38 Years of Self-Love: How "Sex for One" Changed Our Ideas About Masturbation
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Do you think there’s less guilt associated with masturbation now?
I don’t think we’ve made any progress. If anything we’ve gone backwards.
Well, you can at least say the word now. In certain circumstances you couldn’t say it at all, when I first started off. The response I got to using the word was people rolling on the floor laughing, and when I talked about teaching women how to masturbate, they was even funnier. What would you do to teach someone to masturbate? But it’s a physical activity that has an art to it. You don’t just grab it and whack it. It’s everyone’s favorite thing to do if you can’t get laid or you don’t have a delicious romantic relationship, but if we don’t incorporate masturbation into our relationships, we are going to lose sex anyway.
Why do you think it’s important to incorporate masturbation into a relationship?
You are only 20, wait until you are having sex …
Oh, you’re an old man, I thought I heard you say 20.
No, I’m not quite that young and beautiful.
Oh now you really are too old. I was thinking of making a date with you but now you’ve got too much age on you.
I’m also a flaming homosexual, so that doesn’t really help us either. But in terms of the evolution of masturbation, in the last few decades, we’ve seen the rise of all these new sex stores, like Babeland and the Pleasure Chest, that try to make sex fun and not shameful.
They are little safe havens of sexual sanity. And they functioned the same way back in the ’70s for the women’s movement. There were feminist bookstores then because we were the only ones who were dealing with sex.
Porn is also much more accessible these days than it’s been in the past.
On the one hand it’s fabulous and on the other hand it’s a tragedy. Porn doesn’t factor female sexuality into it. All of these young guys are getting their sex information from porn and they have no other resource. And because young women don’t want to upset their boyfriend or make him feel insecure, just keep their mouth shut, suffer through it.
So you think porn has made young women less focused on their own pleasure?
Women have never been interested in their own pleasure. We can’t get there until we have women who make their own money. As long as women are going to be dependent upon men financially, we are going to make men happy. Or do our best because we need you to pick up the tab. Women go on the porn sites and what they come away with is, I don’t look like those girls so now I’m going to have to get my inner lips cut off and my asshole dyed and bleached and dyed pink.
I was talking to somebody recently who said that when she first learned to masturbate, it was the first time she realized that she didn’t need a man. How closely is masturbation tied to women’s rights?
I don’t think a woman can be fully sexual unless she does masturbate. What’s happening now is that these young girls don’t get around to it as teenagers. They give boys blow jobs to be popular and then when it comes to their turn, they have no idea what they want or what feels good. Can you imagine a young man not masturbating? I mean, I’ve had women in their 40s and 50s that have never even looked at their genitals, have never masturbated and they don’t know what a clitoris is.