Sexual self-esteem is an integral psychological aspect of sexual health and women who have more positive views of masturbation tend to feel more in control of their sexuality and have a better body image.
So, ladies, let’s talk masturbation. I don’t know about you, but female masturbation was always been something which was far less talked about and far more stigmatized during my upbringing. If we aren’t comfortable with the conversations surrounding it, how can we ever expect ourselves to be fully comfortable with the act itself?
But, How Do We Get There?
There’s a pretty broad continuum of views and opinions when it comes to female masturbation. There are also strong links with parent and partner communication (or lack there of) and these ranging opinions. Additionally, every woman is vastly different in terms of their beliefs and values concerning their sexual selves. There’s also a correlation between positive early childhood communication, young women’s positive views of their sexual self, and their subsequent sexual activity. Showing (once again) that education is pretty key.
But it’s worth noting that, though communication and positive sexual views are correlated, nearly all women when asked admit that they learned about masturbation through the media and peers, not parents or teachers. Believe it or not, other ill-informed pre-pubescent people may not be the best source for information when it comes to learning about your sexuality.
The mixed feelings in regards to female masturbation are the result of a developmental process which includes:
- learning about the act of masturbation and how to do it
- learning and internalizing the social contradiction of stigma and taboo surrounding this pleasurable act
- coming to terms with this tension between stigma and pleasure
Contradiction of Stigma and Pleasure
Most women report still struggling with accepting masturbation as a normal thing to do and hold a stigma, yet do report finding it pleasurable. Whereas, most men believe there to be benefits in terms of healthy sexual development that come from masturbation without any stigma association. And not surprisingly, both males and females identified differential sexual scripts as contributing to the double standard.
So, with 72% of women and 84%of men between the ages of 25 and 29 admitting to having masturbated at least once in the past year, we can move on from still wondering if people “do it” and move on to ending this stigma and finding sexual independence.
Let’s liberate ourselves from these constraining stigmas by seeking information, holding open dialogues, and freeing ourselves of any masturbation-related shame. No shame, no worries, just keep doing you (literally!).