JOURNEY TO THE MOTHER INTERIOR
Females masturbate a lot less than males. Is it the lack of self pleasuring that is the cause of many women’s negative sexual issues, particularly the inability of so many women to be fully orgasmic? Has the guilt and shame surrounding female masturbation curtailed women’s sexual power?
I don't think I've ever heard of a man who hasn't masturbated. He might as well not breathe than not tug on his manhood. It's as easy for a male to masturbate as it is to take a leak. Hold it, pull it, stroke it and Wa La. Awesome!
Boys may experience some shame in the early days, especially if sex has always been an embarrassing concept and not up for discussion. But I imagine that the wonder and delight at the outcome soon outweighs any negative connotations. Most boys would feel quite proud of themselves and rightly so. Guilt flees rapidly.
A woman however, is a wholly different. To masturbate, a woman must enter herself. Enter the unknown. The forbidden. Her internal universe. Inside. Within. Within is not just of the body. Within is emotional. It is the heart, the soul and the mystery.
Journeying into oneself is no simple matter. It is complex, emotional, a mirror, a landscape and a quest. A quest that she may not want to undertake for fear of the awareness she might find. There is trepidation, wonder, fear and secrecy. Hardly a tug in the dunny.
This is also reflected in the way males and females approach sex. Mostly, for women it is an emotive, internal act whereas for men, less so. Female sex and masturbation require a spiritual as well as physical journey.
Mystery, pleasure and shadowy realms are all juicy fodder for the onset of guilt and shame. We have at least two millennia of religion and philosophy warning us of the risks of hedonism leading us from the path of virtue and cleanliness.
Both religion and philosophy, the two great foundations of modern culture, agree that to be virtuous, one must suppress appetites and desires, as they can lead us from the narrow, sturdy path of goodness to the entangled, fraught path of danger and sin.
The Bible is overflowing with references to the dangers of pleasure - sexual pleasure being the most treacherous.
"Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." Corinthians 6:18
The success of Christianity depended upon the elimination of the pagan mysteries - you cannot idolise false gods when there is only one god. Females were a mystery unto themselves in this male dominated world and the power and potency of female sexuality was too much of a wildcard that could threaten the great religious powerhouse.
“Woman is defective and misbegotten.” Thomas Aquinas - priest and philosopher.
Of course, you would think that modern Christianity would be a little more flexible and that by now we would be agents of our own destinies - ungoverned by religious morality.
Yet if you tap into any modern Christian website you will see that sex within a strong relationship is acceptable whilst masturbation is not. Hardly a recipe for sexual success. Ergo, women must rely on their male partners understanding their sexuality - not themselves.
"If masturbation is done alone and accompanied by lust, then it is a sin." Pastor Mark Driscoll 2012*
Philosophically too, pleasure is to be avoided if one is to lead an honest, moral life.
"Pleasure is dangerous because it is a deceiver. It leads us astray with false appearances, bewitching and beguiling us, cheating and tricking us. In particular, it deceives us by appearing to be good when it is not." Plato
For philosophers, it is reason that shines its light on life. When reason fails, it is only through the spirit that we can dispel the lure of pleasure.
Accessing the spiritual to banish the pleasurable when pleasure itself is of the spirit is no easy path. No wonder so many of us can't enjoy sex with abandon and climax freely.
For a woman then, masturbation requires an inward journey that contradicts our society's strongest moral foundations. Unbridled pleasure and inner power might be expecting a bit much. Pleasuring herself, entering herself, uncovering her folds and layers, invites shame and guilt more so than for a man whose member is dominant and present and tactile.
A woman who loves sex is still considered wanton, promiscuous, extravagant, unscrupulous, shameless and indecent. (All the things that can be positively erotic because of their immorality).
I urge women to masturbate often and unreservedly, without guilt and shame emasculating their feminine power and sexual potency.
(All artwork by Georgia O'Keefe)