May Day

What do you think of when someone says “May Day?” The pagan rite with the flowers and the Maypole? (This old ritual is still with us in the phrase, “Hurray, hurray, the First of May; outdoor fucking starts today!”) If you’re an old Lefty you may think of International Workers’ Day.

At Good Vibes we can’t help but think of both. Hurray for Beltane, an old fertility ritual day — and bravo to the workers of the world, who keep everything running. We’re a sex business, of course, but we’re also worker-owned and -managed. Good Vibrations founder Joani Blank sold the business to her employees several years ago, and we incorporated as a co-op in which all full-time workers are also owners or on track to become owners.

To us this means a profound level of investment in our work, and the opportunity to create the kind of workplace we want. Most workers don’t have much of a chance to affect the policies and politics of their workplaces, but we do — and as many of us were attracted to this company specifically because of this philosophy of the workplace as for Good Vibes’ legendary leadership role in the sex-positive movement.

After all, sex-positivity is about recognition for, and respect for, each individual’s sexual desires and power, so long as it’s expressed in a consensual way. But most of us spend even more time working than having sex — and how we spend that work life, and how empowered we are in it, is surely just as important an issue for our ongoing quality of life.

So no matter where and how you work, join us in saluting the people whose labors make the world go around!

May Is National Masturbation Month

Of course, whether you do it outdoors or in a fog-bound City by the Bay, May is also National Masturbation Month — our very favorite holiday! Join us in celebrating National Masturbation Day on May 7th (if you’re feeling charitable, consider getting pledges for the Masturbate-a-thon, so you can come for a cause — we’re donating your pledges to several fine regional organizations that promote AIDS awareness and safe sex). If you’re in the Bay Area, celebrate at one of our two video clips shows (May 6th at the Roxie in SF or May 22 at the Parkway in Oakland) — we’re celebrating videographers and educators who teach the world how to masturbate better. On May 20th we’ll honor erotic writers and their contributions to the quality of our masturbatory lives with a One-Handed Reading Reading. (I’m hosting all three of these special events.)

Whatever you do to celebrate, remember that masturbation is self-love, safe sex, and sex education all at once — it’s proof that pleasure is our birthright.

If You Live In Alabama, Read This!

Of course, if you’re from Alabama, you may already know that your right to masturbate has been under attack by the State Legislature this year — if you like to use sex toys, that is. Last summer they passed a law (riding on a bill meant to curb other aspects of the adult industry) making possession of toys punishable by substantial fines or jail time. Alabama isn’t the only state with a law like this — but it’s the most recent, and thanks to an energetic coalition of toy users and sellers, attorneys, sex therapists, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the law’s been overturned.

This might be only temporary, however. The state is appealing, and the case is on its way to a higher court. If you live in Alabama, says case attorney Mike Fees, it’s very important that you contact your legislators as soon as possible and advise them that you support the rights of citizens of your state to have and use sex toys. This can be framed as a civil liberties issue or a sexual health issue, but no matter how you put it, they need to know that people from their districts do not support this law and expect it to be taken off the books. Please write, call, or e-mail them now — the state legislative session is in its final days and these public servants may not have the nerve to stand up on this issue without your urging.

To find your state representative and write her (or him) with your concerns, visit this web site:http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/. And remember — all Alabama citizens receive 10% off of all sex toy purchases through the month of May! (Offer valid with phone or mailed-in orders only.)

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Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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