I told Destruction about the birds and the bees quite some time ago. Not being the kind of parent to withhold information from my child, we answer all questions he has in relation to sex as openly and honestly as we can.
When he came to us in concern because the fish in his testicles were dying we managed to withheld our laughter, and tell him that he didn’t need to feed the sperm that he wasn’t even yet capable of producing.
When he announced at the dinner table that he was planning on remaining celibate for life because a friend told him that an orgasm is like an explosion, we smiled and reassured him that no orgasms don’t hurt, and that he would love them when he had them.
Recently what I have been thinking a lot about is masturbation…. Oh I know dirty girl, dirty girl. You see I realized that we talked to our child about sex and neglected to discuss masturbation. Self pleasure is something that we joke about culturally, but seldom have real conversations about. (Note to self: talk to kid about masturbation)
Even in our conversations about masturbation are decidedly genderized. We have various colloquial phrases for when men choose to pleasure themselves and very few for women. It is assumed at some point a man will choke the monkey, jerk off etc., whereas women are expected never to touch ourselves.
The vagina has been constructed as the dirtiest body part belonging to a human being. For a woman to touch herself intimately is a secretive act of deviation. We are further not constructed as sexual beings within our own right. A womans sexuality is framed as servicing a mans needs rather than actively seeking pleasure for the sake of pleasure.
Masturbation should not be some kind of dirty shameful act. It hurts no one and provides us with an excellent understanding of our bodies. For women who are taught to repress our sexuality, masturbation can be imperative in learning about what truly turns us on. How can you tell someone how to pleasure you, if you don’t know what you find pleasing? I think it is time that we bring masturbation back into our conversations about sex. It is time that we move beyond it as a source of cheap jocular humour and focus on the good it can create. Most of us are sexual beings and masturbation is a legitimate expression of that. Why deny yourself pleasure based in the sexist idea that your body is dirty or foul, or that you are not meant to enjoy sex? Getting yourself off can be the greatest gift you give yourself and its free. So go ahead dim the lights, sip a glass of wine and get down with your bad self. The only person you are hurting by denial is yourself. I know that people get shy talking about this so don’t clam up in the comment section. Share what you have learned about yourself through masturbation…reply anonymously if you are to embarrassed but keep the conversation going.