All throughout middle school, it’s a running joke between boys—whacking off, jerking off, playing pocket pool, southern comfort, spanking the monkey—the list goes on and on. It was not only considered funny, it was acceptable. At the same time, twelve-year-old me was being taught to wear a bra and cover up and be embarrassed about having my period.
Boys, even more so now, constantly pull at their junk and scratch it and just touch it all the fucking time. Can someone explain to me why I would be stared at if I was to put my hand down my pants like that?
Why aren’t girls encouraged to explore their sexuality like boys are? How come it was OK for boys to trade their dad’s Playboys from the eighties, but I wasn’t even aware of what a penis looked like until 9th-grade health class? (And even then, it was a CARTOON.)
Masturbation is a known stress reliever and can help to keep your heart rate and blood pressure in check. It also can help to induce sleep and reduce restlessness, along with alleviating women’s menstrual pains.
So why is masturbation still considered a “man’s thing?” Why wasn’t I taught (or at least led to believe) that “flicking the bean” feels fantastic until my boyfriend did it for me? Why aren’t young girls “allowed” to explore their own bodies? How come it always seemed like a “no-no” (and still does)?
I didn’t even know that other girls even touched themselves until I went to college: A drunken conversation led me and two of my girlfriends to the topic. My roommate and I didn’t know anything about it, and our friend (a passionate feminist and self-liberator) gasped when she learned of our ignorance.
“You’ve never masturbated?!”
My face flushed and we both shook our heads. Thanks to cheap Sangria and her outgoing personality, I actually garnered some knowledge of the mysterious activity. Eventually, we were asking questions without hesitation, and it was the first time I realized I wasn’t alone in the desire to just know.
Why did it take all my life and too much alcohol for me to sum up the courage to ask? Why is it OK for everyone to know my brother masturbates, but I feel like it’s a topic I could never even bring up? Why didn’t my mother, or anyone’s mother for that matter, teach us that it is OK? That it’s normal—healthy, even.
Whatever. One of these days, I’m going to explore for myself. And no double standard is going to stop me.