Jack-Off Clubs – A Little History

(This entry is based upon content from the former RCJ web site. It has been revised from the original entry, first published in June, 2005.)

Jack-off groups have been around a long time and did not, as is commonly believed, suddenly spring up after the AIDS crisis made safer sex a necessity. Men have been gathering to jack-off together in groups, large and small, since long before written history began. It is very likely that it was once a natural element of nomadic, pre-agricultural humanity. Today, we organize these private clubs with one singular purpose: To masturbate with other men.

“… Such clubs originated during the seventies, and were often an outgrowth of private parties organized by gay guys who were into masturbation. They invited others who shared this interest to orgies where no sucking or fucking took place, only kissing, caressing and jerking off. The group expanded, was named the Jacks (i.e., ‘those who jack off’), and attracted not only exhibitionists and men with large penises (especially members of the eight-inch club), but also those attracted to them. J.O. clubs soon became so crowded they had to move their biweekly parties to large loft spaces.” (from The Joy of Gay Sex, Third Edition, 2002, by Silverstein and Picano.)

It was in the 1970s that groups of gay men began meeting regularly for jack-off parties. When urban gay culture was expanding in the decade after Stonewall, jack-off groups appeared as just one of many gay niche-cultures. It was only after the horrific revelations of 1981 that AIDS began to precipitate a new influx of men into JO clubs: men who were interested in group sex without the risk of disease. It was when the term “safe sex” was coined.

So there were two distinct, primary motivations for seeking out jack-off groups: A specific fetish or desire to masturbate with other men, and a quest for safer alternatives among men who would otherwise choose riskier activities.

The first large, organized jack-off groups in the US showed up in the big cities, along with all the other gay cultural phenomena of the seventies. New York and San Francisco are home to two venerable Jacks clubs. New York Jacks (established in 1980) and San Francisco Jacks (1983) established the model that has been copied and propagated throughout the world ever since.

Those two groups maintain a simple set of common rules: “No lips below the hips,” and “Nothing goes inside anybody’s anything.” These remain the core parameters of every traditional JO club in existence. We can jack off together, touch each other, caress, kiss and show off for each other, but we never engage in any oral or anal sex in the group.

Jacking off is the defining activity of every JO club, as expressed in the words, “… Jerking off is the reason for the club’s being. The New York Jacks is a meeting of men who wish their primary sexual outlet to be J.O. in the company of other like-minded men…”

At the beginning, curiosity seekers were discouraged. “One of the hottest aspects of our club is the mutuality of interest that prevails. Proud as we may be of our club, it is incumbent on us all to discourage visitors whose interest arises merely out of curiosity… If a member or guest cannot be fully satisfied by J.O. alone, the New York Jacks is not the club for him. Those early sentiments laid out by the original NY Jacks came from a time when a vast array of same-sex play options were widely available and the men who really got deeply into the scene envisioned a sort of purity.

Of course, once members began flooding JO clubs as awareness of the low risk of disease transmission there grew, those more elite ideals gave way to a more open attitude and new members were welcome to develop a taste for safer sex instead of arriving with a well-developed mutual masturbation fetish.

As the dark days of AIDS faded into new treatments and prevention protocols, fear of HIV has waned while JO clubs have continued to attract members as long as their organizers have the resources to host them.

Now, over 35 years after that first club formally took the name “Jacks,” the emphasis is once gain on desire. Yes, many of us are rightfully motivated by a need to play as safely as we can, more and more members are showing up simply because they love jacking off together and crave the friendly sex play they find reliably at the clubs. Single, married, open or on the down-low, all races, ages and sexual orientations, jack-off clubs are attracting men who fantasize about sharing masturbation and specifically appreciate and are satisfied by it.

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Showing 2 comments
  • JakobusFrater

    It’s very cool to see pics on the site of guys I know from the club. Very nice.

  • 110352

    I like the high quality photos that come with each reminder post. The sight of real guys enjoying themselves and each other always makes me want to be there for the event. I wish I was closer so I could come (cum) more often.

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