Saturday May 3, 09:15 PM
San Francisco hosts "Masturbate-a-Thon"
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More than 100 men and women have gathered in famously liberal San Francisco this weekend for what organisers said was the city's second annual public "Masturbate-a-Thon".
Organisers said they have taken the event "from the sheets to the streets", offering volunteers -- 18 years or older -- the opportunity to overcome their inhibitions in "a safe environment" and raise money for charity.
Horace Santry, 55, said the Friday night event was his first. "I have a lot of anxiety, but doing this among a group of like-minded people does make it easier," he said.
Men and women ranging in age from the early 20s to the 50s, mingled at a local performing arts centre in San Francisco's South of Market district, known for artists, galleries and nightclubs, before getting down to business.
To the strains of soothing new-age music, the men and women -- a number of them couples -- were shown into rooms for men, women or both.
"This is an effort to counter centuries of censure, to make masturbation more fun and to make it more accessible," said Thomas W. Laqueur, a professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley and author of the recent "Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation," in a telephone interview before the event.
The event is a fund-raiser for the local Centre for Sex and Culture, a non-profit organisation that provides sex education.
San Francisco Masturbate-a-Thons have raised more than $25,000 (15,000 pounds) over the past five years, said Centre co-founder Robert Lawrence.
The event has inspired others in several U.S. states and countries, from Alaska to Germany, in which participants raise money in the privacy of their homes.
What can I say...................
er.......altogether now - 1-2-3-