Raising girls

May is Masturbation Month

masturbation and female pleasure
masturbation and female pleasure

Yay for May! And June. And July…

I have been a little hesitant about posting this here, given that my 11yo recently found this blog. But then I thought that there is so much crap on the web she’ll come across soon or maybe already has (children under the age of ten account for 22% of porn consumption under 18 year olds), this post is not going to be the problem.

In fact, having early conversations about pleasure and the importance of feeling pleasure in a sexual context is a conversation that we all should have as early as possible and as watered down as necessary, depending on the age of our children. Sadly, this rings especially true as a mother of girls.

The vast majority of all pornographic content paints a picture of guys getting off and women fake performing to what looks more like gymnastics than human intercourse. And I am not even talking about the more degrading or outright violent images that dominate the web.

It pains me to talk to other women and hear stories of shame and guilt or just utter obliviousness when it comes to self-pleasure and the inability to voice their desires. So, for anyone who needs to hear this: masturbation is natural, normal, and important.

Masturbation might be the last thing on your mind right now, given your new role of teacher, cook, maid, counsellor and 24/7 entertainer (read: screen time enforcement manager). Thanks to a new way of life that promotes separation rather than connection, a lot of us feel disconnected – even from ourselves. But hear me out:

The experience of pleasure is important for your physical and mental health. Especially right now, when we are going through all the emotions within any given day, or are not having any emotions at all, touching your body will put you literally back in touch with yourself. Masturbation and the lead-up to it allows you to experience your own body as inherently beautiful and truly see and connect with yourself at a time when it is so easy to dissociate.

How to romance yourself

So how to go about this if it’s been a while and you feel a little disconnected? I’d suggest starting with making time for yourself. Put the kids to bed early or, even better, ask your partner to take care of them. Think about how you’d like to prepare for a date, because this is what it is: it’s a date with yourself.

A hot bath. Blow dried hair. Painted nails. Sunday underwear. A meal with foods you enjoy. Your favourite wine glasses. Music, candles, pillows, blankets – whatever floats your boat and comes to mind when you think ‘sensual,’ do it! Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing your own pleasure.

The roots of shame

Thanks to 5,000 years of patriarchy and to folks like Freud, who stated that patriarchy is a result of biological differences rather than a cultural invention, we are stuck with the underlying idea that a woman’s sexuality exists purely as a form of exchange for the safety provided by a man that is needed to perpetually bear and raise offspring.

In ancient societies, it was believed that a women’s wisdom comes through the body. This is still the shared believe in the few last matriarchal societies. But for the rest of us, it is untangling and understanding why we are so disconnected and why there is so much shame around female pleasure.

In an age when the majority of women battle with body image issues that range from bad hair days to body dysmorphia, getting back in touch with and loving yourself seems an obvious yet strangely under promoted antidote. You don’t even have to chase the Big O to get the benefits of oxytocin release, vagus never stimulation (which is responsible for lowered heart rate and blood pressure) or decreased stress levels.

And if you’re really going for it, if you are reaching for the climax, rapture, the feeling of being raw and yourself and standing entirely in your bodily female power? Good for you. You go, girl!

If you only read one book right now, this is the one: Pussy – A reclamation by Regina Thomashauer.