Female masturbation tends to exist in a shroud of mystery. The numbers found through research and surveys suggests that most of us do it and yet, many women will not admit to it when asked by their peers or intimates.
Most young gals happen upon their sexual pleasure by accident. Perhaps you discovered something enjoyable about riding your bike down a bumpy road or you felt tingles while cleaning yourself in the bathtub. You enjoyed this behaviour but never knew why. You knew not to talk about it, not to ask questions. You secretly repeated the behaviour. You had no idea that it was perfectly normal.
Perhaps these feelings of body bliss never completely translated in partner sex. Even without orgasm, sex is pleasurable but you deserve the fireworks. And sometimes, in order to get there, you need to truly know yourself.
Because our sex lives are private, and no two women are the same, it is hard to know if that pleasure you had experienced in your past was actually an orgasm. I'm willing to bet it was. My journey was accidental too. I had stumbled upon feel good moments but had never thought what I was doing was masturbation. I knew not to talk about it. I knew it had to be a secret. At 19, my friend and I made a trip to the local sex toy shop. I was trying to be all cool about it but I was mortified and really had absolutely no idea how to talk about what it was I was looking for. I bought a toy, and hid it in a drawer for 3 months. One brave day, I opened that drawer. I have never looked back. By learning to be in control of my own pleasure, I have had better partner experiences. Knowing what I want allows me to tell them what I want (assuming they aren't already providing it). The older I get, the more comfortable I am with my body and its natural inclinations. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by strong, beautiful women who are open and free about their bodies. It isn't like we discuss this over Sunday brunch. It is not a frequent topic of conversation (nor should it be). Details remain private but it is something we laugh about from time to time. I have learned that masturbation and orgasms are not anything to be ashamed of.
Masturbation, especially female masturbation needs to be a part of any sexual education discussion. The more young women (and young men) learn about their bodies, their sexual function, their pleasure, the healthier they will be. It is basic human biology and when we shroud it in shame and secrecy, we are teaching young girls to be ashamed and uncertain. Our bodies are beautiful, mysterious, pleasurable machines and they should be celebrated, even if we are the only ones doing it.
h/t: Refinery 29