Years ago, when I had just published my book about sexual turning points throughout life, THE ETERNAL GARDEN: SEASONS OF OUR SEXUALITY, I attended a conference in Philadelphia of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sex. I kept sporadically in touch with Martha Cornog, a fellow author I met there, and last week she invited me to go with her to the screening of a new documentary, called STICKY: A (SELF) LOVE STORY. The screening was held at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan – and I am really glad that I saw it.
The documentary, which took producers Nicholas Tana, Denise Acosta, and Eric Wolfson eleven years to make, offers a funny yet serious look at an important topic about an activity that practically everyone engages in at one time or another, but virtually no one talks about. The funny parts of the movie include clips from other films, many in the mainstream, some cult classics, including scenes like the one I once saw with Woody Allen saying that he’s in favor of masturbation – because that way he can have sex with someone he loves.
Some of the film’s more serious moments feature former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who was forced to resign her post because she said that sex education classes should say something about “the M-word.” Ironically, it was President Bill Clinton who forced her resignation. (He would have done much better in terms of his legacy and his wife’s to have indulged in this form of self-love himself instead of having led an apparently busy sex life involving other people.) Other interviews in the film featured religious leaders from the Muslim, Catholic, and Jewish communities, as well as a popular porn star, and my friend, Martha Cornog.
I wrote about masturbation in THE ETERNAL GARDEN as an activity that has an important role in sexuality from early childhood through late adulthood. It helps to soothe children, keeps the juices flowing for older people without a sex partner, facilitates artificial insemination, and provides a number of other benefits. It does not make hair grow on a person’s palms or strike them blind, despite warnings to the contrary! (And the young boy's plaintive question to his father,"It feels so good -- can I just keep doing it until I need glasses?")
You can get information about STICKY, including how to watch it (before it’s shown commercially) at http://stickythemovie.com/. And you can watch the trailer at www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO5yqUIZR7g. So far there are only limited screenings, but I'm sure more will come. (No pun intended.)