A Touchy Topic
So, I want to talk to you about something fun that most of us probably do, but a lot of us are too timid to talk about. It’s fun. It relieves stress. It’s extremely healthy. And, for the most part, it’s free.
Yes, I want to talk about masturbation.
Webster’s Dictionary defines masturbation as: : “erotic stimulation especially of one's own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual or other bodily contact exclusive of sexual intercourse, by instrumental manipulation occasionally by sexual fantasies, or by various combinations of these agencies.” Basically, it’s a technical and fancy way to say “we touch ourselves to get off”. Or, “we use instruments to help us achieve orgasm”. I doubt I even need to expand on this as I’m sure most grown people have, at one time or another, accidentally brushed up against something and liked the way it felt, thus “accidentally” brushing up against that same thing over and over until it feels good down there. I mean, the first time I ever did it, I didn’t realize I was doing anything at all. Actually, when I masturbated for the first time, and had an orgasm, I thought I broke something. It freaked me out. But, after a few days, I gave it the old college try again and then I just kept right on doing it. Over, and over and over...well, you get the picture.
Why do we act like masturbation isn’t normal? I remember finding out that a lot of my friends had started touching themselves when we were in high school, and it felt so freeing knowing that it wasn’t just me and I wasn’t some weirdo. Finding out it was a natural occurrence and something that a lot of people were doing made me feel so much better and then opened up the proverbial floodgates to masturbate as much as possible. But, it still seems to be something we do in the shadows. According to a study published in the Huffington Post, conducted by FiveThirtyEight, only 7.9% of women between the ages of 25-29 masturbate between 2-3 times per week. However, 9% of women from 30-39 masturbate. And, only 7.3% of girls between 18-24 do it. Compare this with men where between the ages of 25-29, 23.4% of them were masturbating between 2-3 times per week. And, not for nothin’, but boys between the ages of 18-24 masturbate 20.8% 2-3 times per week. However, this goes down for men between the ages of 30-39. But, if you really look at these numbers, which are, admittedly, a few years old (2009), it’s showing that people either don’t feel comfortable touching themselves, or don’t want to talk about it. I get it. For some reason, this is a taboo topic, especially when it comes to the ladies. It’s hilarious to watch a dude get sexual with a baked good (American Pie) but there aren’t too many films where you can watch a lady get off with the same kind of irreverent fun as the guys.
Maybe I just had a different upbringing? Growing up, my parents never really shied away from sex positivity, though at the time, I don’t know if that was what we would’ve called it. I remember reading my mother’s old copy of “Our Bodies, Our Selves” and asking my mom questions about things that I’d read.
They never shied away from answering my questions, but as I got older, I didn’t really feel comfortable letting my parents in on what I was doing while I was alone. I guess when a 12 year-old begins to explore their body, it’s not exactly something they want to bring up at the dinner table. We did a lot of things at the dinner table, but discussing maturbatory habits wasn’t one of them.
Now that I’m grown, I definitely have tried different things, and know what feels good for me. I have frequented sex shops in search of toys to use, and have attended some of those dreaded “Romance Parties” and come away having spent over $100. There is a female-owned and operated shop here in Portland called She-Bop that offers amazing toys, classes from everything to sex toys, bondage, and burlesque (I’ve taken some of these courses!) and you don’t have to feel weird going in there. I’m a lady with needs, and seriously, when you aren’t with someone else, why not enjoy yourself? We should talk about this because there’s still a stigma attached to it, and there absolutely doesn’t need to be one. Whatever I, or you, want to do with my/your body, is fine as long as it’s safe, right?
The whole idea of fantasy and self-pleasure should be explored and discussed, instead of keeping it quiet and in the dark corners of the internet. Ask questions. Talk about it. Try a new position. Read up on it. Go to a class. Try different types of toys. See what you like.
Remember, it’s your body. You control what you want to do with it. And, if you want to experience pleasure, you should damn well be able to without feeling weird about it. So, go on, touch yourself if you’d like, and remember, it’s all gonna be okay! They don’t write songs about this stuff for nothin’!