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canwetalkqa Can We Talk: Sexual Health
1y Story
It was in that moment... I realized the song was about Masturbation

#36 in, how rediscovering my childhood, ruined my childhood: Finding out that Barbie Girl was in fact about sex and orgies, ruined everything holy about my childhood. Hearing that, Who Let The Dog's Out , is about men pouncing on women at the club or that Degrassi episode where JT bought a penis pump (another story for another day)

But enough about me, let's talk about music, masturbation, and my quest to ruin my friends' childhood memories. 

After the horror that was Barbie Gate, I decided to "rediscover" some of my favorite childhood songs. That's when I realized, the majority of the music I listened to was about sex (Khai's -My Neck, My Back), alluded to sex, and masturbation. For example, Tweet's hit, Oops (Oh My) was not about her knowing how beautiful she was (well, yes but..) it was more about enjoying herself and exploring her body and this one's self-explanatory, but Divinyls' I Touch Myself (while missing and thinking about her lover she begins to pleasure herself).

Okay, there are a few things I take pleasure in,no pun intended; ruining the childhood memories of my friends is right at the top. Telling my friend that her " Get ready to face the world song" is basically an instruction manual for "how to masturbate" I'm talking about, Billy Squier's The Stroke:

Put your right hand out

Give a firm handshake

Talk to me about that one big break

Spread your Ear Pollution

Or letting my friend whose loved Billy Idol's, Dancing With Myself since forever that the song is less about him dancing and more about self-satisfaction.....was a little funny. While I did and do enjoy "ruining" my friends' memories I also realized that there is a strong stigma attached to the act of masturbation. Masturbation is often seen as a deviant act and there's this huge stigma placed on women who masturbate. Yes, even though masturbations' an unholy act, it's still recognized as a male-only activity. For example, more male singers (to my knowledge) and movies portray masturbation as something only males do and if a woman is involved, it's for the pleasure of the man and not herself (American Pie).

Fact: Masturbation is one of the most common sexual activities, but there is such a strong stigma associated with it.

On one hand, as a listener, it's interesting to hear musicians being bold enough to sing about a stigmatized issue, but it's also telling of how society views masturbation. Though the artist is essentially singing about "getting off" they're using sexual metaphors and innuendos like, throwing a balloon or using water or lotion to explain the aftermath. Approximately 50 percent of women and 50 percent of men who masturbate feel guilty about it, because we've been taught to suppress our sexual desires when it comes to pleasing ourselves. For men, this is an act that is done when you're at a young age or perverted, also, I realized, films use male masturbation as a form of comedic release or when they need to portray the man as a sexual deviant. For women, masturbation on film is not about the woman, she's a tool used to satisfy the man and often shamed when they act societal norms.  But masturbation is not funny and shaming women against it is oppressive. This is why I love Tweet's Oop's (Oh My), the song is about pleasing herself, removing whatever barrier society has placed on her and taking her body and sexuality into her own hands. The same can be said for Billy Idol and  Billy Squier, the act to them isn't funny and yes, they are alone but they are enjoying themselves. They are breaking the taboo of the perverted man, unlearning the shame society has placed on them.

Sex Ed 101:  masturbation is a part of human sexuality, it should be taught or at least we should visit the notion of opening up a dialogue and space where students are able to learn and ask questions about their body. Hopefully, we'll get there. The music and lyrics expose the contradiction that is the sexual taboo, it's okay to allude and advertise the act but you mustn't speak about it.  But as Billy Idol said, " Well, there's nothing to lose,there's nothing to prove" we more people speaking out against the stigma i.e Philadelphia’s first Masturbate-a-Thon or the female masturbation movement from 2014, speaking on the subject of women exploring and enjoying themselves without the permission of a man or anyone for that matter. Also, masturbation is a part of Sexual Health, I heard that it can be beneficial to your physically and emotional health and used to overcome sexual dysfunction, it's therapeutic.

I'll leave you with this if you masturbate don't be ashamed, if you love listening to music that alludes to masturbation it's fine.  If you have questions about sex or masturbation talk to your doctor-Planned Parenthood is a great tool. Also, if you don't masturbate that's fine too, that doesn't make you abnormal, I don't masturbate and I'm perfectly fine. The songs are basically telling us to break sexual barriers and to discover who we are.

Facts: May is National Masturbation Month and Masturbation alleviates PMS and Cramps 

Additional Resources:

Masturbation in Films

Percentage of American's Performing Sexual Behaviors (Graph)


This piece is part of our September series, A Collective Effort, lessons TV, Film, and Literature teach us about sex, and how each one plays a part on how we view sex (sex-related taboos) and sometimes reflect society's view of sex.

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