While many conversations about sexuality live beneath our tongues, I cannot understand why we continue to whisper our experiences with masturbation. As a sexuality writer and advocate, I tend to be a bit more vocal than most women about sex, society, and intimacy. Yet, every time I make an off-hand comment about my beloved rubber rabbit with an extended dildo, a woman in my circle will open up about her own self-gratifying experiences. Then, the questions pour in.
“Girl, what kind of toys do you use?”
“Do you have any recommendations?”
“Will you go with me to the adult store to pick one out?”
Thankful to have someone who won’t pass judgment, I find that many women will openly share their sexual experiences. It’s this type of “open” environment that allows the free flow of knowledge about self-pleasure and bodily satisfaction. I gladly share my enjoyment of masturbation, and not because I’m looking to create wide eyes and blushing cheeks. I don’t talk about sexuality for the “shock value.” I simply want to foster a truthful conversation, and tell women—young, middle-aged, and old—that the action of pleasuring your own body is normal. I have yet to meet one person in my 20-something years of life who hasn’t fondled herself in some capacity. Let’s just be real.
Admittedly, I didn’t get my first toy until this year, and it was a gift from a man. Yes, you read that correct. I had mentioned that I wanted one, but, frankly, I was scared to go into a sex store, have an awkward conversation with a weird sales clerk, pick one out, and then take my debit card out to pay for my pleasure at the counter. Almost like a wingman, he made the shopping experience quite fun. I chose what I wanted and, even better, he footed the pretty expensive bill, first pack of C-batteries included! If you’re wondering why your man would buy you a vibrating dildo, think logically. He’s not there, you need to get off, and your orgasm shouldn’t have to be dependent on his “talents” at all times. Similar logic can be applied to women in lesbian relationships. Regardless of sexual orientation, your partner ought to be an advocate for around-the-clock pleasure. His gift made perfect sense to me!
Touching your body can be the sweetest, euphoric gift. Rubber rabbits, flexible dildos, plexiglass vibrators, pelvic massagers, personal fingers, you name it—pleasure can be a personal sport. I gladly play on “team masturbation,” and sport the jersey vocally and proudly.
When I was reading Paulo Coelho’s novel, Veronika Decides to Die, the main character, a woman living in a mental asylum, has the “freedom” without judgment to masturbate. Since “crazy” people can be expected to do “anything,” I found it fascinating that this particular environment created a space for people to acknowledge their sexual urges and act on them through personal gratification. I began to ask myself why discussions of masturbation remain so taboo for women in general. As our bodies have needs and sexual urges, masturbation is a safe way of getting off: no STIs and no risk of pregnancy. You don’t need condoms, birth control . . . shoot, why aren’t more women discussing masturbation as a safer alternative? Maybe this should even be encouraged amongst our hormonal youth.
I don’t think we’re crazy for loving our bodies and pleasuring ourselves. I just wonder why we continue to pad silence around our experiences. Perhaps this goes back to conversations around sexuality being mute in general. Or maybe there’s something uncomfortable about discussing pleasure outside of a two-person traditional context.