To teach girls masturbation is okay – the double standard of acceptable behavior in boys and girls leads to shame and misconception.
So here’s a story that inspired the “teach girls masturbation” issue .. Years back, I was a camp counselor at a wonderful place that had all sorts of activities, swimming being one of them. I’d go into the locker rooms with the girls, we’d all change into our swimsuits and head out to the pool. One particular afternoon, as I was hurrying the kids along, I noticed a 5-year-old, straddling a locker room bench, sitting on her hand and rocking to and fro. Clearly she was enjoying a good old session of self-pleasure, and as a 17-year-old with very little knowledge about matters of a sexual nature, I was shocked at her blatant display.
Does this paragraph shock you? Make you uncomfortable? Think for a moment why you feel that way.
Generally speaking, it was a known and accepted fact to me when I was a teenager that boys masturbate, but girls… that was not normal. Funny movie scenes making light of a guy masturbating normalized it, and even hearing them talking casually about how they “rubbed one out” solidified for me; masturbation was just a part of being a boy.
Never once did I hear people talking about girls masturbating as a normal or natural thing. Could girls even have orgasms? This was not a subject people talked about, even well into adulthood.
When I became a sexual health educator, one of the things I learned right off the bat is that from a very young age, both boys and girls should be encouraged to know and explore their bodies and all of its parts. If they want to touch, rub or explore their private parts, that’s fine and good–but find a private place to do it.
In my teachings, students are given honest, direct and matter of fact answers. But oddly enough, when the topic of masturbation comes up, I feel weird, uncomfortable, and for lack of a better word… dirty.
As a sexually liberated woman and advocate for sex-positive beliefs, I am amazed and dismayed at the power of ingrained beliefs stemming from childhood and the baggage I carry as a result. I’m baffled by our hyper-sexualized society that would deny girls the ability to be at home with their very own bodies. The juxtaposition of roles: good girl vs. naughty girl is a double standard and recipe for shame.
For girls, it starts early; indirect and unspoken messages, more powerful than words, shame them when they touch themselves. Adults put off a nervous and fearful energy when they witness a female child stick her hand down her pants, “Jenny! What are you doing? Stop that!” For centuries, female sexuality has been repressed and managed by public opinion – largely by those who possess a penis. Religions want to control it, politicians must have their say, and fathers “protecting” their daughters further limit the development of sexual identity.
Girls have a special body part whose sole function is pleasure, so why do we not teach them about it?
In the workshops I lead, I’ve found that girls are terrified of their own lady-bits. They don’t want to talk about them, look at them, nor do they want to consider touching them. “EEEEEEEEEEW,” they screech; “GROSS,” they say. A girl’s relationship to her vulva and all of its parts should be no different than any other part of her body.
For many girls, masturbation is not an obvious endeavor, and it can be confusing “down-there” if she doesn’t know what’s what. Why not teach them how to do it? I’m not suggesting a full-blow tutorial here, but a simple lesson in anatomy coupled with a very simple explanation…
“Your clitoris is a very sensitive area, and if you touch it and rub it, it can feel very good, many times resulting in an orgasm, which is when the body has a brief moment of extreme pleasure.”
Permission granted with one sentence.
Girls and women have been empowered in so many ways throughout the years, but female masturbation is still in the stone ages. Changing the cultural climate will not be easy and will take years to accomplish. If we start now with girls of all ages, as the generations turn over decade upon decade, there will come a time when females both young and old, can masturbate without shame or fear, free of the baggage that so many woman have carried into adulthood.
Our society is one of equal opportunity, so why not let the vagina have a piece of the pleasure? As the old adage goes: “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” And that means free from the constrains of judgment and baggage of our past, too.
- Masturbation Book Club - December 15, 2015
- Teach Girls Masturbation, It’s Okay - November 12, 2015
- 5 Questions About Sex Your Teen May Be Too Embarrassed to Ask - October 29, 2015
- How Does My Teen Know When They’re Ready to Have Sex? - September 28, 2015