According to my mother, women don’t masturbate.
The fact that I do, and she knows this because she reads what I write and I don’t find the need to keep quiet about the subject, is not only upsetting to her but further proof that I “act like a man” (a phrase both she and my father have used to describe me on several occasions). My father actually regards it as a compliment, while my mother is hoping her words will kick some sort of conventional ideas of how a lady should act into my brain.
No such luck yet, mom.
Despite my mother’s thoughts on the subject, women do masturbate. In fact, a lot of them do — and do it often, and it’s pleasurable and makes for a better sex life. If you know how to get yourself off, then sex with someone else is that much more satisfying because you’re confident with yourself and know your body.
Here are five things that you perhaps didn’t know about masturbation. Hopefully these facts will make some of you more open to the subject. Let the climaxing begin!
1. People who have sex regularly masturbate more than those who don’t.
Weird, right? Well, not really. If you masturbate, you’re more likely to be sexually open, and therefore, you know, have sex. Also, as I said above, if you know what you like when you’re solo, it will enhance your sexual experience with your partner.
2. More women masturbate than are willing to admit.
Actually, this fact shouldn’t be very shocking, but perhaps the percentages will astonish you. Most teenagers are already going at it with themselves: Surveys show that before both genders have reached 18, 80 percent of males and 59 percent of females have given masturbation a whirl.
As far as people over 18, the numbers get a bit shady. Some research shows that as many as 92 percent of women “admit” to it, while surveys from Kinsey put that percentage anywhere between 50 and 70.
3. Older women masturbate, too.
Your sex drive just gets more revved up as you get older. A 2010 Kinsey study found that roughly 30 percent of women in relationships between 60 and 69 years of age had “recently” double-clicked their mouse. For those over 70, “solo masturbation was reported by more than half who were in a non-cohabitating relationship, compared to 12.2 percent among married women.”
4. Some countries (though obviously not the prudish U.S.!) encourage daily masturbation for their teenage population.
In 2009, the U.K. government got on the bandwagon with other European nations to encourage teenagers to masturbate at least once a day. Not only was masturbating defined as a “right” in health pamphlets, but it was also touted as helping to reduce STDs and teen pregnancy. Smart thinking!
5. Masturbation wasn’t always taboo.
Why do we love the early Romans? Because they were open about their sexuality! Even as early as the 4th millennium BC, a clay figurine depicted a woman touching herself, and obviously enjoying it. All was great until the early 1700’s when an anonymous pamphlet titled Onania was published and put an end to all the fun.
Calling masturbation a “heinous sin” of “self-pollution,” and depicting archaic devices to prevent this “pollution,” it gave masturbation a bad rap for centuries to come (no pun intended). This mentality continued through the 16th and 17th century, when those who did masturbate were regarded as mentally ill. Over 60 percent of mental and physical illnesses were blamed on masturbation.
Although the 1960s helped turn around some of these ancient views, for some, especially those who are fiercely religious or are my mother, masturbation will never be acceptable. Hey, your loss. So go ahead and touch yourself; you’ll make the Divinyls proud.
This post originally appeared at YourTango.