Get your lube out.
Happy National Masturbation Month! May is the month we all lay down to celebrate the fine art of wanking, jerking off, rubbing one out, twirling the pearl, onanism, self-loving, going solo, spanking the monkey, fapping, self-servicing — pick your favorite. In honor of this highly-esteemed holiday, here are a few facts about beating off that you might have never heard of. Orgasms are an “inalienable constitutional right,” according to sexologist Carol Queen, so get your lube out.
1. Masturbation has proven health benefits like stress management, healthier pelvic muscles, secretion of endorphins, and cardiovascular exercise.
2. National Masturbation Month was first celebrated in 1995 in honor of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who was fired by President Bill Clinton for her statements supporting masturbation for sexual health.
3. Can you masturbate too much? According to legend, wanking too frequently can cause blindness, insanity, hairy palms, and stunted growth. The American Psychiatric Association says that unless masturbation is getting in the way of your everyday life (work, friendships, falafel), there is no such thing as too much self love.
4. Hold the Midol. Masturbating is one of the most effective natural ways to relieve menstrual cramps.
5. In London in 1716 a pamphlet called “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,” became hugely popular. It included supposed testimonials from men who were ill from masturbating. The pamphlet was translated into many languages and was published in 60 editions. It gave jerking off a bad rap for centuries.
6. Pretty much everyone does it. According to a 2010 study done, 94 percent of men admit to masturbating and 85 percent of women like to love themselves. (Which just means a lot of us are fooling ourselves.)
7. People who have sex regularly masturbate more than those who don’t.
8. One of the first depictions of a female masturbating was found in a clay figurine in a temple in Malta. The figurine was from the 4th millennium BC. Masturbating is literally an ancient practice.
9. Even more health benefits: Studies show that masturbation lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes, lowers the risk of prostate cancer, reduces depressions, and prevents cervical infections in women. It also puts you right to sleep.
10. In 17th century Connecticut, masturbators were eligible for the death penalty. Yet another reason why I don’t live in Connecticut.
11. Human aren’t the only ones to itch the ditch. Deer, monkeys, walruses, and squirrels have been documented pleasuring themselves. Scientists have even observed female apes using sticks for added pleasure.
12. Catching a cold? Orgasms from masturbation can strengthen your immune system.
13. In the nineteenth century, vibrators were only used by physicians, and served the sole medical purpose of curing hysteria — a diagnosis thrust upon “difficult women.” Thanks, Victorians.
14. The Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian Hindu sex manual from 400 BC included instructions for masturbating: “Churn your instrument with a lion’s pounce: sit with legs stretched out at right angles to one another, propping yourself up with two hands planted on the ground between in them, and it between your arms.”
15. Masturbators report having happier marriages (and lives!) than those who refuse to twirl the pearl.
16. In 1874, Mark Twain gave a lecture about jerking off. It was a silly satire of the contemporary religious conservative’s ban on masturbation. Think of Mark Twain as the Stephen Colbert of wanking.
17. More than 41 percent of people have been accidentally caught servicing themselves. 13-year-olds: you are not alone.
19. It’s hard to nail down when the first porn ever landed on the internet, but in 1994, Gary Kremen blessed all horny web surfers when he registered the domain Sex.com, considered to be the first dirty site ever.
20. There are absolutely no health risks to masturbation (besides a little chafing). Getting on the subway everyday is more dangerous.
Image via 3 Arts Entertainment.
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