Welcome to a hectic month in the world of masturbation. Pic, by the way comes courtesy of Anthony Rutter who does decor for TV programmes. These were the shoes he made for Alison McNaught’s fantastic 50th birthday party last Saturday in Crystal Palace. Second time I’ve taken half an E in four years. It must be summer. I remembered how good dancing can feel.
Meanwhile, Lauren Laverne’s people called me up and have asked me to go on the panel for the BBC Late Night Woman’s Hour show on June 20 to talk about masturbation. You’ll be able to download it as a podcast. At last, a platform to spout my propaganda.
I also attended my friend Darian Leader’s book launch for Hands at Freud’s old house in North London last week. Hands is about how screen-life has changed what we do with our hands. Here we are together, captured on my old iphone. A terrible quality photo. Just like the old days!
Hands is a great read and Chapter Five is my favourite. Darian quotes Thomas Laqueur, the leading academic on masturbation, and his book Solitary Sex, which I ripped off for the history of masturbation too. Darian makes the interesting point that sell-pleasuring isn’t all an uncomplicated bed of roses. “Masturbation is widely misunderstood to be an access to pleasure,’ he writes, adding that, “The brief pleasure sensations of genital masturbation can function as a barrier to other more powerful and overwhelming forms of bodily agitation and anxiety.”
It’s funny he should write this as the very morning of the book launch I’d read a tweet from Annie Sprinkle who confided that she’d recently relieved her pesky jet lag considerably thanks to a nice session of solo sex.
During Darian’s speech about Hands, he kept the word “masturbation” until the end and it garnered a few titters. It reminded me that talking about “pleasure” and “desire” are going to be better ways of selling Sex Drive than using the big M word, which clearly still scares the horses.
It was interesting that the launch of the masturbation-related book was in Freud’s house in Hampstead where he lived and saw patients during the last year of his life in 1938. Freud, remember, was the man who made the claim that masturbation was an immature form of sexuality. But at least this was better than how things were in the 18th century when it was seen as the “crack cocaine of sexuality” as Laqueur puts it.
Freud’s house is impressive. I didn’t see the couch in his study (lots of velvet and Egyptian statues in cabinets in there and definitely a feeling of some sort of ‘presence’). But here is the carpet that patients would have been looking at when they were trying to think of something to say.
And finally here is a link to my article on the “Second Sexual Revolution” that’s just out in this month’s Red – the July issue.
Here’s what the story’s about – a paragraph they cut:
“The first Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 70s was a swizz for women. Sure, second wave feminism was launched, the Pill was invented, mini skirts and Gay Liberation arrived and endless surveys showed that pre-marital sex was on the increase. Yet while Lotharios such as Hugh Heffner and Normal Mailer were bragging about the joys of “free love,” nobody seemed interested in finding out what kind of orgasms women were having – if indeed they were having them at all.”
My style has been slightly slashed and burned for Red Readers, but I realise that I have to appeal to different audiences. And at least they kept in the reference to Annie Sprinkle’s “tit prints” even if they did take out the reference to Betty Dodson’s courgette-carving dildo workshops. Here’s to a pleasure-filled summer with a little anxiety on the side just to keep us awake.
They’ve illustrated it with a pic of a sort of sci fi flower. Here’s my own flower of the day, a photo I took on my last day at the beach when I was following my “E” Spot as Annie Sprinkle calls the “Eco Sexual” sensibility. It’s called a Ginesta and grows profusely in Catalunya. It looks like lots of yellow open mouths. Dali nicknamed Amanda Lear his, “Ginesta.” Lear is famously supposed to be a transexual but her line is, “I will neither confirm nor deny.”