Jack Off Clubs

Circle Jerk

The circle jerk. Supposedly boys have done it (regardless of orientation) since time immemorial as a ritual of initiation. (I never experienced it, but I do remember pissing contests outside with this one kid I was later forbidden to play with. How did my mother find out?) 

This underground jack off culture was immortalized in the “Four in Hand” quartet, a playlet from the controversial Oh! Calcutta!, an evening of short humorous playlets about sex that opened off Broadway in 1969. The “four in hand” (also the title of a classic Nova porn film) is a knot sometimes used in men's neckties and ends up being a pun for a collective jerk off. It's interesting that the guys doing it in the playlet are all ostensibly straight (women's breasts appear on the screen at one point, because whatever the guys think of shows up via a “telepathic transmitter”). But the guy running the scene is clear that it's a competition to see who cums first. Men will always be at heart (and in their groins) boys.

When gay men began to enjoy the fruits of their sexual liberation, they began to organize formal and informal jack off clubs. Some even became “respectable” and took on the trappings of not for protfit social clubs, with newsletters, weekend retreats, fundraisers, and websites. I would also think they would have become more popular as safe sex became a life and death matter during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The New York Jacks, founded in 1980, are still around. Seems like they've made the transition to the Internet Age (there's a message board and a Twitter account). Though, of course, the point is live cock play … (But given gay gym culture, one can go to the locker room for a jack off and then report about it on craigstlist missed connections!) 


New York Jacks

The New York Jacks are still bucking these trends, as they still seem to follow the practices of “patch” or leather clubs. There's a membership application one can download, for example (they seem to be up and running in person with vax cards), and an emphasis on both etiquette as well as alleviating anxieties about what to expect at such a function. I guess when all one needs to do is turn on a phone to enjoy a cybersex jack off these days, perhaps social anxiety is more of an issue. I mean, you don't want to be the one who gets the booby prize because he doesn't shoot.

Gay Social Network

When I was younger, not that much younger, but still, youthful, I remember being invited to the Chicago Jacks (defunct, as far as I know). No, I am not going to divulge what happened to me (and it didn't involve jerking off), but I did return regularly, not so much for the action (interestingly enough, this group, which met informally, allowed oral and anal sex; many groups do not). I enjoyed the company of some hot gay macho-looking guys and also what sometimes happened to me at my place after the meetings if I met a special someone. 

But the air of competition was there, everyone cheering on as the president of the group (God rest his soul) after much jiggling and wiggling finally emitted that gooey string of white stuff. Was it worth it? I feel exhausted remembering the scene. (And I remember that I had smoked a certain substance before attending; I usually did. Not necessarily an aphrodisiac.) 

I also remember they they used to hold meetings at a supposedly secret location. The night of their party, a police raid took place. So much for secrecy. Who told on them? 

I'm going to tell! I caught you! Is there still something of the shame and secrecy surrounding that sin of Onan going on here? Even if one doesn't subscribe to the conventional religious view that is sinful, it's still essentially a private, solo act. Perhaps that's the taboo here: what is private becomes a public competition. But in the midst of the public gaze, the eyes of the masturbator are closed. The private fantasy (maybe even that first image you discovered could make you hard) is still going on, but unlike in the Four in Hand playlet, the images are locked in the imagination and memory. The circle is unbroken. 

Source for some information here: Cornog, Martha. The Big Book of Masturbation. San Francisco: Down There Press, 2003. 


Jack off party from The Goodjac Chronicles
Huge jack off party from The Goodjac Chronicles, the first of Michael Goodwin's mid/late '80s videos focusing on masturbation and handjobs
Circle jerk scenes from Winners Circle and Seven in a Barn
Circle jerk scenes from Brentwood's Winners Circle and J. Brian's Seven in a Barn
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