It’s Masturbation Day: Toys to the World, If You’re a Girl

by Bethany Grace Howe
Bethany Grace Howe

I have been looking forward to today, National Masturbation Day, for a while. Like Arbor Day, Columbus Day, or Drink Wine with No Pants on Day, it’s one of those special times that makes most every American stop and ask themselves: “How does Hallmark keep missing all the good holidays?”

This is a very good holiday – and this year an important one.

This day is about your sanity and safety. In a world where before you even shake hands with someone you have to put fresh condoms on all of your fingers, masturbation may be the key to the psychological survival of the species. What was once  the safest sex on the planet, might now be the only sex on the planet that won’t kill you.

One thing we can say for sure about masturbation is that even the process of simulating getting screwed causes women to literally do so.

Let me explain. By a ratio of 8-to-1, women-to-men, women report needing some type of external device to masturbate. In other words, what men can largely do for free, we as women find ourselves having to pony up the bucks – again. Women always get the short end of the stick. Except for now, where we don’t even get that. In a time of government-mandated social isolation, we’re not even allowed to leave the house to get the damn stick.

This is probably not shocking for those of you who’ve been women all your lives. But for me, having transitioned only four years ago, this need for an external device was not something I’d ever really thought about prior to gender affirmation surgery.

Certainly, I’d done my research. Even as far back as high school I’d known that the evolution of humans as a species had involved learning to use tools. But I also knew two more things: First, that we had clearly progressed beyond tools like choppers, cleavers, and hammers. (Well, I’m assuming so; otherwise, we’d have neutered ourselves into extinction.) And, second, while the tools and devices have changed – today there are vibrators, dildos, and a brand of drills called “Ridgid” – some 2 million years after Homo Erectus first created tools, it’s the women who are hunting and gathering for them.

So it was, about nine months ago, that my friend Sara and I shared a nice bottle of Umpqua Valley pinot noir and discussed my masturbation quandary.

Sara: “You STILL haven’t masturbated?”

Me: “I’m afraid I’ll break my new vagina.”

Sara: “That’s what you said a year ago. It’s been 18 months.”

Me: “Now the warranty has expired.”

Sara: “That’s bullshit.”

Me: “Oh, now you care. You didn’t even send me a card on the last National Masturbation Day.”

We went on like this for a while: me, making excuses, and Sara being 100% sure that even if she drank a magnum of pinot, she’d still think I was pathetic.

And she was right: even after a night of drinking, I still hadn’t masturbated.

Two days later, Sara accompanied/ dragged me to Eva’s Boutique. Eva’s Boutique, if you are not aware, is a new type of adult toy store. So new, in fact, they call it a “lovers’ shopping experience.” The stores are brightly lit, with giant windows, sunlight allowed to pour into the store. I found this surprising.

In my day, adult stores had foot-thick concrete walls to prevent your shame from oozing out from around the door frame. At Eva’s, however, everyone is happy to be there. The employees even have I.D. tags with their own names on them, like “Rachel,” “Sade,” and “Tyler.”  It is very clear they feel they don’t have to make excuses about where they work or create lies about why their skin is white from being in a blackened, pornographic tomb all day. (Although in  Oregon, we all look that way.)

“Hello!” I said to Rachel, my blossoming excitement for National Masturbation Day, which was now mere weeks away. “I have recently had gender affirmation surgery!” I exclaimed, a glass of shot-gunned pinot having bolstered my enthusiasm. “I have no idea what I’m doing, but my friend assures me I want something more than a stick!”

OK, I did not actually say anything about a stick. The rest, however, is verbatim, including the exclamation points that indicate that I was talking incredibly loudly. Rachel smiled, as it did Sade, Tyler, and six other people in the store.

Like one would discuss a new car purchase or the features on a Swiss Army Knife, we talked about the full range of sex toys that might suit my masturbation needs. In the end, my vibrator purchase was much like my first car: it had a sleek, modern design, precise controls, smooth surfaces, and even USB charging. (If my Swiss Army Knife had all of that, I wouldn’t have needed a vibrator.) It’s called the Pave Grace.

“It even has my middle name!” I told Rachel, Sara, and eastern Lane County. “It’s like I’m screwing myself! How meta!”

I couldn’t wait to whip out my new toy for a test drive later that day. I’ll admit, at first I really didn’t know what I was doing. The whole thing was rather unwieldy, and quite frankly rougher than I thought it would be. Knowing Sara had more experience with these kinds of things, I called her for advice.

Sara: “You have to take it out of the box.”

An hour later, things were good – amazing, in fact. And here, on National Masturbation Day 2020, I highly recommend the Pave Grace. (Note: it turns out the cable coming out of the USB is for charging only.) It’s so great, you won’t even mind having to pay for the pleasure. Sure, it’s more money than it used to be for the joy of masturbating, but unlike The Rolling Stones, for $42.99, I got my satisfaction.

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