Talking about masturbation. Generally we don’t, do we? I mean here in these sorts of circles we do, But out there? Not so much. And I wonder why that is. I suppose like all things sexual, we are conditioned to feel it is something which should be kept private. It is not something which is considered taboo, and we know that many of us do it, but admitting to the practice of it has never become mainstream, particular for girls. Somehow, masturbation has underlying connotations which are negative rather than positive, dirty rather than sexy.
I don’t think anyone ever told me about masturbation but it was something I worked out none-the-less. I have written about my first foray into it in this post and have also talked about where that led. I have also posted a piece about some of the challenges I have discovered and the fact that even though I am pretty open about things, my masturbation reveals some of the hangups and difficulties that I experience as a person. So would talking about it more have made a difference? Well, I think it might.
I was shocked when I started teaching sex ed that talking about masturbation was part of the curriculum for 11/12 year olds. It was surprising to me as there had never been any mention at all when I was growing up, particularly in a way which was basically telling people who hadn’t already stumbled across it, when to touch and how. These aren’t graphic lessons of course, but even knowing the if you rub or touch your clit it can make you feel sexy and make you come seemed to me to defy the possibility that everyone wouldn’t rush home to put their new found knowledge into practice.
And I suppose that is a big difference. I didn’t know that I had a clit. We learnt about sexual intercourse for the purpose of making babies and we learnt about contraception and how to make sure you didn’t have a baby if you didn’t want to, but the rest came pretty much from trial and error. Really not much of the above was even covered in school, but was more information that was acquired along the way from a range of different sources that we shared out as nuggets of collective gold.
A voyage of discovery
A clit, or what it felt like when you touched it, was sort of surplus to any discussion because, while sex was about excitement and trying out new things, it wasn’t really about pleasure. Especially not your own. I don’t remember anyone ever saying that you did it because it felt good, or at least that it could feel good. It was fun because it was naughty and you weren’t really meant to do it until you were married so it felt pretty cool and grown up. And I didn’t need to know the name of the parts that were surplus to instruction, even if I did like the way they felt.
The same seemed true of masturbation really. I stumbled across it and when I found out it felt good, a big part of that was the turn on from the thought that it was naughty and a bit wrong. I am seeing a theme here of course, knowing now what I know now. I did it for a bit and then maybe discovered that it was actually ‘a thing’, from memory in a book by Judy Bloom which my mum would never knowingly have let me read. That said, it wasn’t something that was talked about and although I later learnt that lots of girls did it, no one I knew would admit to it when I asked.
Even though I tried to talk about masturbation, the continual denial or lack of affirmation from others led me to give up on trying – talking about it that is, not doing it. It was always still a private thing and not something I did with others so it was never really spoken about or shared with boyfriends, casual or long term. I think that if I had been able to talk more openly about what I did and how it felt, I would have been better as asking for things from partners. Instead I let them fumble around with little direction from me. A hit or a miss really and many were misses.
I have tried to be more open as a parent and although I am accused of being ‘weird’ (I take it and own it) they have also appreciated the fact that I encourage discussion and share information on things such as masturbation. The whole world of sex toys was alien to me and, when I did learn about them, felt so illicit that I hardly felt able to buy something for myself. I have always felt that the world of kinky sex was somewhere that ‘people like me’ wouldn’t be accepted, and so I sat quietly in that lonely place of being too weird for one group and too normal for the other. Until I met HL, of course, and he led me on my path to acceptance.
A final thought
I think in some ways, masturbation highlights the way I am about sex in general. I am open and want to talk about it but I feel the judgement that pushes me to keep a lot of what I do private. This space is different but in the real world I still feel that my thoughts, opinions, viewpoints and practices in terms of sex are pretty much out on a limb. I can feel that in the world of sex blogging too, so I remain caught somewhere in between: talking and writing about masturbation openly whilst still doing it quietly under the covers on my own.
Ironically as I grow more comfortable in myself, my age means that my need to masturbate lessens. Although not officially menopausal yet, I am in the years where hormonal changes mean that lots of things are affected, including my desire for self-pleasure. When combined with stress, I can feel that really I don’t need it like I did, and this is something that I am accepting while at the same time not altogether wanting to give in to. I believe that masturbation can be good self care and it can keep the sexy hormones going, so hopefully I can fight my hormones and keep it up, or in lol.