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 lives––who continue to experience it as positive, fun and satisfying––these 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.
JACK OFF CLUBS
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. JO is the defining act for any jack off 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. ClubJack Denver agrees with this basic philosophy but is a bit more open and welcoming.
SATISFACTION OR 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.
Bators 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 bator 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 bators 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.