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Publication: Marie Claire
Could you Masturbate for Six Hours Straight?
I admit it: I masturbate. Regularly. With gusto. And why not? It feels great, burns calories, is safe, and even makes my migraines go away. So when I was asked to participate in a masturbate-a-thon, I was intrigued. It's kind of like a walkathon, only it's your fingers that do the walking. The event, held in San Francisco, is sponsored by The Center for Sex and Culture and raises money for the organization's many health initiatives. It's also a good way to encourage the charms of self-love (aka, safe sex). Good Vibrations, a well-known Bay-area erotic-toy shop, is the event's unofficial promoter and works hard at getting the word out through its website, www.goodvibes.com. Participants collect pledges and arrive at the SF Citadel, an after-hours club in the city's South of Market district, willing to "come for a cause." Sure, there was money to collect and cheesy trophies to be won, but there was also a world record at stake-which, according to the folks who track such things stood at six hours and 15 minutes. The sexual adventurer in me said, Why not?
The day arrives, and I'm an eager jumble of excitement and nerves. I officially clock in at 6:15 p.m., armed with the essentials: bottled water, lube and my fiance; Stewart (my official "orgasm counter"). I immediately spot a muscled guy wearing nothing but baby oil and chains, and already I feel overdressed in my leather mini, thigh-high fishnets, and snug red tank. Great: Nothing puts a girl off her stride like showing up in the wrong outfit. Cautiously, I head to the "mixed play" room (for both men and women-there are two single-sex rooms as well). It's a wide-open, brightly lit space with plenty of cushy couches, chairs and chaises. It's early, so it's still mostly empty, and I stroll around wondering how to get started. I shoot Stewart a tentative look as we survey the scene. Am I suppose to just drop trou and get busy with my very own méage à moi? Apparently so, as a 60ish man with Day-Glo orange hair and a handful of other early starters seem to be doing exactly that.
I spot a chaise that's tucked into a corner and draped with satin sheets, and I settle in. I feel awkward, self-conscious, unsure. Hesitantly, I reach under my skirt. Then I catch the eye of a slender blonde guy standing nearby with an allover tan, a warm, reassuring smile, and a whole lot of, shall we say... inspiration. His name is Micky, and like me, he's new to the masturbate-a-thon thing. We giggle over the weirdness of the whole situation while the staff continues to set up around us.
But I can't wimp out now. So I shut my eyes and force myself to focus. Once in my own head, I somehow manage to block out the fact that I'm not alone and find a rhythm. Eric Clapton croons on the sound track in my mind. Mmmm. Oh... It's all familiar now. Oh yeah, that's it. Yeeee-aaaaah. I quickly reach the Big O... once... twice. Stewart, perched on a bar stool behind me, ticks off my climaxes with the precision of a corporate bean counter. He has pirated in a flask of bourbon in case I need some extra courage, but oddly, I don't. Ensconced in my corner, with two orgasms already under my belt, I'm feeling safe, confident... brave. Now, deciding that leaver and lubes are not a good combo, I shimmy out of my skirt and ditch my tank, till I'm in nothing but my bra, thigh-highs, and boots. Thank goodness I remembered to get that Brazilian!
Soon, the lights go down and the room fills up with the naked and nearly naked. There are couples, trios, slew of single men, and a few other intrepid solo gals. There are some standouts: a guy with a thing for red satin gloves, a woman who's pierced in places I could never imagine putting 12-gauge steel, a gal with a Hello Kitty vibrator. And there's Juan, a local bartender who hails from my old Brooklyn neighborhood. We trade stories about our former stomping grounds while our hands stay busy. It's unlikely our paths would ever have crossed in Brooklyn, yet here we are, bonding over lube and whether our old nabe has gotten too trendy.
And so, within this supportive, safe circle of new faces, the weirdness of what we're doing evaporates. Apart from the nakedness and excessive finger action, we could be at any party making small talk: What do you do? Where do you live? Need lube? It becomes strangely natural. After all, it's going to be a long night, and making chitchat between orgasms isn't a bad way to pass the time. By 9 o'clock, with the night half over and me still going strong, I realize I may have a shot at breaking that record (6 hours and 15 minutes, for those of you who've lost track). And, as it turns out, I've racked up a lot of orgasms, too-sprawled on my chaise, I am now headed for my 10th. Juan and I have a playful rivalry going, matching each other O for O. I'm this close to taking the lead. I'm almost there... almost there... al-... most...
Then I hit the proverbial wall.
I sit up, open my eyes... and face a crowd of onlookers, clearly disappointed that they've missed the big finish. I'm frustrated. And tired. And frankly, I'm a little peeved that while I'm still struggling for number 10, Juan has already outpaced me. (He claims to be doing some tantric thing. Whatever.) Then Stewart, ever the problem-solver, gallantly strips down and pulls a vibrator out of his bag. Sir Galahad with batteries. But it's no use -- apparently, you can masturbate too much. After several hours, the whole thing is about as pleasurable as rubbing an elbow. And I'm pretty sure I've got carpal-tunnel syndrome in my wrist to boot. What I need is a break: We get five minutes every hour, and I'm en route to the loo when a guy in a towel stops me. "I was watching you. You look so beautiful and sexy."
Whaaaaaa? Wait a minute. Really? Despite my outward bravado, I'd been inwardly fretting all night about my under-aerobicized butt, my cellulite, and the pimple that inconveniently appeared this morning. But Towel Guy apparently hasn't noticed these flaws. Suddenly, I get it: Imperfections aside, unbridled enthusiasm is what's super-sexy. Eureka!
Fueled by this new understanding, I opt for one last run at Number 10. Nine just seems so... unfinished. I sit on the floor with my back to the couch and try to get into the moment. No pressure. You can do it. Nice and easy. Focus. And then... a tiny tingle... that... seems... promising. I glance to my right and see Stewart, who is loving it, and that's all I need to send me over the edge. Oh. Oooh, yes. Oh! YES! YES! YES! "Finally!" I announce, to applause and high fives all around. A gall in fluffy angel wings and a strap-on flies across the room to congratulate me with a hug. Whew!
I'm still catching my breath when Good Vibrations' staff sexologist, Carol Queen, rushes over to me. "You broke the record!" she says excitedly. Incredibly, I have managed to masturbate for six hours and 30 minutes. Carol adds softly, "You can stop now if you want to."
You bet I do.
Carol's going on about the prizes I've won and the engraved trophy -- a hand, natch -- I'll be receiving. But I'm not really paying attention. My head is still reeling. I came. I saw. I conquered. Now all I want is a shower.