May is probably my favorite month of the year. Spring is in full form, spirits are high and – most of the time – so am I.
But there’s another great thing about the month of May that involves a practice I favor all year long. It’s also free and requires no one else’s help (although some volunteer participation is often encouraged). That’s right, it’s International Masturbation Month.
The official celebration started in 1995 (a whole person of legal age ago!) by the San Francisco-based sex shop Good Vibrations, in response to the firing of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who had suggested masturbation should be included in youth sex education programs.
Shocked by the Clinton administration’s unjust firing of Elders, Good Vibrations looked to provide support and advice, promoting masturbation as a safe and healthy way to express one’s sexuality and helping remove the stigma and social shame that’s been wrongly assigned to it for so many years.
“We were astounded. It was one of the most sensible things we’d ever heard a government official say – and it cost Elders her job!” said a spokesperson for Good Vibrations. “Of all the kinds of sex people can have, masturbation is the most universal and important, yet few people talk about it freely. Worse, many people still feel it is ‘second best’ or problematic in some way. Masturbation Month lets us emphasize how great it is. It’s natural, common, and fun!”
They chose the month of May because it symbolizes sexual awakening, and also because they both start with “M” and they apparently like alliterations a lot.
According to a nationally representative sample taken in 2010 by the International Society for Sexual Medicine, 94% of men admit to masturbating, as do 85% of women. Which of course means that 6% of men and 15% of women are probably vicious liars.
Aside from the obvious immediate benefits, masturbation has been proven to improve immune system functions, promote overall prostate health in men, prevent cervical infections in women, lower risk of type-2 diabetes in both, and give everyone some needed exercise. It also reduces depression by increasing the amount of endorphins in the bloodstream.
So there you go, folks. How many fun things do we often do that can also be that healthy for us? Reach out for the lube and embrace the month of May!