Ladies, What’s So Scary About Masturbation?

I noticed a specific link being passed around on Twitter this afternoon, and after reading a tweet referring to a parallel between ‘using Twitter and how frequent one masturbates’ - my curiosity got the best of me. 

The link redirects to an article on Okcupid.com which has 10 really interesting charts pertaining to sex, masturbation, body image, etc — where all the data collected for the graphics were obtained from OkCupid users.

While I was skimming through these charts (and yes, there really was one about masturbating and Twitter usage!), the one I found most interesting was a graph which displayed graphics about female/male masturbation habits.

The image shows the ratio (male-female) of individuals who claim that they have never masturbated – and then the information was further broken down into seven religious categories (see image).

Photo courtesy to (blog) Okcupid.com

Photo courtesy to (blog) Okcupid.com

Out of the seven categories, the graph shows that both men and women who are Jewish scored the highest when it comes to anti-hands on fun; yet I suppose what bothers me the most about this graph is – in every category women always rank higher than men (in terms of claiming that they have never masturbated). 

[Check out the link above in order to see the other religions included in the study.]

So here is where I am curious to get some MSP-viewer feedback, ladies – what’s the deal?

Do you think women are being genuinely honest when they claim they have never masturbated? And if so – what do you think is holding them back from embracing their ability to self-satisfy?

I’m really interested in hearing your feedback because I’ve experienced some negativity from my own ‘personal circle’ when it comes to the idea of female masturbation (and might I add – the negativity isn’t just coming from females. A guy friend of mine referred to the idea of women touching themselves as “weird” and just seemed “wrong”).

So if you have an opinion on the subject, as always – I’d love to hear it.

Learn about MSP posts as they happen by following us on Twitter@mysexprofessor or make friends with us on Facebook. You can also follow Madeline Haller, the author of this post, @voiceMLINE.

About Madeline Haller

Madeline Haller

Madeline Haller is an Assistant Editor for MensHealth.com. Haller received her bachelor's degree in journalism from Indiana University, with a second concentration in gender studies. When she's not writing for MSP/MH, you can find her running, enjoying a cup of coffee, or searching for the perfect shade of red lipstick.

  • RM

    Well all I can add to the subject is personal experience. This was high school – early 90′s – and our gym teacher left us to our own devices in the classroom in the back of the gym which was supposed to be used for the semester we studied “health”. Closest we ever got was watching this anti-drunk diving movie that Michelle Pfeiffer did before she was famous. Anyway, this very outspoken girl decides to sit on the desk at the front of the class and talk about stuff. Somehow she got on the subject of masturbation and said that everybody does it and if you say you don’t you are lying. As someone who likes to avoid drama, I was ignoring her, I heard everything she said but I was doing homework at the time so I wasn’t looking up. I feel this tap on my shoulder and the girl behind me asks me in a whispered voice what is masturbation. OMG! Now this girl was quiet and nice and her idea of a fun night in high school was bowling with her parents but I did not think she was THAT sheltered. I told her I’d explain it later, I didn’t know what else to say. Luckily she never brought it up again so I never had to tell her what it was. This was before most people had the internet at home so I don’t know if she asked her parents or if she looked it up herself. So basically what I am saying is if there are girls like this out there then there must be more people who know what it is and don’t do it. As to the issue of more girls not doing it that I can believe as well, even though I’ve been doing it since I was three or four and haven’t looked back. I’ve heard it all….social stigma, girls parts are more “complicated”, religious upbringing, why should I masturbate-that’s what sex is for, it’s just weird and I’d feel dirty. But also I think there’s the issue of lying in surveys like this and I think there’s always going to be some respondents from both sexes who lie even though there’s no reason to. Why it seems more women aren’t masturbating probably goes back centuries. There was an episode of Oprah where her friend Gayle is so opposed to the idea of her daughter learning about her genitals and how to masturbate she basically lost it on tv. She thought it would turn her into a slut an guarantee she had sex was too early. With mothers like these still holding onto silly notions after the so-called sexual revolution I think alot of girls’ hangups start at home. The progressive and healthy set of ideas about sex ed and masturbation is out there in the open as a choice, but its still not a mainstream concept.

  • RM

    Oh and I should add this….Like I said we did zilch in P.E. We never learned anything about health. We were supposed to have 2 weeks of sex ed in our biology class. Our parents had to sign permission slips and everything. Day 1 was watching a 10-15 year old video of a public speaker who gives abstinence talks. She had nine or ten kids and this must have been filmed in the late 70′s/ early 80′s. I went to public school so this was not what I was expecting. Day 2 was more of the same video. After that there was no more sex ed, no talk about the reproductive organs, nothing. It’s stuff like this that is not helping our kids have healthy attitudes towards sex and their bodies. Adult educators aren’t just scared of masturbation, they are scared of sex and the human body in general!

  • http://twitter.com/voiceMLINE Madeline Haller

    Thanks for the feedback RM! The high school memory you shared was very interesting; if people don’t even know about self-stimulation, they certainly will not going to be participating in it!

    Which brings me to my next point – I completely know what you mean in term of the not-so-helpful sex “education”.

    Although I’m sure the quality of sex-ed varies depending on the location of the school – I still think it is crazy that sex educators don’t discuss masturbation or at least inform them of the act (especially considering the controversial debates around “abstinence only” sexual education vs. the increasing rates of teenage pregnancy).

  • Erader

    Not true! I know someone who masturbated all the time in high school but didn’t really think it was masturbating because it was in the shower and she was just “cleaning” herself really well and she never came from it or anything.

    I think the low rates of masturbation are because there are so few sources of info in the media for kiddies. Anyone can watch a movie that shows a guy masturbating and figure out how it’s done. But for girls, there’s so many ways and you have to watch tons of porn to get a good understanding of all the things you can do. Or just have an active imagination.

  • http://profiles.google.com/hmoyseenko Holly Moyseenko-Kossover

    I agree with your experiences. Many people I know think of male masturbation as just a normal (“everyone does it!”) thing, and female masturbation as negative (and I’ve even heard it described as “dirty”). I see nothing wrong with it, and I feel like cultural and social negative connotations can cause guilt in people who either try masturbation or already do and enjoy it. I have many students who will tell me that they’re afraid to tell their partner that they masturbate. I think masturbation can be a great experience for many people – solo or together. It can help partners understand what works for their other, or just be a great stress relief!

  • http://twitter.com/voiceMLINE Madeline Haller

    I may have to disagree with you here on the whole shower thing… Although masturbation does not always result in orgasm, typically with masturbation the stimulation is sexual – not just mere contact with the genitals. But hey – I’m not your friend – so I’m not sure of the motives :)

    And I 100% agree with the lack of resources for girls; it’s not as mainstream for females – so if a girl cannot talk about it freely due to feeling embarassed, she’ll literally have to seek other options in order to become educated.

  • Alopzrox

    I think this is wildly sad. Young women today are getting the message that they’re supposed to be sexually aggressive, that they should enjoy giving blowjobs and getting anal, that they should empower themselves by “hooking up” rather than needing a relationship…and they are still stigmatized for pleasuring themselves?!?! I don’t understand when women lost so much power over their sexuality.

  • BossMare

    I don’t know if Madeline is still looking for comments, but here goes: I never masturbated because direct clitoral stimulation was not fun, decidedly not fun. I always had orgasm during intercourse, but the only time I ever had one during direct clitoral stimulation was when I was eating a lot of tofu (lots of estrogen, I guess). Well, now I am having some good bodywork (which woke up my back, very damaged from serious horseback riding and the consequent falls), and my sexual desire is intense. I decided to try a vibrator and am asking, Where was this charming toy all my life?!?!? And I think many men are very jealous at the idea of female masturbation. Two women who reviewed the vibrator I bought said who needs a man? I’d rather have intercourse, but my husband has some health issues, and I love being able to have fun whenever I feel like it.