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  • Thu, 26, Dec, 2019 - 5:00:AM

TOP 30 OF 2019 - 30. Why are we still so embarrassed about masturbating?

First published on Tuesday the 17th of September, 2019, this piece comes in at number 30 in the top 30 most read Villainesse stories of 2019.

Around age 10, I start to press my lap against the edge of the kitchen table. No one ever notices and I never make it noticeable. I don’t know what that feeling is, but I know I shouldn’t tell anyone about it. All I know is that a nice feeling in my nether regions is bad. Very bad. It’s the kind of thing that makes me a freak – and I’ve long suspected I’m a bit of a weirdo.

Age 13, alone in bed, I figure out how to follow that feeling through to fruition. Once I’ve figured it out, I’m obsessed. This goes on, basically nightly, for the next few years. I never tell my friends about it – they aren’t losers like me.

Then ‘Laura’ and ‘Amy’ and I have a sleepover. We watch High School Musical (the new film everyone's obsessed with) and steal some liquor from Laura’s dad. We get tipsy on two or three sips and, emboldened, I confess that I masturbate. Laura and Amy confess they do it too. I’m dumbfounded. I thought I was the only one.  

Some time later, I have sex with a boy. It’s quick and it’s dry and I don’t come close to completion. Still, I pretend to love sex. I consider myself a sexual person. He tries to explain what an orgasm feels like by saying when it happens, you’ll know. I don’t say anything. I let him try some more.

When I’m 16, I have a girlfriend. At night, I touch myself and text through the details. We both express an itch to do those things together, but it’s not as good whenever we do. Still, I pretend. I make all the appropriate noises.

At 18 I have a boyfriend who finally gets me over the line during intercourse. We have flatmates, but I scream the house down anyway.

Age 23, single again, I enter a sex shop. I want the floor to swallow me whole. Despite being the kind of person who proffers orgasm tips to her female friends over brunch, I still feel a well of embarrassment around masturbation. I glance – and un-glance – at vibrators and clit stimulators. It takes me three trips to actually buy anything.

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I get itchy about the word shame. Perhaps it’s too clinical, perhaps it’s not a big part of the New Zealand lexicon, but the sentence there’s a lot of shame around female masturbation doesn’t click for me. What does click is embarrassment.

New Zealand women, in my experience, are incredibly embarrassed to talk about self-pleasure. Ergo, we don’t talk about it. Which is a shame.

Studies confirm that only a quarter (25 per cent!) of women are consistently reaching orgasm during vaginal sex – and I’d put a lot of that down to how embarrassing we’ve been told masturbation is. If you can’t give yourself an orgasm, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to receive one from a partner – and in a world going to hell, women at least deserve to orgasm. I’m one of the lucky ones; I figured it out early – and even then it took me a long time to be able to cum with someone else. But there are a lot of people with vaginas who haven’t gotten themselves over the line yet. So, to those people (and anyone else who wants to – consensually – join in), I’m issuing a decree.

Tonight, in the shower, or in the bath, or in bed if you’ve got one to yourself – feel around. Don’t focus on the end goal, just focus on the pleasure. Take it slow, take it fast, use your fingers or use a toy – there are no rules when it comes to a good wank.

Actually, there is one rule: No embarrassment allowed.

Names have been changed to protect the identities of co-conspirators.

TAGGED IN

  • Sex /
  • Sexuality /
  • Orgasm /
  • Pleasure /
  • Gender /
  • Sexism /
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Abigail
Johnson

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