I’ve masturbated for as long as I can remember. I honestly cannot think of a start date. I used to lie in bed at night and think I had an addiction. I would swear to myself, every time I slept with my soft toys, I wouldn’t do it. Because there was no way I could possibly subject them to that disgusting addiction… I failed every time.
I was so ashamed of my ‘habit’, I didn’t even understand what I was doing and how positively natural it was. One day I must have heard or read something about masturbation and thought to myself, ohhh, that’s what I’ve been doing all these years. Since those early days, my embarrassment and shame is slowly diminishing. Now it’s something I want to talk openly about because I know that it is normal, natural and I think, one of life’s great satisfactions.
As women we are not often taught, told or allowed to openly discuss female pleasure and female masturbation. Our society is heavily focused on the masculine; how to please the man. It is no surprise then that women rarely talk about masturbation, or that many boys don’t fully grasp the concept of pleasing a woman. We are taught that pleasure is not ours to enjoy, it is ours to facilitate for another.
At some point last year, it dawned on me, when engaging in sexual acts, there should be a reciprocal desire to please one another. More often than not, I was finding myself in situations where the mood evaporated as soon as the male had cum, regardless of my needs. At this point I was deep in my gender studies at university and the inequality I was experiencing in the bedroom, well, I could no longer stand for it. With a brave face and a shaky voice, I began to incorporate instructions of what I wanted and what I needed, into my sexual experiences.
It is easy to sit behind a screen, to post and repost quotes, to read articles and watch videos, about the power of feminine presence, and our right to it. It is another thing to lie in a dark room, without the backing of your sisters, and force the confidence to ask for what you want. But you need to.
It is unfortunate that the patriarchy has robbed us of our discourse relating to female pleasure, however, you hold the power to take control of your own experiences and reap the benefits you so richly deserve. A man wouldn’t stand for repetitive “blue balls”, why should you?
In the end, I had no choice but to ask for what I wanted because I was getting angry. I remember one particular time after the man had finished and I had not. He was blissed out, I was fed up. I stomped to the bathroom in a silent attempt to get myself off, grumbling to myself “if he can’t please me then I’ll have to take matters into my own hands”. Why wasn’t my orgasm important! In the words of Audre Lorde, my silence was not protecting me. It was time to speak up.
I know, for many women, this is all much easier said than done. How I see it, this is a two-part problem because before you can instruct someone else what to touch/squeeze/say to get you shaking in the night, you must first know exactly what you do like touched/squeezed/said, and this, for women, is not always as straightforward.
Throughout primary school, high school, sex education classes, on TV, in movies, there is a universal understanding that boys and men love to ‘jerk off’. They get hard, rub their dicks and semen shoots everywhere, we get it. But what about women? How do they get off? What happens then? How do they touch themselves?
I plead you to masturbate. I beg you to spend some time with yourself. Figure out exactly what it is that turns you on. There are many resources to help you! The internet is an endless bag for you to reach your hand into. And I’m not just talking about porn. Articles, websites, podcasts, books, YouTube, Instagram. People are making content that can help you figure out what gets you wet and give you the confidence to ask for it. Websites like OMGYes or podcasts like Guys We Fucked.
Ask yourself, why should your partner reach climax and not you? Why should you have to put up with awkward and rough finger banging when you can experience soft strokes of pleasure? Why should you have to put up with men in charge when you can also have that power? And if your sexual partner, whether one-night stand or relationship, has little interest in learning the ways to please you, are they even worth your time?
Human sexuality and orgasm are, to me, an integral part of our existence. It is unfortunate that, for many men, we must embody the role of teacher as our society is failing us, but I implore you to do so. For your own wellbeing, sanity and pleasure. What’s a few awkward tutorials for a lifetime degree? And, like anything, the more you speak up, the easier it becomes.
Now, go get your bits wet.
Image, as per, by the beautiful and talented: Frances Cannon