Feelin’ myself: on masturbation

I was a pre-teen when I first discovered my vagina. 

Obviously, not the literal first time but when I first realised that it might be for more than having a wee or a period. 

My chubby fingers fumbled around and I remember thinking- is this it?

I was sat against the wall on my bed with my uniform on and it was all just a little underwhelming. Maybe it was because I didn’t really understand female anatomy or maybe it was because this discovery came at a time when I didn’t really fully appreciate what my body could do for me. 

My second year of university gave me my vibrator after first seeing my friends- it was a bullet vibrator. It seemed pretty small- surely this can’t do that much I naively thought, still I found myself that same evening on Love Honey ordering one.  In a situation that only I could find myself in, I managed to get the battery completely stuck in the device and wedged so deeply that I had to get it out with a kitchen knife. Not quite the smooth introduction I was hoping for. When it did finally work I nearly broke my neck from the force of my head going back after realising that though it was small it was incredibly powerful (if I had to go back I would tell myself to ease into it with the less powerful setting).

There’s something about wanking that sounds so harsh even the word itself sounds aggressive- wanking, fingering, getting yourself off even as an adult that feels more empowered, I still find discussing it can seem a bit illicit and it shouldn’t. My mom was tidying my room one day and discovered my vibrators in my bedside drawer, I remember feeling very awkward and since then they’ve been concealed in a leopard print make-up bag. I’m not saying I want to proudly display them with my books on Latin American politics or classic literature (although I reckon Jane Austen would be all for it). 

I’m a pretty chilled person when it comes to discussing this sort of thing. I don’t really care for having particular no-go topics when it comes to the body especially when having these barriers to communication can create more harm. Of course, I do appreciate that everyone has their own personal growth and totally think it’s important to respect boundaries especially when it comes to yourself. 

 Vibrators seemed really mysterious till I owned one like all new toys I found the novelty wore off for me. Now I prefer just using my fingers even typing this out feels really clinical but I don’t want to let that stop me from talking about my own experience. Everyone has their own unique stories and exploration is important to figure out what you enjoy but fundamentally what feels good and what empowers you. I didn’t like that my experiences felt rushed with a vibrator and I know I can put it on a lower setting but even with that it felt like I wasn’t as involved in the process (I appreciate that this isn’t the case for everyone but for me, I just didn’t enjoy it as time went on). Without getting too graphic I also discovered that frequent use meant my clit became somewhat desensitised which is obviously not ideal. 

Right now I’m in a positive space with masturbation and how I can make the most of that time I spend with myself. Before I found solo masturbation like an appointment I would need to finish so I could carry on with my day which kind of kills the whole point of it. It’s more fun when you can just embrace it as a chance to know yourself more. I’m not overly spiritual but there is something very raw and beautiful about those moments where I just feel totally connected to myself and it isn’t in a seedy, gross, or dirty way.

Female masturbation is a topic that I don’t think has really gotten any air time till now and yet it can still feel like a subject we avoid talking about because it isn’t ‘ladylike’ which just feels like a tool that has been used to repress women. There’s nothing disgusting about masturbation and whether you choose to openly discuss it or not is your own prerogative but no one should feel disempowered. Having these real conversations allows us to educate ourselves, create safe spaces for valid issues, and also further de-stigmatise what can still seem to be a taboo topic. This doesn’t mean you need to discuss the wonders of the wand over coffee during your work break but it means that talking about it shouldn’t have to seem like such an earth-shattering moment. Sex education taught me nothing about my vagina or body other than the sorts of STDs that could affect it or the birth control I could go on.

Solo masturbation is so much more than quasi-sexual stimulation, it reduces stress has a majorly relaxing effect, and boosts your mood. Naturally, everyone has a different story and tempo with which they’re comfortable expressing themselves. This isn’t my plea to make you masturbate more, my expose is merely shared to encourage people to talk more!

Changes are happening but It still feels like if we don’t learn about it from a younger age and normalise it then it continues to feed into this cycle of privacy and potential shame. 


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