If you’ve seen the movie Someone Marry Barry, I’m sure you agree that the movie is not only funny but has some enlightening and thought-provoking moments too. Consider the conversation between the two roommates, Melanie and Paige:

Mel: Babe, you’ve got to learn to love yourself before others can love you.

Paige: My self-esteem is fine now.

Mel: No! I mean literally love yourself; you know, down there. Between your legs. You know what I mean? Try the shower head, try your toothbrush. Yours is a lot more powerful than mine and really gets in there.

Paige: That is really disgusting!

Mel: It’s not. It’s natural. This is the problem with you, Paige. Why do you think I spend so long in the bathroom every morning? I’m masturbating! A good hour before breakfast and usually 45 minutes if I can squeeze it in when I get home. I’m going to get you masturbating if it’s the last thing I do.

Paige: I’m all good.

Do It Yourself! Image: Splash News Online

*****

Oh, Mel, what a sage! Caring friends like her are for keeps indeed!

I know there is still a lot of stigma attached to masturbation. We have all heard strange things about this beautiful act that are meant to deter us from engaging in it. Some of us have been taught, by religion, to see it as an unholy deed; a sin. Some believe masturbation to be something only men do, which is wrong on so many levels. Any sexual being, regardless of gender, can masturbate. I am one of those folks who continue, unashamedly, to dismantle the lie that only men masturbate. Heck, why must only men get to explore their sexuality and satisfy their needs without being restricted by any stereotypical beliefs?

Why must only men get to explore their sexuality and satisfy their needs without being restricted by any stereotypical beliefs?

I have been at it for quite a while now. In my preteen years, I had already figured out that rubbing my clitoris against the side of the bed felt amazing. I’m not sure how I figured this out, but I think my curiosity stemmed from a radio call when a 13-year-old kid was speaking to a doctor on air about masturbation. Bless that soul!

Read: Why masturbation for women is necessary

Masturbation is an act of self-love, as Mel rightfully points out. I must say, though, that not masturbating does not mean that a woman (or anyone, for that matter) does not love herself. So, after all has been said and done, it is up to the individual whether they want to get a taste of this heaven or not. It is also important to be aware of how much of a privilege it is to be able to masturbate. Some people do not have the privacy or time to relish this pleasurable act. While I, like many others, encourage women to pleasure themselves, I am careful not to do this in a way that seems to shame those women who do not want to or just cannot because of reasons I have mentioned.

File picture: A vendor presenting sex toys in Paris

There are so many articles written by women for women that educate them about masturbation and to reassure those women who may still be on the edge about this that it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is natural and healthy. In fact, there are several benefits of these DIY sessions.

Feeling horny and don’t have anyone to have sex with? Or don’t really want to have sex with anyone? Feeling sad, angry or stressed? Give yourself a good ol’ wanking and release those feel-good hormones.

Trouble sleeping? Masturbation works better than counting sheep, believe me.

Period pain nagging at you? Masturbate, because the orgasmic contractions help blood flow out of your uterus much easier. And given how our sex drive is elevated during our period, those solo sessions surely do us good in more ways than one. Bingo!

Want to know your body better and understand what gets you off? Just. Do. It. 

Knowing yourself

The last point is very important, especially when it comes to having sexual relations with other people. You need to know what lights up your fuse and communicate this to your partner. Solo sessions enable us to know this. Masturbating allows us to better understand our sexual abilities and how to best satiate our sexual needs. We get to practise how to hold off on orgasming too quickly (because who even wants that amazing feeling to end?), we learn how to orgasm, we learn how to get an intense orgasm. Women also learn how to position our lower bodies or certain spots on or inside our vagina to increase the pleasure derived from stimulation. When we have a better understanding of what turns us on, we can then communicate this to our partner and we can also direct them to those erogenous spots. We should communicate this.

Faking sexual pleasure or orgasm is just not worth it. Some people fake an orgasm just to get the sex over and done with, which is sad indeed. This is a problem in itself and also needs to be talked about. We should not have to fake climaxing only to mislead our partner into thinking we are enjoying the sex (translated to: their sex game is strong). Quite frankly, when we do this, we only reduce ourselves to being a mere object for someone else’s pleasure – or, in some instances, a baby-making machine. This should not be the case – not at all.

We should not have to fake climaxing only to mislead our partner into thinking we are enjoying the sex.

It is a fact that some women do not orgasm from penetrative sex. There are various factors that contribute to this. Usually it has something to do with the other party failing or not understanding how to properly stimulate the woman. I do not get how some people are not able to tell when a woman (with a vagina) has orgasmed or not. Just touching that clitoris and noting the woman’s reaction is all the evidence one needs. That pearl is so sensitive after an orgasm and any touch sends what feels like shockwaves throughout the body. But then again, if a partner is focused only on their sexual pleasure, they may not really care to tell a real orgasm from a fake one. Or they could be toiling away, trying to give what they believe is the best sex, but their best might just not be enough to give a woman that big O.

In Someone Marry Barry, Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, Camille. At the end of his break-up speech, he drops the following bomb: “No woman who knows her body, like you claim to do, takes an hour and a half to orgasm. That’s too much work and I’m down there, munching away…”

Read: Male Pleasure and Masturbation

Poor chap! Poor Camille!

Yes, there might have been other (psychosomatic) reasons why the girlfriend took so long to orgasm, and this was all drama, but my point still stands: Understand your body. Communicate. Guide!

Unlike penises, vaginas are complex organs and no one set of sexual tricks can stimulate different vaginas in the same way. There is nothing wrong with letting our partners know if they are not pressing the right buttons for us because our sexual pleasure is just as important as theirs. We deserve to see the sun, the moon, the mountains and the river… (and yes, those are the lyrics of the song “Last night”). This might bruise their ego because we all like to think our sexual prowess is out of this world. I’m not suggesting we tell our partners that they suck in bed; that’s just cold-hearted. Any talk about our sexual capabilities is always a sensitive topic. I am saying, let’s let our partners know what gives us the most pleasure. Guide them. Demonstrate to them. This is so worth it, especially when we consider that mutual sexual gratification is good for the overall health of the relationship.

So, go on, then: Masturbate to your heart’s content!