Disclaimer: Minor spoiler discussed. Read at your own risk!
I just watched the first two episodes of “And Just Like That,” the Sex in the City (SATC) new series, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had been seventeen years since the last episode of the series premiered. I still love watching the show when I need to decompress. I won’t ruin the new series with story spoilers; I have had to tread my social media feeds carefully to avoid those. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to run into at least one spoiler unless one plans to not scroll through the Meta-verse for the next several weeks.
How do you feel about masturbation?
One of my favorite things about the show is their discussion of taboo sex topics in every episode. The first episode of the new series brought up the topic of masturbation with Carrie when she was being asked if she masturbated. Naturally, it got me thinking and giggling about masturbation, too. Like other sexual topics I have touched on (pun intended) like orgasms and adult toys, we just don’t talk about masturbation.
Why don’t we talk about masturbation? Is it because people masturbate in private? Does the very uttering of the word “masturbation” make us cringe? Carrie cringed when she was asked about masturbation. I cringed when she cringed. In fact, I am cringing right now. However, as I have discovered with other sexual topics I write about, discomfort is a good thing if it sparks dialogue. Besides, If the topic of masturbation is uncomfortable for me, it must surely be uncomfortable for others, too.
Growing up, I learned about masturbation from reading YM, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan magazines. I didn’t talk about it among my friends and we certainly didn’t talk about masturbation at home or in school. I associated masturbation with boys and eventually with the idea that men need a physical release. There was never a discussion about girls or women having or needing a physical release of sorts. Likewise, the religious teachings I grew up with also frowned upon any physical release (or sex before marriage) and deemed doing so as naughty.
Thus, masturbation seemed like a dirty activity that only boys did.
Hollywood did not help either. I can’t think of any movies or television shows that discuss women and masturbation. Up until shows like My So-called Life and Sex in the City, women did not masturbate nor did they discuss it. I was in my 20’s when I read that masturbation was natural for both men AND women. Mind blown! Still, learning that masturbation was normal and natural for women did not motivate me to masturbate. It was difficult (and perhaps still) to shake off years of negative connotations. By then, I did not need to touch myself for a physical release or an endorphin high. Smoking cigarettes and drinking were my preferred methods of achieving physical release.
Have I masturbated? Sure, I have. Masturbation is just not for me. Masturbating does not arouse me. Touching myself is about as appealing as visiting my gynecologist for a check-up. It’s like trying to tickle myself. I can’t tickle my own body for a laugh. These days, outside of sex, I am quite satisfied with rewatching seasons of Sex in the City or Bridgerton or reading novels like Like Water for Chocolate or The Bridges of Madison County for a physical release. For an endorphin high, nothing beats a 5-mile run (except maybe a glass of neat Hudson Whiskey).
Will masturbation ever not make me cringe?
Probably not. If it did, the masturbation question in And Just Like That would not have resonated with me. Like sex, masturbation is done in private, but that doesn’t mean we should not talk about it. In fact, I think there needs to be more dialogue.
How do you feel about masturbation? Does masturbation make you cringe? Or, is it your go-to release?