Girl Power.

  • Tue, 17, Sep, 2019 - 5:00:AM

Why are we still so embarrassed about masturbating?

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

Regular Contributor All Articles