It has come to my attention that May is in fact National Masturbation Month in the United States!
The celebration of May as National Masturbation Month began in 1995 in San Francisco as a response to the forced resignation of then U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.
Following a public speech at the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994, a member of the crowd asked Elders about masturbation’s potential for discouraging early sexual activity. She answered,“I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.” Elders Like many of the surgeon generals before her was an outspoken advocate of a variety of health-related causes. She argued for an exploration of the possibility of drug legalization and backed the distribution of contraceptives in schools.
However her career ended that day as America’s first black Surgeon General, which sparked the birth of National Masturbation Month.
Not at all content with this response, San Francisco’s sex toy and education company Good Vibrations felt that there should be a strong focus on Elder’s unjust firing and to bring the subject of masturbation into the mainstream just as Elders had envisioned. Off the back of this, Good Vibrations have sought to provide support, advice, and reassurance for people looking to open their own personal sexual horizons.
And so was born National Masturbation Month. Among the first steps Good Vibrations took was to promote masturbation as healthy, safe and natural way to express one’s sexuality, thereby removing much of the shame and stigma have so long coloured the act masturbation. So why would we need a month to celebrate it? Well, although we should all love ourselves, sometimes it can feel a bit funny to love ourselves. And this month is meant to encourage discussion about all the great reasons why it’s okay to embrace the tissue box!
A recent cross sample study of American adults asked the question:
“On average, over the past 12 months, how often did you masturbate?”
Only 38 percent of women said they’d masturbated at all during the past year, while 61 percent of men had done so.
The data shows that young women seem to warm up to masturbation more slowly and that women from 20- to 39-years old were the most enthusiastic masturbators, with women 18 to 20, and those over 40 masturbating less.
Earlier studies have shown that rates of masturbation are higher for both men and women with higher education, more frequent sexual thoughts, sexual experimentation before puberty, and more lifetime sexual partners. Moreover, masturbation has documented physical benefits for both men and women, to say nothing of likely emotional and psychological benefits.
No matter what the reason, I think we can all agree on one thing: it feels pretty darn good. And it’s good for us! Oh yes!