Despite the fact that Christine O’Donnell has publicly condemned it, we’re pretty sure masturbation isn’t a foreign concept to most college students. Why do you think everyone wears flip-flops in the communal showers, anyway?
Although many people start experimenting with masturbation long before college, the conversation about solo sex is still relevant. There can be a gender divide surrounding self-pleasure, and we want to shatter the illusion it’s just for the boys.
Getting rid of the societal stigma
“I rarely masturbate, maybe once every couple months,” a female senior in the School of Communication told us. She owns a vibrator, but has only attempted to use it once.
“To be honest, I really haven’t quite figured it out yet, and nothing about it feels that great,” she said. “I think you have to get to a point where you’re really comfortable with your body and how it works. I’m not quite up to that level of expertise, so masturbation still scares me a little.”
We’re betting a lot of her fellow students can relate. Feeling unsure about the ins and outs of self-pleasure is completely normal and understandable. We don’t want to belittle these reservations. Everyone’s sexuality develops differently. But we do want to encourage some healthy exploration.
When we asked how this senior could get more comfortable with masturbation, she suggested reconsidering some societal stereotypes.
“I think some of the stigma of female masturbation needs to be taken away,” she said. “It still seems like sort of a ‘dirty’ thing, which probably makes me feel more uncomfortable about it.”
She added that male masturbation is often normalized, while it can remain somewhat of a taboo for women.
“I think most guys would consider it weird if another guy never masturbated, but the same doesn’t go for girls. While some girls do talk about it, I think a lot don’t even go there,” she said.
Improving your sex life
Even though female masturbation may not function as the same rite of passage during puberty as male masturbation often does, it’s obviously an equally normal sexual activity. No woman should ever feel “dirty” about her body or her sexuality, especially when some healthy self-loving can lead to an even better sex life with her partner(s).
It’s true. You can masturbate your way to better sex.
“I started experimenting with masturbation after I first had sex,” a female senior in the School of International Service told us. “Now, it makes it easier to get off because I know where my ‘pleasure buttons’ are.”
It makes sense — if you know your own body well, then you’ll know what works for you when you’re with a partner. Once you’re comfortable and competent enough with solo sex, you will be fully ready to translate those skills into partnered sex.
Check out D.C.-area resources
Just because you’re experimenting with solo sex doesn’t mean you have to figure it out all on your own.
Especially for those who feel unsure about masturbation, educational literature can be really helpful. Check out the Women’s Initiative office and the Women’s Resource Center on MGC 2, which both have books on sexuality available for student use. One of our favorites is “I Heart Female Orgasm” by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller (it will change your life — trust us).
Once you’re ready to start trying some things out, don’t be shy about exploring your body or this city. Head over to a D.C.-area sex shop for more pleasure-related tools. Pleasure Place in Georgetown, Leather Rack in Dupont Circle, and Secret Pleasures Boutique on U Street are all good places to start.
The second female senior highly recommends Secret Pleasures.
“I love it because the employees ask you questions and are so helpful. You just describe what you want, and they can show you options and give you descriptions of everything. And it’s a classy place!”
So whatever your gender identification may be, don’t be afraid to take some alone time! Getting up close and personal with yourself is where great sex starts.
As always, e-mail Tara and Ryan with any of your questions, comments and sex shop tips.