This explains a lot: May was National Masturbation Month, first held by the San Francisco-based sex shop Good Vibrations in 1995, and celebrated nationwide. (Some places even hold Masturbate-A-Thons to raise money for local HIV- and AIDS-prevention organizations.) Is that why everyone's been so giddy of late?
To observe this month of jerk-off joy (which was originally conceived in protest against the 1995 firing of former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who had the audacity to suggest that masturbation should be taught in sex-ed classes*), we've collected some esoteric orgasm info that we hope will intellectually enhance your solo sex time.
We all know that masturbation is totally normal and healthy, but did you know that it's so ordinary that we start doing it before we even come out of the womb? True story! In Mary Roach's Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (Norton, 2008), she tells readers about in-utero masturbation, apparently observed in a sonogram image by an Israeli doctor who in 1987 sent a letter to the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine that was accompanied by pictures of a seven-month-old fetus "grasping his penis in a fashion resembling masturbation movements." Whoa.
Want to beat the masturbation world records? Better start practicing now to outlast the reigning champs. Duration, male: 9 hours and 58 minutes; female: 7 hours and 6 minutes. Number of climaxes, male: 31; female: 20. Whoa again!
According to sexpert Gina Rourke, who owns Nomia at 24 Exchange Street (upstairs), a good choice for sex-toy novices is the Pocket Rocket, the discreet-but-powerful mini-vibrator that's meant primarily for clitoral fun. For men who haven't experienced toy-enhanced self-love, masturbation sleeves such as the Head Honcho Masturbator are worth checking out. And of course, anyone worth her weight in cosmos knows that the Rabbit Habit vibrator, with dual stimulators for G-spot and clitoral enjoyment, is a perennial favorite. (And in case you're still on the fence about battery-operated assistance, here's one endorsement: "I was all hands until my friend bought me a cheaper model of her favorite vibrator," said one 27-year-old female convert.)
*Hopefully said sex-ed courses would be taught by competent instructors who are able to deal with teenage-boy antics. We spoke to one 28-year-old dude, who recalls subjecting his middle-school health teacher to the following exchange:
"How often do you masturbate?"
"I am a married man with a loving family," came the teacher's initial reply.
"So you are telling me you do not masturbate?"
"Every red-blooded male masturbates."
"So you are telling me that even with a family, a wife, a house full of kids, you masturbate?"
"I am telling you that I am a red-blooded male and nothing more. You're smart. Figure it out."
(Let's cut the teacher some slack: his daughter was in the same class as the curious clown.)
An unscientific poll of YSA's female friends (admittedly not the most reserved bunch) indicates that the age-old obligatory shame regarding the fact that women masturbate (gasp!) is fading. Many are more than willing to share — even eager, offering suggestions and recommendations.
Discomfort where we overlap