Sex Shop, Others Mark 'National Masturbation Day'
Updated May 7, 1999 By Yukari Iwatani
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Franciscans held a party Friday
"to de-stigmatize and celebrate the under-recognized activity of self-love."
The occasion being marked at a local sex shop was "National Masturbation
Day," and the San Francisco sex campaigners who organized the erotic
festival and "Masturbate-a-thon" said it was part of a drive to liberate
"We wanted a fun way to bring masturbation out of the closet and affirm that
masturbation is a healthy, positive part of your sexuality," said Laura
Weide, spokeswoman for Good Vibrations, a women-owned San Francisco sex shop
and mail order business.
According to the 22-year-old store, participants in the "Masturbate-a-thon"
have asked sponsors to donate money for each minute that they masturbate
during the day in support of four AIDS and HIV organizations in San
Francisco, Seattle, New York and New Orleans.
Fund-raisers will receive bumper stickers saying "I came for a cause" in
return for their efforts -- with the honor system applying to the length of
time they actually spent.
Organizers did not know for sure how many people planned to participate, but
Weide said the shop distributed more than 5,000 registration forms in San
Francisco and received many phone calls and e-mail inquiries from around the
Among those who promised to participate were 100 students at Vassar College,
New York, and a group of students in Miami, she said, adding that donors
would have to take it on trust that the requisite time was spent
Good Vibrations designed "National Masturbation Day" in 1995 to bring
attention to what it calls one of the most common and least talked-about
human activities. [Good Vibrations books]
"Most Americans masturbate and yet there continues to be a lot of shame and
guilt around masturbation," Weide said.
"We wanted to do something that would affirm masturbation as a central part
of sexuality that is natural, that is healthy, that is positive. We thought
that if Hallmark (a greeting cards firm) can create holidays, we can too,"
As part of its celebration, the store voiced its support for Sherri
Williams, lead plaintiff against the state of Alabama for its efforts to
prevent the sale and distribution of sex toys. Williams is the owner of two
Alabama sex toy shops.
A U.S. Federal Court judge struck down the state ban on the sale of such
products, but the state's attorney general filed an appeal last week.
Masturbation Café™ is not for everyone