Pillow Talk

When I was growing up, female masturbation was almost imaginary in my world. Ironically enough, my family was always very open about all things sex. My parents separated before I could form memories, so I grew up in an all-estrogen household — my two older sisters and our mother.

As a matter of fact, my mom gave us “the talk” while taking us to elementary school.

The conversation around sex was always a very comfortable one for me, yet no one talked about female masturbation. Again, my sisters and I were allowed to openly and loudly talk about our periods and whatnot, but a society-wide shame kept us from talking about female masturbation. But, of course, not male masturbation.

Starting as early as fourth grade, boys around me have constantly talked about masturbating. In middle school, this range of jokes was the holy grail. No one would shut up about how much guys masturbate. But the girls around never said a peep.

One day in the seventh grade, I was walking to class with a friend of mine — who was a grade above me — and she asked me, “Do you masturbate?”

I was shocked, appalled and wanted to run. Instead, I lied. I said no. I didn’t think I had another choice.

Obviously, today I have no problem telling people I masturbate. For me, maturity has come with a violent need to make society a better place for that seventh-grade girl. And sometimes that means publicly announcing that I masturbate. If boys get to talk about jacking off, everyone else should have the same shameless space.

According to data from CS Mott Children’s Hospital, only 25% of girls have masturbated to the point of orgasm by the age of 15, as opposed to 100% of boys. So, there is a real discrepancy. Whether this is social, mental or hormonal, I don’t know. I do know that there is an established social stigma toward female masturbation, at least in adolescents.

This stigma teaches girls and women that it’s wrong to masturbate. Luckily, from my observations, the shame is beginning to dissolve and women are beginning to talk about it.

Women masturbate and it’s normal. It feels like an obvious statement, but based on my experience, it really isn’t. I’m happy a shift is happening and I look forward to a day when no one has to differentiate between “female” and “male” masturbation.

Society and media have impacted the way we treat and speak about masturbation based on sex. Which is exactly why I’m here — to say, yes I masturbate, and you should too.