You might equate an event called the Masturbate-a-Thon with “only in San Francisco.” But you’d be wrong. San Francisco was the site of the first one, but similar events have occurred in Portland, London, and Copenhagen. According to organizer Carol Queen, the idea for the event came after U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was fired in 1994 for acknowledging that masturbation is part of human sexuality, and that it might be taught to young people as a way of preventing riskier sexual activity. (That Elders was fired by Democrat Bill Clinton says a lot about how much we as a nation are still hung up on the issue.) At tonight’s event, people can sponsor themselves for $40 or seek others who’ll pledge money. The longer you can go without reaching orgasm, the more you bring in. The record-holder for men lasted nine hours and 58 minutes, while the ranking woman held off for seven hours and six minutes. The money raised goes to support the Center for Sex and Culture. “It’s like a walk-a-thon, except at the end your feet don’t hurt,” says Queen. Organizers make efforts to ensure the event is a comfortable and humorous event. Certain areas are male- or female-only, while others are mixed-gender. Previous “guides” have included sexy, brainy local celebrity educators such as Nina Hartley. Queen says that some participants like being in a space that validates a healthy attitude toward masturbation, while others say that attending has helped them shed hangups — like the ones that turned Elders out of... More >>>