Masturbation is a Sticky subject in more ways than one. For those who know me you should know that I truly love my puns.
However, what you may not know is the mixed bag of both fear and excitement people express when they learn about this documentary.
I’ve decided to document some of the many diverse responses in the following blog.
The reaction goes something like this:
PERSON: What do you do?
ME: I am working on a documentary.
PERSON: How exciting, on what?
PERSON: Oh…(nervous chuckle). That’s when any number of the following responses ensues:
a) Awesome (Big fans)
b) Really? (They check the hand they shook mine with nervously)
c) Why? (Conservative)
d) Yeah, right. (Non-believers)
e) Need any actors. (Jokers)
A recent post by a new friend who was concerned about liking Sticky:
“I apologize, but there in no way in the devil I will click like on your doc.. I already heard about how its gunna go all over my page etc. (IS SHE REFERING TO EJACULATION HERE?) But, with that being said. Sounds like an interesting project. I would like to see it!!”
I will keep the author anonymous; however, suffice it to say her response (20’s, female, white) is precisely why this film needs to be seen! This is why we need education about masturbation and sexuality and to at least be able to have an honest and open dialogue in this country we call free.
To which I basically replied saying that I’ll keep her anonymous for now but that it’s precisely that ambivalence that convinces me of the need to make and distribute this documentary. Her response:
“WHHOOOAA waaait a minute now. I am in no way shape or form embarrassed or feel as though masturbating is anything to think of in a negative or derogatory way. I feel as though it is a natural thing. And I believe most people do it, and those who do not are not comfortable in their own skin, or comfortable with themselves in a physical or mental capacity. Also including reasons such as religion, belief systems, morals etc. However none of those reasons or thoughts are what I believe. So lets not get confused No hard feelings. I just wanted to make sure you know where I stand on the fact of the matter. The reason WHY I may not want it on my page would be particularly offending those I spoke about above. I do a lot of business via my page and have a lot of mormon family members and friends (given I am from UTAH mormon city) they think I am corrupt enough. Dont wanna stir the pot or piss people off ya know.
On another note, show me your doc then I can decide if I like it or not. What if I liked it, then saw it and thought it was shit? I guess I could unlike it. I cant like something I have not tasted ya see!!”
This was simply too much (bullshit) for me not to offer a concentrated reply. The sheepishness really got to me coupled with the frustration of trying to deal with distributors and investors and corporate sponsors all ultra interested but simultaneously terrified of this film making progress enthusiastically slow.
I understand your fear especially from what I’ve learned of Mormons and masturbation. P.S. I wonder if they’ve seen BIG LOVE! However, it could be a great opportunity to dialogue about this subject, your ideas, with family and friends. The trailer has no nudity and is purely educational discussion. Second, you like the trailer, not necessarily the movie. You are liking what the trailer stands for and not necessarily the film.
What frustrates me is that despite the thousands of Facebook page hits, I’m limited to about just over 300 brave souls who are willing to LIKE the page. Given the amount of industry and personal response in favor of the trailer, Morgan Spurlock (SuperSize Me), Zalman King (91/2 Weeks), Caveh Zahedi (I am A Sex Addict), Nina Hartley (Boogie Nights), and Larry Flynt (Founder of Hustler) have all expressed enthusiasm about its concept and development, I don’t think this apprehension has anything to do with not liking the trailer. It’s more for reasons that you already mentioned, namely, fear and embarrassment around sexuality.
Unfortunately, if people aren’t brave enough to support the idea and like the page because of a fear to offend, innovating and challenging ideas will never revolutionize and evolve this nation for the better. This country was founded on revolutionary innovative and radical ideas. To think, at one point not long ago sex before marriage, masturbation, women’s rights, black rights, all were dreams, the ideas of which would offend most of polite society, it’s supporting such ideas – despite the possible consequences – that will help to change things for the better.
If people like you are not willing to do this – a silent majority roots in the background and waits for others to show enough support, so that it comes out – the movie may never convince those risk adverse executives, and film financiers to give it proper distribution and exposure. If this continues to happen, especially in a risk adverse entertainment economy, filmmakers like myself will be without jobs and forced to produce the same old formula stuff that does not offend, which everyone these days is all too accustomed to seeing.
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There has been plenty of positive response as well though to galvanize my efforts. I can’t tell you how many Gender Studies students or Sexologists write me wanting to know when this film is going to be released. I always tell them (often with a wry smile) it’s coming soon!
Hi. I am completing a MA Psychology Research dissertation on male autoeroticism and its contribution to self-construct and personal masculinity. Any recommendations in this regard would be appreciated.
This really inspires me when inquiring minds want to know. This student showed real interest and seems to be taking a genuine research initiative. Depending on his response to my response, I might have to offer him a research position.
I would love to help you but it would take me quite sometime to relay the information that I think you may need. Perhaps, you can tell me more details on your approach to the subject and I’ll be able to offer some constructive and or critical comments. What I can say is that our ideas of masculinity and self-esteem are very connected to masturbation. In general, we continue to associate masturbation (especially male masturbation) with perversions of the natural order derived in part from a fear of surviving the human race and religious notions of sin. Despite attempts to turn it around, no man wants to be called a jerk off.
Another student wrote me some time ago:
Subject: could i watch the documentary for free?
Message: hi! i’m currently doing an essay about female masturbation for my gender and sexuality class and i do think that your documentary will be very helpful in writing my essay 🙂 just wondering if i could see this documentary for free? 🙂 thanks!
This was a great response and very inspiring. My response:
Thanks for your interest in Sticky: a documentary on masturbation! What school do you attend? We can reach out to your school when we sell the educational version. The film is not yet completed. We plan to do a “Safer Than Safe Sex” college tour next year with some of the people in the film. We would appreciate your comments on our blogs as well. It’s interest like yours that will help us to promote dialogue and education around sexuality in this country.
My most recent post was from a Frenchman with a not-so-good command of English. It took me a while to decipher his comment/question.
Name: adama ba
Message: ok i want to know which ill masturbation can give you. Please in French.
If I assume he is asking about what diseases or ailments masturbation can possibly cause, he’ll have to see the film to learn more. However, since I’m doing this in the interest of education, the short answer is possibly prostate cancer (though inconclusive since another test states the opposite) Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder (according to some sex therapists, if accompanied by too much pornography viewing) and a depletion of your vital essence (at least according to Chi Kung experts, and some Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctors). Now, how do I say that in French? Here’s what another friend from France who contributed to my film had to say about his girlfriend’s response to my contribution.
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 2:09 PM
Subject: Re: Hi Jonathan!
…it was a great pleasure to contribute to your movie. I hope you collected enough money to finish the movie and broadcast it. When I told my girl friend I sponsored a movie on masturbation, she shocked. I explained her… she was still weird about the topic you choose. She is anti masturbation… I assume she has to see your movie more than anyone, but it will be hard for me to convince her.
THE STICKY SEARCH FOR A BOOK EDITOR
My efforts to find an editor for my book, Sticky: Our Touchy Relationship with Self-Pleasure, resulted in mixed reviews:
Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011 – 9:49 PM ET
Thanks for contacting. I took a glimpse at your site and am not comfortable with the subject matter. Elance does not like for clients to communicate by phone. I appreciate you emailing, but I am not comfortable with this job.
Just a little while earlier, I received a bid from an editor so excited by the material that he lowered his rate.
Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011 – 8:40 PM ET
I looked at the manuscript. It sounds like a very interesting project. I would be willing to reduce my bid to $65 if it means getting the project.
Still, even good friends fear helping me with this project. I received this response from a reined who feared helping me would negatively affect her and her husband’s business in children’s education.
I wanted to let you know that I feel so badly that I am not helping you out with your viral videos. I just think since ANNONYMOUS HUSBAND NAME and I are the “face” of ANNOYMOUS COMPANY NAME right now, that I should probably not be in anything too controversial, given the involvement in education. But if there is anything that I can do to help behind the scenes, please let me know. I am so excited for you and know that it will be a huge success. I want to support you however I can.
Anonymous Friend’s Name Here
In contrast, I received this wonderful e-mail from a student I met near a café close to my Alma Mater, Arizona State.
I met Nicholas yesterday at Solo Café and finally had the chance to watch the trailer for this documentary. I think it looks really great and I’m excited to watch the entire film! I wouldn’t be surprised if Gender Studies or Psychology/Human Sexuality professors would want to use something such as this in the future. It covers a lot of what students are learning about in such courses, and I think it\’s wonderful that a contemporary, well-rounded documentary on such a taboo topic is being produced! Congrats!
This was one of those “right on” responses that really made my day. I seem to recall she was young, energetic, intelligent, and attractive, too. Made me feel like a real rock star. Who said, nobody likes a (professional) jerk off? If it was you, you’re wrong! I toned down my response, naturally.
Here’s another one on a positive educational note:
Name: Bob Tourkow
Subject: OK, Where is the movie and how do we get it?
Message: Your movie sounds like just the thing we need to give to certain participants of our workshops and clients in my wife’s psychotherapy practice. How can we see it, and get it? Thanks……Bob
When it comes to education about masturbation there is still so much controversy in society. I struggled with this when trying to get interns for social media related to my documentary from my old alma mater at ASU. Here’s a chain of e-mails in which my request for interns was ignored and eventually rejected without reason from the honors college, despite my being an honors graduate of the school. I have chosen to leave all the names and e-mails intact; this way those angered by the sheepish response by the academic community educating the future generations can e-mail them requesting that they provide a satisfactory explanation for the refusal to provide interns. Let’s hope their response is not, because ASU does not condone education about masturbation. Please read on:
BATTLE FOR ASU INTERNS A.K.A.
EVEN (SUN) DEVILS FEAR MASTURBATION
From: Smart Media LLC [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 10:14 AM To: Margaret Nelson Cc: Jill Johnson. Subject: Fw: RE: Internship Questionnaire
Dear Ms. Nelson,
Jill Johnson has referred me to you for some answers as to why my posting seeking interns to work in Social Media and Film Marketing for a major documentary is not being posted.
Please refer to the trail of correspondence between Jill and I below. I would like to speak to you over the phone about why this posting is not being listed as soon as possible as time is of the essence for recruiting new help. Please note, this concerns a high profile, educational film that features the former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, as well as a number of very well respected high profile educators and psychologists. You can refer to the trailer: www.stickythemovie.com. I would be happy to discuss the project, the company history, and what the work would entail in more detail. I hope you can respond in a timely manner as I have already dealt with much delayed response.
CEO, Smart Media L.L.C.
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On Wed, 2/2/11, Jill Johnson <Jill.Johnson@asu.edu> wrote:
Subject: RE: Internship Questionnaire
You are welcome to contact our Vice Dean, Peggy Nelson, to speak to her about this internship posting: MNelson@asu.edu
Jill Johnson Program Manager Barrett, The Honors College at ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus
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From: Smart Media LLC [mailto:email@example.com]
My e-mail to Margaret was pretty much the same as above inserting her name. Her response was as laconic as the bad guy in a Spaghetti Western.
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From: Margaret Nelson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: RE: Internship QuestionnaireTo: “‘email@example.com'” Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 4:22 PM
We will not be posting this internship for our students.
Sincerely, Margaret C. Nelson
Vice Dean, Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, President’s Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change PO Box 871612 Tempe, AZ 85287-1612 480-965-9520 Office 480-965-0760 FAX firstname.lastname@example.org
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Truly, I find this ironic coming from the Dean from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. It even says it in her response. I decided to response with an equally scarce reply. Short and to the point.
<email@example.com> wrote: Subject: RE: RE: Internship QuestionnaireTo: “Margaret Nelson” <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 7:18 PM
Dear Ms. Nelson,
RISE TO ACTION PEOPLE!
To this day, I never received a response despite leaving numerous phone messages and other e-mails. FEEL FREE TO POST YOUR COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS EXCHANGE SHOULD YOU TAKE ME UP ON THIS ONE AND E-MAIL THEM, AS I’D LOVE TO DOCUMENT THEIR RESPONSES FOR THE RECORD:
Margaret C. Nelson Vice Dean, Barrett, the Honors College at ASU President’s Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change PO Box 871612 Tempe, AZ 85287-1612 480-965-9520 Office 480-965-0760 FAX
OUR CONTROVERSIAL STICKY YOUTUBE CHANNEL
There has been much controversy on the Stickythemovie YouTube channel as well. Since this blog post is already rather lengthy, I’ll let you check it out for yourself on our Sticky The Movie YouTube Channel here http://www.youtube.com/user/StickyTheMovie
Suffice it to say that the debates range from whether masturbation causes cancer to whether it’s a sin. Some of the responses and comments are rather interesting. I’ll leave you with this single excerpt: “Naw, masturbation is a sin. I know absolutely 100% certain it is. I repented of it and I even had demons attack me wanting me to back into it.”
So whether you think masturbation is demonic, angelic, right or wrong, healthy or harmful, or whether you just don’t care, suffice it to say, it’s a very touchy subject. For the silent majority of you who are intimidated but intrigued by masturbation and this film, but may be too afraid to like it on your Face book wall for fear of offending. If you secretly enjoy masturbation as a guilty pleasure, there is a reason it has been referred to as both self-love and self-abuse. I say to you all, be brave people, and form STICKY HANDS ACROSS AMERICA…to liberate everyone from the great fear of education about masturbation! I really began to see the value in what I was doing by making this film when my cousin who is a public school teacher in Arizona told me that a student around 12 years of age asked her sincerely, if he could get herpes from masturbating. This documentary is for kids like that poor little boy, and for his parents, our parents, children, teachers, everyone, who has every masturbated but been afraid to be caught or to talk about it, this story is for you. You are the reason why I am making this documentary.Written by Nicholas Tana, Writer, Producer, Director of Sticky: a documentary on masturbation.