Hello, my name is Chiara and I masturbate.
I’ve been doing it since I was about 7. I still remember the first time it happened.
Embarrassment warning: This might be an awkward read for the few colleagues who might read this and maybe my older brother too (who is the only person legitimately allowed to skip this part).
It was at my grandma’s house in Finland, and I was reading The Hobbit and suddenly something I was doing started to feel really, really good. (No, that doesn’t mean I have a thing for hobbits now).
I had no idea what it was. I thought it might be something naughty or maybe even dangerous.
But nevertheless, I persisted.
I did it watching Blue Peter, I did it in the garden, I did it thinking about Orlando Bloom (I did have a thing for Legolas), I did it in the bath, I did it while doing maths homework. Eventually, I started rationing it to weekends, because by now I was pretty sure that what I was doing was very much A Bad Thing.
I had no idea what I was doing until I was about 14.
Sex-education rarely, if ever, teaches us about female pleasure, let alone about self pleasure. I don’t remember any women ever mentioning anything about masturbation, except for a vague allusion to a shower massager in an episode of Friends.
Only 5% of my women in my age group admit to masturbating more than four times a week, according to this survey. And that number decreases a shocking amount as we age.
The truth is, women (cis, trans, femme, etc) DO masturbate. But it’s rarely something we talk about.
We all know why. In a sex-phobic society that actively works to oppress female sexual autonomy while promoting images of us as passive sexual objects, there’s no space for a woman who gets gratification from herself. It’s no secret that female sexuality has long been policed — you know, slut shaming and the sexual double standard and all that good stuff.
It seems that masculinity’s fragile ego can’t take the idea of not being needed for a woman to feel pleasure. It doesn’t serve a procreational purpose, and so for centuries it’s been at best ignored, and at worst, demonised as something dirty, toxic, evil, against God.
We’re slowly breaking the taboo about menstruating, let’s do it with masturbation too.
I will happily admit to being a serial masturbator. I do it before I go to sleep, on languorous weekend mornings, while scrolling through Instagram, or watching Ru Paul, occasionally during work (we don’t get paid as much as men, so we might as well take regular breaks to flick the bean). It’s something to do when bored, stressed, or hungover.
So this is a call to arms. No, a call to clits.
We can’t win this fight if we don’t grab ourselves by the pussy.
Fight sexual harassment with sexual freedom. Fight objectification with stimulation. This is about reclaiming our sexual organs as our territories.
I’m not pretending that we’re going to solve the world’s woes by masturbating more, but we’ll at least be more content when we do go out to fight against them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re single or partnered or getting laid all the time anyway. If we know what we want in bed, the we’re more likely to have fulfilling sex when other people get involved.
Get sexy with yourself, even if you don’t really want to — it’s not a crime if you’re doing it to yourself. It’s free, and it’s the ultimate luxury.
Even if you already do it quite a lot, then let’s talk about it more. A world where we talk more openly about self-pleasure is one where women are more openly in control of their sexualities; where we break down the ego-driven masculine myth that we need a man for fulfilment.
Touch thyself, I implore you. And talk about it. Loudly. On the bus. At work. Make people uncomfortable. Take a wank break and tell your colleagues. Instagram a picture of your new vibrator. Use it with the curtains open. Do it with people. Do it alone. Have. No. Shame.
It’s funny, not embarrassing. As soon as you make something funny, you take the shame away from it.
And a note to the penis owners who might feel inadequate if we’re all getting busy with our rabbits: don’t feel threatened, just let us have this one. And don’t worry, no sex toy can replicate the sweet sweaty weight of another human body (or bodies) writhing around with you.
Women of the world, masturbate! You have nothing to lose but your chains (unless you’re into that kind of thing).