I have a new post up at Global Comment
How do you know when you’ve made it these days? When you show up on Oprah, of course.
On April 9th of this year, masturbation had its big coming out party and became the subject du jour as part of a special on talking to your children about sex. Of course, it was still far too controversial to be referred to by its correct name and so the usual euphemisms were employed by the guests. At least we were spared the all too common “vajayjay” references and the female anatomy was correctly named. If we are going to have a discussion about masturbation, making up names for our body parts means that we are talking around the issue and not being as open as honest as we need to be. This would be far from the best way to empower women or young girls.
Sexual health is an important factor in overall happiness and when 40% of women report some sort of sexual dysfunction, clearly there are issues that need to be addressed. We already live in a society that shames women when we are sexual outside of patriarchal power structures and therefore masturbation can be an important tool to teach women about their bodies and furthermore, encourages a form of sexuality that is not dependent upon performing or sharing with a partner. In a world where sex is conceived of as something men do to women rather than an act of reciprocal pleasure, a sexually informed and aware woman can prove threatening to patriarchy.