Jill (And All Girls) Can Jack-Off Too

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The movie Heathers was on TV the other day while I was in a tattoo parlor. Someone asked how long it had been since another customer left. Trying to be helpful, I said “Not that long. Just since Heather asked Veronica to write a masturbatory note and give it to Martha Dumptruck.” The room fell silent.

“You guys remember? Heather Chandler said something about shower nozzle masturbation material. Maybe five minutes ago?”

One of the artists looked at me. “You can’t just talk about that.” This from the guy who earlier referred to one of his colleagues as a “jerk-off.”

As my piece was being finished, I wondered why we can’t talk about female masturbation. Heathers came out in 1988. It was the first movie to make AIDS and date rape jokes, and the script was so controversial the company didn’t want to promote the film. John Waters edited the minimum required to appease the MPAA and released the film, complete with guns in school, eating disorders, and homophobia. In hindsight, the shower nozzle material may not have been noticed, as it was just one comment. But why did it have to be just one offhand comment? The film boldly took on taboo subjects, and female masturbation could have easily been one of them. Why, almost 30 years later, is it still a taboo subject?

Tina Fey wasn’t as lucky. Her 2004 movie Mean Girls had to remove its only masturbation joke in order to avoid an R rating. The burn book was supposed to say “she jacked off with a hot dog.” The comment was edited, leaving the viewers with something that makes no sense. How do you “make out” with a hot dog? More concerning is that fact that someone talking about a girl masturbating would have given the movie an R rating. Nothing was shown. The comment, while clear in its meaning, isn’t very descriptive.

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She was just hugging it, nothing under the shirt, right?

The 2004 comedy Anchorman and it’s 2013 follow-up Anchorman 2 are both rated PG-13. Anchorman uses the word “fuck” around ten times, and Anchorman 2 includes the popular junior phrase “man juice.” If Ron Burgundy can get a PG-13 rating (and just to remind you, this is a film in which a bear bites a man’s arm off) in the same fucking year, Mean Girls should have received the same rating. Except it didn’t, because talking about touching a vagina is apparently more offensive than seeing a man set on fire.

There are thousands of euphemisms for a man masturbating: battling the purple-headed yogurt slinger, choking the chicken, dating Rosie and her sisters, cleaning your gun and on and on. The R-rated American Pie franchise based its whole concept around a teenage boy masturbating with a pastry, for fuck’s sake. But because the thought of a woman masturbating threatens to bring down civilization as we know it, euphemisms for women are almost non-existent. “Diddling herself,” or touching the vague “down there” area are most commonly used and understood. Other such as “polishing the pearl” and “clicking the mouse” are used awkwardly, if at all. When someone does talk about female masturbation, it’s with great embarrassment. That needs to stop. We need to talk about female masturbation with the same jocularity as male masturbation. It’s a stupid double standard.

First, to clarify, masturbation is a private and personal thing. Everyone does it differently, but we each do it just right. Nobody can fuck me like me, just like nobody can fuck you like you. As a society, we are fucking ourselves by not treating everyone’s sexual desires as equal. A good dick joke makes everyone laugh, but a good vagina joke tends to just make people feel uncomfortable. That shit needs to stop, like yesterday. All genitals can be funny.

One step at a time, though. First, we need to start making jokes about “taking a man on a boat ride” as common in conversation as jokes about “polishing the pole.” Feminist author Caitlin Moran cheerfully told one radio interviewer, “I want to masturbate my fingers down to the bone,” which is a great start. Amy Schumer (a comedienne who capitalizes on vagina jokes), opened the 2015 MTV Movie Awards with a skit about the masturbatory needs of a woman.

The people who like Amy’s humor loved it. Those who don’t like her humor probably weren’t watching the VMAs anyway since she was hosting. While the skit is exaggerated for humor (who would go see a movie without popcorn?), it makes some important points; all women masturbate, each woman will do it differently, being comfortable with it makes the experience more enjoyable and women shouldn’t feel forced to talk to their friends about it.

The problem isn’t that women shouldn’t want to masturbate (because we will throw on some music, light candles and do ourselves better than anyone ever has), it’s that by not joking about it, society has made female masturbation something pornographic and offensive. If no one is talking about it, it can be easy to assume no one does it. Women get “blue balls,” but there is no actual name for a sexually frustrated female. We are not supposed to exist.

This is bullshit, of course–obviously, we need the release, just like men do. Maybe we all shouldn’t be talking about it in a movie theater lobby, or taking a coat full of gourds to the theater, but we need to find ways to destigmatize female masturbation. Somewhere a young girl is seeing a shirtless Zac Efron for the first time and is unsure why her vagina is demanding attention. Comedy may be the key to helping her understand her sexual appetite.

We owe it to these ladies to incorporate jokes about rubbing one out into our daily conversation. Okay…maybe daily is a bit much, but every time you hear the phrase “man juice” try to work the phrase “pearl polishing” into your next few sentences. After a while, it won’t seem so awkward.

karalea

Karalea enjoys talking about books, comics, manga, anime and anything else she finds interesting. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @kl614born. She's studying to get her MLIS because libraries are pretty spiffy places to hang out.

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