Undoing Masturbation Shame
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
I remember the early days of my masturbation discovery.
Although I had discovered masturbation somewhere around 6-7, I don't think I was fully aware of what I was doing until about age 13.
Sex and sexuality were super open topics in my household, but I was very aware of the social taboo masturbation carried. When I was that young, I don't know what actually got me off: The touching myself, or the thrill of doing the taboo.
Fortunately, this translated into my adulthood by becoming a kinky brat and making me like some taboo stuff. Thank you, societal shame!
Being well versed in masturbation, I still recall the day my best friend at around 14-15 asked me if I had ever touched myself. I told her yes, and I loved seeing her open up to me about her experience.
It's as if she felt relief that she could share this part of herself with someone and not be looked at in a different light. We talked about our touching techniques, how many orgasms we could have, what turned us on, and if we ever used any tools.
Our dynamic was so open, we would get bored after school, lay in the same bed, pop a film on Pornhub, and masturbate by each other. It was fucking awesome.
Now, this definitely wasn't the easy case for most folks. I had a very privileged experience of feeling little to no shame with my vulva, masturbation, and being able to share it openly with my social circle.
Those around me? Well, in Salt Lake City, most my Mormon peers didn't even know where their vaginas were (forget the clitoris).
Even in my senior year of high school I recall explaining to a peer that you do not pee out of your vagina, that you have two separate holes (vagina and urethral opening). Masturbation was seen as something super dirty, especially if you were someone with a vulva.
That's not an exclusively Utah experience. Almost everyone I know has dealt or is dealing with some form of shame around masturbation- and we are here to undo this shit.
While masturbation can feel shameful for many, there are a multitude of other reasons one may feel uncomfortable with masturbation. Some may have experienced trauma around their genitals and not wish to touch or interact with them. Some folks may have gender dysphoria and not feel comfortable with their birth organs. Some folks may be disabled and not be able to access or comfortably explore their pleasure. These are all valid and must be taken into account in the spectrum of sexuality and self pleasure. If you are one of these folks, I would love to redirect you to sources that may be more educated and helpful for you on your journey to pleasure. Please feel free to send me an email!
Learning mastrubation shame
We hear the question all over the place.. What made you shameful of your sexuality? Of masturbation? Your genitals? I think the better question is, what didn't make you shameful?
One of my youngest memories of shame around masturbation came from a friends religious family. When teaching the youngsters about their body, they referred to masturbation as "raping yourself".
In what fucking world does the term "raping yourself" not cause trauma and fear of your body? You're so young, impressionable, and touching yourself is an act of rape? This is the fucking problem.
In between the culture you grew up in, the religion you may have been a part of, the society that framed you, your family, your peers, experiences you had... the culprits are absolutely everywhere.
It's never just one reason that made you feel insecure with yourself. It's a multiple factors that all fall together into a massive mess that is inferiority of the self. As sex bloggers, educators, writers, or speakers: this is often what our work is based around.
How can we be leaders or provide the tools needed for folks to undo the multifaceted avenues of shame?
For me, that comes in form of normalization. To be open, honest, and give others the courage to think clearer without shame.
To provide a safe place where there is no judgement, surprises, or problems: just guidance, celebration, and education where it's merited.
The shame we speak of is collectively felt in many ways- you're not a random anomaly: You're human, and doing the best you can.