Masturbation Monday: Media Myths About Female Masturbation

I’m a woman, and I love wanking! What I don’t always love, however, is the weird narratives that surround the topic of female masturbation. Here are some of the most persistent ones I really wish would go away.

Remember: not all women have vulvas and some people with vulvas aren’t women!

Most women don’t masturbate (or only do it very rarely)

Come on, we all know this is bullshit by now, don’t we? Newsflash: the overwhelming majority of adults of all genders masturbate at least sometimes. According to a survey by Tenga, American women masturbate an average of twice per week.

Of course, some do it much more often, and some much less. It’s all normal and it’s all cool!

Female masturbation is a full-on romantic night in for one, complete with candles and bubble baths

I’m absolutely not knocking it if this is your thing. You do you! But media depictions of women wanking tend to enormously overplay this one very specific vision of it.

I think this plays into sexist “women don’t like sex, women like romance!” tropes. Nope. Lots of women like romance. Lots of women also like orgasms. And sometimes the two go together, sometimes they don’t. Either way, based on the conversations I’ve had (and I talk about wanking with my friends probably more than your average person,) the number of women who masturbate this way is actually pretty tiny.

Confession: I am twenty nine years old and I have never once in my entire life masturbated in the bath.

Women only masturbate if they can’t get a man

Leaving aside all the heteronormativity of this, it’s ridiculous to suggest that the only time a woman would want to masturbate is if she cannot access partnered sex.

There are many great reasons to masturbate, whether you have a partner or not. Stress relief, pain relief, to help you sleep, to show yourself love and affection, or just because it’s fun! I firmly believe people in relationships should maintain a sexual relationship with themselves if they wish.

Masturbation isn’t a sign of not being able to “get” a partner. It’s also not a sign that a sexual relationship isn’t satisfactory.

Women masturbate by penetrating themselves with absurdly enormous objects

My masturbation probably involves vaginal penetration less than 5% of the time. Take out the times when I’m explicitly testing a penetration-based sex toy, and it’s probably more like 1% of the time.

I enjoy penetrative play with a partner. Very occasionally I’ll go for it by myself. But really it’s all about the clit. and I know I’m not alone in this! A lot of people with vulvas enjoy vaginal penetration, of course. But for the overwhelming majority of vulva-owners, the clitoris is the key to orgasm.

For those of us who do sometimes or always use penetration as part of our masturbation routine, it’s usually with regular dildos (which can range in size from small to somewhat large) rather than the absurdly enormous rubber dongs you see in porn.

(Again: no judgement whatsoever if penetration with extremely large objects is your jam. I’m just saying it’s not anywhere near as typical as media portrayals would have us believe.)

Only weirdos and sex addicts own sex toys

According to that same survey, around a third of American women own a sex toy. (This may be somewhat biased by the sample chosen, of course – a survey of my friends would reveal that near 100% of people of all genders own a sex toy or seventeen!)

Sex toys are awesome and everyone who wants to should experiment with them, both alone and with a partner! Owning a sex toy doesn’t say anything bad about you. It says that you’re a sexual human being and a badass who owns their pleasure unapologetically.

Also, sex addiction? Not. A. Thing. So let’s leave that myth to die, shall we?

Women don’t like porn

Women are – are you sensing a theme yet? – individuals with individual preferences! Some women like porn, some don’t. Some women like more softcore porn, others like hardcore kinky shit. Many women like their porn visual, while others prefer to read erotica.

There’s an enormous spectrum of tastes, they’re all valid, and they’re not determined by gender.

What myths about female masturbation (or any masturbation) do you wish would die already?

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5 thoughts on “Masturbation Monday: Media Myths About Female Masturbation

  1. Masturbation is a solo project. I know it’s specifically called mutual masturbation I suppose, but it just gets left out of the masturbation equation completely a lot of the time.

    Great post! it’s weird isn’t it, how women are unique human beings with unique likes and dislikes! What a revelation!

  2. my god, I AM a woman and I genuinely thought I was weird for not using dildos much when I masturbate. Thank you for busting that particular myth especially. That said I do like BIG dildos when I do want one!

  3. So strange how…we’re all individuals…and do things differently…and don’t fit into neat categories. Huh, who’d have thought?

    Real talk — great post, as always.

  4. This is everything. Thank you for posting this, I seriously relate to it. Honestly love how open you are about everything.

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