Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism

Stop Stigmatizing Female Masturbation

Masturbation. When you hear that word, what do you think of? Some guy jacking off to a porno in a dim-lit room? When people think of masturbation, we often think of it in terms of male synonyms first. Common synonyms being: jerking off, wanking, beating the meat, or cranking one out.

Female masturbation is so much more discreet than its male counterpart and this should change. Why should women feel secretive about it? Masturbation has become so normalized for men, it’s not even a question. Men keep a bottle of lotion on their bedside tables while my female friends try to reassure me that if I order a vibrator online the package will be so discrete no one will ever know. Why is female masturbation taboo?

Women have been taught from a young age to be quiet about our bodies, specifically the “private parts.” We are taught to cover ourselves; dress codes were designed for us. If you wear something “promiscuous”, then you shouldn’t be surprised if someone thinks you’re a slut. And who even decided “promiscuous” or “scandalous” was a style? (Let me wear what I want without needing to call me a slut or square, thank you). Men’s fashion is never called promiscuous.

We have also been taught to be subtle about periods; we carry tampons and pads up our sleeves as if a guy will combust at the sight of it. You can’t even talk about periods loudly in public for fear someone would judge you or be grossed out. But it’s perfectly natural, it happens to all women, so why are we hiding it? Why do we pretend it doesn’t happen? Hell, even commercials for sanitary products advertise their level of invisibility. If blood leaks through we are more concerned with someone seeing than if it stains! Why are we taught to feel ashamed?

I am one of those women who has always felt self-conscious surrounding my body, specifically the “private parts.” I felt embarrassed by my changing body. I bought too-small bras, pretending my boobs weren’t growing. I hid myself in baggy clothes. I was one of those girls in high school that never bought thongs and didn’t wear tampons. And although I loved swimming, I hated swimsuits because I felt embarrassed about my miss-shaven pubic hairs.

I was too embarrassed to confess any of this to my friends, so I didn’t say anything at all. And I was too nervous my parents would find my search history, so I never looked it up.

When it comes to masturbation, I tried it maybe on three occasions during high school. But I was always so in my head. I felt dirty. I think after the first time I washed my hands five times.

As I’ve grown up more, I’ve come to realize I wasn’t the only one to feel this way. Women are often made to feel guilty or dirty when we masturbate. Society has normalized male masturbation but failed to normalize female masturbation. In a film, a man can sit on his bed, pull out a box of tissues and lotion and the viewer already knows what’s up. What are the subtle cues for women? Strip down naked, get in a bath and grab the showerhead? Let me tell you, that’s pretty well explicit.

Stop stigmatising female masturbation. Embrace it. Tell kids that it’s normal. Encourage self- exploration. Try it. I wish when I was a kid, that during sex ed someone would have told us to. Maybe it’d be awkward, but how will we change the way society looks at it if we keep making it seem awkward? Make it normal. It can improve your sex life, reduce stress and make you feel more confident.