Founded by Good Vibrations, a sex shop in San Francisco, May was chosen as Masturbation Month in 1995 in response to the dismissal of U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.
At a World AIDS Day presentation, an audience member had asked Elders about masturbation's role in discouraging risky sexual activity among youth, and Elders had responded, "I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught." That was the end of Elders' career as America's first black Surgeon General after President Clinton fired her.
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Since the inception of National Masturbation Month, various organizations have highlighted it by sponsoring "Wank Weeks" and "Masturbate-a-thons," where people raise money for sex-education groups by playing with themselves.
The annual event really reaches a climax on May 28, which is National Masturbation Day.