As I sit down to write this, I can’t help but be reminded of my own journey with self-pleasure, sex, identity and liberation over the past few years. The Kathleen from two years ago wouldn’t have gone anywhere near a vibrator, let alone be sitting down to write about masturbation with such enthusiasm!
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It seems appropriate to start by sharing a little bit about my own journey with self-pleasure. Learning about the magic of my own body was something I only started actively working on three years ago (I am now 23). Somewhere deep down I think I believed that if you were not a man, you did not seek your own pleasure, or at least the majority didn’t.
Oh, how mistaken I was. In a split second, my world – which was built upon the male gaze – was quickly dismantled when my best friend left her vibrator sitting next to her bedside table very casually.
When I asked about it, she didn’t flinch, back track, hide it with embarrassment. I was startled. When given the space, I quickly opened up about my own thoughts around non-male masturbation. She looked at me with confusion and said, “Right, get in the car we are going to the sex shop now.” My nerves and I drove to Sydney’s Oxford Street with her by my side, and into my first sex shop we went. I bought my first self-pleasure toy that day, and the rest was history… Well, not quite.
The power I felt being able to make love to myself, without anyone around, was incredible. But also brought up a lot of shame, which I am still unpacking. I had forever felt uncomfortable about my body, sex in general and my attraction to women/genderqueer folk. Maybe it’s a coincidence (I don’t think so) but when I began to make myself orgasm, I began to face this shame head on. It seems freeing myself sexually has had a ripple effect onto my whole life.
Long story short, two years on I dumped my misogynistic boyfriend, am openly queer, talk about sex as if it was going out of fashion, am no longer a passive participant in my life, I actively pursue the things I believe in unapologetically, own a hell of a lot of Womanizer’s and gift them to anyone who wants to start exploring their own body too.
This all leads me to one question: Why do we live in a society that doesn’t prioritise woman and gender queer folk’s pleasure and joy?
I could give you the lengthy answer to this question. But we would be here for days. In fact it would turn into a history class. For further information as to why the patriarchy exist visit www.google.com.
The short (ish) answer? Men cannot stand the idea women not needing them. Period. Therefore we cannot tap into our desires and our own sexual control that sits right in front of us. We are instead conditioned to believe ‘girls just don’t like sex’ and if they do, without the gaze of a man, they should be ashamed! Society uses language like ‘slut’ or ‘frigid’ to shame us for having autonomy over our own bodies (this goes for gender queer folk too).
Prioritising self-pleasure and joy as anything but a cis man is hard in a society that upholds the male gaze. Women are seen as sexual objects for the pleasure of the heterosexual male viewer. We see this play out with constructs such as the censoring of nipples. Both the same body part, but one is sexual and the other is not. Go figure!
Okay Kath, I get it, but I thought we were here to talk about self-pleasure and joy?
We are! But I believe there is no access to this until we dismantle the social constructs in which we live. We must understand before we can unlearn. I could talk about self-love all day long but unless we understand the reasons why we have been conditioned to not love ourselves we cannot begin to love from a genuine place.
- I was unable to embrace my queerness until I understood my internalised homophobia and why it existed.
- I couldn’t enjoy making love to myself until I unpacked why I felt so much shame around sex.
- It wasn’t until I learnt about the male gaze that I was able to give up dieting and activity work on loving my body at every stage.
So now you’re asking “How do I go about doing this? What steps can I take today to start prioritising my self pleasure and joy?” Oh, I’m so glad you asked! There are so many ways in which we can start to put ourselves first. A concept, as discussed, that women and gender queer and trans folk are foreign too.
So, to get us all beginning our journey of joy and pleasure I have put together a list (we
Read feminist books.
Some of my favourite:
- Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
- Women don’t owe you pretty by Florence given
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
- Fight like a girl by Clementine Ford
- She wants it by Joey Soloway
Get yourself a Womanizer and start exploring your own pleasure
My fave product is the Womanizer Premium. Changed my life.
Declutter your social media feed
This was HUGE for me. Anyone that makes you feel shit or you’re following for the wrong reasons: Unfollow.
Some great people to follow:
- Alexandra Billings
- Florence Given
- Indya Moore
- Abbie Chatfield
- Theo Germaine
Be conscious of the content you are consuming
Watch TV shows and movies that make you feel good and brave and seen and valid.
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire
- Duck Butter
- Feel Good
- The Pleasure Is Ours – Goop
- Mrs. Fletcher
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Say “no” more!
Normalise setting boundaries. Not a fu*k yes?! It’s a no!
This is just a personal favourite but honestly whenever I’m feeling MEH, or insecure or not in my body, I chuck on my favourite playlist (mine consist of 80s dance music) and dance around like nobody’s watching – because they ain’t. It helps me get into my body like you wouldn’t believe.
Get to know your body
Touch yourself. Walk around naked (as uncomfortable as it can be for a lot of us). Go topless when possible. Take a sexy picture of yourself for YOURSELF. Get used to dating and loving yourself.
Surround yourself with like-minded people that make you feel good from a genuine place
Remember, no one journey is the same. We are all on our own paths. We will all comes to different conclusive because no one’s needs are the same.
I’m going to sign off here, but I hope I have planted a seed of joy and discovery for you. If you take one thing away from this, I hope it would be the desire to get to know your own body. From head to toe. Educate yourself and never be afraid to step away from the status quo. It was created to control majority of society; therefore, it is not only okay but important to question it to free yourself. It is time to put your pleasure and joy first! And most importantly, masturbate as much as your heart desires!