Author: Philip Mathias

Party for One

Today, May 28, is National Masturbation Day. The holiday (if we may call it that) was so-named in 1995 by a San Francisco-based sex shop after U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was forced to resign for suggesting that (among other things) masturbation should be included on sex-education curricula. It is expected that billions of men and women will honour the spirit of the day all over the world, though perhaps no more so than on the other 364 days of the year. Masturbation is a unique form of sex. It was frowned upon in some eras, tolerated in others, and celebrated in none. Even today, the stigma endures. In Nova Scotia, a labour arbitrator just upheld a company’s decision to fire a man for masturbating in a bathroom stall at work. “The employee [was] warned about his behaviour two years earlier,” a news report informs us. However, the union argued that “he had not been properly warned because managers were too embarrassed to directly tell him what the complaints were about and instead spoke in …