Guys ‘do it’ all the time, but girls don’t really ‘do it’ that much, my sister told me, carefully tiptoe-ing around the subject of masturbation. I looked at her, thinking she’s 17, into alternative culture and fashion, and will endlessly argue her progressive views about sexual orientation and transgender rights… how can SHE still cling to the old “good girls don’t” story?
“Yes they do!” I said back, unable to hold back my surprise, and apparently baffling my sister.
“They do? I don’t… do you??” she asked.
“Yes! All the time!” I continued. “Like every five minutes!”
Okay so perhaps I was exaggerating, and on the brink of completely grossing out my sister, but the basic message is still true. Girls masturbate! I swear it’s true! I remember years ago, my friend Petra telling me proudly she’d just been to the Love Shop and got herself a vibrator. I remember in high school being fascinated by my friend Astrid’s ingenious crotch-less shorts that allowed her to masturbate in any room of the house without getting caught in an awkward position.
But, over the next week or so, I found that my sister was not the only late bloomer, so to speak. I found upon incredulously recounting this story that some of my female friends with equally liberal and progressive attitudes did not only not share my surprise at all, but confessed to never going solo until they were 18 or 19 years old. By the time I’ve heard a few similar stories, I try not to act so surprised. I don’t want to sound like I can never get out of bed with myself, but I have enjoyed the activity for a long time, even since boys my age were doing it (believe me, I checked). I don’t know too much about male masturbation, being a female and, bless my lucky stars, never had so much as a mistaken run-in with the endeavour, so maybe it’s the same for them, but to me, female masturbation is endlessly important.
When women are constantly surrounded by sexism and sexual assault, how can it not be important project to make your vagina a source of love? If we can understand our vaginas as sources of pleasure and happiness, then how can we ever resent them or hold them responsible for inequalities we may encounter on a daily basis? Perhaps we can stop feeling inferior and internalizing the sexism projected on us, and realize there is nothing wrong with me or my vagina. I’m telling you ladies, if we masturbate enough we can overcome our sexist society! Ah, if only it were that simple. But I’m serious about it being an important step in gaining general and all-around lady-respect.
One reason that women don’t masturbate is the discomfort they feel getting hands-on with their body. This discomfort is for whatever reason ingrained in us through our lifelong socialization that begins in childhood. If we are able to break down that barrier and explore our bodies ourselves we will discover the wonders and pleasures that stem from our famously mysterious loins. We will start feeling great about ourselves and it won’t be because of Dove, or Pantene, it will be because of ourselves. For body issues, I prescribe an increase in masturbation.
We use sex to bond with our partners and solidify our romantic relationships, and I’m convinced we can use the same technique to create a loving bond with ourselves. During orgasm, a chemical called oxytocin is released in both female and male bodies. Oxytocin is what is called “the cuddle hormone” because it encourages emotional attachment to your sexual partner. The same chemical is released during childbirth and helps to create the remarkable bond between mother and child, so you can imagine its strength. If women gave themselves orgasms more frequently, lovey-dovey feelings could be turned inward instead of potentially wasted on fickle partners, resulting in higher levels of self respect, admiration and confidence. For self esteem issues, try masturbation!
Masturbation will also improve partner-sex, if you are so lucky to have it. Women who masturbate are more likely to achieve orgasm with their partners because they know what is going to get them off. How can we expect somebody else to know how to get us to that peak if we can’t even do it ourselves? If you are used to achieving orgasm on a regular basis, you’ll know what to ask for, what works and what won’t. Masturbation can be beneficial in partner-sex in other ways as well. For example, my friend Petra told me she has never had an orgasm during sex with her boyfriend. Thankfully, as she assured me, she can do it herself so not all is lost. After an unsuccessful and disappointing sexual encounter, you can make an excuse to leave the room or wait until they fall asleep to ensure your satisfaction. Masturbation saves relationships and staves off sexual frustration.
Furthermore, masturbation can be a serious time-saver if the mood strikes and you don’t necessarily have time to either a) wait for someone else to figure you out, b) go find that someone else or even c) cuddle and talk about your feelings. You’ll have time for your career, errands, social life and orgasms!
With all the reasons to masturbate, I can’t see what could be holding you back any longer. Perhaps it is in someone’s best interest to keep women from masturbating as it obviously leads to a never before seen hybrid of women who have high levels of self esteem, knowledge of and control during all aspects of sex and independent and successful lives besides embarking on the eternal quest for a fulfilling heterosexual relationship. It is important endeavour for every woman, feminist or not, to gain the freedom and autonomy that can be found in this simple, pleasurable act. So spread the word, masturbation: have you tried it?