Masturbation May: Normalising Female Self-Pleasure

Did you know that May is National Masturbation Month? Well, now you do! 

Let’s talk about the importance of breaking the stigma behind female masturbation. 

The importance of normalising female masturbation:

Masturbation is common and normal, however, there is a clear stigma around it. Especially when it comes to the topic of female masturbation. Think about it – how often do you hear or see people openly discussing female masturbation in the media? Unless it revolves around highlighting why we should normalise it. When is it ever just a conversation about how beneficial and enjoyable it is without having to consistently educate others? Don’t get me wrong, educating others on such a topic is a step forward in normalising female self-pleasure but let’s be honest, would men ever have to do such a thing? 

The underrepresentation of female sexuality:

“Our culture has a huge impact on the way we talk about masturbation and sexuality in general,” says Megan Brotherton. Brotherton wrote and directed the short film, Everybody Does It (2017). The film explores a woman in her mid-20s, who is constantly on edge until her therapist asks her “Do you masturbate?”. From that moment, she sets out on her own journey to explore her body. 

Everybody Does It Trailer

That said, in film and television, the references to men masturbating are pretty common. Casual jokes are openly made between friendship groups whereas for women, it isn’t always as easy to discuss. It is fair to say that over the years, there have been depicitions of female-pleasure in television. From Sex and the City to Netflix’s Big Mouth however, there is always a sense of awkwardness and shame around it.

Similarly, the need to conceal the importance of female pleasure has been present for many years. Historically, the focus on the woman’s genitalia has always been on the vagina and its most ‘practicable’ role – reproduction. In fact, the clitoris wasn’t mentioned in medical texts until the 1980s. This promoted urologist, Helen O’Connell, to publish its full structure. Although, this only happened as recently as 1998. Disappointing, right? Why did it take so long for someone to highlight the importance of such a vital part of the female body? 

Flo Perry, author of How to Have Feminist Sex, blames it on the patriarchy. Her belief is that “women’s sexuality was just something to be traded and used by men.” “To control women, the patriarchy suppressed woman’s own sexual wants.” Not only does this silence women but indicates that we should feel some form of shame towards our own sexual needs. 

How do we begin to normalise female masturbation?

Well…I think it’s important to underline that masturbation is healthy, fun and definitely not a bad thing. In fact, 91% of women masturbate, according to a recent survey by Cosmopolitan. However, in that same survey, 87% voiced their wish for society to embrace female sexual desire more.

So how do we start to embrace this? First, let’s take a look at the benefits of masturbating. 

Masturbation can: 
  • Decrease overall stress 
  • Relieve period cramps 
  • Increase and enforce positive body image and self-esteem 
  • Improve quality of sleep 
  • Better your understanding of your sexual wants and needs 

“Did you know that when you experience an orgasm, the body is flooded with the hormones, dopamine and oxytocin? These leave you feeling fulfilled on the inside and hopefully on the outside too.”

Superdrug

Also, there are so many amazing platforms, brands and products out there that advocate for and openly celebrate female self-pleasure.

Here at Style Cartel, we have been lucky enough to receive various sex toys and accessories.

The brands that we have worked with, SoDivine and Smile Makers, work to normalise the perception of female sexuality. This is done by creating a safe space for women to buy sex toys and find what they love. 

Interestingly, by working closely with these brands, it has led to us as a team having open conversations about our self-pleasure journeys. Simultaneously, creating a space for advice, tips and overall funny stories! 

This is how we begin to normalise female sexuality. By adapting to the power that comes with exploring and celebrating our bodies! Creating platforms to push positivity towards the topic and promoting the understanding that masturbation is simply normal. 

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Danielle Woods

Magazine journalism and publishing graduate, who enjoys creating content focused on beauty, lifestyle and anything considered 'taboo'. Always working to create an easygoing but informative space for her work. Loves all things skincare, makeup, online shopping, music and writing the occasional poem or two.

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