By: Skyler Rowe
A few weeks ago, my friends and I were having a discussion about sex. Out of curiosity, I brought up the topic of masturbation and wanted to know their take on it. Immediately, I could tell it made my friends slightly uncomfortable by the way they giggled and avoided eye contact. I asked how often they masturbated (if even at all), and without hesitation, they both denied ever touching down there. One of my friends described the act as being “awkward” and “weird”. I also brought up the subject of incorporating toys during self-pleasure. They looked at me as if I had said something wrong. More than anything, their reactions amused me. How could something so natural be frowned upon? Is the topic of masturbation so disturbing that it makes our generation ashamed to speak on it? Although the thought of them being uncomfortable by the word “masturbation” amused me, it also left me feeling concerned as well as confused. It made me wonder, how can women be comfortable with having someone else please them (shamelessly), but they are afraid to please themselves? It’s understandable not to want to discuss the topic, for not everyone is comfortable with discussing their bodies. However, what you do behind closed doors is your business and nothing about self-pleasure is shameful. In fact, masturbating is the healthiest form of pleasure for both men and women. It is a safe and effective way to reassure women that their body is functioning properly and to help them explore the different types of sensations their body has to offer.
Masturbation wasn’t always taboo. I recently read an article (on yourtango.com) that stated, during the 4th millennium BC, the early Romans were extremely comfortable and very open about their sexuality. Paintings and clay figurines were created with depictions of women touching themselves and enjoying it. It wasn’t until the early 1700’s when an anonymous pamphlet titled “Onania” was published and it ended all the fun. The pamphlet described masturbation as being a “heinous sin” of “self-pollution,”. This depiction gave the act a bad rap for centuries to come. With contradiction to what I’ve previously stated, the author also claims that women masturbate more than they’re willing to admit. As I furthered my readings, I came across a survey that shared that 50-70 percent of women ages 18-29 have admitted to giving masturbation a try. While 40 percent of women ages 30-69 have admitted to trying it. Some also might argue that masturbation is for those who can’t “get any”. I say it’s quite the opposite, both women and men practice self-love for various reasons. Rather it be due to personal and/or religious reasons which includes practicing abstinence or celibacy. It is an excellent stress reliever (when those 45 minutes on the elliptical just weren’t enough). It could strike from bored (tired of watching KUWTK marathons). Or simply because it’s fun and quick!
At such a young age, school teaches us to “practice safe sex” and “always wear a condom” to prevent STI/STD’s. Although these lessons are 100% necessary, it doesn’t provide young people with alternative options to different forms of pleasures without intercourse. It encourages young people to give others permission to explore their body before they have the opportunities to explore it themselves. Young people, I encourage you to practice self-love; it’s the best form of birth control. Be comfortable with your body and don’t depend solely on anyone else for your source of pleasure. If you completely disregard everything I stated in this post, as cliché as it may sound, please treat your body like a temple. Not every soul you encounter deserves a piece of yours. Queens, choose wisely who you let enter your kingdom.