Happy (now belated!) Valentine’s Day huns! Yes I know, Hallmark Holiday, society’s way of shaming single people, I know I know. We aren’t here to debate the pros and cons of February 14. Instead, we’re here to take all that energy that’s supposed to be focused at a partner — all that romantic, sexual, pleasurable energy — and DIRECT IT AT OURSELVES. Let the masses think about love and sex. We will be thinking about self-love, self-sex, and self-pleasure.

Let’s take a teeny trip down Mary Morgan’s Memory Lane (®). High School Mary had no fucking idea whether masturbation was normal. No one broached the subject with me. My friends never talked about it. Or if it was mentioned, someone would inevitably respond something like, “I have a boyfriend,” as if that somehow answered the question (I’ll come back to this point later, don’t you worry). Pop culture seemed to teach us that it was gross for women to touch themselves, or that only ‘crazy’ women masturbated. (As a massive fan of a bathtub sesh, I’ll never forget the confusion and [dare I say] shame I felt when they called Elizabeth Banks crazy in the 40-Year-Old Virgin for participating in the same ritual.) I didn’t see the topic discussed in any magazines. And let’s remember it was early/mid 2000s so my connection to the internet was via a shared family computer that had dial-up, so not exactly a prime research tool. 

It wasn’t until university that I found friends who talked about masturbating. It was like a weight being lifted. I wasn’t some weird girl, I was absolutely fucking normal. My favorite memory was when one of my senior year roommates (hey girl!) simply said to me “I’ll be ready for dinner in 15 I’m just going to bang one or two out real quick.” 

From university onward, I’ve always been quite brazen in speaking about women masturbating. I’d tell people about my favorite vibrator. I’d talk about bathtub and shower-head tricks and tips.

But I have found that not all women I meet are comfortable with masturbation. However, when the subject comes up, they are always interested in asking more questions and engaging on the topic, which makes me think, maybe there just simply still isn’t enough information out there about female masturbation, and furthermore, we clearly still have a lot to do to shatter this ugly pleasure myth that women do not masturbate.

I tried to find a statistic about how many women masturbate. A study in 2008 revealed that 92 percent of women masturbate, and two thirds masturbate three times a week. A different study in 2017 found that one in five women in the U.S. said they have never masturbated ever. So somewhere between 80 and 92 percent of women masturbate I guess? Anyway you see my dilemma in definitively declaring what percent of women masturbate. But it’s obvious that it’s a majority, so therefore, really fucking common. Normalized, even! Yet there is still a stigma around it. 

Well my little sex kittens, let me ruin yet another day for you by pointing out that shame around female masturbations stems from — maybe you’ve guessed it — the good ole patriarchy, specifically the social systems that have been established by men. Oh I know, you’re tired of hearing about the patriarchy. I’m fucking tired too. But think about it this way: If our sex and pleasure culture has been established by men and therefore centers around male pleasure, a woman who takes literal pleasure in her own company is therefore utterly dismantling to patriarchal social constructs. It means she literally needs a man for nothing. (WHAT A HOT TAKE I might need to bang one out right now but I will power through and keep explaining, you are welcomeeee!) 

Let’s talk about how our society established sex and power dynamics. We were taught that while men always want sex and enjoy it, women don’t enjoy sex, or at least, don’t enjoy it as much?, and certainly don’t think about it as much?, or definitely need it in the way that men do?. What utter shit that is. And despite countless studies that have proved that women do, in fact, enjoy sex just as much as men, there still exists many a stigma around the sexual woman.

Within our culture’s sex dynamic exists what I like to call the pleasure dynamic. If men think about sex constantly, they therefore must masturbate to release all that tension. On the flip side, if women never think about sex or don’t like it or whatever sexist eye-roll comment, they therefore would never masturbate.

A common sex myth is that men pursue sex, while women are the gatekeepers to sex. (I will be doing a WHOLE thing on this at another point, so I will try not to fall down this rabbit hole right now.) These roots blossomed into another part of female pleasure stigma: If it’s men who pursue sex, and women who stop it, women must not want or enjoy sex, and therefore don’t take pleasure in it, so why would they ever participate in self pleasure? 

We know that’s some bulllllllllshit. Women enjoy sex; women have orgasms; women feel pleasure.

A connected myth is that women need to have sex to feel pleasure, and furthermore, that if you’re with someone, it’s somehow “disrespectful” to masturbate, because sex should be “saved” for that person. But my huns, we aren’t talking about sex! We are talking about your body, and your pleasure. If you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a lover, there is no reason for masturbation to stop. Masturbation is about celebrating your body, your sexuality, and your pleasure. The person you are with does not own your pleasure and certainly does not own your body. I’ve had multiple women ask me if I still masturbate or use my vibrator even when I’m with someone. Yes! Of course! Think of your partner as a glorious guest appearance. But you’re the home-owner of your gorgeous vagina and you’re the real star. 

Masturbation is, at its core, about body autonomy. For those new to the phrase or concept, it is quite simply having the exclusive right to your own body. Body autonomy is the core for many body politics topics: rape, consent, abortion, reproduction, catcalling, masturbation… just to name a few. Would you believe that many of the research books I’ve read on the history of rape talk about body autonomy, and its therein sex/pleasure dynamics and ownership? Of course you believe it, you’re a clever hun.

Body autonomy connects masturbation with pleasure and intimacy. Masturbation is about wielding your own power. It’s about having ownership over your body and ownership over your pleasure. Why not LITERALLY take pleasure into your own hands?

My huns: your body is yours and yours alone. So is your sexuality, and your pleasure. When you engage in sex, you are welcoming someone into your sexuality and to participate in your pleasure. 

So buy yourself some champagne, flowers, cake, and candles and have yourself a BEAUTIFUL Valentine’s Day with multiple orgasms. GET IT, YOU QUEENS. 

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