Why 40% of Women Don’t Masturbate

Every now and then male-female relations seem like a bad day at the UN. Understanding the issues is imperative, but no one speaks the same language.

John Gray got rich off the chaos that exists in that weird little world of relationships, by telling us that men were from Mars, and women from Venus. It’s true. We have so many differences it’s a wonder we ever crawl under the covers together. But we do, and still, we speak entirely different languages. It’s a pity we don’t have those interpreter-on-the-fly headphones in our ears like they do at the UN – it’d make hooking up a hell of a lot smoother, don’t you think?

I sometimes wonder who my audience is comprised more of: men or women. The chicks who read me tend to like my feminist attitude that doesn’t get clouded with antagonism towards men, and that’s awesome.

But the men who seem to read me tell me they’re here for, I don’t know, a different take on sex, but most importantly, the fly-on-the-wall perspective of the modern female’s mindset.

So, it’s no surprise I’m getting asked a lot of questions by those guys right now about why women are resistant to masturbating, why some (a staggering 40%) just flat-out won’t masturbate. I’m saddened I’ve heard nothing from the women who don’t, but perhaps the notion of lacking the sexuality and curiousity it takes to be a masturbator is incongruous with reading sites like these. Let’s hope not.

That said, I’m going to tackle that question here and now, but from a point-of-view directed to the men in my audience. There are some commonly accepted reasons for why so many women are hesitant to touch themselves, but I’ve got a few perspectives on my own. I think this topic’s far more complicated than most people allude to. I think it’s a societal problem that encompasses everything from religion to upbringing to media.

Let’s start off with the commonly accepted perceptions of why these women resist the urge, and my take on them.

  1. Dirty Girl Syndrome: These are the chicks who think that if they touch themselves, it means they’re dirty or slutty. This is one of those things I think we can lay the blame for squarely on the media, and on our parents. In the media, even now, it’s only the promiscuous women that are portrayed as masturbators, whereas every guy is commonly accepted to jack off, like it’s a male right of passage. Kim Catrall’s character on Sex & The City is an obvious example. “Of course she masturbates. She’s a whore.” God forbid we ever hear about Oprah owning an assortment of vibes. It’s almost as if we’re still left with the impression that sexually desireable, successful, independent women don’t need to “Jane off,” as one of my readers has dubbed it. And oh, do I beg to differ.
  2. Addicted to Self-Love Syndrome: There are those who can’t help but think that if they get into the mode of masturbating, they’ll become addicted to it and won’t be able to stop. Unfortunately, these testimonials we get of women who masturbate twice a day, for half-hour stretches, etc, aren’t doing a lot to change the Resistors’ mindsets. These are likely the women who do have strong sex drives, who are scared at the intensity of their desires, and who fail to realize that not masturbating is making it worse. They don’t realize we’re sexual volcanoes, and without a release, we tend to blow – or just shut down entirely, which is more often the case. They don’t learn how to regulate that pressure, how to cope with it, and that the more familiarity they acquire, the better they will be able to handle the pressure mounting in times of arousal. Instead, they feel the intensity, get scared, and everything shuts down. They don’t experience orgasms, and don’t know how to get there, and are scared of reaching one.
  3. All Or Nothing Syndrome: “If I masturbate, I won’t be able to come any other way.” These are the people who fail to understand balance. I’m amazed at the number people who ask “Is it possible to get too good at masturbating?” I don’t know the answer, and maybe it is possible, but we have to take into consideration that your touch isn’t ever going to be the same as someone else touching you. This is why it’s not only nice, but smart, to masturbate for your partner. They can learn how you make yourself come. You can take it a notch further and make them have their hand over yours as you do your own “dirty work.” The thing you never, ever have in masturbating is the element of surprise, and that’s the element a lover brings to the table. This mode of resisting is essentially a lack of faith in their lovers. Nothing more. These might be the people who obsess about things and get really intense about anything they commit to, and they might just not know how to achieve balance. Instead, they avoid trying masturbating so they don’t need to find out if, in fact, they can balance masturbation with partner sex.
  4. Obligation to Partner: These are the ones who think they have to save their excitement for their partner. They know they have issues with orgasms, and they think that if they pursue one alone, they’ll never get to come with their lover. They’re also the people who don’t understand that orgasms take skill, take developing. The more you learn about sex, about yourself, the more pleasure you’ll find. They don’t realize that the human body doesn’t have a quota for pleasure. This is as much borne from ignorance as it is fear and bewilderment.
  5. It’s a Substitute for Sex: These are the women who don’t realize that masturbation influences a lot of who we are as lovers, what we’re willing to try, what our confidence level is with ourselves, our bodies, and our performances.

And that is that, some will tell you. That’s all that’s preventing women from touching themselves. But they’re just whack if that’s what they believe. Like I’ve said before, there’s so much more to it, whether we want to accept the blame as a society or not.

Let’s take one example. I’m sure every man who reads this has, at some point or another, had someone say to him, “Suck it up. Be a man.” How did that make you feel? Unable to express concerns or fears? Ashamed to be weak? Forced into the stereotype of being Manly Man when, for once, you just wanted to be human and feel whatever was hitting you?

It’s no secret, vulnerability isn’t exactly encouraged in men. And let’s face it, no matter what you want to say about the media today or the modern woman, sexuality is NOT encouraged in women. We should be pretty, alluring, gorgeous, but God forbid we be overtly sexual.

Chris Rock said it best, as a father, your ONLY responsibility is to keep your daughter off the pole.

Men may want a woman who likes to fuck, who will do the things that are borderline dirty, sexually experimental, but ultimately, we’ve all been raised by fathers who shared Chris Rock’s POV: We have to stay off the pole.

So, we’re raised with hearing tidbits like, “That’s not ladylike.” Personally, I’m not Fluffy-Miss-Feminine. I’m in touch with my femininity, but as a kid, I hated Barbies. I disliked dresses, and I heard, all my life, “That’s not ladylike.” When it came to sex, I believed there were certain ways I had to behave. Masturbation was my secret shame until I was in my early 20s, when I learned my boyfriend loved the fact that I did it, when I heard him tell me how much he admired my confidence and my ability to admit it. He told me it made me a strong woman. I began changing my perspective then.

For women, we have to battle so much bullshit we’ve been fed about what a woman is. Until the media begins embracing the idea that masturbation for women isn’t something exotic that only promiscuous chicks do, that stereotype is going to prevail. The fear and shame and apprehension will remain.

And you can’t tell me that men, when they were boys first discovering their sexuality, didn’t also feel like they had a secret, like it was a sin. We’ve all heard the stories of boys playing under the blankets, hoping not to be caught. It’s the same deal with women, but we’re on a different timeline. Men peak at 18, we peak at 32. Of course it’ll take longer to reach the point of comfort with masturbation. Many women don’t get there until their 20s. Hesitant women need to feel like their lovers aren’t trying to get them to perform like a porn star when they’re asked to masturbate. They need to know they’re not being perceived as someone dirty because they’re touching themselves. Unfortunately, that support isn’t as common as we’d like to think. And also unfortunately, a lot of guys are pretty lousy at requesting things from their lovers without making it sound too dirty or risqué. And that, again, becomes a communication issue.

Like I said, this is a huge, huge topic with vast implications, and it’s not a problem that will go away overnight. The media is responsible. Parents are responsible. Lovers are responsible. And the women, in their ignorance and fear, are responsible. So how does it get fixed?

I haven’t a clue. With time, I guess, and with the media, and parents, and lovers, and women all getting on the same page.

Just a second here, I need to glance out the window and check if pigs are flying yet. Hmm, not yet. So, yes, the problem persists. I’ll give some thought on how a woman might be persuaded to learn the fine art of self-love, but I honestly don’t know where to begin just now. It’d be interesting to hear feedback on whether anyone’s had success on that front. Care to share?

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This entry was posted in Advice, Best of Steff, feminism, keeping it real, Loving and Knowing Yourself, Masturbation, Modern Feminism, Sex, Uncategorized, Women's Department and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

44 Comments

  1. Laura
    Posted January 20, 2006 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree that parents and society has a lot of responsibility, but I don’t know about the media. Media is much more open and positive when it comes to masturbating now that it was just a few years ago. I think that is great.

    All my girlfriends I have a fairly good relationship with, and can talk about sexuality with, masturbates. I started when I was 12, but didnæt know what I was doing, and didnæt feel ashamed about it. Although I did understand that it’s not something to tell my parents. I remember spending several days in a row just lying in my bed, masturbating again and again and again. And my first orgasm — I though I had to pee, so I ran out to the toilet and suddenly, all this slimy stuff was coming out. I thought it was a bit scary, but ok.

    The thing I think has destroyed a lot for me, is porn. I was very open, although a bit shy, about my sexuallity, before I had ever seen a porn movie. When I saw some and had sex the very first times, I always felt the need to be totally into the act, but all I really did was to lie there and wait for him to finish so I could masturbate. I always felt like I had to be a slut and had to degrade myself and be really, really horny all the time. I didnæt want to be ashamed of my sexuality, so that all just turned me off, and sex was just for him to feel better. We always used lube, cos I didn’t get wet from trying to hate myself.

    I did masturbate for his quite a few times, though, and him for me, and I thought that was much hotter than sex. We often helped each other orgasm, and that was very nice.

    I can’t imagine my life without masturbation, and even if I felt bad masturbationg (just like the 40%), I would have done it anyway. You know, one of the reasons boys often start to masturbate earlier that girls is that boys hear from other, elder boys how to do it. Girls don’t. Or, some do, but that’s not the point. It may be that no one told those 40 % how to masturbate, so they never started, and now they are afraid? I also think the religious factor you mentioned is important. I mean, I don’t think I would have done something I knew could send me to hell if I could avoid it…

  2. scribe called steff
    Posted January 20, 2006 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I guess I mean more the mainstream media. Female masturbation’s coming up much more than it used to, but it’s still attached to a lot of promiscuous chicks or what have you, but not the “nice girl” types as much. I guess I’m just wanting to see “respectable” type women outed for masturbating so the more timid chicks out there can get exposure.

    I also liked what you said about the “elder” boys demonstrating for the youngin’s — but I think a factor for guys is that an erect penis is pretty hard to miss, right? A chick can ignore the horniness, squirm in her seat, cross her legs, and it’ll go away sooner or later — but guys can’t easily will a hard cock away, obviously.

    So, I guess physiology’s a major player too.

    Religion’s a HUGE factor for a large segment of that 40%, I bet.

    They need to come out with a vibe+rosary combo, so you can pray to God with one hand, and find heaven with the other. ;)

  3. chunu
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Hi Steff — just your opening riff on gender relations being a bad day at the UN sometimes, and the whole interpreter thing got me thinking of maybe having Jenna Jameson at the sexual UN or something. Or maybe even yourself LOL :)

    As a guy I have sometimes felt a bit dirty to ask partners to masturbate in front of me, let alone what the girls must think.

    But then again, that would be the submissive side of me coming out :)

  4. LolaGetz
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    I don’t really have a cognizant answer to supply here…I just wanted to say that I’ve found your site informative and inspirational.

    It’s a rare occurence that I speak with my girlfriends about ‘S-E-X’ and it’s not because it’s not happening for each other in our adult lives, and it’s not because we don’t trust each other with the knowledge, it’s because…well I don’t know WHY!

    Isn’t that funny.

    On the other hand, we don’t NOT speak about it for any good reason…it just ‘doesn’t come up’.

    And you know…that’s okay too.

  5. StripGoddess
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I agree with your philosophy about society in general inhibiting women from masturbating (and preventing those who do from admitting it in many cases). In my own Sexual Tao, one of my main philosophies is that masturbation is essential to making sure you understand your own body and what makes you feel good sexually. You can’t even help your partner figure that out if you yourself don’t know, and that pretty much assures an less than ecstatic sexual relationship. As I see it, masturbation is CRITICAL to the sexual functioning of the female.

    The current cultural wars in our society are only going to do more harm, I’m afraid. Right now, in schools, masturbation is not even touched upon (no pun intended), and if the family doesn’t discuss it, many girls won’t even find out about it until late in their teens or early twenties.

    Sad.

    Very nice post! ;-)

  6. rya76n
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    All men masturbate. Our bodies produce seman. Have you women ever noticed that if your man hasn’t gotten it in a while, there is a lot more seman? It just keeps producing. We don’t do it because another man taught us how. It’s a need. If we aren’t sexually active, we need to release our semen. So if we have no help we must release ourselves. It’s physically painful if we don’t.

  7. Laura
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I guess that’s why boys have wet dreams? I won’t say that I know anything at all about why or why not men masturbate, but I would think that if you don’t masturbate, you’ll come in your sleep?

  8. The Wrath of Dawn
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    stripgoddess said, “…masturbation is essential to making sure you understand your own body and what makes you feel good sexually. You can’t even help your partner figure that out if you yourself don’t know…”

    How true that is! It boggles the mind to think how much healthier our sex lives would be if masturbation weren’t so taboo, especially for females. I was lucky enough to “discover” the value of masturbation (in a book for teens at a church conference of all places. Did anyone else see that book? I’m beginning to think I dreamt it up.) anyway, I “discovered” it in my mid-teens and set about, church sanctioned no less! finding out exactly what worked for me and can subsequently tell a guy what, where and how I need to be stimulated. But girls do need help. You’d have to be a moron not to notice (and figure out what to do with) an erect penis but our genitals are a little more mysterious… But I don’t think it’ll change any time soon, though. Like lucifleur, most of my female friends and I rarely discuss sex in any kind of serious way that would enlighten any of us. I think we really need to change this, don’t we?

  9. scribe called steff
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Chunu — This is why I think more people need to start writing little sexy notes for their lovers. If you’re uncomfortable asking in the flesh, you can always leave a note. I don’t think it’s a cop-out, but it’s not something that should replace conversation, just aid it.

    Luci — It’s interesting — women who find out I write about what I do (or men, for that fact) INSTANTLY open up to me about shit. They think it’s great, they start talking, telling me things, asking me things — it’s like a giant green light. Fucking weird. I think we’re all itching to discuss these things, but it’s still perceived as taboo, so we feel odd or restrained if we go there. HELL, my BOSSES know I write about these things. One of their husbands supposedly reads this thing. (Uh, hi!) I say have a girl’s night and start talking. You will have a BLAST, I guarantee it.

    Stripgoddess — Oh, good, I thought I was imagining that the media sucks. :) I absolutely agree with you about it being the key to unlocking self-knowledge on a sexual level. That’s one of the next things I plan to write about it.

    yeah, women are more restrained about sex — we’re taught not to kiss and tell, and if we say too much, it might get around that we’re “loose.” There are far too many stereotypes about what makes a woman promiscuous, and it often doesn’t even take action — just attitude and appearance — to create an unsavoury reputation. In a lot of regions, women won’t take that chance, and if masturbation is part of the risk, then that’s just another strike against it.

    SAD, indeed. And thanks for the compliment. :)

    Rya76n — Ah, the dreaded blue balls! Yes, you poor guys. I almost wish there were repercussions for women to not masturbate, more physical ones like you guys suffer — we wouldn’t be in this mess, if so.

    Laura — I think, with your question there, it gives me reason to invite a male writer or three to give me posts on male masturbation, their takes on it. Time for the first-ever guest writers. Gimme time to set it up. We’ll see what they have to say. :)

    The Wrath of Dawn — YES, WE NEED TO CHANGE THIS. I’ve talked about sex with some of my female friends but it still never gets down to the nitty-gritty. What amuses me is how many of them are sure they’re
    “all that” as lovers, and I wonder if they really are. (Same deal with men, though. Everyone thinks they’re a master. It’d be great for a global fuck-ability reality check, n’est ce pas?)

    As for the church book, what church was that? (Faith / sect, I mean.) That’s fucking awesome! I LOVE IRONY! There are religions out there that really do have their members’ well-being in mind — spiritually, financially, sexually, physically — and they’re AWESOME churches and I applaud them. There are ones I hate, too. Ah, well. (Insert recovering Catholic remark here.)

  10. Anonymous
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend who absolutely refuses to masturbate — we even bought her a vibrator, for goodness sake, and nothing. I have a feeling that it’s because of her upbringing — she comes from a very socially conservative Chinese family. I’ve asked her about it too; all she’ll say is that she’s afraid she’d get addicted to it (silly girl). And we go to school in a very very sexually liberal environment. Oh, well…

  11. figleaf
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m just going to chime in here with a couple of points on the boy side.

    - Maybe other men have wet dreams but I don’t think I ever have. Very likely because I masturbate regularly.

    - Despite the rhetoric, men aren’t any more likely than women to masturbate though those who do seem to do it more often. (Yes, there are plenty of men who don’t masturbate at all, and plenty more who do so only rarely. Reasons, as for women, are all over the map.)

    - A couple of studies (sorry, no references at the moment) suggest that men are more willing to admit they masturbate than women *if they believe their answers might not be completely anonymous.” When anonymity (or the perception thereof) is guaranteed the number of women who admit they do (and men who admit they don’t) comes much closer to parity. (The same is true in spades when it comes to disclosing the number of partners you’ve had, how often you have sex, and what kind of sex you fantasize about.)

    Steff I’m totally adoring your exploration of this subject. Thanks!

    figleaf

  12. scribe called steff
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous — HEY, GOOD TIMING with that comment! I teach ESL and I have this one client who’s in her 50s, trying to get to the point of getting university English Lit courses completed, so we talk a lot about writing, and I mentioned I had been writing about masturbation and THAT WAS INTERESTING.

    She’s Mandarin and was born in China, raised in Signapore, and has been schooled very “morally.” She said that masturbation was horrible, she had never done it, and that it was HARMFUL. That doing it would HURT YOU later in life. That it would negatively impact her sex life, etc. I called bullshit, literally, and told her it was propaganda.

    Then I loaned her the video for Pleasantville, since it has that great scene where the always-sexy Joan Allen comes alive with colour after masturbating herself for the first time ever, in the tub. I told her it was a movie about “art and stereotypes.” HEH.

    Fig — So glad you’re digging it. :)

    There are so many stereotypes about men wanking and tossing off, so I’m THRILLED you’ve agreed to join the parade and contribute a column when I tackle the subject of male masturbation. It seems silly for a woman to write about it, and a lot of us, even me, do need some clarity on the subject.

    Anonymity is the great equalizer, isn’t it? It’s why I refuse to remove the “anyone can comment” field on here and have kept anonymity as an option. The voyeur in me would rather know who’s speaking, but that’s the price I pay for greater involvement, greater truths. (And it’s why I keep the stupid frickin’ word verification as a compromise, to fight spam, while letting people obscure their identities. GOD I hate verification! SIGH. Saintly sacrifice of mine. :)

  13. Dave Harmon
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Just a second here, I need to glance out the window and check if pigs are flying yet. Hmm, not yet.…”

    OK, you are a true romantic! (Remember, a cynic is just a frustrated idealist!) :-)

  14. scribe called steff
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Heh. Yes, Dave, I’m a true romantic indeed. :) thanks for the comment.

  15. Autumn
    Posted January 21, 2006 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    What fascinating and, for me, timely discussion.

    I have helped other women learn how to masturbate, and am a big fan of toys as a helper. I’m proud of that. I’ve helped other women find something in themselves that, for some, even a man couldn’t give them. I think there’s personal power in knowing your orgasms are yours to control if you chose.

    I also agree that masturbation plays a large roll in willingness to experiment.

    However, I personally have a weird sexual issue. I can’t masturbate openly where my partner can see me. I don’t like his attention, or him talking to me. I don’t even like him knowing I’m doing it. It’s weird. And I’m not sure why… but it’s something I certainly am thinking about.

    As for change? I think it’s the same change that has to happen so that people can blog about sex and put thier name on thier work. So that people can stop looking at sexologist and therapists and porn stars and think “dirty people.”

    People have to be comfortable, and say thier names. People have to admit their wants and needs. And it’s happening, from what I can see. A friend just had a conversation at a bar on Thursday with 3 other women and 4 men, and was told how nice it was to hear women talking openly about toys and masturbation.

    Also, I’ve known men who feel threatened by women who masturbate. It’s about the power. The power to give that pleasure. Women have the right to own that power.

  16. bella
    Posted January 22, 2006 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    Great post! Absolutely great! Figleaf sent me, btw…

    For years I had the “dirty girl” mindset. My parents taught the sex-ed class at our church when I was growing up, so it was always awkward to think about.

    Then I was alone after a relationship ended, and had to either start taking care of myself, or find another guy. So I bought a vibrator. And I learned what I like. And I learned how hard or soft, fast or slow, at what time of day, and especailly at what time of my month.

    And I’m still learning. And I’ve gotton more confidant when talking to men I date, even telling them I have an use my vibrator. This alternately amuses and intrigues them. But I’m comfortable now talking about it. Mostly because I’m more comfortable with my whole self.

  17. scribe called steff
    Posted January 22, 2006 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Autumn — If a man is threatened by a woman who masturbates, guess what? You can do better.

    In the words of the immortals, “Fuck that shit.”

    You’re threatened by the fact that I feel the need to touch myself on occasion? Two words: Control freak.”

    Reactions like that are the ones that scream loudly about a person’s character or hang-ups. It’s time to check if it’s worth sticking around for the rest of the ride. If it’s fixable, stick. If it’s not, walk.

    It may be a case that they just don’t know what the benefits are. Then a demonstration is in order.

    But therein lies your problem, right?

    Stay tuned, then. I’m gonna write about masturbating with a partner, and I’ve asked someone if they’d be interested in contributing on that count, too.

    Masturbating for a lover can add layers to a relationship, but when you’re new to it, it feels really fucking weird. I’ve been in situations where it felt more invasive and more intimate than sex itself. Strange dichotomy at work there.

    Bella — This is what I’m saying. There’s so much weirdness about it out there. BUT YOU GO, girl.

    Why do I feel like Oprah every time I say that?

  18. chunu
    Posted January 22, 2006 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Hey Steff, if you are looking at male guinea pigs to tap on the shoulder to guest post about masturbation, hmm I have never really done a sex post ever, but I am a male, and I do do that act that we are speaking about every so often, soo…

    consider me tap on the shoulder material :)

  19. Madame X
    Posted January 22, 2006 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I never masturbated until I was 19 years old because I never knew that WOMEN masturbated! I never even knew what an orgasm was…I learned in my CATHOLIC HS sex ed class that men ejacutlated but NEVER was there any mention of orasms.
    I remember learning that masturabtion was an (unaccepted) way to relieve sexual tension but was lead to believe that it was only for men!

    When I was 19 my boyfriend showed me where exactly my clit was located and how to masturbate!
    I’ve spent the last 20 years making up for lost time!

    Thank god for him…I wonder where he is now?

  20. Autumn
    Posted January 22, 2006 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Steff, I totally agree. Those men were, thankfully, never ones I dated. Control freak indeed. Some people are weird.

    I think for me, as I’ve been contemplating this since last night, part of is not a shamefulness. It’s almost like the last little vestibule of my sexuality and I like it being mine. I own it, it’s mine, my little secret part of myself that I get to enjoy.

    Part of it also has to do with what I think about when I masturbate I think. So many people tell me they fantisize during… I don’t normally. I could probably name the few occasions I have. I’m totally and completely selfish at those moments.

    And I think that sharing that, is as you say deeply invasive and intimate — yet very clearly a sign of intense trust. Of course, each partner we have gets diffrent parts of us…

    I look forward to that post.

  21. scribe called steff
    Posted January 22, 2006 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Chunu — Thanks for the offer, but I’ve lined up a couple of my fave male writers for that already. I work quick. I probably won’t do the guestwriter thing often, I like this being MY domain.

    Madam — I have one ex lover I think about often, wondering where he is, wishing I didn’t handle it the way I did. Que sera sera. It’s amazing the footprints we leave when we walk out of a life.

    Autumn — I can understand your line of thinking, actually, and I respect that. But perhaps what you need to do is change your mindset — it’s not the act itself that is the last vestibule of yours, but rather, the environment and mood you set in which to do it. And if you choose to share it with a man — and I guarantee you, the odds of it improving your sexual experiences with him are pretty damned high — you can control the experience so that it’s not much like the environment or setting you’d use for a solo/solitary experience.

    Perhaps if you establish distinctions, you’ll better be able to let go of the possessiveness of the experience?

    I do believe that most men realize they’re being trusted with something if a woman masturbates in front of them, so I think they understand that intimacy and that trust. Most do, anyhow. I believe it’s why so many of them get so aroused at the notion.

  22. Datingmaster, Jerusalem
    Posted January 23, 2006 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    the problem is if we let women masturbate then they will say hey why do we need guys
    we men are sexually starved as it is

  23. scribe called steff
    Posted January 23, 2006 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Holy shit, dude, are you serious?

    I sure as hell HOPE you’re joking. “If we LET women masturbate…”

    Gee. Maybe if your WIFE was “in touch with herself,” she’d be interested in having sex with you more than four times a month.

    Just a thought.

    You’re sexually starved ‘cos she doesn’t what she likes — and because you might not know how to do what needs to be done.

    But don’t give me any bullshit about LETTING a woman do a goddamned thing.

    I *really* hope you’re joking. Because if not, then you’re just another sexist prick that makes the stereotype of opressive orthodox religions far too sadly valid.

  24. ZGD63
    Posted January 24, 2006 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if an earlier poster said this, but female masturbation in some adult circles is referred to as Jilling…as in Jack and Jill. Some folks even throw Jack and/or Jill parties…would love to see a Jill party!!!

  25. scribe called steff
    Posted January 25, 2006 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    I’d forgotten about it being called jilling. Oops.

    I dunno how down with a masturbation party I’d be. I’d find it odd, but I could sure see the allure for others.

    I’ll have to tell the strange story of walking in on my bro and his buddies when they were 15 and I was 13, sometime. Whew.

  26. Orchid
    Posted April 23, 2006 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I used to be a closet masturbator, and before that, A Woman Who Doesn’t — part of the 40%. My problem was Dirty Girl syndrome. It just isn’t nice to touch yourself. Hey, guilt isn’t sexy, so I did without the guilt — and without the orgasms.

    I finally started doing it in college when I was wondering what an orgasm felt like, but it was still my secret shame. Even when a guy asked me to do it with him, for him, I refused, because it just seemed so… I dunno. It still made me feel guilty to enjoy myself, and even moreso if someone was witness to my weakness. Ya know?

    It was actually only recently that I was able to admit that I masturbate to my husband. I mean, he knew I did it, and I knew he knew, but it was something that I liked to ignore in the hopes that he wouldn’t give it much thought. The first time I did it in front of him, I was self-conscious, but he did love it so much, and after I got over myself, so did I.

    But you know, last night was the first night I used my favorite vibe on myself with him there. I can have anal sex with him, I can talk dirty to him, I can shop around for another girl for us, but I just can’t let him see me [whispering] mas-tur-bating. But oh, the joy of having him beside me, doing pleasurable things to me while I was doing pleasurable things to myself.

    Really, those 40% should be doing it, with their partners or without. I’d like to think that writing about it frankly, as you’re doing, and continuing to hammer home that It’s OK to Be a Sexual Person is the best thing to be done. I, personally, am elated to have recently found all these intelligent sex blogs that aren’t all about prurience, but about the human sexual experience.

  27. Linda
    Posted June 2, 2006 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I learned how to masturbate by just reaching down there and stroking myself between my legs. For most of my life, I didn’t masturbate very much. I grew up a “Catholic good girl”, also. For a long time, I thought maybe God didn’t want me to be sexual. I thought sex was all about the men and boys. And then one day I read a book about pagan religions and the Goddess and sacred whore and how it’s OK with God for me to be a sexually powerful woman–because there’s an erotic Goddess who is very sexual, has lots of boyfriends, and her name is Inanna or Venus/Aphrodite! My sexual odyssey truly began then. These days, I masturbate regularly. I’ve learned female ejaculation, Tantric breathing techniques that REALLY increase my pleasure and orgasms, AND I keep a box of vibrators with batteries included underneath my bed (I have a recharger and several rechargables!), AND a “goody-bag” of BDSM toys, such as wrist-cuffs, whips, a paddle, a leather collar… also, I have collected and read plus WRITTEN erotic literature for AGES. So I have lots of sexy books on Tantra, polyamory, BDSM how-to, and of course good ol’ erotica. Yes, I read stuff like Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, Blue Skies No Candy by Gael Greene, I’m With the Band by Pamela DesBarres, and the Story of O, plus The Sleeping Beauty Series (the BEST BDSM fiction EVER).… and lots more. The Ethical Slut, The Sex Magick book, etc.

  28. Claire
    Posted September 7, 2006 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I have just discovered this site and my God do I feel like I’ve been missing out!

    Anyways, I don’t masturbate. Purely because it does nothing for me. This is more than likely down to the self-loathing I have after a crappy childhood. After reading some of what you have said, I am trying to change the way I think about myself, slowly but surely.

    Keep it up, love your work.

  29. Virago
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about masturbation a little while ago, and it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. Masturbation is fun, pleasurable, it teaches you about your body, it can reconcile poor self image and sexuality…it can be so many things, but too many women see it as ‘dirty’ or ‘wrong’, and if you haven’t got a map or your erogenous zones how can you expect your partner to locate them?

    As for getting women to masturbate, I don’t know. I guess blogging is a good start, as is talking about it openly, but really we need some kind of outreach service. If only we could travel the world promoting masturbation!

  30. Posted October 11, 2008 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    COMMENTS FROM WHEN I REPOSTED:

    1. Slow Learner
    Posted May 25, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink | Edit

    They don’t experience orgasms, and don’t know how to get there, and are scared of reaching one.

    *puts up hand*

    Not because I was afraid of getting addicted, though. I simply had no idea how to proceed: for whatever reason, I didn’t figure masturbation out as a teen (possibly because I never figure anything out without research and analysis, and written instructions just don’t tend to be available to bookish teenage girls with limited net access and a thing about Rules). In the last few years, I discovered the internet, and some instructive websites… but nothing really did it for me, and, now convinced that I was somehow dumb for not mastering these things on my own, I didn’t have the guts to really experiment.

    I didn’t know what arousal *was* or how to process it. A patient man came along and enlightened me on many such things, and tried (very hard) to teach me to take care of myself, but no luck. I bought a vibrator, and still no luck. I had no idea what I was supposed to be feeling like, or how long I should persist, or how to build up tension. I think perhaps I mistook the initial plateau for ‘damn, that didn’t work’.

    It was a case of not being able to orgasm until I’d had one. Eventually, by a lucky combination of emotional intensity and perfect alignment, one took me by surprise, and henceforth I have been able to repeat the process with the aid of batteries. It’s still bloody difficult a lot of the time, though.

    Until I knew there was a payoff at the end of the effort, and exactly what it amounted to, I couldn’t be bothered investing time and energy into an attempt which would probably fail anyway.

    also– FANTASTIC blog. If i’d found this earlier in my life… I probably wouldn’t have figured out how to masturbate, but any number of other things might’ve gone over a lot more smoothly.

    2. Scribe Called Steff
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Edit

    SLOW LEARNER — Thanks so much. Yeah, in a male-centred world where everything’s about penises, a lot of women just never realized it had to be about them and their organs, too. Hopefully the kids today are learning what generations before ‘em missed out on.

    Thanks you. :)

  31. Anna.K
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I have masturbated on occasion however no matter what I tried it never felt good. I have used a vibrator and my boyfriend is the most giving person ever, but I have never orgasmed. I am twenty four years old, and I’m really jealous of you ladies. :) Ah well, practice makes perfect, I hope.

  32. Jimbo Jones
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Further evidence of the venus/mars divide. I maintain that, as a male, if I had been raised in a sensory deprivation tank, I would have nevertheless discovered the behavior in question. Yes, I thought it was “dirty” at first, but what I thought about its morality really didn’t matter; the urge was real and had to be accommodated somehow. I have trouble understanding at a gut level the posters above who feel themselves inhibited or repressed by “society.” Either you feel a biological urge, or you do not. If you don’t, that’s fine. If I didn’t get hungry, I wouldn’t eat; the sex urge is no different than hunger.

  33. Tanzanyt
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Wow. I am an 18 year old female. When I was about 16 or so my momed called me in to watch Oprah with her (that was her way of giving me “the sex talk”) so the topic was all about female masturbation. Not too long afterwards I tried it for myself, it was fun to say the least but I dont think that I did right.

    I read this blog and it just made it clearer that I should keep my nails short and keep working at it ;)

    I would really appreciate if you could post those other links to the colaborated posts somewhere for me to get to or let me know the tags please. Something else that would be nice is if you could post something about how to go about it… If that wouldnt be too weird :)

    I will be back to see your blog regularly!

    Thank you :) :)

  34. Katie
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I have never felt the need to, urge to or anything. What is actually the point of telling people they have to if they have no need for it? Forget what society and parents say if people have the urge the will anyway. If people enjoy it then why not but don’t make people who couldn’t care less feel they have to to ‘find’ themselves and be happy. Some people are fine without, some like alittle and others go ‘a little overboard’ respect each one.

  35. Jamie
    Posted July 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    First off, I will say that not only males get hit with the “suck it up” response. As a female I have experienced this a lot. From both my mother and father. My father would usually say this if i was physically injured or emotionally distraught. My mother told me that beauty was pain and to not complain about trying to be ‘beautiful.’ Well both of these led me into depression, self destruction, and pre-anorexia. I tried to hold in all emotions. So do not be saying that males are vulnerable because women are vulnerable too. And none of that has anything to do with masturbation.

    Secondly, I don’t think I fall under any of those ‘labels.’ I have tried masturbation and I really do not like to touch myself because I know it is me and it just doesn’t get me off. Mind you I have never used any ‘toys’ and that could be the difference between me doing so and not.

  36. Yvonne
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I have never wanted to…tried because. A guy i fancy asked but there was no want no urge i just felt nothing i felt empty i really just dont want to its not about any feelings on this matter i just get no urge no thought nothing.…and the guy i fancys tring to change it but no matter how hard i try i just dont want to.…

  37. Sky
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m 43 years old and only masturbated a few times in my life. It does nothing to me. It’s as if I need that human touch from a man to make me feel good. Reading all of your stories…I feel foolish to not masturbate. Everyone seems to do it. I am I think, pretty opened sexually. I enjoy sex with my husband and love being naked. I am not afraid to dress sexy and I love when my husband takes sexy pics of me but I feel like I prefer the whole romantic-sexy as opposed to the kinky-sexy which is probably why masturbating doesn’t really do much for me. Maybe I have watched too many soaps in my life lol! I guess I maybe need to be less romantic-fluffy and more sexy-lusty. It’s a work in progress…! Wish me luck! xx

  38. C
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    You’re missing one… I dont masturbate because I dont feel much pleasure from it, infact I find it very boring. Some might think Im doing it wrong, but no. Im a very sexual person but self-love isnt for me, id rather someone else do it to me ahaha. I have tried different techniques because of the hype around the subject but…meh. LOL

  39. La
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I agree with the last few comments… I don’t have a problem with sex and I am not shy about having sex or feel that’s it dirty Ive always felt that its natural. I’m not scared of “becoming addicted” or that my boyfriend won’t be able to satisfy me as a result..I’ve just never had the urge to masturbate.. Ever. The only reason I have ever tried is because of other girls talking about it and how fun it is.. But nothing happens. I am like the woman above. I need the human touch of someone else to be turned on. Pornography does nothing for me.. It’s just ppl having sex.. I know I’m attractive and I love my body so that’s not the problem either. I don’t think its right that you all are making it seem like there’s something wrong with a girl who doesn’t not do it. I’m happy with my sex life and have never had any qualms. And it’s great that u all can enjoy that.. More power to you. But ppl get turned on by different things and me touching myself doesn’t do anything for me. I need a mans touch to be turned on and their smell and the actual feeling of being intertwined with someone. I guess I’m a romantic too lol

  40. jack
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a lot of ladies just don’t have much of sex drive. Masturbating may help if they don’t know how to achieve orgasm which makes them uninterested. I could see them not caring about sex if they never experienced pleasure from it. Blaming the daddy seems like a tired cliche. Get over it ladies you’re not daddy’s little virgin forever. If the thought of doing yourself bores you think about what your lover is thinking.

    • Dustin
      Posted January 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Ended a relationship in October with someone whom I got along with quite well. She admitted she didn’t have much of a sex drive. She only had one orgasm in her life, “by accident”, or “didn’t know HOW it happened”, but didn’t like to masturbate because it’s boring and sad.

      Yes, I tried to understand. No, there isn’t childhood trauma. Yes, I suggested buying a vibrator, and when she agreed but didn’t do a thing about it, I bought one and it stayed in the package. I was told that “if we just try” then it might happen.

      I wasn’t obsessing over it, but I got tired very quickly of silent sex that didn’t seem to go anywhere, and I DON’T need a fleshy receptacle for my sperm.…as in.…I guess we’re done when I get off. Then we stop.

      She said that conversations that she’d had with people along the way made her think that she was “broken”. She was defiant that she liked sex (silently, I guess), and that it was only important for me to orgasm.…she was used to NOT having one.

      Not trying to be an asshole…but…BORRRRRRINNNNNNG! I can’t have that kind of sex for the rest of my life. There WAS a lot of closeness, but after 10 months…it felt like our sexual effort sisn’t match up at all.

      That one hurt.

  41. Dimitri
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    That was an interesting read. As a guy, I have never been uncomfortable with masturbating. All my friends were doing it, and because I grew up in Greece which is a not-so-liberal country but completely liberated on sexual matters, all girls seemed to know what male masturbation is, telling me things like “want me to wank you off, don’t you” or “you’re doing it too much, little fucker”. Truth is I never felt compassion for these girls. I hated them, they’d have sex with anybody (I’m talking about 6th grade) and above all, they masturbated themselves. I hate it when women masturbate, I know it’s wrong but I can’t help it. I like girls because you’re innocent, you’re sweet, you’re not men. My ex gf seemed to be the perfect girl for me, until I found out (she was 14 at the time) she was obsessed with masturbation and went on omegle video chat playing with guys, showing them her tits, pussy and masturbating with 50 year olds. It’s normal, okay, I can’t tell you it’s not because I’d be a liar, but when it’s not overdone. That might sound religious but I’m not this kind of guy in any way. Excessive masturbation leads to lust. Love is lost. We can see it in your faces, we know when a girl is masturbating, at least I do. And when a guy asks you to masturbate with him one week into the relationship, trust me, he doesn’t love you and you’re just offering him your priceless body.

  42. Darren
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m a guy, and whenever I’m told to “suck it up”, I do just that. I flip a switch in my head, and “man the fuck up” as we say. I know this isn’t a huge part of the discussion, but I DO believe everyone has that switch they can just flip on or off. Anyone that says they can’t, is flat-out lying. If it’s possible, it’s not impossible. Don’t tell me you can’t, when you haven’t even tried, and when you try.. try your best, otherwise you’re just wasting your time, only discouraging yourself even more. That being said, I just felt the need to throw in my two cents, however off topic it is.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] give you: Why 40% of Women Don’t Masturbate. Feel free to comment here OR on the original post; I’ll see both. The original post has a […]

  2. By The Voice Online on November 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    […] than 70 per cent of surveyed people answered they masturbate, while 22.5 per cent declined and five per cent did not answer the […]

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