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The Orion

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The Orion

O-face: let’s talk about female masturbation, baby

Photo credit: Melissa Joseph

Talking about masturbation can be hard, no pun intended.

Lots of women masturbate these days. A recent study found that 81.6% of women between the ages of 18 and 22 may have orgasmed from masturbation in the last year. I definitely fall into this group.

Many of my friends, however, belong to the 18.4% of women who have not orgasmed from masturbation in the last year – either because they don’t masturbate at all, or because they don’t have much luck with it when they do.

In my experience, family and cultural background have a big influence on this.

I started masturbating at a very young age. Like 44% of the female population, I was familiar with my body’s erogenous zones before the age of six. When my mom realized what was going on, she didn’t shut it down completely but instead taught me that it was only appropriate in private settings.

But growing up in a half-Hispanic and fully-catholic household, things could have gone very differently for me. Due to the stigmas of both Hispanic culture and the church, several girls I know developed aversions to masturbation.

The environment in which a woman is raised seems to postpone her masturbation habits more greatly than it affects a boy’s. A study found that almost 100% of men masturbate to the point of orgasm before the age of 15 while only 25% of women can say the same. And yet by the age of 18- 22, that percentage jumps to the 81.6%.

The timing of these changes seems to indicates that early home life is not conducive to exploration a woman requires to properly pleasure herself. It seems that for many women, leaving home is an important part of their sexual journey in a way that it isn’t for most men.

Societal factors can hinder female masturbation as well. It has only recently become socially acceptable for a woman to talk about her solo sexual experiences. And even still, you don’t hear a lot of ladies shouting about it.

This means that many women rely primarily on the media for guidance when trying to get serious about orgasms on their own. Here’s the problem with that: mass media does not realistically portray female masturbation.

Spreading your legs, arching your back, and shoving something up your cooch is a sexually charged image designed to target male viewers. It is not a typical strategy for women who want to get off.

Don’t get me wrong, some women do like penetration during masturbation, but, according to this study, that only accounts for 20% of female masturbators. The same study found that 84% of women concentrate on the clitoris and labia to achieve orgasm.

Lying face down, squeezing the legs together, tightening the muscles in the body and holding the breath is much more common than any spread-leg technique. Sex Researcher Betty Dodson says that the easiest and most common way to achieve a female orgasm is with pressure and tension. Some popular methods are leaning on furniture, countertops, pillows, mattresses or even standing just so in the shower.

However, there isn’t much representation of these methods floating around in the mainstream because they aren’t a very mainstream kind of sexy. Real female masturbation, which often occurs in unflattering poses, doesn’t lend itself to modern aesthetics. This is why women who get turned off when they feel awkward or look silly may find it harder to masturbate to completion.

Societal understanding of female masturbation is spreading, but total integration is a long way off. For those who want to explore the realities of personal female pleasure, reaching out to women you respect is a great way to dive into the topic.

After all, our culture isn’t going to change overnight. Waiting around for a miracle isn’t practical; not when there’s so much fun to be had.

Emily Neria can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Emily Neria, Staff Writer
Emily would like everyone to know she’s trying her best... just at too many things. Caught between her many passions - media arts, journalism, creative writing, and paying rent - Emily often wishes she had more time. She hopes that in a few years, she’ll be able to throw herself into a project free of distractions, but in the meantime delivering news to the student body is certainly a priority. Working for The Orion allows Emily to hone her writing skills and explore real-world storytelling. Incidentally, these are two endeavors she hopes to pursue all her life.

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