AM I ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT MASTURBATING?

CONTENT WARNING: Taboo subject discussed deeply below.

Shall we talk about masturbation?

**For the purpose of this blog, I would like you to know, much to the dissatisfaction of Faye Plunkett, that I pronounce masturbation like so: mastur – as in plaster (the posh way), bation- as in station (the normal way).

Right, glad we cleared that up, and if you think I’m wrong, pop it into google translate and she’ll say exactly the same. Everyone knows that Google is always right. x

This is one of the very few things that our generation struggles to speak about openly and honestly. Most notably in women, masturbation is even more secretive than periods, or the fact that we do in fact poo, believe it or not. But why? Boy’s and Men have been talking about ‘wanking’ like, forever.

I can’t really remember exactly the first time that I masturbated, but I know for a fact that it was the first time that I orgasmed, and discovered the strength of my sexuality. (I realise that I sound a little like the start of that one woman play in Friends, but get over it.) I think it kind of shocked me. A bit like when you put your finger under a tap that is so hot, that for a second you think it’s cold. You have to pull it away quickly, left dazed for a minute and then the feeling’s gone. I used a vibrator that had been the classic, ‘jokey supposed to stay in the box happy 16th present’ from my friends at school. Ann Summers I believe, a purple bullet, pocket sized. Not only did the feeling take my breath away, but the fact that I could make myself feel like that, filled me with awe. Nobody had ever spoken to me about sex like that, not even my Mum, who had always spoken very openly with me about sex. Sex education is so ridged, so formulaic and so bloody scientific. Well Mr Cox, I would like to argue that sex isn’t just about penetration or putting a condom on a banana, it’s about feeling, connection, observation, technique (sometimes) and an awareness of your own body.

Boy’s in their teenage years are encouraged to wank, socially it would be deemed as weird if they didn’t. But heaven forbid, if at 16 I casually bantered across the canteen: “Oh yeah, I orgasmed three times yesterday, used a vibrator twice and my fingers once, lol”. Honestly, I’d be met with completely blank stares, followed by social suicide because it’s so alien to us. And don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that it’s not in everyone’s vocabulary, and some people have no desire to talk about what they do in their bedrooms after dark, by themselves, but I hate the inequality of it all.

Why is it such a taboo subject? Why can’t I talk about the fact that I quite like it of an evening, to dim the lights and make myself orgasm? Why can’t I express the fact that it has made me so much more aware of what I like and need when I’m having sex? Maybe it’s the fact that no one wants to admit that they can make themselves cum more frequently than their partner ever could.

(If you’re cringing at any of this so far, that’s ok, that’s kind of the point. It’s meant to be uncomfortable, that’s why it’s a taboo.)

Last Christmas I was sat in a boozy slump with my Aunty, pre-presents, post mountains of food consumed. We were talking about her eldest, my cousin, and when she should or shouldn’t lose her virginity:

“Well it’s going to be pretty shitty anyway, so she may as well just do it if she likes him” (she was 15, so pretty bad older cousin-ing from me tbf, do as I say not as I do type vibe next time.)

“Oh god no, of course it won’t be shitty, I tell the girls all the time they need to masturbate to find out what they like, where they like it and how they like it”.

I’ve honestly never loved my Aunty more. Of course that’s what we should be telling young girls. It’s so powerful to go into a sexual encounter knowing exactly what you want, and not just to be a flaccid recipient of years of watching porn and feeling your own hand against your shaft.  I speak to friends now that still don’t really know what they like and we all know that orgasming in sex is biased. How often has sex finished because he came, and once that happened he didn’t see to your needs and tbh you weren’t really in the mood anymore anyway. (I’m sorry for saying ‘he’, as if all men are bad, but this isn’t an attack, it’s an aid to realisation.)

I’ve recently read a book by Naomi Wolf called Vagina. She explains the link between the female sexual organ and the brain. We all know that generally it is more difficult for women to cum during sex than it is for men. Wolf explores the fact that this is because not one vagina is the same, the nerve endings spread like branches, in some vaginas they are predominantly in the clitoris, others the cervix and others the anus. But all have nerve endings that link to vertebrae in the base of the spine. Meaning that a woman’s sexual organ is directly linked to her brain. Their thought, their feelings, their emotional connection. I’m not saying that you can make a woman cum by reading her a poem and telling her that you love her, but there is something to be said for the abolition of goal orientated sex. It’s also why it’s so important that we do speak about masturbating, take the shame away from women touching themselves and deciding what does and doesn’t work for them. Men on the other hand, pretty much have all of their nerve endings in their bell end (is that the technical term? Would you say that at the Doctors? I don’t know, I don’t have one, sorry if incorrect), and anus, so therefore much easier to stimulate. 

There is then of course the question of what happens when you’re in a relationship. For a certain way of thinking, whilst in a relationship your desires should be filled, so no need to toss yourself off on your ones? What if you’re watching porn? Why are you watching porn Dave when you’ve got a fucking Goddess stood before you?! Huh?! (Dave is an example, I have never been with a Dave, sorry Dave for assuming that all you do is watch porn and wank). This is a valid point, almost becoming jealous of your partners ‘me time’ and right hand. When does sex and orgasm become sacred to something that you only do with one other person? Is it selfish to look after your own needs and desires when you now have someone else to think about? I think perhaps you forget to wank when you’re in a relationship, or just don’t have the urge. If you do however, it shouldn’t be seen as a sin. Dave doesn’t want you any less because he watched lesbian porn on his laptop. Also, the sexual need to pleasure yourself is completely different to the sexual need for intimacy from another human body. They don’t always correspond, I sometimes masturbate for relaxation, or to get to sleep. I guess it’s like drugs, takes you out of your body for long enough to forget what you were worried about. I was on a long-haul flight once, and I had tried everything to get to sleep, I was exhausted, so my last resort was to go into the toilet and toss myself off. Not sexy, not cheating on Dave, just being resourceful. Masturbation should be for the self, and I feel that most things that you do for yourself should remain the same no matter what your relationship status. 

I’ve noted that even when writing that part I felt uncomfortable, I’ve typed and deleted it about five times. I think it crosses into personal rather than just a taboo topic. But I think if I was a guy I wouldn’t think twice. Wanking is so masculine, as if female masturbation is a completely different ball game altogether. But I feel like I’m missing out, I want to be a part of the joke and the conversation. Why not? When you really break it down it’s a pretty beautiful thing. Russell Brand talks about it in his book Recovery as an indulgence no better or worse than drugs or alcohol. Maybe he’s right. But I’m not talking about obsessive masturbation to the point that another human’s touch won’t even cut it. I’m just talking about the ability to explore ones own sexuality, and then the ability to speak openly about it. Because we all do it, don’t we? So why not talk about it, without judgement or the cringe glands having to inflate to maximum capacity.

I for one, will continue to masturbate, and to speak about it, to anyone who wants to listen.

 

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