I recently got my birth chart read for the first time for an upcoming article I’m writing about astrology. From my birth chart I learned that one of my life lessons is to be less concerned about others in my romantic orbit and more concerned about myself. When hearing this I quipped back, “so you’re saying more masturbation, huh?”
But really, couldn’t we all use a little more masturbation?
The editorial calendar filled up quickly while we prepped for Sex Month (we had a lot we wanted to talk about), but I was ADAMANT about saving a spot for masturbation — the topic I find still makes people squirm, fidget and shut the hell up real quick (seriously, people were quicker to talk about orgies than masturbation). We can all recount the first time we had sex and we continue to tell those stories throughout our lives to help define ourselves and our existence, but we rarely talk about the first time we masturbated. Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “I found porn,” or “I learned the bathtub trick,” but I rarely hear it described as literally as, “I discovered masturbation,” or even “I discovered myself.”
I would venture to say the majority of people’s first time experiencing an orgasm was during masturbation (and if that’s not a defining moment of self discovery, I don’t know what is!), yet this moment in one’s sexual history is still a taboo topic. A shameful event whose unfortunate narrative is carried into our adult years.
To try and banish the shame around masturbation we’ve collected some thoughts from various people on, yep, all things masturbation, in the hopes of turning on the bedside lamp and throwing some light across the shadows.
“We started Maude so that there was a finally a company that treated sex like an everyday thing—which it is. Sex and masturbation are completely human and normal. Imagine a world where we were all free to think and know that? It would be better, undoubtedly.”
“The human body is a marvel and the possibilities for pleasure are limitless.”
“Masturbation is the single greatest way to learn how your body responds to different types of sexual stimulation. This body knowledge is invaluable not only for discovering how to pleasure yourself, but also when communicating with a partner. Being the expert of you is incredibly sexy!”
“Self-pleasure can allow us the time to relax, become sensitive to our own variety of subtle sensations and to feel the power within us. The more we explore and learn about ourselves then we can expand to what feels authentic and share with another. Having the ability to pleasure ourselves with our own body is really vital in a world that has normalized internal shaming. Exploring ourselves and feeling our vitality can help to feel our own truth and share it in the world.”
“Our first sexual partner tends to be ourselves. And it’s usually something we discover and practice in absolute secrecy. Not just privacy, but secrecy. As in, we believe that nobody can know. There’s an intrinsic fear around getting caught that’s bolstered by shame, and this––this––is how many of us begin to cultivate our sexual selves. We carry this shame into adulthood, into the bedrooms of our partners, and it’s not until we get vulnerable and openly admit to somebody––maybe a partner, a friend, a lover––that we are a full-fledged masturbating human, do we set ourselves free from this shame and enter into our sexuality liberated and ready to connect in a big way. So what’s the point of all this? Well, let’s just say that a kid who can show up at the dinner table five minutes late and earnestly say, “Sorry fam, I was masturbating,” will probably grow up to have a better sex life than a kid who can’t.”
“There is no purer example of society’s fear of a sexually active woman than the taboo surrounding female masturbation. When we are young girls, we are not taught about self-pleasure; we are taught about periods, safe sex and how to ensure we don’t get pregnant. If we experiment with masturbation at home we often feel guilty and ashamed, whereas it is presumed to be a perfectly acceptable and normal part of growing up for boys.
This transgresses into adolescence and adulthood with our first sexual encounters. Most boys have their first sexual experience alone, but a lot of girls have theirs with another person. So from the very beginning, as women, we learn about sex and pleasure in relation to another person.
Thankfully, things are starting to change but we must keep pushing for more. Let’s masturbate and talk about it, recommend adult films or amazing toys to our friends, make time in our schedule for self pleasure, and teach young girls that sexual exploration is a completely normal, fun and healthy thing to do. By talking about it, we can break the repression of the female body and show the world that our pleasure matters.”
“No one ever tells you how important masturbation is, which is crazy. What I’ve learned from my journey is that it is the most empowering thing you can do, to take your own pleasure into your own hands. Additionally, it has health benefits! It is a release for your body and mind, and is the safest sex you can have. No STIs, no babies, ever.”
“For my 21st birthday, a dear friend of mine bought me a vibrator. She gifted this vibrator to me in front of many of my other female friends–all of whom were eager to share their own stories of sex toys and self-pleasure. My 12 year-old self would have been shocked at this scene. She hid her desire to masturbate for many years. Isolated in shame, she did not know how to talk about her pleasure.
I wish that someone had talked to me about masturbation when I was younger and that it hadn’t taken me so long to start having these conversations with my friends and peers. Only with age and open conversation did I start to understand that self-pleasure was not only normal, but also integral to my own understanding of my body–especially when it came to articulating my sexual needs and desires to my partners. I firmly believe that masturbation is an essential process of both knowledge acquisition and pleasure. Everyone deserves to be able to masturbate without fear or shame so that they can have the opportunity for sexual empowerment and self-knowledge.”
Pictured up top are the lovely Iroha Vibrators.