Sticky: A (Self) Love Story

Sticky: A (Self) Love Story is a 2016 documentary and comedy film by Nicholas Tana that attempts to explain why most people are afraid to discuss masturbation. The movie is one of the first documentaries to address the myths and social taboos around masturbation.[1] The trailer for Sticky: A (Self) Love Story[2] was selected as top trailers of the week by IndieWire.[3][4]

Sticky: A (Self) Love Story
Directed byNicholas Tana
Produced byNicholas Tana
Eric Wolfson
Denise Acosta
Written byNicholas Tana
StarringJaneane Garofalo
Larry Flynt
Nina Hartley
Joycelyn Elders
Keith Morris
Joe Matt
Chris Gore
Betty Dodson
Music by Richard Albert
Nicholas Tana
Billy Steinberg
Edited byJohann Martinez
Eric Wolfson
Release date
  • February 14, 2016 (2016-02-14)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

Impact on sex educationEdit

The feature-length documentary has received positive reviews in national media for its controversial stance in favor of masturbation as part of sex education. The filmmaker Nicholas Tana was paid to speak during a screening of his film at the 47th. annual American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) conference in Minneapolis in 2015[5] during which time an early educational cut of the film was screened in front of over a hundred certified sex educators.

The AASECT screening resulted in invitations to conduct educational screenings at Arizona State University sponsored by VOX Voices For Planned Parenthood,[6] University of Wisconsin sponsored by Sex Outloud,[7] and Eastern Michigan University spearheaded by Pam Landau of the Psychology department[8] in April 2016 and ending in May 2016 in honor of international Masturbation Month.[9]

The film addresses the need for sex education that discusses masturbation in a healthy manner to students; it includes interviews with sex educators who express concerns about not properly educating children around sex and masturbation. Harvard University screened Sticky: A (Self) Love Story on campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 4, 2017, as part of Harvard's Sex week.[10]

Contrasting viewpoints on healthEdit

Full of interviews from sex educators, religious figures, and psychologists, the documentary offers often contrasting opinions about the health benefits both physically and psychologically of masturbation. Among those interviewed who believe masturbation could be harmful is Alexander Rhodes, the founder of a popular Reddit masturbation abstinence group called NoFap. The movie also includes health findings associated with a Cambridge Study that link masturbation to prostate cancer.[11]

These perspectives are contrasted with sex-positive statements from notable sex educators who speak in favor of the health benefits of masturbation. The film also references a medical study written in JAMA indicating that masturbation might help to prevent prostate cancer.[12]

Sex-positive feminismEdit

The film contains interviews with some of the founding members of the sex positive feminism movement. These interviewees include Nina Hartley, Betty Dodson, Joani Blank, and Carol Queen.[13] Judy Norsidian and Wendy Sanford who worked for many years on the publication of the historical sex education book Our Bodies, Ourselves both appear in the film.[14]


Among the issues discussed in the film is the Anti-Obscenity Act that bans the sale of sex toys in the state of Alabama, and the contradictory stances of four major religions surrounding masturbation, which include Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.[13]

Other topics include the controversial firing of the first African American Surgeon General by former U.S. President Bill Clinton; the career damaging fall out after Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) arrest in an adult theater for masturbating in public; current debates concerning sex education; the billion dollar sex toy industry; contradictory prostate cancer studies linked to male masturbation; the media obsession with sex addiction and sexual compulsion; the FBI study that links compulsive masturbation to serial killers; the impact of pornography on relationships; opinions as to the future of masturbation.[15][13]

Masturbation in politicsEdit

The film contains an interview with the first African American appointed as Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders about why she was fired by former president Bill Clinton for her controversial statement on world's AIDS day in favor of sex education on masturbation,[16] an interview with comedian Janeane Garofalo about her embarrassment on doing the phone sex masturbation scene in The Truth About Cats And Dogs, and an interview with Hustler creator Larry Flynt about how he came to discover masturbation.[17]

Masturbation in film, TV, and musicEdit

The impact of masturbation on the media is explored through a series of movie clips and music. Film Threat founder and film critic Chris Gore states in the documentary that most instances of masturbation depicted in movies or television are seen as either grotesque or as something one wouldn't want to be caught doing. This comment is substantiated by clips from movies like The Exorcist and American Pie shown in the film.

Television clips from the Seinfeld episode called "The Contest" and a clip from Sex in the City are also discussed, along with songs that make reference to masturbation in some way. A section in the film on Masturbation and Media includes interviews with comedian ANT, and Keith Morris, singer/songwriter formerly of Black Flag and The Circle Jerks. The movie features an acoustic performance of the song "I Touch Myself" played by songwriter Billy Steinberg, who is also interviewed in the documentary.[18]

VOD distributionEdit

First distributed in time for Valentine's Day in February 2016 by Vision Films Inc., a partner of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment[19] in February 2016, Sticky: A (Self) Love Story has been selected as an Amazon Video Direct Stars (AVD) winner in July 2016 after being one of Amazon's top selling films online. At the time of this article, the documentary is being distributed in the USA, Canada, UK, Italy, Israel, Brazil, and Germany.

Theatrical screeningsEdit

There have been numerous theatrical screenings of Sticky: A (Self) Love Story around the world. These includes screenings in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego and sold out screenings at MoSex in New York, Syndicated in Brooklyn, and the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. Sticky: A (Self) Love Story opened at the first annual Lov Doc Film Festival in Moscow, Russia, in 2016.[20][21][22][23]


  1. ^ Radakovich, Anka. "Sticky, A (Self) Love Story; The First Documentary on Masturbation -". Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  2. ^ Lown, Mike. "Watch: Things Get 'Sticky' in Exclusive Trailer for NSFW Masturbation Doc". IndieWire. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  3. ^ Zach Sharf. "The Best Trailers of The Week..." IndieWire. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  4. ^ "Director Nicholas Tana Breaks Down The Taboos Of Masturbation In 'Sticky: A Self Love Story'". February 3, 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  5. ^ "47TH AASECT ANNUAL CONFERENCE" (PDF). Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  6. ^ Lauren Cusimano. "This ASU Grad Made a Masturbation Doc Called Sticky, Because of Course". The Phoenix New Times.
  7. ^ "Sticky (2016)". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  8. ^ "Eastern Michigan University: Psychology Department". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  9. ^ Zombeck, Richard (May 20, 2013). "Get to Know Yourself -- It's Masturbation Month". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  10. ^ "'Sex Weekend' Seeks to Stimulate Discussion - News". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  11. ^ "Frequent Sex And Masturbation In 20s And 30s Linked To Higher Prostate Cancer, But Risks Diminish With Age". January 2009.
  12. ^ "Best Evidence Yet!: Ejaculation Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk". Medscape. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  13. ^ a b c "It's a "touchy" subject: "Sticky: A (Self) Love Story" wants to get us talking about solo sex". Salon. 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  14. ^ "This Documentary Tackles Stigma Around Self-Love". Bustle. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  15. ^ Vronsky, Peter (5 October 2004). Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Penguin. ISBN 9781101204627 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Zach Schonfeld. "Remember that Time Bill Clinton Fired His Surgeon General For Encouraging Masturbation Education?". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  17. ^ Samantha Allen (January 22, 2016). "'Sticky' Documentary Dispels Myths About Self-Love". The Daily Beast.
  18. ^ Citybeat Staff. "Keith Morris, Sticky: A (Self) Love Story and The Radvocate". San Diego City Beat. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  19. ^ Dave McNary. "Vision Films Allies With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment". Variety.
  20. ^ Denis Kataev. "Six best about sex and love movies". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  21. ^ Philip Eil. "It's a "touchy" subject: "Sticky: A (Self) Love Story"wants to get us talking about solo sex". Salon.
  22. ^ Rachel Sanoff. "Sticky A (Self) Love Story Tackles The Stigma Around Masturbation". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  23. ^ Matty Silver (February 21, 2016). "Religious or cultural beliefs making you feel guilty about sex?". Retrieved September 2, 2017.

External linksEdit