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Ladies: “Masturbate” Is Not a Bad Word

In fact, it’s probably the answer to whatever problem you’re facing right now! 😉

We’re kidding…Sort of.

You probably didn’t hear a lot about female masturbation growing up, and if you did, it likely wasn’t entirely rooted in fact, but something more like an eerie urban myth.

Raise your hand if you vaguely remember wondering if touching yourself could lead to the next immaculate conception…

It’s been silently ingrained in us from a young age that female masturbation is Not To Be Talked About and subsequently, Not Important.

The result is that many of us weren’t appropriately educated about the reality of our sexuality, so we had to learn on our own. If you’re still learning (and we all are!) That's totally okay, and totally human.

As we move into the future, the conversation about female pleasure is changing because we’re changing it. We know that the fear-based conditioning of the past keeps us in the dark, uninformed, and stuck pondering outdated perspectives and beliefs surrounding sexuality, our bodies, and intimacy.

For women, developing an intimate connection with our deepest form of pleasure is an initiatory right that takes place within the body.

In fact, adult sexual educator Jane Langton informs us in her TedxSFU Talk that the World Health Organization states everyone has a right to sexual information and pleasure.

When we don’t learn that masturbation is a perfectly normal and even sacred form of self-love, and instead only timidly talk about it, we form fear-based beliefs surrounding our own bodies and sexual expression.

These fictitious beliefs affect our decisions and relationships—whether we realize it or not.

Langton says that in re-framing her view of self-pleasure, she transformed her shared sexual experiences, and found that her sexual partenerships deepened through getting to know herself and her body.

“I thought that an intimate relationship started with being with someone else, and I realized it started with getting to know me: my body, what I loved, what I needed, what I desired, what I craved, what fantasies worked for me, all those things,” Langton says.

Doctors and psychologists agree that when women masturbate, there are deep benefits, such as knowing what you like and how to communicate that with your partner, which is an imperative part of having great sex.

Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, a sexologist and sexuality educator at American University in Washington DC, says, “[Masturbation] puts you in touch with your desires and gives you the chance to get to know your own body. Experimenting with what feels good and makes your respond positively can lead to better sexual experiences, both alone and with a partner.”

Masturbation is a time when you should feel free to explore your desires and fantasies and find what feels good. The more you understand your sexual wants and needs, the more confident you’ll be expressing them to your partner.

Not only does masturbation help strengthen your sexual realationship with yourself and your partner(s), it also has mental and physical health benefits.

Langton says that when women masturbate, we reduce the risk of incontinence and strengthen our pelvic floor. That’s because as we reach orgasm, “the uterus ‘lifts’ off the pelvic floor, increasing pelvic muscle tension, and strengthening the entire region.”

Masturbation can also prevent cervical and urinary tract infections, according to Dr. Carolina Pataky, Co-Founder at Love Discovery Institute.

“When women masturbate, the orgasm ‘opens’ the cervix,” Explains Dr. Pataky. “The body’s natural fluids also lubricate the vagina and flush out bad bacteria from the cervix.”

In terms of mental health, masturbation is associated with a better mood and decreased stress levels.

“There’s a clear mood benefit [to masturbation]” Nicole Prause, PhD, a sexuality researcher at UCLA says. “It takes your mind [off your worries] while activating areas of the brain associated with pleasure.”

That’s because masturbating taps into your brain’s pleasure-reward center, causing the release of “happy” chemicals, such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.

In addition, masturbation helps you know your own body better. In 2020, Swedish women’s health company Intimina commissioned a study polling women on their menstrual cycle knowledge. They found that 25% of the women surveyed were unable to correctly identify the vagina on a diagram, while 46% were unable to identify the cervix, the cylinder shaped tissue that connects the vagina and uterus.

Langton mentions in her TedxSFU Talk that unlike men, women don’t see their sexual organs daily. “[Men] have the luxury, and the burden,” Langton says, “of having their genitals right in front of them…Few women have seen, really seen, their own genitals.”

“In fact,” Langton continues, “We seem to have mistaken our vulva for our vagina.”

According to Dr. Olga Adereyko, a Primary Care Physician at Flo Health, an app that uses real data to help women track their menstrual cycles, “Some people use the words ‘vagina’ and ‘vulva’ interchangeably, but they refer to two very different parts of the anatomy.”

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“Vulva is the medical term for the external parts of the female genital area,” Dr. Adereyko explains. “There are many tissues in this area, and they each have different functions. The vagina is a specific part of the internal female anatomy.”

When we’re familiar with our own anatomy and know what feels good, we’ll be more empowered to make sexual decisions that align with our true wants and needs.

Knowing our body intimately is our birthright as humans, and as women. When we know ourselves, we can express ourselves more deeply, in and outside of the bedroom.

By engaging in conversations that strive to liberate female sexuality, we chip away at the idea that female masturbation is taboo, and we pave the way for more intimate sexual experiences, whether solo or with a partner.

“In reality,” says sex therapist Dr. Gloria Brame, “masturbation is the single most common and primal sex act in the world. It’s normal, it’s fun, and it’s harmless.”

Remember that if and when you choose to masturbate, you’re doing something totally safe and normal that’s even an act of self-love!

On her website, Dr. Brame shares practices that can help you become more comfortable with self-pleasure:


By Bridgett Pittman

@bridgett.lynn.pittman @11thhouseco



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