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     Hi, my name is Cassie and I love breakfast foods, closing my rings on my watch, cult documentaries, and my vibrator. Yes, I said it, my vibrator -- because I, like all humans have sexual needs that need to be fulfilled. 

     Growing up, I thought masturbation was weird and something only pubescent boys did or could even accomplish. My friends never talked about the female orgasm and it wasn't until I started listening to "Girls Gotta Eat" that I realized female masturbation is perfectly normal and should be celebrated and encouraged. 

     The stigma that females shouldn't be sexual and that talking about 'it' is weird, is still very prevalent in today's society -- especially when you go to a Baptist university in Texas. Women are largely taught, whether by school or society, that sex serves a purpose and that it has nothing to do with you. Men can orgasm and you can have children. A Five Thirty Eight article reported that 36.5% of women aged 18-24 had not masturbated in the past year, compared to 18.5% of men that age. When you break it down to masturbating 2-3 times a week, 23.4% of men aged 25-29 said yes, while only 7.9% of women did. That's a major gender gap that needs to be addressed. 

     If you know that you have a small chip on a back tooth, those freckles on your leg make a weird shape or your second toe is longer than your big toe, you should know how your body looks, feels, and responds. 

So here it is: masturbation is normal.


Masturbation feels *amazing*

     There are 8,000 sensitive nerve endings in the clitoris, which is more than double that men have in their penis, so of course it will feel good. The only purpose of the clitoris is female pleasure, that is it, so use it! Play around, figure out what feels good to you and your body and understand that everyone is different. While someone may be able to climax using their fingerse, you may require a vibrator and that is totally normal. 


It can help you destress and relax

     We're legitmately in a global pandemic and having to balance work, school, organizations, and a social life; you likely have felt stressed or anxious during 2020. Speaking scientifically, when genital stimulation occurs, cortisol (stress hormone) decreases and endorphins increase, which causes that euphoric feeling similar to opioids. The moments leading up to climax and after are a time in which worries can start to disappear as you focus on being present in that moment with yourself and listening to what your body needs. Just as much as a bath or facemask are part of your self-care routine, masturbation should be too. 


You masturbating can improve your sex life

     While masturbating can generally be something you do without a partner, it is a time where you can really explore your own body and figure out what it responds to. This way, when your partner is doing something that is not stimulating for you, you know how to redirect them. Keep in mind that a majority of women cannot climax from penetration alone, but need some sort of clitoral stimulation. In order to advocate for your own needs with a partner, you need to know what those needs are. This can lead to a better sex life because that communication is present .


Did someone say confidence booster?

     When you know your body and spend that time being comfortable with it, you can learn to love it. When you learn about your body, you'll also be able to tell when something isn't fully right and have that conversation with your doctor. Masturbating is all about your own pleasure and understanding your body, so that when you are with a partner, there is no reason to feel self-conscious. Own your orgasm and realize it only belongs to you. 


     Masturbation is all about you. It's okay to be selfish and masturbate. It's okay to talk about it with friends. It is entirely natural and gives you pleasure, so do not be embarassed by it, but embrace the way it makes you feel. 

Cassie Nataro is a junior statistics major at Baylor University. She is from Easton, Pennsylvania, just a little north of Philadelphia. When she is not listening to a podcast, she can be found working at a local restaurant, studying around Waco, closing her watch rings or hanging out with her friends. Some of her favorite things include breakfast foods, swimming, cult documentaries, witty banter, cross stitching and vegan baked goods.
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