Growing up religious and female, exploring my own body – and touching myself – was not encouraged. In fact, it was looked down upon and considered a sin.
From a young age, I remember being told in many subtle as well as not-so-subtle ways that my body was something that would make men lust after me and that it was something that needed to be covered up. There was little discussion about my own desires or feelings, but I can remember even as a child discovering that touching myself in certain ways could bring pleasure.
It wasn’t until junior high that I realized there was a term for this, and, despite being told by my church that it was a sin and feeling guilt over continuing, I was always a frequent masturbator.
In college, I confessed this to my Mormon bishop at the time. He told me to join some sort of sex addicts group. I realized how ridiculous this was, considering I usually only masturbated two times a week at this point in my life. This was definitely not behavior that could be considered addictive or harmful. But, this small anecdote illustrates how female solo sex is often viewed as a strange phenomenon.
There is a double standard in society as a whole when it comes to solo sex. It is accepted that almost all men will touch themselves at some point. While not necessarily encouraged in all subcultures, masturbation is something we allow men in a way we don’t with women. All of this, of course, stems back to the idea that men generally enjoy sex and are sexual beings, while women don’t enjoy sex.
Thankfully, female masturbation is becoming more talked about and accepted.
In fact, a small study suggested that one-third of women prefer masturbation to sex. But, despite this topic becoming less taboo, there is still a sort of hierarchy placed on sexual acts. Intercourse, especially in a heterosexual relationship, is considered more important and special than other sex acts.
Even though queer women tend to orgasm more than straight women, and even though a variety of sex acts can lead to orgasm or just a great time, penetrative vaginal sex is often considered the most special form of sex. As a queer woman who has mostly had sex with women, I find that sex with a partner is seen as more desirable than masturbation – and that frustrates me.
Casual sex has always been unfulfilling and stressful for me, despite having various partners of different genders. While I enjoy sex more in relationships, masturbation has and always will be one of my favorite sex acts. The body I know the best is my own.
After years of exploring myself, I know what I like and how to give myself a good time.
For me, being familiar with my body through masturbation over many years, I was able to know what I liked when I did start having sex. My first time having sex was nothing particularly special, but the fact I knew my body well made the transition easier.
There should be more accepting of masturbation as a legitimate sexual act that brings pleasure.
While sex with a partner can be amazing at times, too, solo sex can be just as important to some people and be a large component of a healthy sexuality.
Whether I’m dating or not, enjoying my own body and my own sexual fantasies is a pleasurable way to relieve stress. After years of practice, I know how to get myself off, over and over again, and there is something beautiful about that. We tend to place so much value on being in a romantic relationship, but there is something just as special about loving yourself, in more ways than one.