Jenny Block gets off on May: It’s National Masturbation Month!
Editor’s note: May is National Masturbation Month. You can probably imagine what the best way to celebrate is. If you’re a guy, you likely don’t need a special month to remind you how great and important — and necessary! — masturbation is. But if you’re a woman, that might not be the case.
Our columnist Jenny Block was so intrigued by that dichotomy that she wrote a book on the subject called The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex (Cleis 2016), out this week. Here’s a sneak peek into what the book has to offer and why Jenny is not only a clitevangelist, but also a self-pleasure promoter!
In this life where we share so much in the public space, there are very few things that are all our own. Our bodies and our pleasure in those bodies are two such things. It makes no sense to waste that, and it makes even less sense that others would think they have a right to control or censor our behavior. And yet so many people who have no business poking their noses in are doing exactly that, and creating harmful myths as a result.
Here are nine of my least favorite myths about masturbation:
1. It’s shameful.
2. Nice girls don’t do it.
3. If you’re dating or married, there’s no need to do it.
4. It’s gross.
5. It’s not worth the time.
6. Women don’t have strong sexual urges, so there’s no point in doing it.
7. A woman will ruin herself for a partner if she does it.
8. A woman does not have a right to her own body or her own pleasure.
9. Women’s bodies and sexuality exist solely for male enjoyment.
Not one of those is true. Here’s what is true about masturbation:
1. It’s healthy. Masturbating is good for so many things that ail you. It helps with pain, depression, insomnia, lack of energy and body image, just to start.
2. It’s natural. You don’t need anything except yourself to do it. We all come equipped with exactly what we need—a female body and a natural, healthy desire to engage in it.
3. It’s as important in a relationship as it is out of one. Regardless of whether you are partnered or not, you should have a happy, healthy relationship with the body you live in, and that includes masturbating. You won’t wear yourself out or use yourself up. In fact, orgasm and desire beget orgasm and desire. The more you do it, the more you want it.
4. All women should do it. No matter who you are, or what your religion or cultural background. No matter your age or whether or not you are a virgin or what part of the world you live in. Masturbation is an important part of knowing yourself sexually, and nothing should keep you from it.
5. We could set the world on its end if all women did do it. Masturbation is magical. Seriously. If all women masturbated, the world would be a better place. Women who masturbate regularly are happier, healthier, and more self-confident, self-sufficient and self-reliant.
6. It’s empowering. It’s next to impossible not to feel better about yourself when you masturbate. You know how to make yourself feel amazing, and that is amazingly powerful. You have the power to fuel yourself to do all of the incredible things you want to do. There is no reason not to tap into that source.
7. It can keep young women from looking outward for pleasure. When you’re hungry for pleasure, when you’re filled with sexual desire — as I hope every woman reading this is — it can distract you from what you are seeking to achieve. It can also lead you to settle when it comes to partnering. “At least it’s someone. At least it’s access to an orgasm,” you find yourself thinking. But when you masturbate, you have an outlet for that desire, and you can focus on the things you want to do and on finding the partner you actually want to be with.
8. It’s no one’s business but our own. It’s great to talk about masturbation, if you feel comfortable doing so, because it helps others to feel comfortable with their own masturbation. But you also don’t have to tell a soul. That is one of the best parts about masturbation. It’s about no one but you. It involves no one but you. Masturbation is your birthright.
9. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
It makes me angry that a woman making herself feel good is something that some members of society consider a shameful act. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and it won’t be the last time you’ll hear it from me— there is nothing wrong with masturbating. Ever. For anyone. Whatever you have to do to get your mind clear of the critics, do it.
It’s not always easy. But it’s always worth it. Start by avoiding sex-negative conversations, people and media. Instead, indulge in sex-positive dialogue and reading materials. In the moment, remind yourself that those naysayers are acting out of fear and clinging to misogynistic beliefs that have no value. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that what you’re doing is healthy and safe, and trust that those critics are small-minded, hurtful people whose opinions don’t deserve your attention. Then, turn your mind to pleasure!
Excerpted from The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex by Jenny Block, foreword by Betty Dodson.
Have a question about sex you want Jenny to address? Email it to [email protected].
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2016.