Ten Memorable Moments to Celebrate During National Masturbation Month

We should always heed those messages that come in the medium of magnets.
We should always heed those messages that come in the medium of magnets. Torbakhopper at Flickr

click to enlarge We should always heed those messages that come in the medium of magnets. - TORBAKHOPPER AT FLICKR
We should always heed those messages that come in the medium of magnets.
Torbakhopper at Flickr
Yes, May is officially National Masturbation Month — although, seriously, people: Isn’t every month Masturbation Month?

But let’s not quibble. Instead, let’s join Vibrant, a social enterprise set up to benefit Planned Parenthood of the Rockies, in celebrating self-love. (And if you need a soundtrack, we offered up a great masturbation set list a few years back.) Face it: Any act for which we have so many euphemisms — jerkin’ the gherkin, buttering the muffin, ménage a moi — must be one of our most beloved national pastimes. Too bad, baseball; forget it, football. Masturbation is mainstream.

In fact, here are ten moments in which masturbation took the spotlight in the mainstream media, both here in Denver and across the country, and for better or for worse. And not to worry, our list does not include that time your parents walked into your bedroom at the exact wrong moment...

1. The Ted Haggard Massage Confession
Ted Haggard's sordid journey through our local and national news did plenty of damage to the good name of both Colorado and happy endings, didn't it? Masturbation played a big part in good ol’ Ted’s confession; it was of the “mutual” sort, in which a “massage” by male prostitute Mike Jones turned into something more. To which we say: Whatever floats your boat, Ted. Just stay out of the public spotlight, and maybe drop the holier-than-thou attitude. Most people — with the specific and ironic exception of those in your own congregation — care a lot less about you being gay and a lot more about you being that skeevy dad down the block who has a smile and a leer you don’t trust.

2. Pee Wee’s Sordid Adventure
How could Pee Wee’s Big Adventure not make this list? And, seriously: Poor Paul Reubens, who turned a 1991 family visit in Sarasota into a nearly career-derailing act of self-love at an XXX theater. Reubens has long denied the charge, claiming in a Playboy interview that the cops claim they witnessed the act being performed with Reubens’s left hand, when Reubens is right-handed — which proves…well, it proves that Reubens should probably stop talking about that night in 1991.

3. As If Von Miller Needed an Ego Boost
Here’s a story that sort of came and went, if you’ll excuse the expression. There was much hubbub back in the latter part of 2016 when it was leaked that there was a Von Miller sex tape, and that the holder of said tape — one Elizabeth Ruiz — might use it for extortion. Turns out that Ms. Ruiz did go public after all, but not for blackmail. She claimed that the reason she made the tape, and was planning to keep it, was for her own masturbatory purposes. So move along, nothing to see here — or at least, nothing that you’ve been invited to see.

4. There’s Got to Be a Hose Joke to Make Here
Denver firefighter Tim Plybon clearly has some issues. While most would agree that masturbation in general is just fine — that is, in the privacy of your own home and without, you know, involving someone else in the act who didn’t agree to participate in the first place. But when you do it in such a way that it forces the act into the awareness of an outside party, that’s when it becomes what we like to call “a criminal act.” Like, for example: walking around a candy store at the Aurora Mall holding your penis. Not okay, Tim.

5. The Rise and Fall of Masturbating Bear
Conan O’Brien’s Late Night show was full of weird and wonderful stuff, to be sure, but one of the high points (at least in terms of self-pleasuring ursine characters) was Masturbating Bear. This was a shtick that was played for laughs but also purposefully pushed the envelope: Masturbating Bear was late-night comedy, but during a time in network TV when just mentioning the word "masturbation" itself was problematic, if not completely forbidden. But Masturbating Bear, who reportedly died at a Flagstaff, Arizona, Motel 6 in 2015 due to a mishap with auto-erotic asphyxiation, helped pave the way for all the TV self-gratification that followed.

Keep reading for more great moments in masturbation.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen