Female Masturbation, The Self Love We Need To Be More Open About
The new Netflix Original series ‘Sex Education’ has taken the world by storm.
And for good reason.
It is some incredible writing and goes a long way in normalising conversations about something that is a pretty natural and human part of our lives.
One of my most favourite plot-lines in the series is about a character called Aimee who plays one of the most sexually liberated women I’ve seen on-screen. But when her partner Steve asks her what she enjoys in bed, she is left dumbstruck.
“No one has ever asked me that before,” she says.
Thus begins her journey of discovering her own sexuality, what she enjoys in bed and in possibly one of the most progressive moments - masturbation.
When interviewed, actress Aimee Lou Wood, who plays the character, Aimee Gibbs, said she felt proud to play a female character taking ownership of her sexuality because women are often sold the myth that sex is not for them.
She explained how this is very much a gendered issue, describing the boys she went to school with as “shameless” when it came to talking about sex and masturbation, whereas these topics were a “complete taboo” among her female peers.
And as I write this, I realise how true it is.
As women, we tend to share (even, overshare) a lot of things. We go into a lot of details about our personal lives with our sisters or best friends. But when it comes to masturbation, we shy away from all kinds of conversations.
Largely, women aren’t even okay with admitting openly that they masturbate. Let alone discuss it.
The causes for this are actually rooted pretty deep in our psyche. Because of the patriarchy we live in, a lot of women have been conditioned to believe that sex is for the pleasure of the man. For the woman, it is simply her duty. Whether she enjoys it or not, it doesn’t really matter.
That is why conversations about masturbation are very normal in the men's locker room conversations. But for us women, it feels wrong and taboo. Because women’s pleasure is considered wrong and taboo.
The female desire on its own without the purpose of making babies or pleasing the man is uncomfortable to accept and talk about.
A lot of girls are even taught at a young age that it is a sin.
But sisters, it is 2019!
It is about time we can openly discuss that the woman’s pleasure is equally important in an intimate situation. And it is only natural that she indulges in some self-love when she feels like it.
So here is an attempt.
Masturbation 101 For Women
Masturbation is stimulating yourself sexually. It is extremely natural, very normal and in fact, a great way to release pent up sexual energy.
Understanding the different parts of your body is the first step towards successful stimulation. The fact that you may not know the names of all your lady parts can be a little off-putting but that does not matter for now.
Lisa Lister, author and creator of wellness website The Sassy She says that getting to know your body, and not getting hung up on terminology, is the best approach.
“It would be great if we were taught the technicalities in school, but unfortunately we’re not. Though it’s good to know the terminology, it’s not essential. My advice would be to explore, get to know what things feel like, and if it feels good, keep going!”
In order to help us to become more familiar with our anatomy, Lisa provides simple, straightforward definitions for some of our bodily bits.
Vulva: "This is the outer part of your lady landscape. It includes the clitoris, labia lips, urethra and entrance to the vagina, and its opening is almond shaped."
Clitoris: "When people talk about the clitoris, they’re usually just talking about the glans – the very sensitive outside part, but the bean-like bump you can see on the vulva is just the tip of the iceberg. It's the only organ of the body with the sole function of providing pleasure. It's the most nerve-rich part of the vulva, containing over 8,000 nerve endings, which is twice as many as the penis. This makes it the powerhouse of pleasure. This tiny erogenous zone spreads the feel-good-love to 15,000 other nerves in the pelvis, which explains why it feels like your whole body is being taken over when you orgasm."
Vagina: "This is a pulsing muscle that opens and closes between the cervix (at the base of the uterus) and the external opening.”
When it comes to the actual process, it varies for every individual. Some women prefer to use their own hands while others like to use toys.
The key to finding what works for you simply is exploration.
Try different things, change the dynamics such as the speed and pressure - if it feels good, you’re on the right track. Don’t focus on the orgasm in the beginning. It is important to enjoy the journey and not just race to the finish line. It will happen. No pressure.
Lisa also thinks to get to know your menstrual cycle is an important way of ensuring you get the most from the experience.
"Some people find that they’ll want to be playful and explore more around ovulation. You may not feel the urge to masturbate during your pre-menstrual cycle, but the orgasms will actually be way better, even if they do take a bit longer.”
A lot of women prefer external stimulants to aid masturbation. Whether it is watching porn, reading erotica or simply letting your imagination run - you can try different things and find what works for you.
Even if people feel female masturbation is a taboo, the reality is actually much to the contrary. There are several benefits to it.
Here are some:
1. It puts your sexuality in your own hands
With mainstream porn catering to the male-gaze and focusing almost exclusively on his pleasure, young women feel immense pressure to imitate the weird acts depicted on screen. Irrespective of whether she enjoys it or not. Masturbation returns women’s sexual power to where it belongs – with women.
2. It teaches you to be confident and comfortable in your own body
This quality time you’re spending with yourself helps you become more familiar and confident in your own body. You appreciate your body more. It can be very liberating. Moreover, it can also help you understand better what you enjoy. Communicating the same to your partner during intercourse can help improve the experience for both of you.
3. It makes you happier
Scientifically speaking, masturbation increases blood flow through your body and releases feel-good brain chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin, even if you don’t orgasm. This will have you feeling lighter and happier! It is even scientifically proven to reduce the stress hormones in your body.
4. It has so many physical benefits
Masturbation could help you sleep better, get rid of a headache, boost your immune system, prevent diabetes and even prevent cystitis.
5. It can ease post-menopause sexual problems
After the menopause, the vagina can narrow down. This makes sex more painful for a lot of women. Masturbation can help prevent this. It boosts blood flow, relieve tissue and moisture problems, and increases your sex drive.
We all have sexual needs and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. By talking about masturbation, we ensure that future generations don’t look at sex as simply a baby-making activity or the means to a man’s pleasure. We let the world know that sex drive isn’t a male monopoly but women are equal participants therein.
What are your thoughts and experiences on talking about masturbation? Tell me in the comments!