Big Brain Energy: Mastering cliteracy, and other lessons in female masturbation

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Part of empowering women in their sexuality is giving them the tools (and toys) they need to succeed

Did I get your attention yet? 

Welcome. To all the pearl clutchers and righteous folk reading the headline of this column and gasping, I am not sorry. “But that’s inappropriate!” “You shouldn’t be talking about that!” “How disrespectful of her!” Ladies specifically, listen up.  

The only reason why you’re probably mad is because you know your dear significant other hasn’t wanted to have sex in months and you’re deprived. You don’t know what to do because you’ve never been taught to masturbate. You’ve never been taught that, actually, you don’t need a partner to orgasm. You’ve never been taught to prioritize your own pleasure. 

Listen. Ditch that. Ditch it right now. Because you know what? Life is too short to not learn to love your body and everything it is capable of doing for you.  

For years, women have been told that masturbation is sinful, taboo or unhealthy. The guilt many young ladies feel, coupled with other issues they face today, can create a whirlwind of anxiety and shame that forces them into dangerous submission and silence over their bodily autonomy and their right to pursue what makes them feel good. 

For years, women have been told that masturbation is sinful, taboo or unhealthy. The guilt many young ladies feel, coupled with other issues they face today, can create a whirlwind of anxiety and shame that forces them into dangerous submission and silence over their bodily autonomy and their right to pursue what makes them feel good. 

In 2018, Dr. Laurie Mintz, a professor at the University of Florida, conducted a survey in one of her classes where she found that 89% of her female students admitted to masturbating, and nearly a third expressed guilt over the practice.  

Dr. Mintz explained that many of the women also said they did not ever receive any talks or informative lessons about self-pleasure when they were growing up. This flaw primarily begins in our schools and extends outward to the home, where parents dread ever having to give their children “the talk,” let alone expand the conversation to masturbation.  

Sexual education programs aren’t mandated in the state of Connecticut, but the schools that do choose to implement them often only cover menstruation, forms of protection and abstinence, HIV/AIDS and avoiding unwanted pregnancies. There is no mention of self pleasure anywhere

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As sexual health experts in Mashable also explain, “sex” in sexual education programs is taught as the typical penis-in-vagina route and does not explore oral and other forms of sexual foreplay as routes to pleasure. Because of this, young boys and girls grow up with the idea that penetrative sex is the end-all-be-all of sexual activity and further neglects other forms of mutual and individual pleasure.  

“If sex education, more broadly, was teaching that there were many different kinds of sex that might be enjoyable (both solo and with someone else) then more people might be able to experience pleasurable sex more often,” said Justin Hancock, a sex and relationships educator for BISH UK

An astounding 25% of women, a statistic collected from over 33 studies over a period of 80 years in the book “The Case of the Female Orgasm,” routinely orgasm from penetrative sex, no matter what the circumstances are. Make no mistake—we are failing our women in teaching them that heterosexual “sex” as we know it is the key to pleasure. These statistics show that is a lie.  

If women are not taught about the importance of their clitoris, their G-spot and their other sensitive areas and how to self-manipulate them for pleasure, how can we expect them to be fully satisfied in sexual relationships with others?  

“It [masturbation] puts you in touch with your desires and gives you the chance to get to know your own body,” sexuality educator Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright said in a WebMD article. “Experimenting with what feels good and makes you respond positively can lead to better sexual experiences, both alone and with a partner.” 

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Not only that, but female masturbation has been shown to be an immense stress reliever and significantly improves mood and productivity. Even if you aren’t orgasming, the release of endorphins in your body allows for you to feel happier and more relaxed, said Dr. Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist researching sexuality at the University of California-Los Angeles.  

“It takes your mind [off your worries] while activating areas of the brain associated with pleasure,” Prause said in the same WebMD article.  

While the research is relatively limited, many scientists also believe that masturbation can ease the cramps and pressures of your period as well as the heightened sex drive many women tend to feel during their cycle. Part of it has to do with endorphins like serotonin and dopamine acting as natural painkillers as well as helping to work the muscles in your abdominal area, according to the HuffPost.

“If you have a uterine contraction while self-stimulating and a uterine contraction can help menstrual blood come out faster… theoretically it’s going to help with cramps,” said Dr. Laurie Streicher, an associate professor at Northwestern University. “It’s never a bad thing and if it seems to help you then go for it.”  

Whatever you decide to do, just remember your pleasure is valued and backed by science.

So there you have it. On top of the never-ending research in support of female masturbation, there is also a plethora of resources online to help you buy a vibrator or learn how to go au naturel. Whatever you decide to do, just remember your pleasure is valued and backed by science.  

“It is extremely important that women have an appreciation of their own anatomy and how to self-pleasure,” Streicher said. “Nothing bad can happen from doing it — you can’t catch anything, you can’t get pregnant, you’re not going to get sick. It’s the best thing out there as far as a feel-good vice that isn’t going to have any negative repercussions.” 

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