“I don’t look at the short-term. I try to look at things from the long-term…Read More →
Female masturbation is a subject the society has been perpetually silent on.
Compared to the constant debate and discussions on male masturbation and all the references in popular culture that portray and exalt the male orgasm and the act of giving pleasure to oneself by men, it is quite clear that we have another feminist issue at hand here.
Sexual restraints and control has always been the strategy that patriarchy has dwelled on to reinforce and maintain the sexist status quo.
As radical feminist debates and theories by top inspiring women feminists have charged the atmosphere around us with the need to know more about female sexuality that has been for long locked in a box that patriarchy held the keys to, we need to openly talk about it to normalise the idea.
It would be stupid to suppose, or to venture to think of the world where women do not masturbate. It is as natural for women to pleasure themselves as it is for men.
The politics of the disparity lies in the regulation of female sexuality as a commodity that can be offered to men, or to a heterosexual world where the sexuality of women is only a means to reach the supposedly higher, more sacrosanct end of procreation.
The male dominated society that we live in has made us close our eyes to anything that inches any closer to positing women as independent beings who can create pleasure for themselves. Treating women’s sexuality as something exclusively for their male partners, or for the benefit of a patriarchal society, the act of female masturbation has been silenced from regular everyday debates, unless it is a highly progressive society that has no qualms about sexuality- be it male or female or queer.
Female masturbation has been linked to a sense of disgust and discomfort in our society. It is a cultural tool to keep women away from something that gives them even the slightest realisation that they are the masters of their own body.
Women need to shun the ideas that have been forced upon them, get right into bed, and rub themselves till they know that their pleasure and happiness does not depend on anyone else, much less on conformity with a gendered sexuality that gives license only to a heterosexual pleasure where men have been using women to seize the day.
Many inspiring women feminists have talked implicitly, or explicitly, about female orgasms and the need for women to break free from the shackles of an imposed chastity.
To get pleasure from oneself would be sexual emancipation for women. It would signify taking the reigns of their sexuality into their own hands and free it from the control patriarchy exerts on it.
Virginia Woolf, an inspiring woman writer in the twentieth century, in ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, has beautifully interwoven a scene where Clarissa Dalloway masturbates in her attic room. In her journey to a better understanding of herself as a woman who has to conform to her gender-role , and her anxiety that emerges from this vain position that social expectations have bestowed upon her, the masturbation scene depicts the first step towards a flight of freedom that a woman should take.
Heterosexuality is the accepted norm in a patriarchal society, and penetrative sex between men and women the only sexuality that is not tabooed. In such a scenario, female masturbation is an act that challenges conformativity and sees sexual experiences as going beyond only penetrative sex between a penis and a vagina.
The power of clitoris, that has been shrouded under stigma and not been scientifically researched due to the influence of patriarchy on sources of knowledge and body exploration, should be formally, and through indulgence, revealed and brought in front of the world.
Luce Irigaray, a feminist theorist and an inspirational woman, in her essay “ When the Gods get Together” talks about how the male dominated the world is like a marketplace where men are in control of the exchange. Homosexuality is prohibited because then men will be the consumers as well as the providers. In such a space, the penis, which is a symbol of power, will lose its signification of superiority.
Women gaining pleasure from one another will entirely exclude men from a marketplace where they make their own rules that women and other deviant groups have to play by.
Female masturbation, in the light of this, opens up a world of sexuality that does not work according to the whims and socio-political goals of a male dominated society. It becomes a window that stands parallel to queer sexuality, and in defiance of heterosexuality.
Talking about female masturbation and removing the stigma attached to it is necessary to battle the orgasm gap, the fact that women are masturbating a lot less than men.
The orgasm gap suggests that the confluence of culture and its implications on religious interpretations have distanced women from their own bodies.
Women have to be the possessors of their bodies and know that their bodies belong to them and no one else. The pleasure you give to yourself is your path to happiness and contentment. The dopamine that releases during orgasm is known to make you more creative and helps you focus.
And, because women can orgasm multiple times, the brain stimulation they reach is better than that of men!
On a concluding note, female masturbation is just another normal act of self-pleasure. It has been very less talked about than male masturbation that is considered the birthright of men. Females should masturbate to feel independent, to enjoy the feeling of being alone and happy, and to realise that they control their body and can regulate their pleasure without outside help.
In fact, talking about it is as important to let people know that it is a natural thing for females to masturbate. To bring female masturbation out of the realm of darkness would be one huge leap towards normalising it in a hostile society.