I have recently been holed up in the house with a cold and was therefore subject to daytime television. I only caught a few moments, but what I did see worried me. It was a programme featuring some young teenage girls and they were talking about sex, specifically masturbation. They thought it was "embarrassing", "dirty", "wrong" and, worst of all "not natural for girls, for boys, yeah, but not girls."
Right. Now my new life challenge is clearly to find whoever has been telling these poor lasses these lies and beat them to death with a glass dildo, but before I go and get arrested for doing that, a little discussion on the subject might be in order as to where these ideas might be coming from in our society.
To me, these beliefs have their roots in an old fashioned focus on the preservation of the (male) genetic line. Bear with me. Women have been traditionally encouraged to remain virgins until their wedding day to ensure that they only bore children for their husband. This created an association of "purity" and "goodness" with "not having sex" directed at women. Because of the power and prevalence of this belief, as well as the weight of history behind it, it stopped being an outside thought imposed upon women and became the way things always have, the way they should be, the natural and correct order of things. I'm leaving aside for the moment any religious arguments because they have been discussed to death and this isn't the forum for it. The point is that due to this belief sex and sexual bodies became problematised for women. That was then. This is supposed to be now. But we don't appear to be able to shake it off, this idea of sex being somehow disconnected from women, that it's something women do for men, rather than for themselves.
Let's be blunt. Everyone has desires. They are normal and natural. However, if you are told that your standard issue hormonal drives are "dirty" or perhaps even worse "evil" then life becomes very complicated. If liking sex is "wrong" or "unfeminine" then masturbation is an especially sore point because unlike intercourse masturbation only has one function - personal pleasure. And for the girls in question, that was unacceptable. Which means that there is a long way to go in terms of sexual and social education - I'm far away from blaming schools and teachers on this front, firstly because there's not a lot of good in a few lessons, no matter how well they are taught, if the entire weight of society is telling you different. There needs to be an attitude adjustment, because this is one guilty little secret that isn't doing anyone any good.
2 weeks ago