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A Brief History of Masturbation

Saturday April 29, 2017

Masturbation is normal, healthy, and universal, but it hasn't always been seen that way.  Throughout history, the way we look at this basic human activity has changed a lot. Here, in honor of Masturbation Month, coming soon (pun intneded) are some of the highlights, and lowlights, in masturbation history.  

  • ancient Egypt - creation myths told the story of the Sun God Amun masturbating and creating the first two human beings
  • 3rd century B.C. - a greek comic dialogue described two women talking about the virtues of their dildos
  • 1712 - an anonymous doctor publishes 'The Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution and all its Frightful Circumstances' outlining the purported dangers of masturbation - this tract becomes popular and contributes greatly to the notion that masturbation is wrong
  • 1856 - 1932 - The U.S. Patent office issues patents for 33 anti-masturbation devices including everything from spiked penis rings, drugs, chastity belts, and rough mittens that were bound around the hands.
  • 1894 - John Harvey Kellogg invents corn flakes.  Along with other foods, corn flakes was part of a bland diet that Kellogg promoted for lowering sexual excess - including masturbation.
  • 1948 - Kinsey publishes 'Sexual Behavior in the Human Male'.  This unprecedented survey of thousands of men showed that, far from an aberration, masturbation is common.  His 'Sexual Behavior in the Human Female'  published in 1953 reported similar results in his surveys of women.
  • 1977 - Joani Blank opens Good Vibrations, the first sex toy shop run by women for women.  She recognized the need for women to have a place to discuss and buy self-pleasure devices openly and comfortably.
  • 1986 - Betty Dodson's 'Sex for One' is published, declaring masturbation a revolutionary act of self-love, and encouraging all women to learn to pleasure themselves
  • 1994 - U.S Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders is asked to resign after stating at a Worlds AIDS Day event that perhaps masturbation should be taught in schools.
  • 1995 - Owners of Good Vibrations and others proclaim the first ever National Masturbation Month

2017 - After studies have proven that abstinence-only sex education programs do not reduce unplanned pregnancies and STI rates, vocal minorities in both the USA and Canada continue to lobby against the discussion of masturbation and other safer sex options in schools