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How Cocktober Became the Spookiest and Horniest Month of the Year

The answer lies somewhere between Tumblr meme culture and Howard Stern himself

Here at MEL, we never shy away from the hard stories. Whatever question you have about the male reproductive apparatus — yoursmine, your boyfriend’s, the president’s — we want to supply the answers. Which is why it’s time to address a throbbing curiosity:

What is “Cocktober”?

On the most basic level, it’s all about the portmanteau. “Cocktober” is, by any metric, a cool, fun and satisfying thing to say. Try it! “Cocktober.” That’s good as hell. But this linguistic magic alone doesn’t quite explain the phenomenon. Cocktober is also, earnestly and emphatically, a celebration of cocks. You know how on International Women’s Day, a bunch of trollish dudes throw a bit of a tantrum over not having an International Men’s Day? Well, not only does that holiday already exist — men additionally have COCKTOBER, an entire month devoted to their objectification by way of a focus on pretty much the only thing they have going for them: their elastic genitalia.

See, cocks in themselves are fantastic, beautiful, weird and surprising. It’s the dopes attached to them who’ve occasionally given the organ a bad rap. Cocktober disrupts that unfortunate affiliation with a festival of cock for cock’s sake.

Howard Stern’s Legendary Cocktober

No one, perhaps, has done more for the nascent tradition than aging shock-jock Howard Stern, who last year developed a full 31 days’ worth of bits around the conceit. “Every day there will be different cock activities,” Stern explained the summer before the first Cocktober was observed. These included staffers in a “cockfight,” dipping their dongs in paint and attempting to smear their opponent with it; George Takei picking his favorite celebrity shaft; and a Miss Cocktober pageant featuring a lineup of trans women. The bit clearly dismayed a faction of listeners who grew up on a Stern show built on callous appraisals of women’s bodies, not to mention homophobic humor. They complained for weeks.

This year, diehard fans appalled by dick material dreaded another long Cocktober…

And took heart that they’d heard no official fanfare about it…

But three days into the month, some were sure the joke was back in stealth mode:

Most of the whining seems to be over the perceived “gayness” of the season — Stern apparently sees it as a chance for men to honor men’s parts and isn’t too interested in hearing women’s penile opinions. In that sense, his vision of Cocktober falls well short of the pansexual frenzy that is Cocktober on social media, DMs and text messages.

Those Cocktober Chain Texts Are Suddenly Everywhere

These emoji-laden mating calls originated as goofy chain texts shared among teens, usually sent in conjunction with an established holiday, which, with ample puns, they artfully reconfigure as yet another saturnalia of sluttiness.

Throughout the year, these copy-pasted paragraphs continually reaffirm the joys of hooking up and the importance of being horny online. Yet of all these naughty occasions, Cocktober appears to have the greatest import and staying power.

Why is that? A explainer of Cocktober offered some compelling reasons: It’s the last span of the calendar where you have decent weather and plenty of free time to chase dick; soon you’ll be flying home for Thanksgiving with the family and/or hibernating, dreaming of peckers that poke up through the spring thaw. It’s a final “drafting” opportunity for sex-craving singles, and it ends with Halloween, a night when everyone dresses up to catch some vitamin D.

That not all, however.

How Did Halloween Get So Horny, Anyway?

No appreciation of Cocktober would be complete if we failed to acknowledge the deeper thematic affinity with our time of scares, chills, curses and all that is macabre. Cocks fit right into the ensemble of ghosts and ghouls. With their mutable unpredictability — morphing between flaccidity and bonerhood — they have the spectral aspect of a fickle spirit or poltergeist. A cock is quite literally “a thing that goes bump in the night,” while jizz is more or less indistinguishable from ectoplasm, the gooey residue of a haunting. And, in their uncanny way, schlongs do haunt the people who come into contact with them: They’re animated by unseen forces and rise up spookily, like zombies and vampires, both in the physical realm and the cobwebbed corners of the mind, enacting some Freudian return of the repressed. You simply can’t keep a dick down.

Is this to say that cocks have a demonic nature? Are they loyal to, and gathering strength from, the dark side of an unseen universe? Not necessarily. As with any paranormal activity, the occasionally baffling behavior of the penis may signal either malicious or benign energy, and it takes a skilled medium to interpret.

Summer Penis Has Come and Gone

Most likely, the cocks of Cocktober are experiencing a liminal phase between the swollen hog known as the “summer penis” and the shyer, shrinking noodle that is the “winter penis.” Surely as the leaves must fall, the dick has its autumnal transition — a moment when it exists in a kind of spooky flux, ready for an equally spooky succ. It’s perfectly normal, and nothing to be afraid of, though really not appropriate for the office costume party.

Otherwise, Cocktober ought to be as beloved a ritual as pumpkin-picking. In fact, you could probably find a great cock out in the patch right now. Just hold on tight for the hay ride back — like an immaterial phantom, a cock can slip right through your fingers.