Have you heard of the orgasm gap? It's much like the gender pay gap, only the inequality it refers to is the fact that statistically, women worldwide are having fewer orgasms than men. According to data from a 2007/08 Durex survey, Russia and Thailand have the largest orgasm gap. They are followed closely behind by us losers in the good old U-S-of-A and Canada.
Just as asking for a raise is a feminist act that helps close the pay gap, so too can you consider masturbating a small act that helps close the orgasm gap. Not only will you be having more orgasms on your own, but you'll also be better equipped to know what you need to close the orgasm gap during partnered sex.
2. It Helps You Feel More Body Positive
For all the much-needed talk about self-acceptance and body positivity that many of us engage in, we don't tend to acknowledge the clear link between erotic self-love and loving yourself. But the connection is real — if you don't take the time to turn yourself on and admire your own body, it's just that much harder to truly accept and love it, no matter how many self-affirming selfies you post.
As I've written before, one of the most important ways I taught myself to love my body again after a period of disordered eating was through masturbation. It reminded me that I was sexy, that I could nourish myself, and that I am powerful.
3. It Requires A Room Of One's Own
Claim your space — and your sexuality — in a room of your own.
When I have the house to myself and masturbate, I feel I am owning my space in a way that I simply can't when I'm sharing it with my partner. It reminds me that the room we share is equally mine, and that I have enough energy, sexuality, and presence to fill it up all on my own.
4. Because You Shouldn't Depend On A Partner For All Your Orgasms
More than once, I've talked to female friends in tumultuous relationships, where the sex was supposedly "really hot" ... only to then hear them admit that they didn't masturbate. Unsurprisingly, these women tended to hang on to these ailing relationships longer than friends who were more sexually independent.
Any time you put all your orgasms in another person's basket, you're putting yourself in the potentially problematic position of forgetting that you are also capable of giving yourself pleasure (and losing perspective on how good your partner actually is in bed, simply because you're so horny). We all understand why it's important to be financially independent— but being sexually independent is arguably just as crucial.
It's not to say you shouldn't enjoy partnered sex or ever depend on someone — I know I do — but a strong, independent woman should also strive to remember that she is always capable of making her own toes curl.
5. Because Women Aren't Told To Master Technique
Out of all the many fabulous sex advice columns Bustle's own Vanessa Marin has written, do you know which one consistently gets some of the most hits? Many women don't know how to pleasure themselves — and lots of women are eager to learn.
That gives me tremendous hope, but it also makes me feel sad that so many women don't know how to masturbate. I'm not surprised, though. Some of us were told it was weird, gross, unfeminine, or unnecessary as women to spend much time perfecting our technique. Others were taught, whether explicitly or implicitly, that it should be a secret. Because of all this, exploring what works for you sends a big F-U to the patriarchal bullshit that has told us to lie back and think of England for centuries.