Cara Hill discusses the ins and outs of masturbation and using a shame bell as a dildo
I masturbate. Oh god I said it. Did I just admit to that? Oh dear I’m so awfully embarrassed and ashamed and just…fuck. Please don’t tell anyone…
You’ll be glad to know I’m not actually embarrassed. I’m completely free and happy to admit to anyone and everyone, to shout it from the roof tops even: I masturbate.
But I wasn’t always like this. There was a time when I was so unbelievably embarrassed about masturbation that I’d flat out deny I did it at all, mostly because I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. Was touching myself normal? Was I really masturbating? Or had I found some weird thing that only my body did? My uncertainty led to feelings of shame, embarrassment and even dirtiness, steering me towards this unnecessary lie.
Why did I feel like this? And why do so many women still feel this way? Is it so unbelievable for society to think that women have any sexual urge at all? Or are we really all sweet innocents who aren’t exposed to sexual urges until exactly the right moment when we lose our oh-so-precious virginities.
Boys, on the other hand, can go on about having a ‘cheeky wank’ at any opportunity they see fit: under desks, in the back of cars, walking down the street.
Which brings me to the main reason that this topic has become so secretive (like an underground drugs ring where the drugs are replaced by vibrators and dildos): male sexual pleasure is viewed as more important.
It’s a point which is displayed in full in the porn industry, where women are so regularly merely objects. There, women are replaceable by a doll or a ‘Call of Duty’ disk to ensure that the male actor’s ego is intact, a ‘hole’ they happen to be using that can remark on how fabulous they are.
This is a fundamental issue because if women don’t realise that they can feel pleasure without a man, then why would they, quite literally, take it into their own hands and feel it? And why, if the industry doesn’t show men that women actually enjoy sex, without the direct input of some kind of male artefact, would they consider it normal that women can experience an orgasm alone?
Education is also key. Sex education is very focused around the biology of the whole intercourse thing, with a strange obsession with penetration: not mutual satisfaction. Despite the fact that only 25 per cent of women get orgasms through penetrative sex, most only get it through a bit of good old clitoris action.
Some schools even preach the ins and outs of male masturbation. Yet, they draw the line at the thought that there may be an alternative for women.
Ask yourself: when did you ‘discover’ the art of female masturbation? Probably by accident, or an experiment after hearing whispers darting around the classroom? Or maybe some weird book that your mum gave you called ‘growing up,’ where there’s a brief quarter page about female orgasms, and an even more brief section on how they are obtained by one’s self.
The strange thing is that when I asked a few guys and girls about this, they largely have the same opinion as I do. One friend said: ‘I don’t feel it should be different to male masturbation.’ In fact most (although still not all) of my girlfriends do admit to masturbate regularly. One friend agreed that the attitude towards female masturbation ‘embodies the idea that females are inferior to males and male pleasure is deemed more important.’ So, if many people are willing to accept and talk about it, why is it still such a private topic?
The taboo topic of masturbation raises too many questions to answer, but I hope is that any reader of this article, when faced with the question ‘do you masturbate?’ will now say a huge ‘YES I DO’ with pride, holding their head high so that all can relish in their lack of sexual frustration (because they’ve already masturbated an efficient and healthy amount). So that, when they are asked this question, they won’t feel as exposed as Cersei as she walks through King’s Landing (shame bell included), and can instead grab said shame bell and shove it right up the shamer’s arse. Or, to really spite them, use it as a dildo.
Illustration by Miriam Cocker