My First Time Masturbating

I was 16. It was late in my house, and I was snuggled under my blanket, my room dark and the TV volume turned low. I didn’t want my parents to know or hear that I was awake, because masturbation was something no one had talked about in my family. It was something I didn’t even at the time really know I was doing, but I knew it was something that should be kept secret, something “dirty,” something “wrong.”

This was back when TVs had about 99 channels, and the highest one or two were a fuzzy screen of jumping lines and little bits of flesh here and there: men and women tangled up together, breasts bouncing.

The breasts bouncing were what I really liked, when the images of those came and went. I discovered, too, that Howard Stern was on late at night, and I turned the channel to his show. The screen wasn’t fuzzy on that channel, and while Howard struck me as crass and exploitative, I liked the big-breasted women who were willing to answer blunt, intimate questions and perform sexual acts that were not quite X-rated enough to ban from TV but just enough to raise my heart rate and increase the tingling sensation between my legs.

I lay on my stomach humping my bed. Eventually my body’s energy and the tension around my vulva (although I didn’t at the time know it was called that!) rose and rose until I felt a kind of explosion — “Oh my God, I’m peeing myself!” I thought in utter horror. I soon realized, however, that I most certainly had not peed myself, and that the feeling was…amazing.

It was something I’d never quite believed in: the female orgasm. I knew men ejaculated, but I had learned that while sex felt good, it was about a “husband and wife” creating new life, and that the man orgasmed because of that. I even remember reading in teen magazines that “the female orgasm is not a myth!” but I had my doubts. No one talked about this back then!

But once I’d discovered orgasm, I quickly started to lock myself away in my room to have about 6 of them a day while “doing homework.” These were all accomplished by lying on the bed or floor and humping that surface without using my hand. I recently learned that the “Mother of Masturbation” Betty Dodson called these tension orgasms. These orgasms are reached by building lots of tension and tightness in the body, and sometimes using the hand and sometimes just direct pressure, as I did. Betty taught that this is a common way of reaching climax during childhood, when we want to keep what we are doing a secret and reach orgasm fast and furious to avoid being caught.

It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered other ways of reaching orgasm, ways that allow for a flow of build-up that is more natural for women and vulva-havers, as well as more powerful orgasms. (We will talk about this more in the future!) For years I thought what I was doing what shameful and wrong, and I wanted to hide it, yet I couldn’t and didn’t want to stop. I now know that is because sexuality is as inextricable as our other basic life needs. Pleasure is a gift; it is a birthright. I’m here to help spread the message that it’s time to let go of the shame around masturbation, sex for one, and self pleasure. We have this drive for a reason. Let’s explore why together.

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