When Joycelin Elders, then Surgeon General of the United States, spoke positively of masturbation, she was soon forced to resign from office. The owners of a sex shop in San Francisco didn’t want to take this lying down, so they declared May 28 the “National Masturbation Day.” Over the course of the years, that one day turned into a whole Masturbation Month. The Emojibator brand has dedicated a website to this month, filled to the brim with tips, tricks, and information about self-gratification. Curious to find out more about masturbationmonth.com, EAN asked Emojibator for an interview, and Joe Vela, the company’s founder and CEO, and Madelyn Allard, Marketing Manager at Emojibator, took the time to answer our questions.
This May, Emojibator relaunched the website MasturbationMonth.com. What kind of website are we talking about here?
Joe Vela: The website is pretty simple, actually. For each day of the month of May, visitors can return to the site for a new article on masturbation, sexual health, or sex-positive humour. We want these articles to be as informational and relatable as possible because masturbation is normal, yet not widely discussed.
Looking back at 2018, what made you decide to bring the website back this year as well?
Joe: It was never a thought in our mind to not bring it back. While we are a fun-first brand, we also see it as our mission to educate about sexual health in addition to closing the orgasm gap. Last year’s Masturbation Month was incredibly successful in that regard and we wanted to build from there.
Were there any changes in the concept, content or otherwise in this year’s instalment?
Madelyn Allard: I think this year we made more of an effort to reach out to a more intersectional audience and touch on things that are even more taboo.
Can you give us an example of what your visitors can find on the page?
Madelyn: This year we were lucky to have MacKenzie Peck, founder, and editor in chief of Math Magazine share an incredibly personal story on the discovery of her asexuality. It’s a moving piece and working with her was pretty awesome.
You’ve worked with a number of guest writers. Who contributed to the project?
Madelyn: As mentioned above, MacKenzie Peck of Math Mag, Erika Lust, Suzannah Weiss, Alex Fine of Dame, Daisy Ducati, Arielle Kaplan, Ian of the Sex Toy Collective, and my personal favourite, comedian and writer, Carolyn Busa.
Why do people need “help” when masturbating anyway? Isn’t this something everybody should be able to do?
Madelyn: [Laughs] Maybe from a male perspective! Female masturbation and pleasure are still taboo, as well as for those who fall outside the gender binary. Most people’s sexual education was “don’t have sex and if you do you will get STDs and/or pregnant”. Educators don’t even touch on the subject of masturbation which has led to shame and misinformation for most people.
“Educators don’t even touch on the subject of masturbation which has led to shame and misinformation for most people.”
Do you have any data about who visited MasturbationMonth.com that you can share with us?
Joe: So far, we’ve had over 10,000 unique visitors, and we still have a couple of weeks left so we expect to see more by the end of May.
How was the feedback you’ve gotten from your visitors?
Madelyn: I’ve seen a lot of positive feedback across social media. I think people appreciate that we’ve included diverse voices and normalised all sexualities.
Can you give us a little insight into the economic side of the webpage? Why is it worth the while for Emojibator to create such a sophisticated project?
Joe: There’s a bigger picture here than the pure economics of our business; like our mission to educate. We hope that making this information and narrative available will create a snowball effect for the entire industry, however it only a band-aid solution until the sex education system changes. We believe that if you can affect the way people think or feel with stories and data, you can change the way they behave, purchase, et cetera. We think that this project has the potential to lift the entire sexual health products category.
Will we see another instalment of MasturbationMonth.com in 2020?
Madelyn: Hell yeah! Once this May is over, I’m going to start brainstorming and reaching out to companies so that Masturbation Month 2020 is bigger and better than ever.