Female masturbation is empowering, not shameful

By: Sarah Mulindwa, sexual health nurse

Being on lockdown is new and strange for all of us. Physically, mentally and – now you’ve got your head around it – sexually. The Government has told everyone to stay at home and to stop all non-essential journeys and activities. So that means:

  • Travelling to the local supermarket for food – essential
  • Going to work (only if necessary, i.e NHS workers) – essential
  • Going to get your medication – essential
  • Taking a trip to your boyfriend or sexual partner’s house to have sex – NOT ESSENTIAL!

Now I know the last one may feel like an essential at times. Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely natural to want to have sex not just for pleasure, but to help release stress and anxiety that may be resurfacing, especially in such uncertain times.

With people being made redundant and facing financial restraints, you may be looking for a sexual relief. But unfortunately self-isolation has now become our ‘new normal’, so for right now you have to find other ways to achieve sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

In accordance with the rules, you can only have sex with someone in your immediate household and can’t go back and forth between you and partner’s places. This is to slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce the burden on the NHS and protect the most vulnerable in society.

So, unless your partner’s living with you, until the Government’s instructions regarding self- isolation are lifted, you are your only source of sexual pleasure. Now I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Female masturbation and pleasure are still very much a taboo topic in society today. Even when reading this, I’m sure some woman somewhere cringed at the very mention of the words.

No one knows for certain why there is so much stigma around female pleasure and masturbation. Although, some may argue the fact that women are able to take control of their sexual pleasure without men’s involvement is something our patriarchal society is yet to come to terms with.

Because, let’s face it, a woman being able to do anything without a man is prosperous, right? (Rolls eyes.)

While this concept may be true of society, it’s extremely harmful because it then results in masturbation being perceived as something only men can do – which is obviously not the case!

Normalising female masturbation

You’ve all heard the saying desperate times call for desperate measures. Now even though you shouldn’t refer to female masturbation as desperate measures (because it’s natural) the reality of it is – you can’t go and visit your boyfriend, you can’t hook up with anyone and you can’t go around your ex’s house for ‘closure’ (I would suggest you all refrain from doing the latter, coronavirus or not – let’s leave exes in the past).

The sexual response cycle has four key stages: Desire, Arousal, Orgasm and Resolution. With each come waves of hormonal changes and fluctuations. In other words, stimulation will lower the hormones that cause you stress (a hormone called cortisol) and heighten your good hormones (endorphins).

The latter triggers a rush and release feeling. You ever hear people say how much better they feel after a work out? Well, masturbation releases stress and tension in the same or very similar way. Because your brain is in high activation during this time, it means you’re getting high levels of oxygen in your brain, which has a multitude of benefits.

So what better time to explore your sexual desires and pleasures alone thus normalising female masturbation, than when the Government has confined you to the four walls of your room (not literally, obviously). Female masturbation doesn’t only give women the power to control our sexual needs, but it also sends a clear message out to society that it’s OK for women to pleasure ourselves without the assistance of men – it’s empowering!

During these uncertain scary times, everyone needs to play our part in ensuring we lessen the chances of coronavirus spreading and the best way to do that is by STAYING AT HOME.

Sarah Mulindwa is a sexual health nurse.