We took the good, we took the bad, we took them both and there we have the facts of masturbation. If you go way back, masturbation was good and a part of many aspects of life. Starting a few hundred years ago, weird guilt issues popped up and masturbation became a taboo subject. Cut to the present day and masturbation jokes are a dime a dozen and Good Vibrations is a thriving business. What changed?
The harbinger of the sexual revolution was the Kinsey Report, published in 1948 and 1953. (One day, the History of Sex will tackle that behemoth.) Kinsey reported that masturbation was natural and instinctive for mammals of both sexes and that it was way more common than people thought. Although Kinsey’s methodology and results were criticized by a lot of his peers, it did a lot to open up sex talk for the general public.
Through out the 60s and 70s, sex became more and more open. By the 1980s, the French philosopher Foucault was saying that parents not allowing their children to masturbate was a form of rape — extreme of course but something no one would have said 50 years prior.
Masturbation has gone mainstream but it can still get people in trouble. In addition to numerous male celebrities getting caught with their pants down in the wrong place at the wrong time, Dr. Joyce Elders got herself into a pickle. When she was the Surgeon General of the U.S., she said that high school curricula should say that masturbation is safe and natural. The right wing had a field day with this and used it to get her to resign.
Here’s hoping you had a great masturbation month! Many thanks to the wonderful people at Good Vibrations for creating this month of self love awareness.