For Immediate Release
April 30, 2009
Contact Carol Queen or Nellie Wilson
THE CENTER FOR SEX & CULTURE HOSTS 2009'S LIVE MASTURBATE-A-THON
ON SATURDAY, MAY 2ND
Good Vibrations Sponsors Event, Screening of its Indie Erotic Film Fest Best-Of Show
SAN FRANCISCO – (April 30th, 2009): The Center for Sex & Culture, originator of the live Masturbate-a-Thon, will hold its 9th annual fundraising and consciousness-raising event showcasing solo sexuality on May 2, 2009 at its 1519 Mission Street suites and the building's adjacent theatre. Hosting the event and anchoring its live webcast will be Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist (and CSC founding director) Carol Queen, Ph.D. She will be joined by celebrity hosts, including two of Good Vibes customers' favorite erotic performers: "America's Porn Sweetheart" Nina Hartley and plus-size favorite April Flores, a.k.a. Fatty Delicious. Doors will open at 11 am for competitors seeking to best the current world time record (currently 9 hours and 33 minutes for males and 7 hours and 6 minutes for females), and the door time for non-competing masturbators is 2 pm. Paying voyeurs may begin arriving at 11 am for the first seating ($15/ticket, good for the first half of the event); the second seating is at 4 pm and the ticket price will be $25.
Good Vibrations will show its Independent Erotic Film Festival selections for the enjoyment and erotic inspiration of the participants (gv-IXFF.org). The video program will show twice, one per voyeur seating; it is scheduled at 2:30 and 6 pm. Many erotic, burlesque, and musical performers will also volunteer their time at the Masturbate-a-Thon; this year's line-up includes singer/songwriter Mark Growden, adult performer and showtune parodist Tom Orr, author/performance artist Kirk Read, and pole dancer (and dance instructor) Catherine Rose from Slinky Productions; other acts are still being booked.
The event is expected to last until approximately 9 pm and will be webcast live --to over-18 viewers only-- from 4 to 9 pm. Masturbate-a-thon.com, the site devoted to the event, historically receives a significant spike of interest and web traffic just before and on the day of the Masturbate-a-Thon (see Alexa page rankings). In 2008 masturbate-a-thon.com rose to approximately number 35,000 out of six billion websites as word of the event spread and the curious visited the site for information; between 30,000-60,000 people watched the webcast for all or part of its duration.
New this year: Competitive Public Team Challenges in which one organization or business fields a team to challenge another. First to step up to the plate is the worker-owned Lusty Lady Theatre, whose challenge to the performers at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre, was issued last week but not accepted. Hopefully another club or organization will participate and give the Lusties a run for their money! Businesses, organizations and other entities can also sponsor and/or send representatives to the Masturbate-a-Thon: CSC is in conversation with Derek & Romaine's LGBT show on Sirius XM satellite radio and hope to welcome a participant representing the show, whose listeners will then be able to pledge her and subsequently receive a first-hand report from the field.
In 1995 Good Vibrations, San Francisco's sex-positive adult toy shop, laid the groundwork for the Masturbate-a-Thon by creating National Masturbation Month as a protest (and consciousness-raising event) upon hearing that then-president Bill Clinton had fired Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders for saying that masturbation "perhaps should be taught" about as part of teens' sex education curricula. Good Vibrations staff members were aghast that a sensible statement had led to Elders' firing and realized that the culture as a whole, especially mainstream America, needed more information and comfort about masturbation, one of the most basic and safe forms of sexual behavior there is. Masturbation Month became an annual event and in 1998 Good Vibrations upped the ante with the Masturbate-a-Thon, the result of a staff brainstorm. Good Vibrations' Masturbate-a-Thons were, like most masturbation, private: participants gathered pledges in advance, masturbated at home on National Masturbation Day, and collected and sent their pledges to Good Vibrations or another sponsoring entity, which in turn remitted 100% of the proceeds to charity -- generally sexual health and sex education non-profits.
GV Staff Sexologist Carol Queen was the primary media contact for the Masturbate-a-Thon, and over and over again fielded press requests to attend the event. But of course there was no one public event to attend (though a group of early adopters in Salt Lake City had staged a small, private live Masturbate-a-Thon as early as 1999, no press was invited). In 2000 Queen, and her partner, Dr. Robert Lawrence, had recently started the Center for Sex & Culture and felt they finally had an infrastructure that could create a live, group Masturbate-a-Thon. Other Masturbate-a-Thons have been set up for TV and hosted for small groups in private homes, and non-live events have continued to be held every year during National Masturbation Month.
In 2006 the Masturbate-a-Thon went international. Queen and Lawrence were invited to join British activists to create one, benefiting sexual health charity Marie Stopes International, in London. Nearly 400 people attended. Sexologist Pia Struck organized an official Masturbate-a-Thon in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2008. Enquiries have been received from other countries as well and we fully expect more live Masturbate-a-Thons to be organized.
Several world records are associated with the Masturbate-a-Thon:
- The 2008 winner of "Longest Time Spent Masturbating/Male" (and also the World Record Holder in this category) is Mr. Masanobu Sato -- representing the Tenga Company, and visiting from Tokyo, Japan. (We expect Mr. Sato will be back on May 2 to defend his record.) Mr. Sato masturbated for 9 hours and 33 minutes.
- The winner of "Longest Time Spent Masturbating/Female" is Ms. Kitty Kat, who masturbated for 7 hours and 6 minutes at the 2008 SF event.
- The record for "Most Orgasms/Male" is Michael Hariprem -- at 31 climaxes -- set in San Francisco in May 2008.
- The winner of "Most Orgasms/Female," Pernille, came 94 times at the 2008 Copenhagen, Denmark event.
- The winner of the 2008 "Longest Distance Come to Come" in San Francisco was Morihiro Taneichi from Tokyo. A Japanese citizen also holds this record in Denmark; dare we imagine Japan will be the next country to field a Masturbate-a-Thon of its own? The all-time record is held by a woman who came to the 2006 San Francisco M-a-T from Hong Kong, a distance of over 6000 miles.
- Each year a "Most Money Raised" trophy is also awarded; we believe the world record in this category is held by a Londoner, but we did not receive official income results from that event. At some Masturbate-a-Thons a distance competition is also held.
- CSC is interested in establishing records for transgendered participants as well, but so far has not hosted self-identified trans participants who wished to compete.
HOW THE MASTURBATE-A-THON WORKS
Participants can pledge themselves, but are encouraged to collect pledges from others -- an important part of the Masturbate-a-Thon is its focus on making masturbation a less hidden topic of conversation and an unembarrassing sexual choice. Friends can send pledge money with the participant or send it after the event to the Center for Sex & Culture. Each participant can decide whether to appear (masked or not) on the live webcast, and people choosing not to do so have a room set aside with no press or photos allowed. A special category of participant, Featured Masturbators, will provide photos of themselves for the website so that interested web visitors can pledge them via credit card or check.
Voyeurs will be allowed (as space allows) into a special audience seating area. Two voyeur seatings are planned: Paying voyeurs may begin arriving at 11 am for the first seating ($15/ticket, good for the first half of the event); the second seating is at 4 pm and the ticket price will be $25. (Voyeurs may purchase tickets for the entire event for $40.) Voyeurs will not be allowed to enter the masturbation arena; they must remain in the seating area.
The live webcast will commence at 4 pm and last 4 to 5 hours. It will be available at masturbate-a-thon.com. All participants must provide ID to prove they are over 18; those who will be seen on the webcast or documented by photographers must fill out a 2257 release using their real name, though stage names are an acceptable way for participants to identify themselves to others at the Masturbate-a-Thon.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR SEX & CULTURE
The Masturbate-a-Thon is the largest annual fundraiser for the Center for Sex & Culture. CSC's mission: to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health. The Center for Sex & Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit; donations are tax-deductible. It has been in existence since 2000 (and had been in the planning stages since 1994), though its first location did not open until late summer of 2004.
Founding director Carol Queen, Ph.D. addresses how important the Masturbate-a-Thon is to the Center: "Especially in a year of tightening resources for non-profits, large benefit events that draw public interest, participation, and donations are crucial. But as always, the Masturbate-a-Thon is far more than just a fundraiser for us -- it's a way to continue the discussion about sexuality, pleasure and masturbation that Good Vibrations began in 1995 with the first National Masturbation Month. It's also an event addressing a nearly-universal activity, so our talk of masturbation is relevant to people of all orientations and genders."
The Center for Sex & Culture has received three Best of the Bay awards: San Francisco's Best Sex Education Resource in 2008; the Erotic Reading Circle won a Best of the Bay for Best Erotic Resurrection in 2007, and the first was Best Emerging Sex Nonprofit, in 2005. SF Weekly also honored CSC in 2006: "Best place to view porn and still feel like an intellectual"!
CSC THANKS ITS KIND SPONSORS...
Organizing and holding the Masturbate-a-Thon would not be possible without the generosity (in time and energy) of its many volunteers, and of its key sponsors. Good Vibrations allows CSC to use and monitor its original concept (particularly in its live manifestation, which it has kindly allowed CSC to develop), and assists CSC in getting the word out. UnVanilla makes its media team available to webcast the Masturbate-a-Thon. LELO (lelo.com), purveyors of high-quality, Euro-designed vibrators, brings its pleasure products to spur participants to new heights.
Sponsors, as well as additional Featured Masturbators, will be added as they confirm; please see www.sexandculture.org for updates or to become sponsors, features, volunteers, or press attendees. (Members of the press desiring to attend the Masturbate-a-Thon should see masturbate-a-thon.com/pressinfo.php)
EVENT AT A GLANCE
What: The Live San Francisco Masturbate-a-Thon
When: Saturday, May 2, 2009; doors open for competitors and voyeurs (first seating) at 11 am; for regular participants 2 pm; for second voyeur seating 4 pm. Event expected to last until approximately 9 pm.
Where: 1519 Mission (near 11th), San Francisco
How much: Except for Featured Masturbators, each participant must pay/pledge a minimum of $20; 1st voyeur seating is $15; 2nd voyeur seating is $25.
Performing: Featured masturbators including Nina Hartley, April Flores, and Masanobu Sato; Mark Growden; Kirk Read; more performers and features will be added in the coming weeks.
Benefits: The Center for Sex & Culture's administrative functions and programming.
Websites: masturbate-a-thon.com and sexandculture.org
About Good Vibrations
Good Vibrations is the San Francisco-based retailer trusted for more than three decades to provide a comfortable, safe environment for finding sex-positive products and educational materials to enhance one’s sex life. Good Vibrations offers products through its website (www.goodvibes.com) and its retail stores:
603 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA
1620 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA
2504 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA
308-A Harvard Street, Brookline, MA