‘The ultimate safe sex’, ‘airing the orchid’, ‘polishing the pearl’, ‘tossing the pink salad’ and ‘auditioning the finger puppets’ are some of the more inspired slang terms for female masturbation.
Yet slang for male masturbation still outnumbers slang for female masturbation by 10 to 1, according to ‘Touch yourself: how, when and why women masturbate’. (This educational infographic also includes other titillating facts such as: 41% of women enjoy masturbation more than intercourse, 32% use it as an aid to fall asleep and 60% do it two to three times a week.)
So why is male masturbation talked about more openly than female masturbation? Is it because society as a whole is still more scared of girl bits than boy bits?
A vulva called Happy
Case in point: “Tina Gong, creator of the crowd-funded HappyPlayTime game, wants to teach women how to masturbate and how to confidently say ‘I like to play and that's okay.’ Apple, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with it,” according to ‘HappyPlayTime, the solo sex education app for women, rejected from Apple's App Store’.
Meanwhile apps dedicated to male masturbation, hooking-up with strangers and staring at women’s breasts have all been accepted by Apple.
Yet Apple chooses to ban “a friendly neighbourhood vulva” named Happy whose only crime is to want “to free the world from a silly social stigma”.
Masturbation master classes
Betty Dodson (85) is also happy. As the ‘godmother of masturbation’, she credits her enduring pep to “masturbation, pot and raw garlic”, according to ‘Masturbation: the secret to a long life?’
Betty has come out of retirement to re-launch her female masturbation workshops in NYC. “After 50 years at the frontline of the sexual revolution, Dodson's work is being rediscovered by a new audience. Some are young, fashionable types who seem to have it all but – she says – have never had an orgasm.”
Her advice: embrace your fantasies. “Women tell me they worry their fantasies aren't feminist enough. I tell them: 'Honey, the dirtier and nastier, the better.’ I have a Rolodex, a whole series. My fantasies are so dirty, they'd put me away,” says Betty.
“Her message – keep up a sexual relationship with yourself, you can have first-rate orgasms by yourself; stop doing what you think your partner wants to see in bed – seems more necessary than ever in an age when increasing pornification of our culture is making these ideals harder for women.”
May is International Masturbation Month. For the last 20 years the awareness campaign has strived “to celebrate and provoke discourse about this so prevalent but often disrespected sexual practice”, according to ‘Ready, set, masturbate’.
“Well, if the Kinsey Reports were right that almost everyone masturbates, at least at some point in their life, you could argue that this is a behavior that needs no boosters. But it’s also a serious source of shame and opprobrium. [...] Ordinary people who do it think there’s something wrong with them, and it’s painted as a pathetic third choice if you can’t get someone to have sex with you. In fact, if you can shake off this bad rap, masturbation is amazing. It can provide extraordinary pleasure, or just help you get to sleep, teach you about your body and sexual responses, and help keep the blood flowing in the nethers,” says one of the initiators.
One of the month’s more light-hearted events is the Masturbate-a-Thon which takes place in venues around the world. At one in London, “the friend of a friend brought his violin along and played lovely music for the masturbators, sans pants. Classical music just gives masturbation so much more gravitas!”
Less gravitas, more fun
A pop video featuring masturbating women has gone viral.
“Dutch electro dance outfit ADAM have been making headlines this week for their wonderfully simple and extremely effective film clip for their recent single Go To Go, in which the female trio are filmed from the chest up, singing their song, doing their thing … while on their way to reaching climax with a vibrator,” according to ‘What’s so taboo about this Dutch group’s 'NSFW' video?’.
The video – more about fun than sleaze – reflects a “sobering reality that all men have to come to terms with sooner or later: that we’re really pretty superfluous as far as making women feel good goes. Like, in general, not just the bedroom.”
Try masturbating on that, fellows.
Why do you think male masturbation is more generally accepted than female masturbation? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.