Center of Sex and Culture

May Is National Masturbation Month


I’m a bit late saying so, but in case anyone doesn’t know, May is National Masturbation Month. It began as National Masturbation Day, first observed May 7, 1995 and was later upgraded to a month-long commemoration of what surely must be one of life’s simplest and most universal pleasures. 

The day and then month was introduced by the San Francisco based sex-positive retail store, Good Vibrations, in the wake of the dismissal of U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, by President Bill Clinton, for suggesting at a World AIDS Day presentation, that masturbation, as part of human sexuality, should be included in sex education curriculum.  Since Elders unjust firing, Good Vibes has held annual events to serve as public health education programs about the promotion of safer and healthier sex , and to increase awareness and de-stigmatize the practice of masturbation — which is, after all, the ultimate in safe sex. A Masturbate-a-thon will be held May 30th at SF’s Center of Sex and culture, as a fundraising and no partner sex event, providing participants an opportunity to enjoy one’s self, and one’s exhibitionist tendencies. The act, however, must be done alone, since assistance by another counts as partner sex. 

Thinking about this takes me back to my own life as a masturbator. I recall fondly the time I spent fondling my girl-parts in the family bathtub — sloshing about in the warm soapy water until I was wrinkled all over — or until my mom broke my rhythm by rapping on the bathroom door, demanding to know what on earth I was doing in there for so long.

Interestingly, as pleasurable as the feeling were, I don’t recall bringing myself to orgasm back then. The first memory I have of experiencing a no-doubt-about-it, knock-my-socks-off orgasm was at sixteen, when I got off using the vibrator my mom kept by her beside, one day when she wasn’t home. It was one of those old-style, gun shaped instruments, with a thick, screw-shaped metal shaft fit over the metal part. It  was marketed in those days as a neck massager, and knowing my mom, that may be what she used it for. But for me, somehow the the loudly buzzing instrument found its way between my legs, igniting a sweet, intoxicating heat greater than any positive sensation I knew existed. I almost passed out as an unexpected orgasm ripped through me. After that I recall some lengthy experimentation with the various attachments. They were all good but the broad flat one became my favorite.  Back then, being young and bursting with estrogen, I came repeatedly until I was limp with satisfaction.

After that enlightening afternoon I had a new best friend for life — particularly after my teenage marriage and consequent discover that penile penetration, although highly pleasurable just didn’t get me off.  Unfortunately, my first husband was rarely patient enough to bring me to orgasm with his hands or mouth. If not for the trusty vibrator I bought myself and used in secret, I might have gone high and dry. It wasn’t until the mid-70s after moving to San Francisco that I discovered Good Vibrations, the first sex-positive store for women I’d been to in my life. Back in those pre-HIV awareness days the store featured a tiny try-out room — and as long as female customers kept their panties on, we were free to discover the vibrator that best suited us. I remember entering the room with a possible selection and emerging weak-kneed and a Hitachi Magic Wand girl for life. I’ve worn out a number of them over the years, using them alone and with partners and have loved every moment of doing so.  tweet @DorothyFreed1

Book Launch Was a Sucessful Event


The book launch party for Sex Still Spoken Here at CSC last Wed, was an exciting, sucessful, and well attened event, offering food, drink, and hot-off-the-press books for sale. Editors Carol Queen, Jen Cross, and Amy Butcher emceed in their own inimitable and enegetic style, introducing each writer warmly, with brief bits from our bios, as we steppd up tothe blood-red podium to read from our stories.

My husband, who joined me for the evening’s festivities, commented that I was the best reader present that evening — an unbiased opinion if I ever heard one, but always nice to hear. Now, with several readings under my belt, I’ve becoming more comfortable with spotlights and a microphone, and hear myself speak with expression, and in my natural voice — although I’m still not relaxed enough to raise my eyes from my typewritten pages and address my audience directly, at strategic points in my story, for fear of losing my place. My confidence will, no doubt, increase with time and subsequent readings. 

My next one, by the way, will be during Lit Crawl, at the Good Vibrations Store on Valencia Street, Saturday, 10/18, from 7:15 to 8:15. Come listen to Carol Queen, Amy Butcher, and other writers from Sex Still Spoken Here. I’ll be reading from my story, The Gambler, and forget the long lead-in; I’ll be jumping right in to the juciest bits, teasing you into buying the anthology in order to read the rest.



Digression from Erotic History: Cause for Celebration in September


Years ago, while still a girl of sixty, I decided that the bigger the birthday the more celebration it required. Consequently, with September being my birth month and with my big day fast approaching, I’ve just returned from a weeklong vacation at a Palm Springs B&B, spent with my husband, sons and grandson, a dear family friend, and our dog. I’ve been there many times before, but the place — lush with Bougainvillea, dotted with fruit trees, and set near the base of a snowcapped mountain — still takes my breath away every time. This trip was a complete change of pace for me. I loved every minute of it, even when gasping from the heat and unaccustomed humidty. It reained on the third day of our visit. I haven’t experienced a storm in Palm Springs before. It was wonderfully dramatic, with a darkening sky, rumbles of thunder, and vivid pink Bougainvillea petals blowing in the wind. Erotic weather, I thought.

The family dynamic was remarkably mellow — attributable in part to the miracle of air-conditioning in our cool, comfortable suite, and to the exquisite pleasure of the swimming pool, not twelve steps from our door. Fully in relaxation mode, I didn’t write a word the whole time, but did formulate some thoughts on how I might best present my nearly completed book, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Though The Swinging Seventies, to a publisher.

And now, home again, my month-long celebration continues in a different vein — the long awaited book launch party for Sex Still Spoken Here, the newest anthology I’m in. This event will take place next Wed evening, 9/24, at San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture (CSC), at 1349 Mission Street, between 9th and 10th. A big shout-out to the book’s editors, Dr. Carol Queen, Jen Cross, and Amy Butcher, who have worked tirelessly to put together his eclectic collection of delghtfully smutty stores and poems from the Center’s monthly Erotic Reading Circle (ERC). Also included in the anthology is a discussion by our editors on how to establish similiar reading circles in other cities, thereby promoting more high quality smutty writing  in the world — a great idea, seems to me.   

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing a new piece in print, and will be at the launch to read from my story, The Gambler. This one is a semi-autobiographical tale, based on my long ago meeting with a sexy man with a big cock and a sense of humor — a man among men, who managed to make me laugh and come, during the same hot encounter. I’ll be reading along with some talented writers and performers at CSC, and am honored to be among them.

Please come and listen to us. Buy a book. Join the celebration.