Raise your hand if masturbation is an important part of your balanced breakfast. Now raise your hand if you would have looooooved someone to teach you that masturbation isn't something you have to feel ashamed of and is, in fact, totally fucken awesome. I dunno about you but I wish I could get back all those times I cried in the bathtub at my parents house after I got off staring at my Barbie's tits. Well, I have a friend who's a masturbation activist and her name is Shilo.In case you didn't get the memo, brilliant photographer (also, coincidentally, the brilliant maker of the surreal cupcakes at the launch event for Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion at SF's Booksmith.. oh my gawd they were so gooood!), Shilo McCabe put together an incredible project to celebrate masturbation. It was called the "I masturbate..." project, which was launched through The Sex Positive Photo Project website in May of 2011. It was a celebration for National Masturbation Month which consisted of daily photos of people masturbating, accompanied with a statement from them beginning with the words "I masturbate...".
Words from Shilo (don't forget to click to see the images!):
"Some of the important things this project taught me were:
Masturbation is a safe place to let go of self criticism.
Day 11: "The pleasure and love I am showing my body helps keep my negative internal voices from being so harshly critical of the days actions and decisions."
It's powerful self care.
Day 18: "Masturbation gives me some of my best orgasms. I love it for the orgasms alone, but I also do it to relieve pain, leg cramps, cranky moods, anxiety, and to help me get to sleep."
Masturbation does not have to be a solo thing, it can foster a connection with partners.
Day 12:"I love being able to show my partner how I love me and how they can love me too. I love the intimacy of sharing something that is usually done in secret. I love letting my partner see something that really no one else (until now) really sees."
It's a powerful way to undo negative conditioning and give ourselves permission to be as much as we are.
Day 13: I masturbate because I never have to worry about being too much for myself. I have a high libido and a lifetime of conditioning has made me self-conscious about being too intense, too hungry, too sexual, too wet, or too kinky for even my most enthusiastic and generous lovers.
It encourages sexual self confidence.
Day 25: Being aware of my carnal needs and then fulfilling them has been a blessing in helping me evolve into the independent and sexually self confident woman I am."
"I wonder if, culturally, we passed on the message that we can soothe, excite, comfort, love and laugh with ourselves better than anyone else can and that we should be our own first lovers how different would things be?"
Shilo was just invited to be part of National Masturbation Month (aka May 2013, my friends) at the The Center for Sex and Culture and exhibit the "I masturbate..." project. Shilo needs your masturbation-loving support! It is expensive to produce a show of this magnitude so she started an Indie Go-Go campaign to raise the needed funds. Equally as important as putting the work on the walls of the Center for Sex and Culture, will be getting the work into people's hands. This is why she's also producing a limited edition monograph of the entire project which is available as one of the campaign perks.
What can you do to support "I Masturbate..."?
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.