The other day I was sitting at the pool with a few of my girlfriends and the topic of masturbation came up. We were talking about orgasms, and how one of my friends had never had one. After explaining to her that it’s common not to be able to orgasm from penetration, or from a sexual partner in general, I told her that the best orgasms I’ve had are the ones that I’ve given myself. My other friend agreed with me, but my orgasm-less friend looked completely mind blown and downright uncomfortable. She told me not only has she never masturbated, but she also has never had a conversation about it with any of her girlfriends. It was simply “taboo.”
I’m sure the title of this blog post got your attention. I’m sure whether or not you’re interested in my blog, or this topic at all, you clicked on it because the title is “taboo” or “risqué.” It’s something people don’t talk about often, so when someone does, it’s a big deal. All of this supports my friends claim of female masturbation being something that is out of the norm. But why is it such a big deal? Why is it SO taboo? Because females aren’t supposed to be sexual beings. Females aren’t supposed to enjoy sex as much as men. Females who masturbate or do enjoy sexual experiences are “dirty.” It’s the oldest double standard and in my opinion, the most widely accepted.
I’m about to say something that might shock you. I don’t think men are to blame for the ongoing stigma around female masturbation. Sure, men might have been the ones who put us in a box and made us feel like we can’t be sexual beings to begin with; however, I think women are the ones who continue to let that ring true. Personally, I’ve had many conversations about sex with girl friends or made a sexual comment around older women who either shut down the conversation completely or say something along the lines of “ew!” or “don’t say that!” Whether women intentionally shy away from the idea of women enjoying sex or masturbating, or do it out of subconscious socialization, they still do it. Think about it, women slut-shame, women talk poorly about or judge other women; women are just the hardest on other women. Men either couldn’t really care less about females masturbating, or think it’s hot. Put simply. Not that I’m praising the sexualization of women by men or neglecting the fact that women still get slut-shamed or judged by men, I’m just saying it’s especially upsetting that women, in my personal experience, do it more.
I can’t tell you how many of my friends have said, “I’ve never had great sex” or, “I’ve never orgasmed” and it makes sense. The socially constructed idea of female masturbation being taboo has lead to this epidemic of lousy, sloppy, ignorant sex. Women feel bad or uncomfortable about masturbating and therefore, aren’t allowing themselves to truly know their bodies. So, of course you’re going to have a sub-par sexual experience. And again, it’s not your sexual partner’s fault (although, sometimes it is). How do you expect a guy/girl to know what to do during sex, if you’re not really sure what you like or what feels good to begin with? When you get to know your own body, sexual experiences become more informed and in turn, better. And if they don’t, THEN you’ll know it’s your sexual partners fault, and THEN you can inform them!
Sex is, and always should be, a two way street. Both sexual partners should be allowed to experience the same amount of pleasure. So, how come when men masturbate people don’t think twice, but the second a women does it she’s looked at differently? Women masturbating is women getting to know their bodies. It’s women figuring out what stimulates them, so that 1) they can climax and feel pleasure to their most potential and 2) sex between them and their sexual partner can be THAT much better.
It honestly just makes me sad that women have been told and are still being told that we aren’t allowed to explore our own bodies. That doing so makes us dirty, or a whore, or we’re put into this box of “overly sexual female” instead of just “female.” These are OUR bodies, so why are so many of us foreigners to them?
I also want to say that if masturbation isn’t something that you feel you want to explore, THAT’S OKAY, TOO. I’m not saying you all need to start masturbating, so that you can have better sex or be a more enlightened person. I just want us all to work towards normalizing female masturbation, so that the women who do like doing so feel empowered about it. Our bodies should never be something we feel ashamed of and playing with them shouldn’t either. It starts with opening up the conversation and opening up people’s minds. It starts by socializing young women and young men the same. And it starts by respecting each and everyone’s needs, bodies, and sexuality.