monthly column from author/activist
Carol Queen

The Royal Treatment

All Together Now! The First Annual (Live Group) Masturbate-A-Thon

Why don't more people host sex parties? Because it's a lot of work, that's why. You stock up on toilet paper and chips and salsa, and when the evening's over you have cum on your couch. In the meantime a large or small crowd has come over and you, who thought hosting a party would get you laid, have watched pretty much everyone get laid but you. You started to get into something with a cute guest or two -- but then someone tapped you on the shoulder to say you were out of paper cups. For the sex party host, the brilliant and the banal co-exist. You get to see your bed (or whatever space you've rented for the evening) fill up with writhing, moaning humanity, hear the beautiful music of orgasm, see live-action sex that would cost you a minimum of $15,000 to pay sexworkers to enact for your viewing pleasure. And you have to locate that missing toilet plunger before folks arrive, forestalling any serious bathroom emergencies.

Robert and I have run a few parties in our time. Granted, all but the tiniest can't fit into our apartment; fortunately, in San Francisco, renting a hall is always an option. But the event we hosted on May 6th was definitely the most unusual of all. See, I've been plugging National Masturbation Month and the Masturbate-A-Thon for years in my position as Good Vibrations Media Liaison (that means "She Who Talks to the Press"). I show cable producers who like to think they're documentarians around the store, explaining how their grandmother might have used this old vibrator for erotic purposes back in 1932; I explain the principles of National Masturbation Month to rude radio shock jock jokesters, putting up with virtually anything in the hopes of getting one sex-positive, masturbation-positive word out to the folks in Drive-Time Land.

It was these latter clowns who set the wheels turning. I'd been talking about the Good Vibes Masturbate-A-Thon for two years, and the shock jocks were all very disappointed to hear that it wasn't a public event. They kept offering to come out to San Francisco to be judges. "You mean, you think we're filling up Kezar Stadium out here?" I asked, a little incredulous -- sure, I know they all think San Francisco is full of fruits and nuts, but come on.

Well, they wore me down. Finally I thought, "Hey, filling Kezar Stadium with masturbators would be a great idea!"

True, we didn't wind up getting Kezar, though I appreciated its symbolic connection with the Summer of Love. You know, you just can't hold naked outdoor events in San Francisco without running the risk of freezing your ass off -- imagine those summer-clad tourists we get, fog-burn making their cheeks rosy, all buck-nekkid. It'd be cruel and unusual. (In San Francisco, of course, unusual is OK -- in fact, it's almost par for the course -- but we like to keep our cruelty restricted to certain exclusive establishments, if you know what I mean.)

So we acquired a space for the day that in real life is an all-male erotic theatre. The Campus is in the mean streets of the Tenderloin, right next to a rescue mission full of coots who kept coming over and laying hands on the building to try to save the sinners within. They needn't have bothered, though -- the "sinners" were saving themselves, quite literally. (I can only assume the rescue mission folks subliminally appreciate the erotic energy with which this building pulses, and they think they're getting blessed by the Lord, not receiving aftershocks from multiple homosexual orgasms. I just didn't know how to break the news to them.)

Jesus Is Coming! Quick Point The Camera Over Here!
So this was the plan. The regular private Masturbate-A-Thon was still going on, with participants getting pledges and then remitting them to Good Vibes, which would disburse all the money to several chosen charities. (If you want to know all about the charities -- and, eventually, how much money was raised -- see, where many other bits of Masturbation Month info can be found.) Our event would be conducted with three main differences. First, it was live. Second, its recipient organization was The Center for Sex and Culture, the non-profit organization Robert and I have been working on. Finally, it would be webcast, so everyone in the world could tune in!

So we set up the main room at the Campus Theatre this way: Padding on the ground (sure, lots of guys can masturbate standing up, but this was a mixed event and we wanted options for everyone). Power strips and extension cords for vibrators. (Sure enough, many women clustered together in this area, buzzing off for charity.) The stage area was for exhibitionists only. We knew not every person would want their ass webcast to the world, but some people would pay extra for the opportunity and would even sign a release. While we were at it, we brought Geyser Products' Fuck Machine along. As long as we didn't have a rolling blackout, the Fuck Machine would keep right on pumping, a perpetual-motion friend to the indefatigable masturbator. Above the stage was a platform on which we stationed our AV crew, complete with digital camera and computer. The Campus had been kind enough not only to donate their theatre for the day, but to let us hook up to the rest of the world through their own website.

Well, we had technical difficulties. Wouldn't you know it! Since masturbation is the one kind of sex we rarely need to get performance anxiety over, if something was going to go *interruptus* on us, it'd have to be the technical side of things. Since we were spared a rolling blackout, no thanks to Dick Cheney and his minions, the next logical place for a fuck-up was with the software. Ah, well. Dr. Tech, our honorable volunteer cameraman, got a lot of the 'Thon recorded, and eventually you will be able to see clips on our new site, (Don't rush away to tune in -- it's not built yet. I'll keep you posted.)

Oh, and of course there was a clothes check. No surreptitious wanking at our Masturbate-A-Thon! Ideally, public masturbation should be done in a context that helps everyone feel proud, allowing us all to overcome negative messages about the activity that is the very basis of so many peoples' sex lives. Sure, I know some of you people sort of *like* feeling bad about it, but we weren't going to all the trouble of throwing a Masturbate-A-Thon to reinforce guilt or shame. Show us some pink! Get it hard! Part of the point of getting together this way was, of course, to allow a little exhibitionism and voyeurism into people's lives.

Now, if you'll recall, I wrote the book about exhibitionism. And when I saw that, an hour into the Masturbate-A-Thon, no one had gotten onstage to show off for the world, I knew what I had to do. Yes, I was one of the hosts, and I knew I should be waiting patiently for someone to complain about the toilet paper supply, but this was a higher calling. Besides, Robert could always handle that, if necessary. I was taking matters into my own hands.

Peep Show Flashback
I'll tell you, it's been too long since I masturbated in public. I can hardly explain how great it is, if you aren't already a fan of this fabulous activity. My experience has come almost exclusively in the context of the sex business -- making videos, working the peeps -- and sex parties: long, long ago my first multiple orgasm resulted from masturbating at a Jack-and-Jill-Off party while a semi-circle of gay men looked on, saying, "Wow! Women really can come over and over!" I've been an aficionada ever since -- though, as I say, I haven't done it enough lately. But I had a peep show flashback as several of the folks in the room moved closer to the stage, not getting close enough to touch, but definitely watching. Since I was there to do a Masturbate-A-Thon, I took my time, desultorily petting my puss and only very gradually getting warmed up. Once I was nice and turned on, I figured I'd have a date with the Fuck Machine. Why not? It was there, lonely, and I wanted a little extra stimulation. Still, I kept it slow. I was supposed to be raising money, after all.

Now, there was only one problem with the money-raising thing. I hadn't taken the time to get any advance pledges! I figured I'd be running around like a typical party-giver, facilitating the experience for everyone else while having to wait till later to get off. But there I was onstage, wanking happily. By now pretty much everyone else in the room was wanking happily, too (we call this "spark plug behavior" in the public sex business -- my activity gave permission and inspiration to others). At least they were raising money!

So here's where I channel Jerry Lewis, people. (Oh, come on, admit it -- you'd watch Jerry Lewis masturbate. You'd pay to do it!) I'm soliciting retroactive pledges for my performance at the Masturbate-A-Thon. I jilled off for 75 minutes. You do the math -- pick an amount per minute to donate, multiply it by 75, and send a check made out to the Center for Sex and Culture to Carol Queen, 2215-R Market Street PMB 455, SF CA 94114. Providing the CSC gets its 501 (c)(3) status this year (which we expect it to do), we'll be able to send you a receipt for your donation so that you can write it off on your taxes. (A masturbation-related tax credit -- tell me you don't find that idea appealing!) The CSC will eventually have an actual location housing classes, a sex library and archives, and future Masturbate-A-Thons. Most donations from this Masturbate-A-Thon will go to our grant writer, so we can get enough funds to acquire a space.

Now, there's plenty of time to get into training for next year's Masturbate-A-Thon. Doing so will improve your sex life and response, so why not get with it? Men, in particular, sometimes find that their erections don't last as long as they'd like -- slow masturbation is a great way to train yourself out of the quick-draw response that fast masturbation helps inculcate when you're young. Any guy who had to fight for bathroom masturbation time with his older brothers (and maybe even his dad) knows all about coming quickly. In a Masturbate-A-Thon coming too soon is a disadvantage because you're trying to raise money -- it's just like a Walk-A-Thon, except your feet won't hurt when you're done -- though, on the other hand, if you come soon, you can always just start over. The dollars will add up!

I don't mean to sound mercenary. But the Masturbate-A-Thon is a fabulous opportunity to come for a cause, and I really believe in both the cause of masturbation and in the future of the Center for Sex and Culture. Between 80 and 90 people attended the live Masturbate-A-Thon, raising over $1200 onsite (with some pledges yet to come in), which will fund our grantwriter for a month and a half. If you'd like to help out, please do. We'll keep you posted on the CSC's future events -- including upcoming Masturbate-A-Thons! This is too sexy a fundraising event not to repeat. So start doing those reps! We want to see you there next year. Maybe we'll all try for a simultaneous orgasm. The press will love it, and doubtless, so will we.