Swarthmore student group promotes masturbation on campus

A Swarthmore College student group is using school resources and receiving class credit for its push to promote masturbation on campus.

A student group is receiving class credit for promoting masturbation on campus.

The group, titled the American Masturbatory Theater Company (AMTC,) holds “rehearsals” in campus facilities. Although, so far, there have been no reports of actual masturbation, that may be just a matter of time.

Members will be allowed to pleasure themselves as long as it is “constructive and not traumatic to other group members,” the group’s founder Sam Shuker-Haines, who identifies himself as “guenderqueer,” told the Swarthmore college newspaper, The Phoenix.

So far, activities have included students touching each other, collapsing into each other’s bodies, simulating animal mating calls, and staring deeply into each other’s eyes, according to Shuker-Haines.  

Shuker-Haines also requested Campus Reform refer to her by a gender-neutral pronoun such as “they” or using “s/he/.”

”I’m genderqueer, so although I sound male over the phone, I’m not,” she wrote. “I use either gender-neutral pronouns (such as the singular ‘they,’ or, because you’re in writing, ‘s/he’), or, if your editor has a problem with that, using ‘she.’ I hope that you’ll respect this in your article.”

A guide top the group, the American Masturbatory Theater Company First Manifesto, says its aim is to encourage students to act simply from impulse.

“We must learn our bodies well enough to act simply from simple impulse, without naming or judging or inhibiting our action,” it says. “This is an art of destruction of social forms, and so is a violent and necessarily radical art.”

According to Shuker-Haines, AMTC plans to put on a production in the basement of an unoccupied dormitory at the end of the semester.

“Audience members, in groups of 1-5, will be led from room to room,” she wrote in Tuesday’s email. “In some rooms, the audience may watch someone sleep or write a poem or get dressed for the day.”

She said that as this performance draws near, a professor advisor will attend rehearsals to give input, but that all creative decisions will belong to the group.

Shuker-Haines said some people have expressed negativity toward the idea of a “masturbatory” theater, but chalked these up to fear.

“People are frightened of self-indulgence,” she said Friday.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KCTimpf