Today, we live in a progressive world where sexual topics that seemed taboo a few decades ago are now part of common discourse.
Socially, we are comfortable talking about our sexual relationships, our sexual orientations and our body hair, to name a few.
However, the topic of female pleasure and masturbation still throw people off. Society has overly-normalized male pleasure specifically––their sexual drive, their masturbation, to the point where most women have been taught to repress their sexuality and their own pleasure. Men are not to blame for every wrong against women. But, does it seem fair that even though sexuality has progressed as a topic, female masturbation and pleasure still makes people uncomfortable, even as a topic between women?
It is ironic how in movies, television and media in general, we often see men masturbating, but how often do you see women doing it? Not often, and definitely not as often as we see men do it. Sexually-liberated women are feared by a society that has sought for them to remain within the margins, which is why women are often shamed or judged.
You know what is even more tragic? Women who are sexually active are way less likely to orgasm than men. According to NBCnews, results from a study of sexually diverse group of 52,500 adults in the U.S. show that 95 per cent of heterosexual men said they always or normally come during sex. On the other hand, 65 per cent of heterosexual women claimed they usually did not orgasm. Such contrasting numbers are directly linked to the fact that women are less likely to explore their pleasure than men.
If you cannot make yourself orgasm, how can you expect someone else to do it for you? In a society where women are constantly kept from experiencing pleasure on their own to figure out what they like or not, it’s no doubt that they come less than men. Masturbating will free you from such chains. As shown by Bustle, women who masturbate and aim to explore their own pleasure are more likely to experience empowerment and become more comfortable in their own skin; not to mention the improvement in their sexual lives.
That being said, I’m completely aware of the fact that we all experience our sexuality in different ways. However, being more vocal about growing up as a woman and your own human impulses among your friends is a great way to push towards the normalization of female pleasure. As a matter of fact, more and more often I hear my friends talk about their vibrators, sexual fantasies, need to masturbate as a part of their ‘self-care routine’ and so on. Only good things can come out of talking more about our pleasure. Our words will resonate far and wide—young girls will learn to explore and accept their bodily impulses, instead of feeling ashamed, dirty and abnormal.
Even though we all explore our sexuality at different paces, expanding our knowledge of it can be extremely helpful. There are hundreds of sex-positive sources out there to get you started or to further your knowledge. Tons of articles can be found online about how to masturbate or how to improve at it. Sex Education on Netflix is a great show on the subject. Instagram is also a good resource to educate yourself on your own sexuality. Among my favourite accounts are @bellesaco, @talk.tabu, @femislay, @erikalust.
All in all, talking about female masturbation and pleasure is one step towards the normalization of this topic, as well as one towards the deconstruction of our own socialized beliefs.
Graphic by Sasha Axenova