EVERYDAY FEMINISM

Why Masturbation Is For Women Too And Not Just Men

Credit: She Knows

 

For women, masturbation is a lot like farting.

Most people don’t approve of women doing it but most men thinks it’s fun when they do.

It’s natural and feels great to just let loose and do it.  But few woman want to admit to having the urge.

Above all, women are told both masturbation and farts are shameful and embarrassing.  And “good” women just don’t do it.

Why Is Masturbation OK for Men and Not Women?

On one hand, boys are expected and encouraged to masturbate from a young age by our society. They talk about it amongst themselves, joke about how often they do it and where, and give each other tips on how to make it feel better.

That’s because men, of course, have sexual needs and enjoy sexual pleasure.

Women, on the other hand…have sexual needs and enjoy sexual pleasure too…

The actual main difference is that for thousands of years, the majority of cultures (and some still do) made it their top priority to control the sexual activity of women.  They needed to keep women as virgins until marriage and make them as uninterested in sex as possible outside of their husbands.

This was all deliberately designed to ensure that women fulfilled their primary purpose in society – give birth to sons who were definitely fathered by her husband.

Unfortunately, we still live with the legacy of this deeply embedded belief, even though modern society claims to no longer agree with it.

It shows up when we shame women who have lots of sex, believe women should have sex with their husband when they don’t want to but he does, and think women who masturbate are dirty.

How Are Women Taught To Fear Masturbation?

From a young age, girls are taught that “touching yourself” is gross and dirty. “Good” girls don’t masturbate.

Young girls are never quite given a straight answer as to why, especially since it’s shameful to even talk about it.   This also keeps them from seeing how ridiculous the real reason seems in today’s modern culture.

But it’s made pretty clear from any early age through popular culture that women are primarily there to help men feel sexual pleasure.  Women aren’t supposed to give themselves sexual pleasure, unless it’s for men to watch and enjoy.  In our dominantly heterosexual society, only men should give women pleasure – if they want to, that is.

So women often feel like female masturbation shouldn’t be part of a “good” relationship between a man and a woman.  Women can feel like it betrays their man because masturbation makes him sexually inadequate.  Or women can fear they’ll be judged and blamed for being the problem if her sexual needs aren’t being fully met by her male partner.

And so the cycle of shame continues without either women or men being the wiser about the value of women masturbating.

How To Stop Being Embarrassed and Ashamed If You Masturbate

Well, the good news is that women, particularly in the Western world, are increasingly masturbating.  They’re exploring their own sexuality more, discovering what is pleasurable to them, and satisfying their sexual needs on their own.

In other words, they’re becoming sexually confident and empowered women.  And that’s a great thing, especially when 10-15% of US women have never climaxed and 25% of women have orgasms through intercourse.  Most women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm and touching yourself is the best way to find out exactly what gives you pleasure.

Unfortunately, many women who masturbate are still embarrassed and afraid of others, including their partner, finding out.

Here are some ways to help women claim their own sexuality and ability to self-pleasure without the judgement and shame.

  • Be honest with yourself if you feel shame and embarrassment about masturbating.  At the same time, be honest with yourself about how masturbating is a positive thing in your life.
  • Reflect on where your negative feelings around masturbating come from.  Who told you it was wrong?  Why did you learn to hide it from others?
  • Think critically about what you were taught to believe about women masturbating, especially compared to men masturbating.  Why is the same act for women so dirty but perfectly natural for men?  Do you agree with it being something shameful for women?
  • Make a choice for yourself.  The decision to masturbate or not is a completely personal one.  No one “should” masturbate or not, either to prove that they’re a “good” girl or a sexually liberated women.  But no one should be made to feel ashamed for choosing one way or another.  It’s nobody’s business but your own.
  • Talk about masturbating with your female friends if you feel comfortable doing so.  A lot of women don’t feel comfortable discussing it openly, which is perfectly fine.  But if you do feel comfortable, you will probably discover some of your friends are in the same boat you are in and some are intrigued but embarrassed about it.  Share the self-love and freedom from shame with them.

Remember, masturbating for both women and men can be an act of self-love.  It’s one of the many ways we take care of our bodies, whether it’s to safely address sexual desire or release some stress.

It is a way to love all parts of ourselves, even those parts that society tells us we shouldn’t.

 

 Amy Shaw is a contributing writer for Everyday Feminism. She is a recent graduate from Washington College where she studied International Studies and History and is currently working in Missoula Montana. Amy loves spending time outside, listening to music, and trying new vegetarian recipes.

Sandra Kim is the Founder & Editor of Everyday Feminism. She brings together her personal and professional experience with trauma, personal transformation, and social change and gives it all a feminist twist. 

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