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Solo mission accomplished: a quick journey through the mythical experience of self-pleasure.

Photo: Anna Shvets for Pexel. Edited with Canva.

For centuries we have been told the worst things about it: it is unhealthy, we can go to hell and we are cheaters. You don’t know what we are talking about? I give you a hint: we are not talking about murders but, apparently something even worse… Autoerotism. And yes, it is time to stop being scared of this word.

After having talked about orgasm and the main stereotypes surrounding sexuality, it is time to finally dive into one of the scariest topics involving sexuality: autoeroticism. Self-pleasure is still too often surrounded by a mystical halo which stands between the fear of hell and the joys of sex. We have heard so many times that masturbation causes blindness that sometimes we wonder how we still do not need 4 pairs of glasses. And what about the idea of infidelity? How many times have we heard someone saying that if you have a partner and self-masturbate, it means you do not love them?

Well, my friends, it is time this grey area becomes colourful, almost like one of the numerous sex toys you can use while enjoying a little me-time.

To have a clearer idea, we start from the basics and, with the help of the Sexual Health Expert and midwife Fabiana Ferrandi, let’s begin to dismantle the myth surrounding the scary world of self-pleasure.

Let’s start by giving some definitions. “It is important to underline that masturbation is not the same thing as autoeroticism. Despite these two words being often used interchangeably, they have different meanings”. More in particular “masturbation is the stimulation of the external genitalia through the use of fingers, mouth and another object” and “it can be done with someone else or on our own”. Ferrandi continues “In this case when done on our own, it is called autoeroticism”. And yes, my friends, all this can also include the use of sex toys.

Having said that, whoever you decide to do it with , your partner or your clitoral sucker, there is no doubt it has never been seen particularly positively by society.

“In a society where sex education is strongly based on moral and religious concepts, what has been taught – or not taught- plays a crucial role in the perception of masturbation” reports the Sexual Health Expert.

Photo by Dainis Graveris for Unsplash

Ferrandi continues, explaining the general attitude in the past towards self-pleasure: “in a religious setting, it was thought to cause the fall of the hands, but only in men, as the only ones allowed to. Women were involved in sex only for procreation: pleasure was not an option”.

You might hope things changed over time. Unfortunately, you might find yourself a bit disappointed. Still far from the concept of real pleasure, masturbation was considered from a more scientific point of view, “a clinical practice which led women, not to orgasm but to a hysterical crisis, which had the scope to maintain to women in health.

Given these, and even more, stereotypes and myths, no one wonders why many women still feel so guilty when taking it into their own hands their pleasure. And I mean literally in their hands.

The Midwife continues “a huge part of the population, both men and women think that masturbation is a wrong action, both when in a couple or alone, causing shame and guilt”.

Masturbation had been proven to have nothing but positive effects on women’s bodies, from the release of endorphins, to increase concentration and focus. However, guilt and shame are still so strong that can lead to a negative impact on the overall perception.

Having said that, we can also say that nowadays more and more feminists and activists are now working on the discovery of sexuality and self-pleasure. From the rebirth of sex toys during the pandemic, to the rediscovery of free sexuality, we are finally going beyond. Beyond what, you might say? We could say beyond patriarchy, but for now, it is still a long shot. I would stick to the beyond stereotypes, inequalities and prejudices.

In conclusion, my friends, the good news is that we do not go to hell for giving ourselves a bit of pleasure in this hard and rough world (at least as far as I know, might change my mind once on the other side!). The bad news is that, until we do not learn to understand and dismantle completely centuries of patriarchy and heteronormativity, we will continue blaming ourselves for the damage they have done to our sexual freedom.

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