sex life, especially if you are your only partner. It’s safe, free, healthy and can be fulfilling and rewarding.

Finding new, exciting and invigorating ways to pleasure oneself is a means to cultivate a sex life of one. It’s empowering, recognizing the myriad of ways touching yourself can feel good. Self-exploration for the sole purpose of pleasure is a way of finding what works for you sexually. Taking the time to know what feels good, better, best for you, can alleviate a lot of stress between partners. Communicating and sharing these findings with a partner can open up the parameters for a sex life exponentially.

Masturbation can be groundbreaking. We have been told it’s wrong, dirty, shameful, and taboo. To take matters into your own hands (ahem), means denouncing the stigma and outmoded ideas of what you can and can’t do with your body. It can be a political statement or just a personal decision to provide more pleasure in your life. Some use the phrase, “Make Love To Yourself”, and provide hints on how to wine and dine oneself to get in the mood. Certainly taking your time with the idea of romancing your erotic bone can enhance the experience.

The idea of self-love can be radical. Loving your body, actively pursuing the idea of exploring pleasure with yourself can be a challenge. Traversing difficulties of self-image or loving every inch of your body can be a hurdle when wanting to explore your sexuality. Blazing a trail to discover your own dark continent of desires can dispel fears, insecurities, and myths.

Set aside quiet time, perhaps waking early or before bedtime, relax with erotic material (pornography, romance novel, Grindr ads, photos of Jon Hamm’s crotch, listening to your favorite singer or shipping forecaster) and start with some lube. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous, but be safe too. I do not recommend using any sex toy that doesn’t have a flared base. Sure, the vagina doesn’t have the length of a colon, but it’s still not comfortable to hunt for any object lodged inside.

Using a mirror and watching one’s body change as it becomes more turned on will definitely change the way you look at yourself. Acknowledging how much your body appreciates being touched, fondled, caressed and pounded creates a new path for self-awareness.

Some people maintain the idea that it is second best to partnered sex, but some can achieve longer, more extended orgasms, creating vaster and more varied experiences on their own than with a partner present. How far are you willing to go, to take yourself? Are you up for the challenge? Making it more than a wank can be a self-awakening.

In a recent column about having sex as a senior citizen, I found there is evidence that maintaining a masturbatory sex life keeps the libido alive. A regular practice of self-pleasure can allow us to desire sex for the remainder of our lives.

Make your masturbatory sex life a never-ending journey of possibilities. With the continual creation of new sex toys and adventures into fetishes, the ideas to further your sexual palate are limitless.

There are a variety of celebrations that take place around the world to honor this healthy holiday. The most well-known is the Masturbate-A-Thon. Anyone can participate in this event worldwide by downloading a pledge form, or you can attend in person at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco.

Participants may come to the Jack and Jill Off sponsored event in San Francisco for a minimum $30 entry fee, or bring a sponsorship form with pledges they have collected from others. Pledge forms can be downloaded here:


There are contests including distance (yes, women can join this too), number of orgasms achieved during the event (last I checked I’m still the record holder) and endurance (how long can you continually masturbate without having an orgasm). There are different spaces available, including one for women only. No mutual masturbation is allowed – your partner can be next to you, but you are only able to touch yourself, not each other. I joined the Masturbate-A-Thon for several years and became a featured masturbator. It is a fun, laid-back and wide-open (pun intended) event. Come one, come all, come for a cause!

The journey to a greater sex life starts with yourself. Celebrate International Masturbation Month and indulge your sexuality. Boldly go where no one has gone before.

Recommended reading includes:
Sex For One: The Joy of Self-Loving by Betty Dodson, PhD
Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation by Thomas W. Lacqueur


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