It's the 21st Century So Why is the Taboo of Female Masturbation Still With Us?

On night 15 of isolation, I posted this, without much thought. It seemed clever and playful, even whimsical, and a little risque (kind of like me).

When you click on this seemingly innocuous tweet, you can see (GASP) a vibrator next to my beloved Wilson Evolution Indoor Ball. 

And with that little tweet, my timeline exploded. Why? Because, no matter how much men openly discuss jerking off, how many movies show how common self-pleasure is (for men), the thought of women getting themselves off is enough to break the internet's synapses. 

That got me thinking? Why is something so normal for society to picture for men so radical and provocative for women? Is it the lack of "representation" on screen and in literature? I'm not talking about the performative kind that is clearly geared for men, I'm talking about the "this is just what I do in my sweat pants while chewing on a snack and watching a Barack Obama speech because I'm bored" kind. 


According to an article in The Independent, it's not just the concept of female masturbation that is "underrepresented" in mainstream television and film, it's a broader issue of female sexuality as a whole. 

Our society is weird, still, about female bodies. Not just masturbation, but vaginas, periods, childbirth, the menopause, female body hair. It still feels like these areas of life are embarrassing and shameful. These ideas have, of course, filtered into our cultural representations.

Female masturbation, periods, childbirth, menopause, miscarriages – these are all taboos that need to keep being dismantled. Because you know what? They're all completely and totally normal. 

And that's the rub (no pun intended). For centuries how the female body worked remained a mystery, and the men in charge of the science of medicine liked to keep it that way. Authorities tried to stop masturbation in general (and female masturbation in particular) through horrifying methods which included spiked rings around the penis for teenage boys and chastity devices for women.

Things HAVE changed, but only slowly. There are female filmmakers that are adding in the mundane parts of being a woman that may not serve as a way to arouse, but just showcase all of the facets of life as a woman in the 21st century. 

In Insecure, Broad City, Orange Is the New Black, Sex Education and Girls, solo female pleasure exists away from the male gaze. These shows see women more likely to be in their pyjamas or tracksuits than writhing around naked or on top of a washing machine (Betty Draper in Mad Men, who carts her daughter off to a psychotherapist when she is “caught”).

So with cultural norms around the female anatomy and our sexuality slowly shifting, I wonder, should I just live transparently in order to continue the movement of progress? Like shock therapy via Twitter? Should I tell you about how long I researched different Ben Wa Balls on the Lelo site, or better yet, should I try to do the 6,12,18,24 challenge doing the same exact ones that Dave did, and then live stream the whole thing? 

Nah, that's a little too crazy, even for a whiskey-loving nymph. I'll just continue to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, just the way God intended.