Masturbation remains a surprisingly touchy topic, despite ranking high -- along with eating and breathing -- in the Top 10 of essential human activities. A scientist with extra time on his hands recently counted the number of synonyms -- English and foreign languages combined -- for masturbation at 1,700, which ain't too shabby for an activity that's still taboo in polite conversation. Long considered an also-ran in the sexual sweepstakes, dished as proof of immaturity or geekdom, this humble practice nonetheless has enormous power -- who can forget Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders' dismissal after her public defense of scratchin' the patch? Of course, the real clout of this ultimate form of safe sex lies in its universality: Joe, Jane, and Tranny Average spank the monkey. Still, that doesn't mean they're willing to do it with the door open.
Fortunately, the folks at Good Vibrations (aka "that dildo store on Valencia") are more forthcoming on the subject. They give "self-comfort," as the Chinese call it, the royal treatment it deserves in their seventh annual National Masturbation Month. For those who missed the One-Handed Reading or the Masturbate-a-Thon, there's still "Wankers!," an explicit video tribute to itchin' the ditch. Curated and presented by sexologist Carol Queen and assembled from the Good Vibes archive, the show includes more than a dozen heavy-breathing shorts culled from edu-porn and more transgressive sources, all keyed to the month's mantra, "Think Globally -- Masturbate Locally."
"Local" in these clips includes such surprise settings as a public parking garage, where a gymnastic blonde humps a dildo stuck on a car window, one of her legs hoisted on top of the vehicle; and a funeral parlor, where performance artist Ron Athey jerks off while typing a letter to his boyfriend. Another sexy encounter takes place in "Chloeville," a mysterious multiorgasmic space inhabited by a woman, two dildos, and a turkey baster.
The program also shows Saturday, May 25, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the Parkway Theater, 1834 Park (at E. 18th Street), Oakland; call (510) 814-2400 or visit www.picturepubpizza.com
Admission to both screenings is $3-8
For more information about National Masturbation Month, check out www.goodvibes.com
There are a few sex-world luminaries here, including the inescapable Ron "The Hedgehog" Jeremy, who puts in his two cents as a porn agent interviewing a potential starlet and demanding that she masturbate. But one of the greatest pleasures of "Wankers!" is its spotlighting of amateur players, who make self-exploration more immediate and entrancing than what you see in typical porn. Queen includes several earnest how-tos to balance arousal with education. In "Secrets of Self-Pleasuring for Couples," a '50s-style narrator explains the possibilities to a pair of heteros, who act out the scenarios: "Tom then shows Holly how he likes to be pleasured." More edgy material appears in clips from the dyke porn epics Hard Loveand How to Fuck in High Heels, in which horny trannies and dykes wreak havoc with candy-colored sex toys. But as the double-jointed and well-endowed "Young Man From Nantucket" proves -- borrowing a trick from the Hedgehog -- all you need in the end is your own hand, and, in this case, your mouth.