Masturbation is, for most males, our first sexual act. It is therefore associated with our sexual awakening, a sense of discovery and of claiming ownership of our bodies. It harkens back to our steamy, spermy youth. In jacking off, billions of boys first experience a personal pleasure that really "belongs to them." It is an incredibly personal, primal and positive force in our lives. Men who continue to enjoy jacking off throughout their liveswho continue to experience it as positive, fun and satisfyingthese are the men who make up a jack-off group.
It is also true that many boys are shamed about masturbation, in some cases, this shaming is intensely abusive and potentially damaging to the boy all through his life, affecting his fundamental sense of sex as a good thing. For these unfortunate men, masturbation becomes the root of a belief that sexual desire is the "enemy," labeling as evil one of our strongest and most basic instincts, the drive for sexual pleasure and self-possession. Many of us who have an overall positive experience of masturbation still carry subtle echoes of that kind of shame throughout our lives and struggle with it in an effort to reclaim our own sexual power. For many, many men, jacking off is not only fun, intensely pleasurable and good, but even healing.
In our affirmation of masturbation as fundamentally good, just as our underlying sex drive is fundamentally good, many of our members go beyond just having a great time into an experience of personal healing. We actually find our individual sense of personal sexual energy strengthened and reinforced through group play... Although that's not required to enjoy the club, it is a real fringe benefit.
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JO groups have been around a long time and did not, as is commonly believed, suddenly spring up after the AIDS crisis made safe sex a necessity. Men have been gathering to jack-off together in groups, large and small, since long before written history began. Today, we form clubs with this very basic and singular purpose in mind: to masturbate in the company of 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 JO groups became popular. When gay "culture" (such as it is) was expanding in the decade after Stonewall, JO groups flourished as just one of many gay niche-cultures. It was in the 1980s that AIDS started to bring a new influx of men into JO clubs: men who were interested in group sex without the risk of disease.
So there are two primary motivations for participating in JO groups: a specific desire to masturbate with other men, and the desire to play safe.
The first large, organized JO 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, The New York Jacks (established in 1980) and the San Francisco Jacks (1983) set the model that has been copied and propagated throughout the world ever since.
Those two groups had several common rules, predominantly defined by the Jacker's Prime Directive: "no lips below the hips" and the broader "nothing goes inside anything" rule. So we jack off together, but we do not practice any oral or anal sex in the group, nor do we promote those activities, although in the Rain City Jacks we do not judge others for their actions, and we do not restrict any member from expressing their sexuality as they please outside of the context of the club.
JO is the defining act for any JO group, primarily 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..." There was also a discouragement of those who are just curious. "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." The original groups seem to have only wanted hard-core JO fetishists. The Rain City Jacks agrees with this basic philosophy but is a bit more open and welcoming.
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Beware of Imitators!
There are several clubs that have sprung up in recent years which are named in such a way that they seem to be JO clubs but are not, and while they may ostensibly celebrate masturbation, they also include and actively promote penetration, including oral and anal sex. If a Jacks member is seeking another club in another location, he needs to be wary of this. Groups with names like "Barejacks," "Jackers," "Strokers," "JObuddies," and even "Jacks" may actively promote oral or anal sex in the context of their club events and communications. They instead make statements encouraging safe sex practices while openly enabling unsafe sex practices, ultimately leaving decisions to their membership.
In many cases, these organizations are simply misnamed, and since they do not define JO-only parameters for their groups, they are very different from traditional, "real" Jacks clubs. In some cases, they make a strong statement in favor of JO, but in the actual operation of their groups, promote or do not restrict oral or anal sex.
Rain City Jacks does not judge or condemn these or other sex clubs, indeed many of our members are also members of non-JO clubs, but we will not promote them or link to them in our web sites or materials. Our desire is not that they change their behavior, but we'd love to see them change their names so that those of us who are part of a world-wide network of JO-only clubs are not unintentionally mislead into situations and alliances that are not what they seem and not what we are seeking. We're not here to police the world or convert men into avid masturbators, but rather to attract those who are already interested in what we have to offer, and maintain the integrity of our focus. We talk the talk and walk the walk.
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Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction
When you're hungry, you commonly eat, and for awhile, you are satisfied. A little while later, you're hungry again. Sometimes, you have a specific taste for something, and you may be full after eating something other than that which you crave, but there's a vague sense of dissatisfaction that goes along with it... Many people will continue to feel frustrated until they get what they crave.
It's that way with sex too. Some guys crave a blow job or just want to bottom or top or whatever, and they may settle for something else, but they may feel dissatisfied until they get what they really crave.
JO Clubs are specifically for guys who can feel sexual satisfaction through masturbation alone, and specifically mutual masturbation. When such a guy experiences an intense JO session with another guy, he'll feel spent, satisfied and generally happy about it. There will be a period of time that he's perfectly content, and he'll want to come back and do it again.
Jackers know that JO is not for everyone. We're all wired differently and like the song says, "When you're hot, you're hot. When you're not, you're not." For a lot of guys, JO alone is unsatisfying... just something to tide them over until they can have "real" sex. A jacker may like a lot of different kinds of sexual activity (although many men practice masturbation as their only sexual activity), but a common aspect of all jackers is our view that JO is "real" sex. We're not "settling" for JO, we're choosing it because we genuinely like it. It does a lot for us and we do find complete satisfaction in it.
If a guy is not satisfied by JO, then JO clubs are not right for him. If he's curious about it and the thought excites him, we welcome him and want to give him the opportunity to explore JO, but if JO doesn't do it for a guy, then a JO club is not the right place for him. We don't judge him or ourselves in comparison to him. We're happy to let that guy go because we want our parties full of dozens of guys who are all having a great time jacking off and jacking each other off.
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Who's Behind Rain City Jacks?
Rain City Jacks was formed by one man who loves group JO: me. My name is Paul and I'm just a guy who really loves jacking off with other guys and I experience it as a wholly positive and beneficial and human activity. You could say I have a taste for safe sex. I am not one of those guys who only enjoys masturbation, in fact I personally practice oral and anal sex with my partner of many years, and have made the choice to reserve many sexual activities exclusively for that relationship. I identify as a gay man and I feel it is ultimately up to each individual to self-identify. I do not personally judge or feel the need to judge any man who identifies as bisexual or heterosexual and who also enjoys mutual masturbation with men.
In my personal life, as well as my marriage, I have a commitment to safe sex. That's not why I formed the Jacks, though. The reason I created the Jacks is because I love JO. Period. My commitment and support of safer sex practices is a happy coincidence
I used to be an active member of the Chicago Jacks in the early 90s and was disappointed to find that no such group existed in Seattle when I moved here in 2000. After five years of waiting, and a few disappointing experiences with other clubs that turned out to not be traditional, JO-only clubs, I decided to start one of my own.
In April of 2005, I began to develop the concept of the new group and in May, began registering charter members. The official launch of the Rain City Jacks was June 7, 2005, with a kick-off circle jerk in a Seattle hotel suite. 16 men attended that event. On June 28th, the Jacks move to a permanent space and begin a regular schedule of mutual JO events.
As founder of the Jacks and originator of our events, I was able to set the tone and define the parameters of the club. As the organization has developed, a core group of passionate men has stepped forward to continue the work of supporting the club and administering its ongoing existence and health. In addition to regular operations, we are working to establish the Jacks as a strong community with connections to other sex-positive organizations and supportive businesses in Seattle, and to build an organization with a structure and stability that will last far beyond the personal involvement of any one individual. As long as there are Seattle men who want to jack off together, we want there to be a positive environment for them to do it in.
There is a unique and fraternal energy in Jacks clubs that is just not found in other types of sexual arenas. There is the intense heat of male sexual pleasure, and certainly a love of hard dick that brings us together, but there is also a lack of attitude, an open and welcoming atmosphere and the surprising friendliness of Jacks clubs that make them unique. We love that kind of positive, naturally affirming experience and we are willing to do the work required of us to keep it a reality in this most progressive of American cities.
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