Usually, women are not expected to talk about such things.
What are “such things”?
Why aren’t we vocal about “such things”?
What stops us from opening up about it?
Well, it is a mental puzzle. A good mental puzzle botched up unnecessarily.
Now, what if I directly shoot the word — masturbation. Seeing the topic and author might make someone feel, “Oh! How can a woman be so bold to talk about it?”, or “Isn’t it shameless?”, or “A woman’s job is to give and not take anything from a man, sexually.”
Well, all these questions have been built and passed down over generations that make us believe, rather than have our conscious mind decide, what is right and what is wrong. A girl child, young girl, lady, or a fully grown mature woman is conditioned and given a rigid place in society from the time she takes birth. She is told to be a certain way and act a certain way.
But do you know what happens next? She is just a servant to everybody around her. She doesn’t know what she wants, and barely has the strength to go for it. It is an everyday struggle for all females to be accepted and allowed to do what they want to do. With this, she never gets to experience her life or her body.
“Masturbation is a voluntary stimulation of one’s genitals (clitoris or penis) to achieve sexual pleasure or orgasm. It is done through massaging, stroking, or rubbing your genitals to arouse yourself.”
Firstly, there are a lot of myths that surround the practice of masturbation. For example:
As I have mentioned, over generations, we have passed down a list of things written and spoken about masturbation that many people choose to believe and impose on others. Don’t you think these thoughts restrict one’s life, that we have to be bound by something? That a human being is to go by an order that may or may not be right?
A woman acknowledging and expressing her thoughts about masturbation is considered too outrageous and bold. It will be a big revelation if she opens up about it. After that, she is seen with not-so-accepting-eyes of people, which further amplifies the feeling of being different from other women.
She can talk about every other issue that the world is facing, but not something that is innately a part of her. Why sexuality? Why not poverty or education? Or the prison system of the country? She could have taken any other topic and fought for it. Then why sexuality? This is why nobody wants to even talk about it. A feeling where society might name her something or she would not be accepted is a general notion that women feel. Why? Is this what is stopping us from progressing, the long-drawn dialogue “Log kya kahenge (What will people say)?”
Talking of sexuality and sexual needs, we are far away from talking about it openly. A lot of us don’t know what we are feeling and how to address these desires healthily. This is not about any particular gender. This is for the collective humankind.
Everything we feel, do or experience is a topic of discussion to know more about it. We are not living in our totality if we are constrained from realising and exploring who we are and what we desire. Whatever we have learned about masturbation or, for that matter, sex is all through informal education.
In schools or colleges, we have not had an actual orientation on sexual development and healthy sexual practices. Personally speaking, I never encountered anybody who taught or gave me an idea of something that’s remotely “sexual”. At times, we learnt about it through friends, porn, movies, or social media.
Hardly people elder to us talk about it. Some know and understand what is happening to them, while others might respond most unfavorably. Maybe educating students about masturbation and sexual desire was too big a thought before, but the time has come for us to understand ourselves sexually too, than just learning about world affairs.
Speaking openly, getting involved in meaningful discussions about masturbation, and standing in your power can help you accept it more and embrace it even more.
Self-Love: Knowing about yourself and accepting yourself is self-love. How your mental health is, how fit and healthy you are, and how you are growing is a part of self-love. Similarly, knowing about your sexual needs and honoring them in a balanced and non-addictive manner is self-love. Knowing your desires and how to fulfill them yourself is self-love.
Realising further, we can see the health benefits of masturbation.
So, all these benefits of masturbation play a role in keeping ourselves sexually active and healthy.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, many things are important for the overall development of a human being.
At the bottom, we have physiological needs, which are the most basic needs of a human being. If these are not in balance, then the levels above will not last long. Having all our bodily needs met sustainably can lead us to explore much more and go above. Let’s take hunger for an example. It is a natural, physical urge, which we fulfill by taking food and nutrition. Similarly, a human has sexual urges. So, masturbation is not a sin. It is a way to respond to our needs. It is a part of us. It just happens.
Then why is masturbation denied in society, despite it being a normal physical urge? As teenagers and young humans, we evolve, our bodies evolve, and we feel sexually attracted to someone. This is a part of the process. It is important that humans are allowed to express and explore themselves in every manner possible than to suppress or hide something that is an intrinsic part of their existence.
It is all about normalising a part of us. Normalise masturbation. Normalise sexual desires and feel no guilt. Normalise masturbation among all genders and honor them. The point is, our sexual needs are not separate from us. They are very well a significant part of us. One might not realise it at a certain stage of life, but some day, they will.
With all kindness, I have written this article to acknowledge and celebrate our existence. Let’s not question how and why some things are. They just are. Let’s move ahead to a place where we are operating in a healthy and fulfilling manner, knowing and accepting ourselves and, most importantly, connecting on topics that seem uncomfortable.