Women Don't Masturbate!
By Hayley White
All right ladies let’s have a little heart to heart about taboo. In particular, the taboo around female masturbation. It’s a bitch isn’t it? Especially when you just wanna wack one out but you can’t without feeling this overwhelming guilt and shame that you’re doing something wrong.
I was a total prude in high school. In a time where young people were getting to know their changing bodies and getting comfortable with the, you know, urges, I pretty much kept my hands, my eyes, my thoughts above the belt. Even though I came from a very open family whose table talk commonly included raunchy topics, the idea of sex and sexual pleasure made me wanna puke. The mere thought of even touching myself made me want to jump off a cliff.
Apparently, that’s not uncommon. The numbers on a variety of studies around female masturbation prove that either their studies really suck, or women lie. My guess is on the latter. Why wouldn’t women lie about what they do under the covers? Especially when we are constantly ridiculed and shamed for figuring out our bodies.
This kind of taboo has been around for a while too and has roots (he he). In the 1700s, masturbation was medicalised as a disease that could lead to insanity and other serious health consequences for women. And in the in the 1900s, the first ever vibrator was created to treat the negative effects of hysteria in women. It wasn’t something based around female pleasure, it was purely a device for medicine, so of course female masturbation and the idea that women do feel pleasure has always kind of been put on the back burner. During this time, the medical industry was dominated by both men and male perception. For centuries, our understanding of female anatomy has been tainted by the viewpoints of a patriarchal system.
When I spoke to Edit Horvath, an Auckland-based sex therapist, she said that the taboo around female masturbation starts at a pretty young age, so how adults react to their young children figuring out that kind of stuff can stick.
“Babies and toddlers and young people all work out that it feels good to masturbate, so how grown-ups respond to that establishes whether their kids feel that it is a good thing, acceptable thing, a dirty thing, a naughty thing, evil, or whatever.”
She also mentioned the gender division between boys and girls masturbating can definitely reinforce the taboo, saying that it’s common for parents to allow boys to continue doing their thing because ‘boys will be boys', but girls have to uphold the ideals of virginity and purity (which is all a load of rubbish if you ask me).
The effects of this taboo on young girls and women are seriously damaging. If you have people around you that absolutely do not approve of you exploring your body and your sexuality, then of course you’re gonna feel shame and embarrassment when you finally decide to try and figure yourself out.
In order to establish a strong and fulfilling sexual relationship with both yourself and your partner, it is extremely important to explore your own body through masturbating. Masturbation has been encouraged by sexologists as a way for women to navigate and learn about their bodies. This can further manifest in a number of positive benefits such as improved body image and improved familiarity with your own genitalia.
Unfortunately, some women never figure out what they like, and Edit says that it definitely has an effect on how people – women in particular – know and understand their bodies.
So, all those memes about boys not knowing where the clit is? Yeah that’s no joke. Studies show that nearly 90 per cent of women cannot get off from penetration alone, that there has to be some clit action to even make them feel something, and that’s no wonder when the female clitoris is a fucking minefield of nerve endings (over 15 thousand to be exact). The clitoris is totally complex, almost as complex as the inner working of a woman’s mind (amirite fellas), so women being able to figure out what they like will also have a more positive effect on their sexual relationships.
As a sex therapist, Edit commonly runs into issues with couples where the sex is solely based around the guy and what he wants to do and believe it or not guys, but our worlds don’t revolve around you. We need some attention too and Edit says that this is a seriously good reason to push through the stigma and figure out what’s good for you.
“Females [need to] to learn how to work out what feels pleasurable for them, how it’s done as well as be able to tell their partners what that is and where it is and guide their partners to persist what feels good for them at that particular time."