“Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.”

– Woody Allen

I think we can all agree that one of the reasons masturbation is so wonderful is that it feels so good. But on Saturday May 4th you can masturbate not just for those good feelings but for a good cause as well at the Montreal Masturbate-a-Thon. This intriguing event is being co-produced by local sexologist Claire Litton and playwright and performer Cameryn Moore, currently on tour with her “hot threesome” of shows that cover everything from her experiences as a phone sex operator to the place of so-called deviant desires within contemporary society.

Since their conception a decade ago, Masturbate-a-thons have been populated across the globe by sex-positive, exhibitionist individuals looking for self-loving fun in a safe and entertaining atmosphere. The location of the Montreal event will only be revealed on the day of the event to those who have pre-registered. There will even be prizes for stamina, most consecutive orgasms and furthest ejaculation.

Their website has a full description and outline of parameters and is where you can pre-register, which is mandatory for the event.

I caught up with co-producers Moore and Litton, where they answered some of my most burning questions about the event.

FTB: Where did the idea for the Masturbate-a-Thon come from?

Masturbate-a-Thon logoCameryn Moore: The first-ever Masturbate-a-Thon was organized in 1999 San Francisco, by Open Enterprises (they run Good Vibrations, the sex-toy supplier). They and other sex-toy shops had declared May to be Masturbation Month, after the US Surgeon General got fired in 1995 for suggesting that masturbation be included in sex education. The event came along to support the month. I had heard about it happening there and in Portland and when I was talking with my friend (and co-producer) Claire Litton about sex-positive events we could do in Montreal, this seemed like a good fit.

Masturbation is such a private experience and bringing it into the public sphere like this can be a challenging notion for some people. Why participate in the Masturbate-a-Thon?

Moore: First of all, people can attend and participate in the Masturbate-a-Thon without masturbating in front of other people. There are going to be non-sexual activities happening throughout the space. There will also be a couple of private “masturbation caves” where people can retreat to play by themselves, without having the additional component of exhibitionism thrown in. And truly, exhibitionists need voyeurs! So if people just feel like coming out and watching, it’s all good. You might learn a few new moves, too! If you mean, why masturbate in the Masturbate-a-thon, well, I think there is something incredibly freeing, both for you and people witnessing it, about being a raw, true, pleasure-seeking entity in a safe, public space.

Claire Litton: Well, first and foremost, the idea of the MAT is to normalize masturbation as a facet of human sexual experience. Obviously it would usually be performed in private, by oneself, but the playful, exciting nature of participating in an event like the MAT might encourage people to celebrate masturbation in a way they hadn’t thought of before. We also hope that seeing the different bodies masturbating in different ways will encourage people to feel okay with their own body identity and masturbatory expression. It can be very individually liberating to engage in a personal, private act in a semi-public venue, especially if you feel the space is safe, which is our goal. Also, participating in the MAT allows you to have in-depth conversations with non-participants about the event, thereby normalizing discussion about masturbation and encouraging others to think of it as less transgressive, more fun.

How will you ensure the safety and security of the participants?

Moore: We will have trained volunteers on hand all night, monitoring the public spaces of the event and keeping an eye on the “masturbation caves” in particular. We will also be setting up a signal/response system for the masturbators, so that we can respond quickly to any situations that may arise. We want to create a comfortable space for all, but our security precautions are being set up primarily with the masturbators in mind.

masturbate a thon montreal

Another of your new projects, the intriguing sounding Sexploreum will be launching at the Masturbate-a-Thon. Can you give me more details about this?

Moore: The Sexploreum will ultimately be an interactive adult-sex-ed installation, set up something like exhibits at children’s museums. Exhibits in the Sexploreum will encourage visitors to engage in basic-principle exploration of the senses and the imagination to discover new exciting aspects of their own sex play and sensuality. I’m testing a few different exhibits over the next few months. The first Sexploreum exhibit, having to do with tastes and flavors, will be unveiled during the first two hours of the Masturbate-a-thon. (After that I want to jump in to the wanking!)

Tell me about the first time you flicked the bean, or share a funny masturbation story from your youth.

Moore: I do a scene in my show slut (r)evolution about jacking off under the sheets, reading from many-folded pages of The Women’s Room–the dirty bits, you know–and having to hold a flashlight, because my mom had told me to go to bed. I don’t remember a particular instance, but that was a very very common scene for me back then. The Women’s Room, Heinlein books, and The Fountainhead were my favorite jack-off titles at that age. I used carrots and cucumbers from the vegetable bin and because my family was poor and food was pretty carefully monitored, I used to scrub and scrub and scrub those vegetables and put them back when I was done. Don’t judge me. I was doing what I could with the resources at hand.

How is masturbation important to a healthy sex life, whether you’re single or coupled up?

Moore: It’s really important to know what feels good, so that you can talk about it with other people. It’s also massively important to take time out for pleasure on its own, and jacking off is great for this, for no reason other than “it feels good.” I personally don’t do this as often as I would like and I’ll be renewing my pledge to self-love this May!

Litton: On a purely practical level, it’s difficult to find out what you like and how you like it without experimenting and you may not want to or have the option of experimenting with a partner. We receive a lot of messages about how we are sort of supposed to be just Good At Sex right off the bat, jump into the sack and know what turns our cranks and how to explain it in the sexiest way possible and that is so rarely the case. Masturbation is a testing ground for all our theories about what we like, with no possible judgment from anyone else if you do something unusual or that you decide you don’t like.

Also, it promotes self-love. Again, we have such mixed messages about our genitals and our relationship with our own sexuality, having a calm, loving way to explore your body and your sexual response is a wonderful way to express your emotions and learn to love every aspect of yourself.

It’s also relaxing, physically calming, restful, feels good and can be done with little to no equipment…just your hand and a bathroom stall usually suffices!

To get yourself in the sexy spirit for weekend, check out Moore’s salacious take on the poetry slam, the Smut Slam at Mainline Theater on Wednesday May 1st. Eight to ten lucky attendees will get to share their titillating tales relating to the theme of “firsts.”

Both Moore and Litton have personal websites where you can read more about these articulate, fascinating women, their passion and projects.

To pre-register for the Montreal Masturbate-a-thon, please visit masturbateathonmontreal.wordpress.com