I'm Shilo McCabe, queer feminist photographer and during May 2011 I celebrated National Masturbation Month with daily sex positive photos of people masturbating and sharing personal stories that completed the phorase "I masturbate..." (hence the name of the project) This project came about because, while speaking on a sex-positive panel at Mills College I was asked if I had any tips for becoming more sex-positive. Without hesitation I said "Masturbate!" Everyone laughed at my response and I realized later that I really had much more to say on the subject.
What did I learn from doing this project?
Masturbation is a safe place to let go of self criticism.
Day 11: "The pleasure and love I am showing my body helps keep my negative internal voices from being so harshly critical of the days actions and decisions."
It's powerful self care.
Day 18: "Masturbation gives me some of my best orgasms. I love it for the orgasms alone, but I also do it to relieve pain, leg cramps, cranky moods, anxiety, and to help me get to sleep."
Masturbation does not have to be a solo thing, it can foster a connection with partners.
Day 12:"I love being able to show my partner how I love me and how they can love me too. I love the intimacy of sharing something that is usually done in secret. I love letting my partner see something that really no one else (until now) really sees."
It's a powerful way to undo negative conditioning and give ourselves permission to be as much as we are.
Day 13: I masturbate because I never have to worry about being too much for myself. I have a high libido and a lifetime of conditioning has made me self-conscious about being too intense, too hungry, too sexual, too wet, or too kinky for even my most enthusiastic and generous lovers.
It encourages sexual self confidence.
Day 25: Being aware of my carnal needs and then fulfilling them has been a blessing in helping me evolve into the independent and sexually self confident woman I am.
Reducing the stigma around masturbation is important because we are a culture of mixed messages - there is no unilateral message about masturbation, for some people there is a stigma about it, for others it is culturally accepted as a norm and even expected (as with heteronormative male, for example). Socially, we have multiple messages that change over time, and for the most part none of them really address the individual's right to create a sexual practice and life that is right and true for us as individuals.
The "I masturbate..." photo project was hugely popular online, bringing in over 250,000 hits to my blog for the month of May 2011, and now it is coming, live and in person, to The Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco in May of 2013. Never before has such a radically inclusive exhibition of photos of people masturbating been put together and I need your help to make it happen. The exhibition will also include some new photos that were not in the original online collection.
What We Need & What You Get:
I need to raise $5000 for a variety of production costs to make this show happen.
In addition, I am funding the production of a limited edition hardcover book to feature the entire "I masturbate..." project, as well as bonus images and essays. Only 200 copies of this book will be printed, ever. This campaign is your first chance to get your hands on a signed and numbered copy of this limited edition monograph!
Here is the break down:
- Photo Printing Costs = $750
- Matting, Framing Costs = $1000
- The Book = $2000 covers the cost of printing 50 copies of the book
- Paying it Forward = I will donate at least 5% of what I raise to the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco. Should I exceed my fundraising goal, I will donate up to 10% of my total!
The balance of the funds cover the assorted costs of shipping perks to my sponsors as well as other varied expenses associated with putting a show like this together (promotional materials, sample books, advertising, reception costs, fundraising fees, etc.)
Should I surpass my fundraising goal *fingers crossed* then I will use the funds to help me take the exhibition on the road! I want to bring the exhibition to LA, Portland, Seattle - pretty much anywhere along the west coast. You can make it happen.
Other Ways You Can Help:
If you can't contribute, please consider helping in other ways - flex your social networking power and share widely! Tell your friends!
Please like my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ShiloMcCabePhotography and follow me on twitter (@shibug and @sexposphoto) for all the latest news and updates as the exhibition evolves.