The stigma behind female masturbation

Header image for the article The stigma behind female masturbation Credit: FANSHAWE STUDENT UNION PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPT.

There are a lot of taboos when it comes to conversations around the topic of solo masturbation. When it comes to the conversations around female masturbation, specifically, there are a lot of questions regarding what counts as masturbation.

Throughout society, some people have a tough time acknowledging that women do masturbate. Masturbation is defined as stimulation of the genitals for sexual pleasure, but there are many forms of masturbation. Whether it be with one’s hand, with a sex toy or even with a partner, masturbation is all a part of life.

In a study done by the University of Indiana, researchers discovered that around 8.2 percent of men and 21.8 percent of women said that they have never partaken in certain sexual activities that ranged from anal sex to spanking. In the same report, about 64 percent of men and 40.8 percent of women reported that they had masturbated in the last month prior to the survey. These findings show that while not everyone explores certain sexual activities, many people are at the very least, masturbating.

Society likes to put ideologies into women’s minds starting at an early age that certain activities will make them “slutty,” when there is nothing wrong with being sexual. Masturbation is a natural human behaviour that most of us do.

Some women use masturbation as a form of self care, like how some people go to the gym to work out.

There are different beliefs that all women masturbate, which is not the case for some women. Many are raised to believe that masturbation is a sin. There are beliefs that sexual pleasure should only be a shared moment between husband and wife.

When we eliminate those stigmatizations of masturbation, we make it easier for women to feel more comfortable with themselves and their bodies. There are a few celebrities who have opened up about the joys of masturbation to hopefully break the stigma behind it.

For example, Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) once discussed in an interview with Bust Magazine that there was a time in her life where she felt guilty about indulging in these types of activities. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Hailee Steinfeld talks about masturbation through her song Love Yourself, a song that is primarily a self-love anthem, with overt masturbatory references.

When celebrities and people we look up to are open about these topics, it makes it easier for people to have these types of conversations. Masturbation is healthy and a part of the human experience, but female masturbation has especially been taught to be viewed as something dirty.

As a society we must stop using words like “slut” when it comes to women being sexual with themselves. The lack of conversations around the benefits of female masturbation means that few people know what kind of relief it can bring. For example, masturbation has proven to be effective in combating menstrual pain (Womanizer), and various women recommend masturbation to manage period pain.

There are a lot of benefits that masturbation has for everyone, so just eliminating the stigma around female masturbation could open conversations that are worth talking about.