by Shawna Scott May 10, 2017

Dr Jocelyn Elders - May Masturbation Month

May is Masturbation Month, which may sound like some makey-uppy awareness-raising holiday created by us sex shops to sell more sex toys, and you’d be partly correct. However Masturbation Month is incredibly important, not least of all because of its origins.

In 1993 Dr Joycelyn Elders, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, was appointed U.S. Surgeon General by then president Bill Clinton. She was a bold choice for Clinton. Not only was she the first African American and 2nd ever female Surgeon General, she also held very progressive and controversial views for the times, mainly regarding drug legalisation and comprehensive sex education in schools. While Clinton wanted to be seen as tough on crime, she argued that the best way to reduce drug-related crime was to legalise drugs, and that the best way to reduce teenage pregnancy was to provide contraception in schools.

When her son Kevin was convicted later that same year of selling cocaine to undercover officers, she lost many of her supporters. Then in 1994 at a United Nations conference on AIDS, Dr Elders was asked if promoting masturbation to young people would be an appropriate means for preventing riskier sexual behavior. She responded “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught." Dr Elders was later forced to resign by President Clinton.

In response, San Francisco’s world-famous education-based sex shop, Good Vibrations, began celebrating Masturbation Month - both in celebration of Dr Elders courageous work which ultimately cost her her job, and to promote the safest, healthiest form of sex you can have. Since 1995 Masturbation Month has grown into an international awareness month with countless shops and healthcare professionals participating.

As it’s May, I’d encourage you all to take some time out of your busy days to spend some time masturbating, whether that’s with sex toys or without. Get to know your body or try something new. In the words of Good Vibrations “Masturbation can be a radical act.”

And not to worry about Dr. Jocelyn Elders. She's still killing it, giving lectures about teen pregnancy and advocating for comprehensive sex education in schools. 





Shawna Scott
Shawna Scott

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