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On Loving Ourselves

April 15, 2009

Masturbation. Yes, that’s what this post is about – literally loving yourself.

From the small of my back and the arch of my feet
Lately I’ve been noticin’ the beautiful me
I’m all in my skin and I’m not gonna wait
I’m into myself in the most precious way

– Britney Spears “Touch of My Hand”

In my experience, there are two pervasive assumptions about masturbation:

1) All men do it, and it is natural and normal for them to do so. And,

2) NO girls/women masturbate, or if they do, they are perverted sexual deviants and what they do is “gross”

When women grow up hearing these presumed truisms flung around in locker rooms and on school buses and between girlfriends, we learn that we should feel guilty about masturbation. And, perhaps worst of all, when we accept the idea that other women don’t masturbate, we are agreeing that we are freaks, that our practices and pleasure are outside the bounds of “normal” behavior. But the truth is, many women masturbate. In fact, most women do. In a number of studies researchers found that around two thirds of women have masturbated at some point in their lives. We’ve been told that we shouldn’t touch our bodies, but if most women (and most men) do it, then why should we be ashamed?

If women keep thinking that it is shameful to pleasure themselves, then they will continue to be ashamed of their bodies. Telling women that they shouldn’t masturbate is essentially saying that their bodies are unworthy of love and perpetuates the idea that they should hate their bodies. If we really want body-loving women, we should encourage women to masturbate, or at least put out the message that it is alright for women to engage in solo-sex. And we need to let women who do masturbate know that they are not alone, and that they are not freaks, weirdos or perverts – they are healthy women who are learning to know and love their bodies.

To see a group of women talk openly about their masturbation practices, watch this.

To learn more about the importance, history, mechanics etc. of female masturbation check out this article.

– Lisa

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    April 15, 2009 1:01 AM

    I was just watching the video you linked to, and thinking that masturbation is one thing that I can’t remember ever talking about with other women. I think I may have mentioned that I masturbate, but we have never discussed it. I have looked at pictures of nude women and breasts with my female friends, I have discussed other kinds of sex with my female friends, and obviously I have talked about female bodies at length with female friends. But I do not remember ever talking about masturbation, and especially not anything specific about me masturbating.

    In fact, I can only think of one woman I know who I have ever heard talk about herself masturbating. Maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked by it, but I guess I am.

  2. Lisa permalink
    April 15, 2009 9:28 AM

    I know exactly what you’re saying. Until college, I have never even admitted to another woman that I masturbate. And I still don’t think I have ever really talked about masturbating. Hopefully this post (and this blog) will start women talking about it.

  3. Emily permalink
    April 15, 2009 11:33 AM

    I think, too, that discussion of female masturbation is verboten because women are not supposed to want sex—not in the same way that men do, anyway. To think that there are women all over the place who desire sexual pleasure enough to masturbate–well, that’s just bizarre, isn’t it? /sarcasm

    Thinking of female masturbation as weird, gross or perverted upholds a culture of sex as something that men want and women give up (often reluctantly). This interpretation rules out female sexual desire and paints sex as an activity that women only take part in to please male partners, to encourage male commitment, etc. This is the culture that tells men that “no” means “ask again”, that they *deserve* sex as compensation of sorts for certain behaviors, that women can’t desire sex without wanting commitment: in short, it is a culture of sexual violence.

    A little rant-y; sorry, but I think that recognizing female–and male–sexual desire as normal and healthy is a very important part of dismantling rape culture.

  4. Amy permalink
    May 25, 2009 10:27 AM

    If my mum knew I “loved self” she would freak out. I in that part of my life were I know Iam gay and yet to come out to my family. My current girlfriend who I love like ice-cream tell me all the time its ok to “loved self” and I was bit shy about it in start and still em little bit but I know if mum knew was I would get in a lot trouble for it and with dating girl she would rip into me saying how wrong I am but thanks for post

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