Masturbation. Many of us have a difficult time talking about or engaging in this shamed act, even in adulthood. As time and society progresses, we’ve taken a more sex-positive outlook on our bodies, behaviors and relationships with others. However, even with this encouragement, many women still hold internal shame around self-pleasure and masturbation, leading to a disconnection between ourselves and our bodies.
Masturbation can be an intense topic, especially so in people who correlate shame with the intimate parts of our bodies. Identifying and processing these programmed ideas can be a lifelong process, but for those of us who feel comfortable, learning about our bodies can be an exciting and healing process.
One of the clearest benefits of letting ourselves be physically vulnerable is learning what our bodies respond to in regards to sex. This understanding allows us to feel more comfortable setting boundaries and asking for what we need during intimate times with others and ourselves. Confidence from fulfilling our bodies’ sexual wants then leads to more confidence in our daily activities, like interviews, meetings, public speaking, and interactions with friends and partners.
Sex and masturbation have also been proven to reduce stress, along with a multitude of other benefits. Even with these advantages, deconstructing problematic beliefs about the sexual aspects of our lives is a difficult process to begin. How do you start? Spend some time alone with a mirror and get in there, girl! Get to know your body, how it looks, feels, whatever you feel comfortable with. Knowing our bodies, especially the parts we don’t see every day in the mirror, is an important part in feeling comfortable being ourselves and being inside our own bodies (in some cases, literally).
Being sex-positive and releasing shame surrounding sex isn’t just about your frequency or intensity of sex, but rather realizing and treating sex as a natural part of life, which people should be educated about. In modern times, with the many movements and ideas of New Wave Feminism, it’s important to take advantage and adapt to the changes within social attitudes, especially considering the long-term effects of a history of oppression towards women. That being said, rewriting these generational mindsets is not an easy or quick endeavor, so move at your own pace and give yourself the space to heal. Your body will wait for you no matter how long it takes.