Jul 202013

istock_000005328288xsmall-5258709Women aren’t really encouraged to get to know their bodies, especially when it comes to genitalia. They are taught from a young age that touching themselves “down there” is bad and that we shouldn’t touch, sniff, taste or even look at their genitals. Women are taught that our sexual pleasure and gratification doesn’t matter and all of the messages from our culture tell them that their vulvas are shameful, weird and to be avoided.

Men aren’t given this same cultural message (which is a good thing, considering it’s negativity) and are not socially punished for touching or having a fascination with their penises. Men are supposed to be obsessed with sex and male masturbation is considered normal and healthy (which it is). Penises aren’t off limits like vulva’s and aren’t degraded or made out to be dirty or unnatural.

This double standard when it comes to genitalia is part of why women do have a hard time being sexually satisfied. They aren’t encouraged to explore their bodies or discover what brings them pleasure. Female’s who masturbate or hardly acknowledged at all in our culture and those that are usually aren’t portrayed in a positive light. They are questioned for not deriving their pleased from a male partner and seen as freaks that can’t get any. Take this segment, from a talk show, “Talking With: Women Who Masturbate” that presents female masturbation as abnormal and somehow deviating from the norm. As one YouTube commenter pointed out, they’d never host a segment entitled “Talking With: Women Who Masturbate.” The mere thought seems absurd, because men are expected and encouraged to masturbate; women simply are not.

We have to start encouraging women to get to know their bodies, explore them and please themselves. After all, masturbation has many health benefits and is a healthy way to channel sexuality that should be explored. Not masturbating as women can also have very negative impacts for your entire sex life. Women have disproportionately high levels of sexual dissatisfaction, as only 25% have consistent orgasms through heterosexual vaginal intercourse.  Masturbation is connected to this because women experience orgasm largely through clitoral stimulation, which will usually happen during masturbation and understanding how your body responds to touch and comes to climax is critical, because if you don’t know, your partner will probably not know either. If you can understand how your body reaches orgasm, you will set yourself up for much better sex and won’t have to rely on someone else connecting the dots. This way, you will be in control of your sexuality, your pleasure and your orgasms.

So, if you haven’t done so recently, pull out a mirror, spread your legs and look at your vulva. Touch it, feel it and get to know it intimately. If you want, you can even buy a speculum to open your vaginal canal (yes, it’s what your OBGYN uses, but don’t let that scare you) and look at your cervix and your vaginal walls. Get a book on anatomy and learn about what your parts are named and if you have a partner, start identifying the individual parts of your vulva (the whole of the female anatomy that encompasses the vagina but also all of the other parts, like the lips, clitoris and urethra) and using them as descriptors for how you want to be touched, licked or pleased. Stop using words like “pussy” to refer to your female anatomy, since they are vague and in essence, don’t really mean anything.

Finally, get a sex toy. They can be really tools in female masturbation and in discovering what feels good. During masturbation, use a mirror and look at what your vibrator is doing that feels good and also identify the part of the vulva it is stimulating. You can then try using your hands and stimulating it in the same way, to get a feel for how pleasure happens for you.

There is no right or wrong way to masturbate or orgasm, so never feel embarrassed about how you do and realize that everyone’s body is different, which means your body is going to respond differently to stimulation than others, so if something doesn’t work for you, don’t worry! It just means your body doesn’t respond to that particular way of doing things. Masturbation is the gateway to sexual pleasure and orgasm, so embrace it as such. Take what you learn and apply it to other areas in your sex life and most importantly, do what feels good to you!