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18th February 2015

We need to talk about: female masturbation

Molly Allen gets to grips with the taboo subject of female masturbation

With the recent sexist censorship laws on porn (yes, they are sexist, and there’s no denying that) and after having a discussion with my housemate, I decided it was high time someone came out and said: “There is nothing wrong with women masturbating.”

Growing up with two younger brothers, I lost count of the numerous conversations I overhead between them and their friends. It’s no secret that teenage boys can be disgusting and my brothers and their smelly friends were no exceptions. There was endless talk about masturbation. It’s difficult to imagine a group of teenage girls having the same discussion; at school my friends were repulsed by the idea and anyone who admitted to indulging in a bit of self-love was treated like some degenerate. Similarly, even aged 22, it is something that is just not discussed.

But why? Woody Allen once said, “don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love,” and how right he was. Part of the reason for the lack of discussion around the issue of women masturbating is because of the puritanical, Victorian myth that women don’t enjoy sex. Or if we do enjoy sex, we’re sluts. Science says aside from the obvious biological differences, men and women are the same and I believe this to be very true; therefore, why can’t women openly discuss masturbation when men brag about it untilthe cows come home?

Again, this comes down to the distinct sexual categories women fall into: virgin and slut (admittedly, it can be argued there’s a third which is ‘frigid’ but I like to think that comes under ‘virgin’). I wish I could tell you when women will eventually be able to be sexual in the same way men are, but I’m afraid I just don’t know. I do know this though ladies: enjoying sex and your sexuality, which includes masturbation, does not put you into either of these ridiculous ‘categories’, it makes you human. And who’d have known? The way people react you’d think we were a whole other species.

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