WORDS | Cassandra Teo
SEX! Sex, sex, sex! You could be having sex, thinking about sex, dreaming of sex, initiating sex, looking for sex, but what can you do if you’re not getting any? What can you do to let off some steam on your own? You MASTURBATE! I am referring to both guys and girls. You don’t hear a lot about girls masturbating (or talking about it) as much as guys, but we will come back to that later.
There is nothing wrong with a little self-pleasuring now and then. It is not like you will go blind from it or gain mental health issues (think anti-masturbation myths – they’re enough to make anyone fear even thinking about masturbation).
I, for one, am happy to say that the world has become more open. It is not uncommon to hear about this private (most of the time) occurrence. Studies have even proven the benefits of self-sexual stimulation. Among the benefits are:
- The reduction of headaches and muscle aches.
- Improvement in the immune system and overall health.
- The promotion of the release of endorphins (neurotransmitters linked to happy feelings).
- And deeper and better sleep.
One thing that has not been proven scientifically (as far as I know) is how masturbation could benefit long distance relationships. I am talking about phone sex here. Alex, a final year Macquarie student, has been in a long distance relationship (LDR) for the past two and a half years. She had never thought about masturbating and didn’t understand phone sex prior to her LDR. However, with her partner, she found that it helped to keep them close and intimate six months into their LDR. It reassured them that they could still share this intimate experience with one another, despite the distance.
Although, it is not all about endorphins and orgasms with phone sex. The film, Going the Distance (2010) starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, shows that phone sex might take a couple of tries and effort from both parties in order for both sides to get on the same wave length. However, once couples are on the same wavelength, it can be an enriching experience that adds positivity to a relationship.
Scientific facts (proven and unproven) aside, it is all about self-love. When you love someone, you want to share the most intimate part of yourself with them at some point. And if you’re sharing this with someone else, why not share it with yourself as well? We pamper ourselves with material things all the time, but not everyone will pamper themselves with orgasmic-causing endorphins. I have to wonder how this is different from buying material things. It definitely costs less!
You may have heard of the phrase ‘flicking the bean’. It is one of the most common phrases used to describe female masturbation. Other (less common) ones are ‘brushing the beaver’ and ‘pearl fishing’, among many others. And I mean, many others. For something that has at least 100 phrases referring to it, you would think that it would be a hotter topic of open discussion, but, no. Something has to be wrong with society if it is more common and less awkward to hear about girls having casual sex than it is to hear about girls masturbating.
When asked, Tori, a second year student at Macquarie said, “I masturbate but I do not talk about it to anyone – period!” Sunny explained that “people tend to judge – even if it’s only with their eyes – when someone brings up female masturbation, while the mention of male masturbation only brings on eye rolls like it is completely expected.” The question is, so what if people judge you? They probably masturbate as well!
A National Health and Social Life Survey (Masturbation in the United States, 2007) reported that only 42 per cent of women admitted to masturbating, with 47 per cent of them feeling guilty about it. Why the guilt, though? People need to ask themselves, how is female masturbation any different from male masturbation? Technique aside, both males and females deserve to be able to pleasure themselves without feeling guilty about it.
In September 2013, Jane Langton, an adult-sexual educator, talked about one of her favourite topics during TEDxSFU – masturbation. She normalises and endorses female masturbation, stating that getting to know one’s self is a vital part of sex. Langton is of the opinion that “we shouldn’t expect our partners to know how to pleasure us.” That is our job. Imagine the frustration one would encounter if their partner did not know how to pleasure them properly. This could lead to less than enjoyable sex.
It is nice to hear people being open about this usually taboo topic. When asked if she had ever masturbated, Alice said, “Hell yeah! I would not have survived the HSC if I didn’t!” There have been stories of girls ‘doing it’ to themselves and thinking that they are alone in this. More and more often we are finding out that this is not the case. I feel better knowing that I am not alone and weird, don’t you?
Girls, whatever your reason for doing it, it is not something that you should feel uncomfortable, or even guilty about. Guys, we know that most of you don’t feel the way girls do about it. Keep it up. Maybe even encourage your girl if you haven’t done so already. Guys have told me how they find it hot when their girls know how to pleasure themselves. And to all of us, here’s to less awkward conversations, and more openness.
Note: Names have been changed in order to avoid redness in the face, neck, and ears, and the urge to crawl into a deep dark hole. As well as to protect the privacy of the interviewees.
You can watch Jane Langton’s talk at: