Sex & Sex Education  Sexual Exploration  Singlehood 

How I Found Sexual Empowerment Through Masturbation

Tatyannah King Feb 11 2020

How I Found Sexual Empowerment Through Masturbation

As long as I could remember, I was a sexually conscious individual than most and hyper-aware of myself and others as sexual beings. At the age of 5, my sexual awakening began as I binge-watched episodes of Dragon Ball Z and then suddenly felt the urge to put my hands in my pants and explore my vulva. Granted, as I said, I was young so I didn’t fully understand what I was doing or why I did it. All I knew and all I cared about was the fact that it felt good. It didn’t take long for masturbation to become my favorite pastime. Sometimes I’d use my hand and many times I’d dry hump my pillows or stuffed animals. I’d do it so much that I occasionally forgot about being discrete and would wank out in the open on the living room couch or simply pull the covers over myself in my bedroom as if others couldn’t clearly tell something was going on if they came into my room without knocking. 

And yes, that did happen at times. I got caught by both of my parents on different occasions, but one particular talk with my mom when I was in the 4th grade stood out to me the most. I hardly remember what was said, but I remember the mood being extremely uncomfortable for both of us. Because of that awkward interaction, I repressed my sexual mindfulness for years. I assumed that if I couldn’t please my own body without it being a huge deal then there’s no way other forms of sexual activity would be without negative repercussions. 

It wasn’t until I went to college that I started masturbating again for both for pleasure and because I found it to be a major stress reliever. More importantly, I had the epiphany that masturbation was liberating. I began to pay more attention to the way different parts of my vulva reacted to various forms of touch and motion. Pleasing myself ultimately made me feel more sure of myself as a sexual human being without shame. Early on in my sophomore year of undergrad, I had a conversation with two of my girlfriends about sex that unexpectedly turned into a debate about self-pleasure. And finally, there I was at age 20, openly admitting for the first time in my life that I masturbated regularly. I’ll never forget the reaction from my friends at the time. The next few seconds were only filled with a slight pause and uncomfortable laughter followed by a stern “I don’t touch myself. That’s kinda weird.” Despite their reactions, I noticed that I didn’t recoil in embarrassment like I would in the past. Instead, I challenged their opinions and asked why they thought self-pleasure was weird. 

Truth be told, their opinions about masturbation weren’t atypical. The history of the outlook of how certain societies view sex and masturbation has been daunting. For starters, the reason behind the invention of Corn Flakes cereal was to promote a healthy diet as a way to keep people from touching themselves. You’d think that outdated views about masturbation are something of the past, but I found myself shocked at how many people criticized last week’s Super Bowl halftime show, partially due to some crotch-grabbing done by Jennifer Lopez in the performance. Ironically, many people deemed it “inappropriate for kids” even though actual masturbation is a normal occurrence in children (and adults alike).  

People try and spin masturbation and sexuality in general into a taboo topic, but I can attest that the benefits of taking agency over my pleasure have been nothing but positive. Not only has it enhanced my own self-growth, but I also noticed that masturbating frequently positively affected my romantic relationships as well. Because I was already aware of my sexual needs from exploring on my own, it was easier for me to be able to communicate them with another person and be assertive about what I need to make me orgasm. 

To me, masturbation is indicative of sexual journey and sexual empowerment. When I touch myself, it’s my way of neglecting all the negative conditioning I received about my body as a young woman, disregarding the idea that sexuality is something to be hidden and experienced yet never openly discussed, and actively owning my gratification. 


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