Feeling good is a universal human need.
What’s more, my fingers don’t snore.
They also do my bidding and only answer to my imagination, desire, and ability to withstand cramps. Still, daring to be a woman who openly admits to engaging in masturbation and enjoying it remains a little risqué, unusual.
Not so for men for whom this is a routine pursuit as well as regular conversation fodder between friends. Whenever the topic of female masturbation arises however, it always seems to be as part of a voyeuristic male fantasy.
To some men, female masturbation is something to spectate for their own enjoyment rather than something that needn’t have anything to do with them. When everything exists in relation to the penis, all female-identifying folks as well anyone non-binary plus non-heterosexual orientations get erased.
Female masturbation is thus framed as a performance for the benefit of men rather than something a woman can do to make herself feel good.
A man needn’t be part of the equation when a woman rubs one out. Sure, it can be fun to have a partner watch but masturbation is by definition a solo pursuit, sexy self-love.
We women are humans in our own right, complete, standalone beings.
What we’re not is some orgasm delivery device and procreation aid whose existence depends on male validation. Obvious though this may be to many of us woman-identifying humans and to enlightened men who treat us as equals, this bears repeating.
While an increasing number of men have come to value us for who we are rather than what we can do for them, the fight for female personhood and sexual independence is ongoing.
Especially in the United States under an administration that seeks to curtail and eradicate access to abortion at every turn.
Female orgasm isn’t contingent on male participation.
At least, it isn’t for me although it may be for you.
If that’s the case, you were likely socialized to view masturbation as dirty and sexual pleasure as deviant. And yet, sexual fulfillment is part of a healthy life and an accessible and democratic one at that.
All you need is the curiosity to explore your body and the willingness to let go.
Contrary to what many of us have been told from birth, female bodies are more than incubators for the next generation of humans. They’re wondrous and complex homes to brilliant, capable hearts and minds, just like all human bodies.
Even though the etymology of feminism is often perceived as an affront by some men, it’s just another synonym for equality for many women.
For example, accusing me of dereliction of duty when I write about how my marriage became a dead bedroom is short-sighted. In any relationship, a healthy sex life is a shared responsibility and not just the woman’s.
And when female sexuality is viewed as penis-dependent, there’s no room for variations on a theme. Such a reductive take erases those of us to whom interacting with a penis is not an attractive proposition by any stretch of the imagination.
Unless said penis isn’t attached to a man but battery-powered.
Yes, some of us like hanging out in our birthday suits with our own kind, and no, lesbianism isn’t yet another male fantasy but a sexual orientation in its own right. What’s more, there are those of us who are attracted to all human bodies across the gender spectrum, and those for whom sex is about as relevant as a bicycle is to a fish.
And no, being asexual doesn’t make you any less human either.
When my sex life died, I started wondering whether I might have become asexual overnight after a lifetime of loving.
Depression kills your libido until the mere idea of sex becomes incongruous, if not downright off-putting. And when your partner’s attitude toward you mirrors your own sexual misgivings and shortcomings, well, you have an issue.
Often, it’s easier to persuade your fingers to give you a hand than an unwilling partner.
This is how I once out my fingers to work on the helpful suggestion of a cheeky friend. Much to my surprise, it was fun, fulfilling, and did a great job in helping me unwind.
So much so that I fell asleep and remained asleep for the first time in a long while, not a mean feat for a chronic insomniac.
A feminist man will have no hesitation in encouraging a female friend to enjoy herself without even wanting in on the action. This isn’t sexual altruism as much as common sense and the sign of a smart mind fully conversant with the vagaries of human sexuality and sympathetic to its malfunctions.
And yet, there are still men who believe that a woman should abdicate sex altogether in the absence of a keen partner. Worse even, some of those men advocate the woman submits within the context of a marriage regardless of how she feels.
As someone who has survived more than one rape, all I can bluntly and unapologetically suggest is that such men go fuck themselves, quite literally.
What’s more, I’m happy to do the very same as long as it means I never have to encounter such creatures ever again. I refuse to embrace, condone, or enable the furthering of toxic mindsets and if that means I have to masturbate alone for the rest of my life then so be it.
Because our shared humanity is about so much more than sexual and reproductive dynamics.
While women are perfectly capable of bypassing the penis and compensating for its absence, many of us also cherish the male member.
But as long as some men continue to use it as a weapon, there will still be times when we’re better off — and safer — taking care of ourselves.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.