Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Jerk it onstage

Masturbation stories are read onstage to the delight of others

Tony Adams, Cory Thibert and Madeleine Boyes-Manseau vet submissions for Jerk It. Credit: Pat Bolduc

Jerking, diddling, flicking, rubbing, grabbing, jacking, jilling, pettingwhacking-smackingtickling. Okay, some of those are made up, but there’s no disputing the impressive number of ways that people masturbate. May Can Theatre hopes to represent a range of experiences and techniques at its upcoming Jerk It event. 

May Can will collect anonymous masturbation stories up until Friday, Feb 6. A selection of the stories will be read aloud a week later at Jerk It. 

When they held a similar event in March 2014, they were surprised by the stories they got. “They weren’t all sexy and embarrassing. Some were sad, touching or involved self-discovery,” says Madeleine Boyes-Manseau, resident artist at May Can. “And that’s great. The main goal is to gather stories that are compelling and show as large a cross-section of experiences as we can.” To that end, they hope some of the submissions will come from queer people. 

Nobody will know who the authors are; instead, the stories will be read by designated readers. “It’s better that way. Sometimes people don’t want to tell their story if others will know they wrote it,” Boyes-Manseau says. 

For added insight and hilarity, some stories will be read by people whose gender doesn’t match that of the author. “Last time, I submitted one of my stories and a guy read it,” she says. “Having a strong male voice reading the story of my first time masturbating was interesting. He was unsure how to read it, and that highlighted how fumbly and naive I was.”