Myth Busting: Women & Masturbation
I wish I could say that this blog title is a joke and that people really don’t believe this, but I’m sad to say they do. Growing up in a conservative part of the country, I was raised with little to no knowledge about what masturbation even was. So I would have these small urges growing up that I didn’t fully understand and was afraid to ask about.
It was instilled in me from a young age that if we didn’t talk about a subject, it wasn’t something I was supposed to bring up. So even though these feelings were natural, I had to hide what I was experiencing, and I didn’t discuss it with my parents. I was raised to feel shame about my body and not acknowledge it. This is unfortunately common for so many women not only across the nation but the world.
Sex education, especially in many areas of the United States, is incredibly lacking or, in some places, non-existent. This gap in education leaves room for damaging and untrue myths to perpetuate.
Personally, I know at least a few people raised with the fear that the Christian God would punish them if they touched themselves. Further, even after I got to college, many of my peers believed that women didn’t masturbate at all. I was shocked to find in my first gender and sexuality class that many of my cis-male peers had no idea how a woman would even masturbate in the first place. So, why has this myth spread even with the progress we’ve made as a society?
Let’s unpack that a little bit.
Lacking Sex Education
There are only a handful of states where sex education is considered mandatory. A large majority of states either have no explicit curriculum or push for abstinence-only education. However, the majority of sexual education, in general, is severely lacking in discussing self-pleasure.
Many of us are never talked to about masturbation and how it works. Traditionally, cisgender men are more likely to be taught about pleasuring themselves or learn how to do it on their own. Unfortunately, this often leaves those who have vaginas to figure things out by themselves. Additionally, this also means that cis-men typically aren’t taught about how women pleasure themselves, which contributes to the stereotype that women simply don’t masturbate at all. It can be challenging for those not educated in female sexuality to understand the experience.
Why This Is Important
The importance of this boils down to equality. By perpetuating the stereotype that women don’t masturbate, we only further other damaging narratives about women and their sexuality that aren’t true.
Female sexuality is often compared against or only thought of in relation to male sexuality. However, this implies that female sexuality isn’t independent. Considering equal standing, you must consider that many women prefer themselves to a partner and are perfectly capable of pleasuring themselves without one, just as anyone with a penis is.
So how do we change things to make them more equal? Acknowledging that there are stereotypes and trying to break them down at every turn is incredibly important. Additionally, we have to keep in mind that there is nothing shameful about our bodies, and we should be able to explore them freely without feeling weird or uncomfortable. Pleasuring yourself is one of the best things you can do for self-care! Education is also essential, especially when it comes to hookups or potential partners. You shouldn’t feel hesitant to show your partners what you like because that will give them the best idea of how to make you feel good.
Break down the myths that women don’t masturbate and showcase in your relationships what takes you over the edge and makes you feel powerful. There is power in overcoming shame and stereotypes, so don’t sell yourself short simply because other people have.