May is National Masturbation Month. I am not making this up.
National Masturbation Month was introduced in 1995 by the sex-toy store Good Vibrations, in response to the dismissal of U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. At a World AIDS Day presentation, an audience member had asked Elders about masturbation's role in discouraging risky sexual activity among youth, and Elders had responded, "I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught." President Clinton subsequently fired her.
National Masturbation Month is intended to reduce the stigma surrounding the discussion and practice of masturbation. You've probably been observing it all along without even realizing it.
Since the inception of National Masturbation Month, various organizations have highlighted it by sponsoring "Wank Weeks" and (I am still not making this up) "Masturbate-a-thons," where people raise money for sex-education groups by playing with themselves.
As charity fundraisers go, you can't beat it. On second thought, you can!
LGBT people should pay particular attention to National Masturbation Month, for two reasons:
First, the squeamishness surrounding frank discussions of sexuality has been particularly damaging to those whose sexuality is perceived as "deviant" or "unnatural."
Second, much of the contemporary academic opposition to same-sex relations comes from natural-law theorists (such as Robert P. George at Princeton) who condemn homosexual conduct for the very same reason that they condemn masturbation: Both allegedly treat the human person as a mere object.
I further explain this theory and its problems in the following video, one of a new series of 11.
John Corvino, aka The Gay Moralist, is the chair of the philosophy department at Wayne State University in Detroit. Find his new book on Amazon.
Follow John Corvino on Twitter: www.twitter.com/johncorvino