Masturbation Hall of Fame
The Masturbation Hall of Fame honors some of the brave souls who have stood up in support of masturbation. Each year, new Hall of Famers are selected, from sex educators to political figures to Hollywood luminaries. Enjoy the Hall of Fame!
Do you have a Hall of Fame nomination? Send to [email protected] for possible inclusion.
Robert Morgan Lawrence, Ed.D.
Dr. Carol Queen's long-time partner and co-founder with her of the Center for Sex & Culture, Robert has been a major Masturbation Month supporter since the beginning. He helps with press coverage of NMM events when Carol's on the other line or a man's perspective is desired, and he has been the #1 supporter of the Live Masturbate-a-Thons ever since some East Coast shock jock asked whether he could come to San Francisco to be a judge. Carol said, "It's not a live event..." and Robert said "But it could be!" Since 2001 the Center for Sex & Culture has held these unique events, raising operating funds as well as consciousness about self-love. These are responsible for thousands of dollars raised, hundreds of cumulative hours of pleasure, and the current world's records for Time Spent Masturbating: 6 1/5 hours for women, and 8 1/2 hours for men! See masturbate-a-thon.com for more about Robert's brainchild. And solo pleasure isn't Robert's only claim to fame: that's him teaching the secrets of anal pleasure in cult fave video Bend Over Boyfriend! Disabled by a chronic pain condition which limits his ability to teach and travel, Robert remains an articulate voice and important advocate for the healing powers of orgasm and pleasure. [Photo by Phyllis Christopher.]
Good Vibrations's past board member is well-known to anyone who scrutinizes Hollywood-style pop culture for edgy, fresh views. Cho, a San Francisco gal who fought certain LA values (like "skinny only") and came out on top, now tours the country with her Sensuous Woman show, the most diverse, sexy group of acts ever to shimmy and sing. Margaret credits burlesque performance with helping her maintain her sexy edge, though we admit that Good Vibrations loves her every bit as much for her incisive mind. But why is she in the Hall of Fame? Simple! We have never, ever heard anyone praise their vibrator -- in Margaret's case, her trusty Magic Wand -- with more fervor. While Ms. Cho travels the land putting a very 21st century spin on the burlesque arts, she'll also have plenty of opportunities to evangelize for masturbation and vibration!
Portland, Oregon, would be a very different town without Darklady. Though she spends most of her time online, writing for her own and various other websites, she's found time to run for election (Libertarian Party, of course) and organize Portlanders who otherwise might have to spend National Masturbation Month alone. Her Masturbate-a-Thon gatherings, which she launched in the Northwest after attending the Center for Sex & Culture's first one in San Francisco, benefit charities and feature plenty of porn swag and guest appearances by sex machine creators (the first year we went, she featured the Thrill Hammer). Though more like old-style Jack-and-Jill-Off parties in some respects -- the Portland events don't have a "solo only" rule -- the one thing you can guarantee is that the Portland Masturbate-a-Thon is a happening. See more at masturbate-a-thon.org.
ZigZag Productions, London, England
We have spent many, many hours with the press, putting out the sex-positive, vibe-positive, and masturbation-positive Good Word, but no one in the media has jumped on the Masturbate-a-Thon bandwagon quite like the folks at ZigZag! From sending filmmaker Liz Friend to San Francisco to document the Center for Sex & Culture's May 2006 Masturbate-a-Thon to helping bring a London version of the event together less than three months later, the frisky folks at ZigZag embraced the 'Thon as an interesting tactic for cultural change -- but more importantly, great TV. The "Wank Week" special they produced has created so much buzz in the UK that it has, to date, proved too controversial to air! That must mean it's great, and we hope Channel 4 programs it soon and then shares it with a US channel so we can all see it too. We'll keep you posted!
Marie Stopes International
The London Masturbate-a-Thon, held in August of 2006 and organized in part by the Center for Sex & Culture, needed a local -- that is, British -- charity sponsor. Oddly enough, one of London's major AIDS organizations felt it might be too controversial to actively take part, in spite of the fact that, as Masturbation Month has always emphasized, masturbation is the safest form of pleasurable sex a person can indulge in. Marie Stopes International had no such qualms. Besides being delighted to receive pledge money, MSI leapt full-on into planning and production of the event, helping it get the most press attention ever to attend a masturbation month event and guiding it to at least two new world records! MSI knows how important sexual health is: much like our own Planned Parenthood, they deal with reproductive rights and health issues every day, and they do it globally, serving 4.8 million people in 38 countries. You can find ut more about them and their programs, and donate if you like, at mariestopes.org.uk.
Martha Cornog, MA, MS
Cornog writes regularly about sexuality, and this year she published her magnum opus: The Big Book of Masturbation, subtitled "From Angst to Zeal," it covers the waterfront on our favorite topic. Want to know what Freud, the Dalai Lama and John Lennon said about masturbation? How porcupines do it? How solo sex is viewed in other cultures? The Big Book is your one-stop reference library. And that's no surprise: Cornog is intimately familiar with libraries. She co-authored For Sex Education, See Librarian with Timothy Perper and is also the author of Libraries, Erotica, and Pornography. We're thrilled to usher the bookish Cornog into the Masturbation Hall of Fame!
Leonore Tiefer, PhD
Leonore Tiefer, PhD is a feminist sexologist from New York, author of the wonderfully-titled Sex Is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays. Tiefer's way with words gets her a place in the Masturbation Hall of Fame: On why masturbation is good for you she notes, "If you want to play Rachmaninoff, you've got to practice your scales!" Truer words have rarely been spoken! Masturbation is indeed the gateway to understanding your body and its responses. Practice, practice, practice!
Feisty sex columnist Dan Savage joins our Hall of Fame this year for his contribution to masturbation awareness. In true "Hey, Faggot!" fashion, Savage urged his readers to write in with their most embarrassing solo sex experiences. Tales of getting caught, dangerous toy substitutes, and clueless attempts to get off aren't the warm, fuzzy side of masturbation we ordinarily like to present. But besides being cringe-worthy in a very entertaining way, the stories Savage elicited did two things we love: They got people talking about masturbation, and they were very, very educational... in a "better not try that at home" sort of way. Now everyone who reads Savage Love will know how not to do it!
Madison, Wisconsin is home to more than a really good university and great cheese. It's also the home base of WHAM: Women Happily Advocating Masturbation! Many sex-positive students' organization have popped up over the last decade, but this is one of our faves. The college-age women who created WHAM know it's safe sex, a great way to relax, and a good way to learn more about their bodies, and they spread the word! They even held their own Madison Masturbate-A-Thon. Go, girls!
Joan Allen and Reese Witherspoon in Pleasantville
As a worldly modern teen transported into a naïve 1950s version of reality, Reese shows a comfort with sexual matters that shocks her new peers. When Witherspoon's mother, played by Joan Allen, confesses a dissatisfaction with her sexual life, she encourages her mom to indulge in some much-needed self-pleasure -- which Allen then does, spending some bathtime with herself in a beautiful, sweet and very liberating scene. Our hats are off to these two actresses and the filmmakers for their positive portrayal of masturbation!
"Ally McBeal" and "Will and Grace"
We were tickled to see vibrators penetrate the world of mainstream television in 1998. In "Ally McBeal," Ally's roommate discovers her Magic Wand, proving that though she may not have good taste in men, her taste in sex toys is impeccable. In "Will and Grace," the discovery of Grace's vibrator batteries by her gay male roommate gives the characters and viewers an opportunity to giggle over their purpose.
Tori Amos and Trent Reznor
These two musicians were nominated by several customers for their outspokenness about masturbation. Tori Amos describes her discovery of masturbation as a young girl in the song "Icicle," and Trent Reznor, the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails, recalls "the masturbation moments" from his early touring days. "We slept two to a room and you'd get the bathroom and the deal was you wouldn't fuck with that person. It was 'look, I'm jacking off. It could be fifteen minutes, could be an hour. Take messages.'"
Joani founded Down There Press in 1975 to publish her own sex education material (including her book Good Vibrations: The Complete Guide to Vibrators), and soon opened a store with the same name to sell sex books, vibrators and a small selection of other products. The rest is history! Joani owned Good Vibrations until selling the business to its workers in 1992. Masturbation -- women's in particular -- remains a strong focus of her educational work. She has lectured widely about self-pleasure and female sexuality and edited two more books on the topic: First Person Sexual, women's and men's personal stories about masturbation; and a photo-essay book on women pleasuring themselves called I Am My Lover. She also produced a video, Faces of Ecstasy, showing people's facial expressions during orgasm. Joani stays involved with our publishing arm, Down there Press, and currently devotes time and energy to some of her other passions, like singing and co-housing -- but she'll always be Madame Founder to us!
The Body Shop
Famous for creating an entire market for natural ingredient-based products, The Body Shop has always believed that business is primarily about human relationships -- and has won the support of a generation of consumers. We salute their recent ad campaign, seen in the window of their San Francisco Castro Street store location, proudly declaring "Use condoms or masturbate!" Founded by entrepreneur Anita Roddick in 1976, the company continues to lead the way for other businesses to use their voices for social and environmental change.
As one of the country's most important writers on sexuality, Susie has done wonders for the cause of sex positivity. She has consistently championed self-pleasure as an important part of sexuality. In her widely-published articles and her traveling presentations such as How to Read a Dirty Movie, Susie enthusiastically promotes self pleasure in any discussion of sexuality!
Wendy Crewson in Better Than Chocolate
Actress Wendy Crewson won our hearts as main character Maggie's mother Lila in the 1999 film Better Than Chocolate. Since love is doubtful and sex seems out of the question in her life, Lila has turned to chocolate. Then one night she drops her candy under her daughter's bed and discovers the box of sexual enhancers Maggie has hidden there. A few hours and one battery change later she's left her chocolate on the nightstand for good. In the end, girl gets girl, girl gets boy, and mom gets a vibrator!
Jamie Lee Curtis
While celebrities with sex appeal are a dime a dozen, celebrities with sex-positive attitudes are a rare breed. We tip our hats to Jamie Lee Curtis who went on record in the March 1994 issue of Entertainment Weekly listing masturbation as one of her favorite hobbies and describing it as "an unbelievably good pastime."
This rising young actress stands apart from the pack of fresh-faced Hollywood starlets who can't seem to find anything more compelling to talk about than boyfriends, fashion and parties. Currently a student at Yale University, Danes took a class on female sexuality and wrote a paper about masturbation. She sang masturbation's praises to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show," saying, "It's a wonderful thing masturbation is being talked about more."
For over 25 years Betty Dodson has worked to "liberate" masturbation from the guilt and shame generated by sexual repression. As an artist, writer, workshop leader and video producer, she has sung the praises of masturbation with humor and enthusiasm. A revised edition of her classic masturbation manual, Sex For One, and her videos Selfloving,Celebrating Orgasm and Viva la Vulva remain Good Vibrations best-sellers.
Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders
The first African-American and the second woman to serve as Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Elders was censured for her outspoken views throughout her abbreviated tenure (September 1993-December 1994). However, it wasn't her commitment to providing sex and contraceptive information to the nation's youth, her advocacy of legalizing RU-486, her being labeled the "condom queen" or even her willingness to consider legalizing drugs that got her fired. No, Dr. Elders lost her job when she acknowledged that "masturbation is part of human sexuality and it's a part of something that perhaps should be taught" as part of sex education in the schools. Responding to questions at the 1994 World AIDS Days conference, Dr. Elders noted "We've not even taught our children the very basics. And I feel that we have tried ignorance for a very long time and it's time we try education." For suggesting that sex education is preferable to ignorance, Dr. Elders was pilloried by conservative politicians and was deserted by her former sponsor Bill Clinton, earning her a permanent spot in our Hall of Fame.
Despite the entertainment industry's prediction that coming out as Ellen DeGeneres' girlfriend would doom her movie career, Anne Heche went on to star in blockbuster movies opposite leading men like Harrison Ford. In her personal life she continues to reveal tidbits about her own sexuality, in this case, her fondness for vibrators: "Vibrators are great -- they save people from having stupid sex. I'd pitch them to anybody."
Founder of the Body Electric School of Massage in Oakland, Joseph Kramer leads workshops on erotic spirituality for men, including masturbation classes with a focus on ejaculatory control. His video Fire on the Mountain: An Intimate Guide to Male Genital Massage demonstrates the massage techniques he's developed during a decade of teaching his students that "the difference between a hand job and Taoist Erotic Massage is the difference between banging on a piano and playing Mozart."
Dorrie is the creative and energetic face behind House o' Chicks. This Bay Area sexuality entrepreneur made videos about women's sex parties and the G-spot before starting her Masturbation Memoirs series in response to the firing of former surgeon general (and fellow Masturbation Hall of Fame member) Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Candid, engaging, and erotic, Masturbation Memoirs lets real women talk about (and demonstrate) the fine art of self-love. On top of those considerable accomplishments, Lane is the creator of the Wondrous Vulva hand puppet -- another tool for furthering her personal passion, the Vulvalution.
Carol Leigh (aka Scarlot Harlot)
Carol is a longtime activist with COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), the prostitutes' rights organization; in fact, Leigh coined the now-commonly-used term "sex work," and her writings, videography, and performance art about prostitutes' rights are familiar to anyone who studies the politics of contemporary prostitution. But Leigh's videography, and on-screen support of masturbation, are also legendary, whether she's working on videos with fellow Hall of Famers Dorrie Lane, Joseph Kramer, and Annie Sprinkle, or shaking her big, beautiful, redheaded self in Masturbation Memoirs and Sluts and Goddesses. "Masturbation," she declares, "is a patriotic act!"
Dr. Harold Litten
The upbeat author of The Joy of Solo Sex, a guide to masturbation techniques for men, embraces the title of "the world's leading apostle of autoeroticism." His guide offers reassurance, advice, health and safety tips, and above all a dazzling array of techniques. His publishing house also distributes "Celebrate the Self," the newsletter for the male solo sex enthusiast.
Madonna Louise Ciccone always pushes the sexual envelope, whether through her song lyrics, stage performances or the unprecedented photo exploration of her sexual fantasies, the book Sex. We salute Madonna for exploring issues of sexual politics in her writing, for masturbating on stage during her "Blonde Ambition" tour, and for dishing out the following excellent advice to her fans: "...be strong, believe in freedom and in God, love yourself, understand your sexuality, have a sense of humor, masturbate, don't judge people by their religion, color or sexual habits, love life and your family."
We suspect "Prime Suspect's" savvy detective, British actress Helen Mirren, indulges in a little one-handed relaxation after a long day on the set. After all, during an interview with Out magazine in which she confessed her preference for Hustler over Playboy she proclaimed, "there's nothing wrong with a good wank now and then."
No recording artist has written so profusely, explicitly or reverently about sex as Prince throughout his long career. Topics for his songs run the gamut from oral sex ("Head") to promiscuous but safe sex ("Little Red Corvette") to exhibitionism and voyeurism ("Scandalous"). We appreciate seeing him performing in bikini underwear or masturbating his ejaculating guitar, but nothing thrills us more than the routine references to masturbation in his lyrics, delivered in his unique, funky, sexy style. Whether they're overt ("I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating to a magazine") or slightly more subtle ("you make me want to holler, scream and shout, when you let your fingers do the walking in and out and all about"), you'll want to drop what you're doing and follow along.
As a writer, speaker, educator, activist and long-time Good Vibrations staffer, Carol Queen spends most of her waking hours attempting to make the world a more sex-positive place. Of course, masturbation features prominently in her agenda -- check out her candid, engaging and explicit demonstrations of GV's most popular vibrators in Carol Queen's Great Vibrations, discover how masturbation can bring out your inner exhibitionist in her book Exhibitionism for the Shy, or indulge in your own one-handed reading courtesy of Carol's racy erotica found in many of our anthologies.
Pro basketball's most outrageous showman Dennis Rodman can add "proud masturbator" to a list of sexual exploits which includes cross-dressing and bedding Madonna. He says he masturbates a lot and even named his hands Monique and Judy, "so I've always got two girls around." We couldn't have described the pleasures of masturbation any better than he did in this Rolling Stone interview: "My mind's at ease. My mind's cleared. There's a tropical forest with sunshine. Everything is totally perfect for the first five, ten minutes after it happens."
Roseanne won our hearts twice in 1994. First, her television show featured a light-hearted, non-judgmental episode about reaching puberty and discovering the joys of masturbation. Then, at the MTV Video Awards, she quipped "Hitachi makes such a good vibrator, I think I'll buy one of their TVs!" We'd love to see more celebrity product endorsements of sex toys (after all, running shoes aren't the only "fitness" products around), and we hope more stars will choose to follow in Roseanne's pioneering footsteps.
San Francisco Jacks
One of the nation's first safer sex clubs, San Francisco Jacks was founded in the mid-1980s as a social group for "men who like to jack off with like-minded men," meeting for creative, playful sex once a month. The Jacks have affiliates in New York, Chicago, Paris, Berlin and Melbourne, among other cities. For their creative, positive, erotic approach to safer sex and masturbation, the San Francisco Jacks earn a place of honor in our Hall of Fame.
We love America's comedy star, Robert Schimmel, for talking irreverently about masturbation -- usually in the solemn, casual tone reserved for, say, retail cost accounting. "My mother used to tell me that when you masturbate, all your dead relatives watch," he tells his usual packed houses. "But who are they going to tell?" His appearance on VH-1's show "The List" was heavily censored because he kept making masturbation references. He had also picked his three favorite videos and explained that he chose them for their masturbation value. He picked Madonna's "Express Yourself," Janet Jackson's "Nasty" and a George Michael video as his favorites.
"The Contest," an episode of Jerry Seinfeld's television show that became an instant classic, was devoted to the topic of masturbation -- even though the word itself was never mentioned. Jerry and his pals took bets to see who could refrain from masturbating and remain "master of his or her domain" the longest. In the end, no one wanted to abstain from masturbating long enough to win the bet. We'd call that a happy ending.
Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
With one of the most celebrated one-liners in recent film, Kevin Spacey reminded us of the pleasurable daily ritual that masturbation can be. In one of the film's opening scenes, Kevin's character Lester Burnham masturbates in the shower, and in a voice-over says, "This is the high point of my day." A little sarcastic, perhaps? Sure, but when Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Actor, he held up his trophy and proudly proclaimed "This is the high point of my day!" -- reminding the world that masturbation is a pleasure only rarely topped.
A sex-positive activist for nearly 25 years, Annie has appeared in 200 porn films, modeled for nearly every sex magazine there is, written the unique autobiographical performance art pieces Post Porn Modernistand Hardcore from the Heart and directed numerous erotic and educational videos. Needless to say, she's been masturbating throughout her luminous career. Annie displays her unique blend of spirituality and sexuality in her video Sluts and Goddesses and most recently in Masturbation Memoirs, Volume 2, in which she demonstrates "medabation," her approach to masturbatory enlightenment.
No personality on radio or television has endorsed masturbation as much as Howard Stern. On all incarnations of his radio and television shows, he asks almost every guest if he or she masturbates (and how often -- sometimes with disastrous results), tries out male masturbation toys on the air and has run a "Masturbation Public Service Announcement" on his show. He heartily endorses the Pocket Rocket vibrator, mentioning it often, and tells each guest who claims they have never masturbated that they should -- for better sex! In fact, Stern openly discusses the merits of masturbation in public (his own habits as well as others') to the point that it has gotten him censored on a fairly regular basis. Howard himself has happily announced that nothing comes between him and his masturbation. Keep it up, Howard!
Our robust heroine was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Titanic, and in her autobiography I Just Keep Hoping tells tales of her many lovers and says she's been an advocate of free love since the 1930s! Stewart also says, in a passage quoted in the New York Post, "I do not need a man. I am devoted to masturbation. I think it's probably one of the most pleasurable experiences in life. I had and have no guilt whatsoever when it comes to pleasuring myself."
Marisa Tomei in The Slums of Beverly Hills
One-handed applause goes to Marisa Tomei for her role as vibrator-wielding Rita, the wild cousin who helps main character Vivian discover her sexuality in the movie The Slums of Beverly Hills. The smoldering Rita gives Vivian an education in men, vibrators, family relations, upward mobility and how not to live your life -- there's a not-to-be missed scene where the girls happily dance around with a vibrator. Most important are her character's supportive, enthusiastic views on masturbation, which prompt Vivian to experiment on her own -- with predictably excellent results!
Katharine Towne in But I'm A Cheerleader
As another "inmate" in an anti-gay camp, Katharine's character, Sinead, has been taught to shock herself with an electric device every time she has impure thoughts. Since she seems to have them all night long, she shocks herself constantly while in bed, obviously enjoying the process WAY more than the device's inventors ever intended -- and proving that masturbation can be just as kinky as partnered sex!
Sherri Williams and BJ Bailey
Sherri Williams and BJ Bailey rigorously defended the right of Alabama residents to own vibrators -- promoting sexual pleasure and masturbation in the process. The law they overturned "makes it unlawful to produce, distribute or otherwise sell sexual devices that are marked primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs." Williams is the owner of Pleasures, a sex toy shop in Huntsville, Alabama and Bailey owns and runs Saucy Ladies, a sex toy party business. The state is appealing the decision to a higher court and Williams and Bailey will be continuing their battle.