When I think about first forays into female masturbation, I think about secrecy and shame and some super weird pictures in a book I got after my first period. I didn’t really… get it. And, when I did start to understand what felt good down there, I still don’t think I even knew that what I was doing was masturbation. Which is why, when I watched the SNL short “First Got Horny 2 U,” I not only laughed, but felt totally relieved. As I sat there watching the sketch, I was thinking less about how freaking funny it was and more about how important it was. Because where else have you seen a three-minute sketch devoted to female masturbation?
In the sketch, four female cast members and host Elizabeth Banks are dressed all in white (and in some of the most ‘90s outfits you’ve ever seen) and are standing in the middle of a set that looks like a futuristic factory. So, basically like they are straight out a Backstreet Boys video, and the look is perfect for the song. Because, in between the chorus, the video cuts to each of the women as adolescent girls, getting super turned on by some pretty stellar ‘90s crushes — Robbie from Dinosaurs, JTT, and the very questionable Menedez Brothers. (Awkies.)
But better than the references to all things ‘90s, the sketch gets super graphic about how each of these girls masturbated to these ‘90s crushes. And it wasn’t anything dainty or discrete, like some masturbation scenes are made to seem. Take this list of the “10 Favorite Masturbation Scenes from TV and Film.” Even here, most of the “favorites” show male masturbation, and the ones that don’t show female masturbation as a rather… subtle act. The women close their eyes and tilt their head, and, save for a little sigh or drop of sweat, that’s about all that happens to signal the fact that they’re masturbating. In other words, if I were back to being a 12-year-old and watching that, I would basically have no idea what was going on.
But the SNL girls? They use showerheads, the back of the couch, a perfectly propped pillow, the floor, and even the wall to get all of those feelings worked out. In other words, they show female masturbation in all of its real, desperate, sweaty glory. It’s not dainty or delicate, it’s just as physical and frantic as it is when guys do it, and the reality of it is finally coming to light. Because if I have to watch one more scene of a woman having an orgasm from a kiss or an out of shot boob grab, I’m going to throw a dildo at my television screen.
Female masturbation is just as necessary as male masturbation, and it's just as inglorious. The fact that SNL chose to show it as it really is the first step in coming to more realistic terms with female pleasure — what it looks like, where it comes from, and why it is something worth showcasing.
I just hope the sketch does more than make people laugh. I hope it begins a conversation about lessening the shame around female masturbation, and gives some pointers to the newbies on how to do it well.