What do 90% of men and 65% of women do on a regular basis but never admit to?
It’s masturbation! How is it that something so normal and natural has become socially stigmatized? Our guess is religion has something to do with it! You can be sure as soon as Eve found the apple, Adam found his penis. Masturbation has been found depicted in prehistoric cave paintings. In Malta, a cave figure depicting a woman masturbating dates from 4 B.C. Indians described it in the Kama Sutra. Ancient Egyptians believed the god Atum created the universe by masturbating to ejaculation, and the ebb and flow of the Nile was attributed to the frequency of his ejaculations. Egyptian Pharaohs were therefore required to masturbate ceremonially into the Nile. Even as late as the 17th century nannies encouraged their male charges to masturbate before going to bed.
When did it all go wrong? In 1716 the first “blog” or pamphlet entitled “Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, and All Its Frightful Consequences, in Both Sexes, Considered: With Spiritual and Physical Advice to Those Who Have Already Injured Themselves by This Abominable Practice” was published and distributed in London. It offered letters and testimonials from men who allegedly were falling ill and dying from the effects of compulsive masturbation. The pamphlet was so wildly popular, it was published over 60 times in several different languages. It quickly spread to the New World where New Haven, Connecticut made masturbators eligible for the death penalty. By the end of the 20th century, children were discouraged from masturbating by the use of bandaging or tying of their hands and genitals, covering their genitals with cages, sewing the foreskin shut, and electrical shock. Girls were encouraged to have their clitoris removed to prevent them from masturbating.
It wasn’t until Dr. Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s and 50s began researching and studying masturbation that it began to loose some of its social stigma. The Kinsey Report published in 1948 found that masturbation was an instinctive behavior for both men and women. By the 1980s parents were being told by their pediatricians that masturbation was normal and healthy. However, it wasn’t until 1994 that the masturbation debate became front page news. That was the year the surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, was forced to resign when she mentioned as an aside that masturbation should be included in school curriculum as a safe and healthy practice. By the way, the president who forced her to resign was none other than Chief Wanker, Bill Clinton!
Dr. Elders’ forced resignation set off a firestorm in the gay community, among others. As a direct protest to the resignation, Sexologist Carol Queen, with the help of San Francisco based sex store Good Vibrations, helped organize National Masturbation Day in 1995. Their purpose was to protest against a culture which viewed masturbation negatively and deliberately excluded it from the formal education system. It quickly extended to Masturbation Week and now the entire month of May is devoted to this activity. There is now even a Masturbate-a-thon in which participants masturbate to raise money for charities while dispelling social taboos. Philly has its own Masturbate-a-thon although it continues to be a source of outrage for the more conservative establishment. Politcal Outcast Magazine actually declared Philly’s masturbate-a-thon to be the death of our nation!
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