Day 218: Spanks A Lot! National Masturbation Day

originally published August 5, 2012

“Don’t knock masturbation, it’s sex with someone I love.” – Alvy Singer, from Annie Hall, 1977.

After writing yesterday about powerful, mighty humans who can lift, throw, drag and shove more than any human logically should, today I’m flipping things around and writing about a sport that anyone can (and probably does) excel at.

It all starts with National Masturbation Day.

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that my Monkeys-Dressed-Like-Nuns page-a-day calendar doesn’t list National Masturbation Day. I may need to be more selective this December when I’m selecting next year’s desktop date-tracker.

As I pointed out three days ago when I was discussing the reformation of medical pot laws in California, a lot of progressive ideas come from the city of San Francisco. This was where Good Vibrations, a sex-toy company, along with other supporters launched the first National Masturbation Day in 1995, right around the same time the medicinal marijuana advocates were trying to push legislation past Governor Pete “The Fink” Wilson. San Francisco in the mid 90s was all about smoking doobies and spankin’ the pink potato.

(did I just coin that phrase? Yes I did)

According to sexologist Carol Queen, one of the organizers of the event, National Masturbation Day is intended to curb the stigma associated with the act. It’s a curious stigma – it’s estimated that 90% of North American men do it, as do 65% of our continent’s women, yet religions frown on it, and few people will admit it’s one of their hobbies when the topic comes up in conversation. It’s like if everyone who enjoyed feta cheese had to keep it a secret from the world.

I’m completely in favor of National Masturbation Day gaining acceptance by the mass consciousness. Hallmark stores should carry cards to commemorate it. You wouldn’t even have to write anything on the inside of the card, just have the pages stuck together.

I can’t find any evidence that this event reached further than the borders of San Francisco, a city so steeped in celebrated weirdness and encouraged individuality it’s almost surreal. Seriously, the notion of ‘taboo’ in San Francisco appears to be limited to stuff that actually should be taboo (like killing people or drowning your neighbor’s cat in vinegar). The rest of humanity’s innate experimentalism gets embraced by the city’s culture. I truly dig that.

The Day itself fell on May 7th in 1995, which I’m a little disturbed to say is also my grandmother’s birthday. By 2005 National Masturbation Day had shifted to the 28th, which sits much better with me.

National Masturbation Day isn’t just about reflecting on the liberty of self-stimulation before slipping discreetly into the restroom with an old copy of National Geographic for ten minutes of unaccompanied debauchery. No, we live in a community and we celebrate as a community. At least they do in San Francisco.

A 2005 article about the tenth anniversary of the event quotes sexpert Carol Queen, who says she expects at least 100 people to show up for a “hands-on” (get it?) charity event known as a Masturbate-A-Thon, benefiting the Center for Sex and Culture.

You did not read that wrong. This was a thing.

The first such event actually took place in 1999. In its first six years, participants raised over $25,000 toward various causes, mainly dealing with HIV prevention, women’s health issues, as well as education and treatment organizations. The event regularly honors contributors who raise the most money. Also, those who achieve… other accomplishments.

On National Masturbation Day 2012, Sonny Nash (who may or may not be the porn star I found when I regrettably searched his name on Google Images) broke the endurance record after ten hours and ten minutes spent in a single self-pleasuring session. I’m wondering if some sort of skin graft was needed after that.

The world record holder for distance (while standing) was set on June 3rd this year, which makes me question how many commemorative masturbation days are held each year in San Francisco. Cem Ismail Duzgun reportedly… let’s say he shipped his special delivery 4.22 meters. That’s almost fourteen feet. Almost half the distance needed for a first down.

For some reason the longest time recorded at a San Francisco event by a female is a paltry seven hours, six minutes, held by Ms. Kitty Kat (possibly not her real name, but hey, it’s San Francisco so who knows?). Come on, ladies. Is this really an event that men should win? That record was set in 2008; someone is bound to step up next year, take hold of that record and rub it out.

In 2010 the records for most climaxes by male and female were both set at 83. Some guy named Big Rob (I won’t be searching him on Google image, but you’re welcome to) cranked his knob to eleven 83 times. No one has heard much from Big Rob since.

I just want to point out that, according to the official site (which hasn’t been updated for the 2012 event), the 2011 gala was billed as “Arm (& Hand) Ma-Geddon”. Someone deserves a raise for coming up with that one, as does the person who wrote the tag-line: “The end is coming! Are you?”

National Masturbation Day has spewed all over the globe (sorry, I’ll really stop now). Denmark’s 2009 event was well-attended, as was the 2006 London Wank-A-Thon. This was intended to be one of the shows featured on Channel 4’s “Wank Week”, a series of masturbation-centered broadcasts that were supposed to air in March, 2007.

Even Sir Jeremy Isaacs, the first Chief Executive of the network, wasn’t pleased. The channel had already pandered enough to the sex-hungry masses with its shows Designer Vaginas and The World’s Biggest Penis. Wank Week was cancelled, and the participants of the London Wank-A-Thon were not destined to appear on TV.

So what can we learn from all this? Had these events been featured on an episode of Doogie Howser, MD, what would young Doogie type into his computer-diary at night overtop the soft noodling of an 80s-style electric piano? First, masturbation isn’t as demonic and sinful as the Pope would like us to believe. Second, we should embrace who we are and what makes us feel good, so long as it doesn’t infringe upon someone else’s good time. And most importantly, I think we need to move to San Francisco. And find a way to get British television signals.

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