Good Vibes Only: A Conversation about Female Masturbation

 

GIRLS MASTURBATE ALL THE TIME. There. I said it. When was the last time you talked to your girlfriends, your mom, your boyfriends, yourself, about masturbation? Have you ever? Sex is my favorite topic to discuss with anyone. It’s fascinating, it’s personal, it’s empowering, and sex with yourself is one huge facet of human sexuality in general. So why can’t we talk about it? Why do girls growing up touch themselves and know it feels good, but they don’t continue because they think they’re the only one? From middle school years, male masturbation is viewed and discussed as extremely normal. We saw it on Degrassi, kids joke about it in school, there are a thousand and one different terms for it out there. But GIRLS? Ew. Gross. Girls are flowers. Girls don’t talk about sex. Girls don’t think about sex. Girls don’t touch their own bodies.

Except we do. All the time. Sometimes more than boys. Multiple. Orgasms.

I had a conversation with some of my girlfriends about flicking the bean, getting handsy, finger painting, polishing the pearl, whatever you want to call it. And then I talked to a few of my male friends about what they think about female masturbation. It was great.

 

I asked my friends if they masturbate, and at what age

Surprise surprise, they all said yes. “yes, duh, everyone should”. I also asked my male friends if they think that most of the women they know masturbate. They were less sure, but they assumed that most women do.

The average age of my girlfriends starting to masturbate regularly was around 12, but that they had explored that territory a little bit at an elementary age without really knowing what they were doing in a sexual context.

 

I asked how often.

This varied. As with anything it depends on the day. It depends on your mood. Sometimes its once a week, once a month, and sometimes it’s multiple times in one day. On average, 3-4 times a week. One of my male friends thought that women probably masturbate just as much as men, whereas another assumed it was less, 2ish times a week.

 

Do you use a vibrator, your hands, anything else?

It was about half and half on this one. All of us started with our god-given tools, but about half of us have since moved on to a more technological approach and treasure our vibrators.

 

I asked my friends if they watch porn, and most answered yes. A couple said every time they masturbate, and a couple said usually only if they need something to get them going. My male friends are more into porn, usually every time they masturbate, and by far, they assumed that women don’t watch as much pornography as men.

 

Do you think it’s important for girls to have a sexual relationship with themselves, and what does having a sexual relationship with yourself mean to you? (this is where it gets more important, so I’m sharing everyone’s individual perspectives)

P1: It's so important! Woman have been simultaneously sexually repressed and exploited since the dawn of time. It's high time we take ownership of our own bodies and learn what makes them tick. My sexual relationship with myself means a lot because as someone who has a lot of insecurities about my own body it took a lot longer for me to lose my virginity than the average woman so getting to know my body on my own helped me become far more comfortable with myself.  

P2: Yes, I think it is super important. It makes me feel confident and comfortable with myself, both mentally and physically.

P3: Yes i think it’s important, it helps to establish what you want and how you feel about yourself. As well as understand the sexual relathionship one can have with others as well. What it means to me is being happy with myself and be comfortable with doing with it.

P4: Yes. I think being aware of what makes you feel good is key in sexual relationships with other which leads to more successful relationships when couples are sexually active in my opinion.

.P5: I think it’s completely healthy for girls to have a sexual relationship with themselves and it should be talked about. Girls are told to protect their body/virtue and not fall into it like it’s a guilty pleasure instead of normal. Unlike boys who are told to do it and accepted when talking about it freely in public settings.

I asked my male friends about their perspectives on having a sexual relationship with oneself, and while one didn’t really know what that meant, another said “Absolutely, I think it is important for pretty much everyone to have a sexual relationship with themselves. It helps you to understand your body better and lets you explore yourself and find out what things work and don’t work for you. It’s like a weird release in some regards too because we have sexual wants and needs and masturbation helps to satisfy those in some instances.”

 

How does masturbation change/support your own body image?

P1: So much! Like I said before I have never had the best opinion of my body so it changed my own body image significantly and continues to do so. 

P2: It supports my body image because by making my body feel good, I feel good about my body ya feel.

P3: Makes me more comfortable with my body and understand my body is like.

P4: I don’t really know that it affects it.

P5: Masturbating changes and supports my body image by empowering me because I can do it better myself and makes me independent.

The male perspective on this was interesting. He said that as a male, it had the potential to skew your self perception, because on one hand, male masturbation is more accepted, but on another, it’s also viewed as dirty and self-indulgent, and if you’re not in an environment where it’s normalized, it can make you feel gross too sometimes, which is interesting to hear from a man, and makes me think that we still have a long way to go when talking about female sexuality, but personal sexuality in general.

 

How do you feel about masturbation when in a committed relationship with another person?

P1: I don't think it should change at all. Get off with them and get off on your own. It's your body use it when you need it. Relationships shouldn't change you or your habits. That's not cool bro. Not cool.

P2: I think if you are a person who masturbates, you shouldn't change that because of your relationship status. (because then you'd be changing yourself for a person and I don't believe that to be a good thing) Your sole reliance for pleasure shouldn't have to be from that person when you are perfectly capable of it yourself too. Also, there are definitely some times when I don't want someone to touch me, but very rarely do I ever not want to touch myself. 

P3: I think it’s fine, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice my own pleasure or the partner’s pleasure just because of the relationship.

P4: I think it’s a great way to maintain your urges in check when your partner isn’t available. Plus, a little sexting goes a long way. Better you than someone else.

P5: I tend to masturbate more often when I’m into someone or committed to them in some way because it refrains my sexual urges to cheat on them with guilt or get obsessed with having them in my bed.

When asked, my male participants also felt that it doesn’t matter and that just because you may be having sex with someone else, that doesn’t mean you should stop having sex with yourself too. (because isn’t the relationship with yourself the most important thing anyway?)

 

And my favorite, What do you think is the public view of female masturbation and sexuality? Do you think that’s changing? Where do you see the mass opinion of it going?

P1: The topic of female masturbation gets shoved under the rug by many because of society's ideals of what woman should and shouldn't do and can and can't talk about openly. It is changing and becoming normalized which is a great thing because woman now more than ever need to know that they can be comfortable with their bodies and whatever they choose to do with them. 

P2: Heterosexual female sexuality has become a bit more discussed, however it is still sadly colored with sexism and misogyny. Female masturbation, in my experience, is not typically talked about like ever- unless maybe in very broad terms between close friends. I hope it's changing with our generation and progressiveness from others. I hope it to become something that it talked about more openly and is no longer a taboo. 

P3: I think that the public view of female masturbtion and sexuality is very stigmatized and not really talked about enough, especially seen as forbidden and not possible in female. I think it is starting for the better and is beginning to to be better viewed. The mass opinion of this subject matter is being better viewed and talked about.

P4: I think masturbation in general is a sore subject (no pun intended). Male or female, I just think that sense men are viewed as more open about their sexuality, though not viewed as proper, it is more common, therefore, it has become more standardized. I don’t think masturbation needs to be publicly accepted but it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of and I think that’s the mindset that should be more popularized.

I think people’s perspective of sexuality is changing but not in the perception of a woman’s body, but rather in the acceptance of woman being free to choose who they encounter and how they choose to practice their sexuality. Of course, this is a much younger mindset and even though there are many people our age that don’t agree, I think the majority will outweigh so that in the future we have a more open society with a lot more acceptance among us and much more freedom and comfort.

P5: The public view of female masturbation and sexuality is frowned upon; girls aren’t supposed to have urges with sexual tension like boys are. I do not think this view point is changing because no one discusses it. Only a few of my friends will openly discuss it with me and have confidence in their tone of voice. The mass opinion feels uncomfortable with this topic.

Both men I spoke to about this said similar things, that they see it slowly becoming more normalized and talked about, but for the most part, right now, female sexuality is either not talked about at all, or highly fetishized.

 

Lastly, I asked my male friends if they think that women are comfortable talking about masturbation, and if THEY are comfortable talking to women about masturbation:

1: Most of my liberal female friends are comfortable talking about masturbation. My more conservative female friends are not comfortable talking about it. I'm definitely not comfortable talking about masturbation or porn with women.

2: Yeah, I think women are definitely comfortable about talking about masturbation. I know for a fact that women talk about masturbation with their friends just like men talk about it with theirs. And yeah I’m comfortable with talking about masturbation with women. I jerk off a lot hmu.

Same.

 

All in all, keep going, girls. You can’t expect anyone else to love you right unless you love yourself first. Let’s keep this line of conversation open, and let’s keep it open with everyone. I believe that the conversation is growing a little louder through this new wave of strong millennial feminists that are taking to the streets and taking to the blogs and taking to the television and print media, but I also think we have a long way to go to where young girls are not shamed for their natural sexual exploration.