It was a choice between this and a lady touching herself. I thought this was cuter.

It’s Good For Us, So Why Are We Ashamed?


I derive quite a lot of joy by identifying things that, unlike the rest of the world, are relatively black and white. Cats are always unambiguously cute, Sweden is an unambiguously awesome country, Big Brother makes for unambiguously shit television, I could go on.

I was musing on this the other day, and trying to work out whether or not there was such a thing as an unambiguously fabulous activity – one that is not only so enjoyable that you often cannot wait for the work day to end solely because you will then be able to engage in it, but also incredibly good for your health. Stress reducing, gets the blood pumping, can be done at your own pace, and with little chance of injury*. Something that you can engage in with other people, but can be enjoyed just as if not more readily by yourself.

So, let’s talk a bit about masturbation, shall we?

It was a choice between this and a lady touching herself. I thought this was cuter.

It was a choice between this and a lady touching herself. I thought this was cuter.

I read something (sorry it’s that horrible Ashley Madison site) that I found a bit alarming the other day. Apparently only about 92% of women have something akin to a regular wanking schedule. That doesn’t seem right to me. I am perfectly aware that there are some people who genuinely don’t enjoy or just aren’t interested in going to town on themselves for a myriad of reasons. and that’s cool. I can get on board with that. But considering how the reason why any of us are on this planet is because sex has been had and enjoyed by living creatures for billions of years, I find it hard to believe that 8% of the current female population simply do not want to purposely make themselves feel the very basic biological sensation that has been the key to reproduction for all this time. It’s a little bit like being told that 8% of the population don’t sleep.

No, my suspicion is that a lot of women don’t jerk off because of a certain embarrassment towards it. Far less so now than in the past, when women were even more supposed to be seen and not heard (especially when what might be heard is a woman in the throes of ecstasy without the help of her husband), but it’s still there all the same. Why else does the simple act of going into a sex shop or adult book store or whatever still reduce many a young person into fits of giggles, or give a lot of us a slight thrill over how “naughty” we’re being? Why else do most of us who do do it, do it behind closed doors, as silently as we can, and hide our vibrators in our underwear drawers when we’re not using them?

So embarrassment is, I would say, definitely there and not going completely away any time soon. That isn’t the interesting question though. Nor is the interesting question why it is there. That has to do with the influence of the teachings of certain monotheistic religions on societies like ours. These teachings emphasised the importance of denying pleasure (in many of its forms, not just the sexual variety), and the idea that denying yourself pleasure makes you virtuous while giving in to pleasure makes you tainted and weak. Whether teachings this extreme are still being taught, or we call ourselves religious or not, these teachings are still embedded in our culture, hence why many of us declare ourselves “naughty” or “bad” when we eat a slice of cake. Societies that were not influenced by these teachings do not attach morality to their pleasure to the same extent, as a casual walk in broad daylight through the many streets of adult manga book stores in Japan aptly proves.

The interesting question here, in my opinion, is what should be done about this. And I do believe something should be done. Sexual pleasure is one of life’s great wonders – something that needs to be explored unabashedly and without hesitation, so that people can figure out what they like, what attracts them, and what they find enjoyable**. And that, I think, needs to start with those of us who care about this issue being more upfront about it.

What do you guys think?

 

*although I guess there’s as much chance of injury as you want there to be. ;)

**if anything. I would also urge the importance of remembering that some people, for whatever reason, do not experience sexual pleasure. But I believe that, just like many of us deserve to not be ashamed of feeling sexual pleasure, such people deserve to not be ashamed, or unfairly judged, or criticised, for NOT feeling sexual pleasure. As I often find myself saying on here of late, that might well be a topic for another blog post.

18 comments on “It’s Good For Us, So Why Are We Ashamed?

  1. Very good article here. It’s weird how coy and embarrassed we are about sex and masturbation to the extent that, should there be anything wrong with us, we try to avoid doctors due to embarrassment. I know that bit had nothing to do with masturbation as such, but it still shows how weirdly conservative we all still are on the “naughty” subjects. I must admit, as a man, the expectations of masturbation may be different to that of woman as it has become a sort of maxim that “All Men Wank” yet women apparently don’t get sexual pleasure until they have sex, and again in the minds of many the sex generally involves a man. But it’s weird how embarrassed men get about masturbating as well, despite the fact everyone expects we are constantly “fapping away”. I realise I’ve gone on way too long here but all I really wanted to say is: Great article, you made me stop and think!

  2. Great post, I really liked it, so much truth, naughty pleasure or is it? Never the less I agree, its a topic in taboo still you have managed to make it a topic to enjoy with coffee.. jajajj Thanks for keeping it real.. I loved it!!!!

  3. Well, this topic was more interesting than what I was expecting first thing on a Saturday morning. As I’m typing this, my daughter is using a wrestling action figure’s championship belt as a crown on my head. So bear with me.
    It’s also possible that some of that 8% is lying straight out.
    But there is something truly sad about not being comfortable with one’s own body, and that covers many areas, including the topic of masturbation. I think as far as women are concerned, there doesn’t seem to be an in between. We’re either completely pure, reserved creatures who don’t have any such base desires (and we don’t fart either – too unladylike, ew), OR we’re these people who are constantly on fire and ready to go at any moment – easily identified by our non-conservative clothes and willingness to consume any alcohol whatsoever. Long story short, labels. To be one is to exclude the other. No middle ground. No duality.
    So maybe some of the 8% feels like they will somehow qualify as bad if they admit to physical desires and/or gratification. They’ll lose their understanding of themselves as “good.” This is based on my own experience growing up in the Bible Belt, though. It will, of course, vary.
    I’m not so much about running around as a masturbation advocate as much as I am trying to undermine labels and enable people, male or female or in between, to feel comfortable within themselves. Masturbation does seem a good barometer for assessing that comfort, though.

    • Have to admit, I laughed like a drain at the daughter-championship belt-crown-bear with me bit. :)

      Yeah, precisely. I’m not necessarily against labels (I think they sometimes have their place), but the fact that in this case there are only two categories for ALL women to place them selves, and that they are such opposite ends of the spectrum, is just confusing. I don’t consider myself a particularly virtuous being (or a ‘prude’, as it’s often known), but in many ways I must be and I think I am ‘labelled’ as such, mainly because I fit the opposing ‘slut’ label so much less. I try to embody the somewhat radical notion of just being me, but it’s difficult sometimes.

  4. Many of us women are just not comfortable with our bodies. That’s not to say that I am perfectly happy with mine (something I need to work on), but I sure as heck know it pretty well and enjoy some “me” time once in awhile. ;)

    • I agree, and that’s a shame. I mean, how on earth are you supposed to help any future partners you may have with the all-important task of pleasuring you, when you’re not comfortable enough with your body to know how to do it yourself?

  5. Huh living in the States, I’m surprised that the percentage is as high as 92%, what with the strong belts of religiosity that stretch across huge swaths of the country. I wonder where this survey to garner the 92% statistic was conducted?

    • It’s a good question. I am assuming the states, as a lot if these surveys are conducted there. I have heard other numbers too, but I don’t really know how accurate any of them are. I should do some more serious research on the matter.

  6. Okay, so I’m part of that 8% so I guess I should tell you why :-) I think sex is more than just a “release” for me (and maybe for those other 8 percenters?), it’s a bonding experience for my husband and me to enjoy together. It’s an expression of our love, and outside of that it’s just not as fulfilling.

  7. This opens up a whole Pandora’s box of “unspeakables” for the society I happen to be a part of. I mean, the very fact that I read or comment on a post of this nature, being a woman, would leave (almost) all, men and women, alike, agape, tsk tsking and immediately jumping to the conclusion that I am ..er. a bad woman, for lack of a better word.. no joke, absolutely no exaggeration. There are people who have, repeatedly, jabbed me verbally for holding my husband’s arm in public ( GASP ) and said so-and-so is the ideal couple because when they sit in a room together, you can’t even tell they are a married couple. LOL. Tragic, no?

    http://thatsmommyschocolate.wordpress.com

  8. I feel this is much like when the 50 shades books came out, it’s so acceptable for men to talk about sex and wanking and have many magazines on a shelf but for women to read a saucy boom it was the talk of the world! Stop being a prude and go an enjoy yourself! It only takes two mins if your good :-)

  9. Too much masturbation can build tolerance which can be either good or bad when it comes to your loved one. I think that it should be kept in the bedroom, just like “don’t kiss and tell.” I think it’s good for people in general to be familiar and comfortable with their own body. This is one reason why some women go forever without knowing what an actual orgasm even is. Their man isn’t fulfilling them and they are so “prudish” to figure it out for themselves. But I think that’s a tsk tsk on both parts.

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