I'm a girl in my 20's who is completely aware that some of her friends and other girls masturbate often to release stress and feel good. I've never done it however, nor have I ever felt the need to. So I keep thinking is that something not normal, am I the only one?
You are not the only one! But it can still be difficult to feel like the odd one out, especially regarding something so intimate.
There is already a lot of pressure in South Asian society for women in their twenties; from building a career and financial concerns to romantic relationships and evolving family dynamics. Our media’s (Bollywood and Hollywood, alike) latest obsession with showing us how fun and easy it is to self-pleasure, particularly for young women, is just the newest way in which we are encouraged to be like the “cool independent city girl”. The irony is that the general South Asian population does not even have access to proper sex toys, and that cultural conversations around safe sexual pleasure and sexual hygiene are still taboo.
Even though we believe in open conversations at TSP, when it comes to relationships, we have found that it is important to set boundaries regarding our private lives (and private parts). All your friends don’t need to know the intimate details of your body, your desires and your sexual adventures. Just make more space for those one or two friends who make you feel comfortable, understand you and give you tons of affirmations for the decisions you take in your life.
The conversation around masturbation is often simplified as “it's pleasurable and everyone does it!” but the reality is that masturbation is demanding! Sometimes, the environment isn't right, there are too many distractions, there is not enough time or the mood is just never there. Our bodies are complex, and each one works differently and at a unique pace. There are plenty of people (not just women) who enjoy other sexual activity but not masturbation, and vice versa. Additionally, the asexual and the “ace spectrum” community has written some very affirming material regarding what atypical pleasure can look like, and we encourage you to look it up!
Ultimately, masturbation is just one of the ways that we are intimate with our bodies. You clearly even state that you don’t feel the need to do it! If releasing stress and feeling good are the objective, you could try to explore others. Considering that masturbation works best when there is a visual or mental stimulus, reflect on some of the ways you could feel mentally and physically excited. For example: dancing, taking a hot shower, running or other kinds of physical stimulation, all mimic parts of the body’s physiological response to masturbation. Try and take some time out for yourself to feel connected to your body and what it needs (or doesn’t need). One of the ways you can do this is by observing and noting how you feel while looking at your body in the mirror.
We hope we’ve led you to question the overemphasis of genital stimulation when it comes to pleasure, and that you feel less pressure when it comes to masturbation!
The Second Puberty