A recent study found that almost everyone masturbates. But for some reason, we’re still reluctant to talk about it like it’s something to be ashamed about. So it’s easy to see why there may be some misconceptions out there on what really goes down during solo sex sessions. Just like there are things women don't know about male masturbation, there are quite a few things men don't know about female masturbation, so here's the deal.
“We do it at home, at work, at school. Some start in childhood, others in adolescents, by accident or through porn. We do it because we're horny, bored, lonely, sad… you name it,” Dr. Sharon Thompson, MD, MPH, FACOG tells Bustle. “Women use fingers, pillows, blankets, vibrators, or a favorite object. There may not be as many terms for, or jokes about, female masturbation but that doesn't mean it's not happening all around you… literally.”
It’s really not that complicated. “There is a prevailing cultural myth that women are less interested in sex than men; that we want orgasms less; that we cheat in relationships less," she says. "This is a myth perpetuated by all the ways women are silent and silenced about sex. Many women have a strong sex drive throughout our lives and we want it back if it goes away.”
Here are six things men don’t know about female masturbation:
1. The Clitoris Has The Starring Role
"Anatomically, the clitoris (not the vagina) is the feel good organ in women with 6,000-8,000 nerve endings (same as the head of the penis)," Thompson says. "When women focus on their own pleasure, penetration is an afterthought. Some women do enjoy having something in the vagina (and/or anus) during masturbation but most focus mainly on the clitoris when achieving an orgasm is the goal.”
2. Everybody Likes Eye Candy
Women masturbate to porn, too. While probably not the same kind of porn men like, plenty of women still do. “In one recent poll, one in three women reported watching porn at least once a week. Unfortunately, most of the freely available porn leaves women wanting (no pun intended) because it is so male-focused,” Thomspon says. “Fortunately, other women, and some men, have heard the call and more and more directors are making porn that involves women as more than objects of male sexual desire and that portrays female pleasure and sex the way women have it.”
3. She May Not Be Thinking About You
Women have lots of sexual thoughts, fantasies and kinks, many of which don’t star their current partners. "Because we are still expected to be sexually passive, you may not have heard about them," Thompson says. As she suggests, start a conversation in an open, non-judgmental way with your partner and you may be pleasurably surprised at where it leads.
4. Vibrators Aren't A Threat To Penises
While the clitoris is made from the same types of tissues as the penis with the same sensitivities, much of the clitoris is under the surface. The result is that many women require the deeper stimulation that vibrators easily provide. According to Thompson, vibrators can be (and for many women must be) an integral part of sexual pleasure both for solo and partnered sex. She suggests incorporating a vibrator into penetrative sex the same way you include fingers, lips and tongue.
“While it’s true the some women have pet names or euphemisms for the vibrators, choosing to use a vibrator is a personal preference, not an addiction," Dr. Angela DeRosa, author, speaker and founder of DeRosa Medical tells Bustle. "It is all about personal preference and sexual satisfaction. There's nothing wrong with working the vibes into partner sex. Many who do never go back.”
5. A Woman Can And Should Masturbate Regardless Of Whether Or Not She Has A Partner
Some people are threatened by the idea of women masturbating — especially if they're in relationships — which is ridiculous. According to DeRosa, that’s like saying “Why buy another pair of boots when you already have one pair?” You’re going to buy the other pair of boots.
“Sexual experiences and orgasms come in all shapes and sizes, each one is different and shouldn’t be in competition with one another,” DeRosa says.
6. Masturbation Won’t "Use Up" All Of Her Orgasms
“The Big O can come to visit any day of any week and, sometimes, come banging on the door on multiple occasions. Women are not born with a finite set of orgasms,” DeRosa says. “So bang away.”