May is National Masturbation Month

International Gay Guide

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It was 1995 and a group of political sex shops, still dismayed by the firing of Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, decided something had to be done.  They came together to do what they always did best: combine consciousness raising with politics with pleasure.

National Masturbation Month (NMM) was their response to the firing of Elders for daring to suggest that masturbation might be something that should be mentioned in school based sex education.  Masturbation, they believed, needed some positive PR.  Each year they held workshops in their stores, they tried to get media to write about the health aspects of masturbation, and the main event each year was the Masturbate-A-Thon, a fundraiser like no other.

The month was also a tongue-in-cheek response to the kind of Hallmark holidays that other industries create. Despite being the most commonly practiced sexual activity…

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