If you’ve been moving in the right circles, you may have heard that May is International Masturbation Month. The right circles, in this case, would be among really sex-positive folks. The more modest version of this self-service establishment would be (Inter-)National Masturbation Day, but let’s be honest – once a year is a bit measly.
This got me thinking… who were the committee who sat around deciding on setting up this all-important day? I didn’t have to think too hard because Wikipedia promptly informed me that the San Francisco-based sex toy store, Good Vibrations, decided to introduce the day as a sort of tribute to US Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, who in 1994 recommended that masturbation be included in the sex education syllabus in high schools. President Clinton fired her for saying what was completely necessary but apparently not supposed to be mentioned, and he then went on to not masturbate with his intern. Perhaps he needed some of those lessons Elders was speaking about.
Nevertheless, while some of us get to write and laugh freely about if, when, where and how we make ourselves happy, others have both the information and the legitimacy withheld. Whether it be by religious authorities or by custom, two things are made clear by the crusades to abandon masturbation: firstly, it is universal and instinctual. Secondly, no matter how hard we try, we will never have full success. It simply begs the question, “Why are those who insist, insisting so hard?” After all, ask any experienced and sane priest, qadi, rabbi or other religious leader; they are constantly being faced with confessions on masturbation and they are forgiving. Even if you think it’s a sin, its a victim-less sin. And a pleasurable one at that, at least when the conscience takes a break.
But beyond that, sex is a human right. It is a right for people who have no sexual partner. It is a right for disabled people. It is a right for people with a sexual partner who need further sexual outlet. It is safe sex and it really should involve no-one other than the owner of the specific genitalia.
Why are we even in need of saying these things. They really should be self-evident. I guess that’s why we need a whole month every year to remind people.