We’ve all had those moments when we realise that people do things very differently from us.
When I was 20, I found out from some hot girl in a smoking area that self-pleasure for her was way more than a 2-minute wank with a bright pink vibrating rabbit and a duvet covering your whole body (which then ends in a blanket of shame washing over you as you frantically shut the laptop and pretend like you hadn’t just watched five girls squirt on a super nice lady lying in a child’s blow-up pool). From that moment, I worked out that my style of self-pleasure fitted into the category of ‘getting it done quickly and ignoring the shame.’ Hi, I’m now 29 years old, and still have that same teenage shame following me around every time I want to touch myself.
Sex education was never good growing up. It was almost non-existent, in fact. I didn’t know about masturbation until I was well into my late teens and I stubbornly ignored it when I did find out, as I felt like it was gross and just not something that was my vibe. I was living very deep in the idea that good girls didn’t masturbate.
The 2013 report into sex education by Ofsted showed that only 19% of 18-year-olds believe that SRE should be taught by a teacher from their schools. Just look at the Netflix show Sex Education if you need more persuasion that we need professional, diverse external educators to tackle sex and relationship education – otherwise, we’re left with a Geography teacher that thinks the clitoris is folklore. In my case, sex education was simply a middle-aged woman who came into class and showed us pictures of her vagina up close. At age 15, looking at an A3 laminated picture of a woman called Jan’s vagina just didn’t sit well with my idea of sex and pushed me away from ever wanting to explore my own body.
I’ve only now started to untangle the opinion I have of myself and what I want from masturbation and how it would look outside of an efficient tick box activity. I know I’m not alone in feeling the guilt and shame that I talked about earlier, either. A study in the US spoke with 765 women, asking them about their feelings around masturbation. 30.6% of the women surveyed had feelings of disgust, shame & guilt. A friend of mine, after hearing about this article, confessed that she still has immense catholic guilt each time she cums. To be exact, she said that her mother and childhood priest always appear in her head mid-orgasm, which is not fantastic for anyone trying to get off.
We all know that there still needs to be a big social shift in the way we think about female pleasure and that it’s a topic that needs to be made especially visible to young women. Quite honestly, we should be told that masturbation is as important as putting away for our pension.
Now, back to my masturbation journey. I started by looking online and found a number of websites helpful in unlearning shame and re-educating myself to the joys of masturbation. Sexplain’s blog offers inclusive, diverse sex education, sex toy stockist Sh! has a range of toy reviews and advice online and Ama’s website offers comprehensive guides on solo female pleasure. Then, I delved deeper (ooh) with the help of YouTube. I use YouTube for absolutely everything. It has taught me how to dismantle IKEA furniture, how to curl my hair with a GHD, and now it has taught me how to find the energy and concentration needed to masturbate for longer than ten minutes. As you can imagine, this search led me to some great videos, but I’ve also had to watch a woman called Tracy finger a first aid doll using a glove and some purple plasticine as the vagina. It’s hit and miss, but luckily, I was able to find more hits, which I have ever so kindly listed below with an easy to follow scoring system.
Karley from Slutever treats us to an up and close chat with Betty Dodson. Okay so this isn’t exactly a tutorial on making me cum, but I’m a sucker for a Slutever episode. This led me to discover the holy grail that is Betty Dodson. Anyone that has a spare 5 minutes should watch this clip – Betty is a pioneer in helping women reach their best orgasm potential and owning their bodies. She explains that if you can look at your pussy up close, you can see that it’s a thing of beauty, with immense power. I finished watching and felt very in charge, then spent the next four days on Betty’s website trying out her different techniques. As someone who has now read the majority of her blog posts, I suggest that you follow this link and enjoy. Betty, you are better than god.
Easy to follow- 4/5
Did I cum? 5/5
So, this was confronting in the first 46 seconds. Hannah tells you to set the scene and emphasises that you don’t want to be rushed. Already red flags are popping up in my mind. I am always rushed. I like to be efficient and I have booked in this 2-minute time slot before dinner. This video taught me how silly it was not to treat my vagina in the same way that I would my partner when having sex with them. I’m being so kind to other people but giving myself zero lovely things. Reminder: light some damn candles and take your damn time please, Katherine. Most of her tips I already knew, but I needed someone to look me dead in the eyes and reinforce that there is zero rush to cum.
Easy to follow- 5/5
Did I cum? 1/5 *
*only because my housemate came home with friends and it was not the time to use a very loud vibrator with people outside my window.
So, this video is sold as being just like meditation. I like meditation. I tell everyone I’m great at it when I’m not. For this, though, think less zen and more having a woman dressed like she belongs on a Blue Peter episode telling you to find your sexual curiosity. Her voice, unfortunately, reminded me of an ex-girlfriend, so I spent the majority of the time frustrated that I had never received my favourite pair of Dickie trousers back. After I got over all my judgement, she wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t geared to a gender which I thought was great, and was based around your personal curiosity and exploring parts of yourself that you aren’t comfortable with. I think it would be suited to people who don’t have ADHD, though, so I’m out.
Easy to follow- 2/5
Did I cum? 2/5
I found many more great videos that also led to a loss in hours & fluid. I am still rehydrating and apologising to my friends who I flaked on in the quest to take time for myself. I blame Betty. So, how do I feel about my research? I’ll admit this to the group as we all seem like friends now: I’m still struggling to spend so much time alone intimately with my body. It doesn’t come naturally to me at all, but I’ll continue watching Betty Dodson and marvelling at the work that she’s doing for women.
Betty, I am starting a fan club for you. I need a treasurer, so DM me, gals.