Feminism and Masturbation

Andrea Plaid has a piece up at Bitch on feminism and masturbation with a series of quotes from feminists (including myself) about what feminists aren’t talking about when it comes to feminism.

Twanna Hines–
I fucking love masturbation. Solo sex is absolutely a political issue because taking control of your own pleasure is liberating. Too often, when we talk about restricting women’s pleasure, the topic turns to female genital cutting in other countries. However, our homegrown variety of no-whacking, abstinence-only education can be equally repressive. I want more of us– women and men–to dialogue about access to healthy information about all forms of sex.
Tami Winfrey Harris–
From a black woman’s perspective, I’m not sure that there is much positive conversation about our sexuality in feminism at all–certainly not in mainstream feminism and even in our own spaces, sexuality is a topic left on the shelf. There remains this women + sex = nasty and forbidden ethos in our culture, I think, in part, due to the strong influence of religion. Masturbation gets caught in that.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay–
I think building on what Maegan said there seems to be this divergence in talk of masturbation along lines of race where the assumption or focus for young white women is exploratory, sex-positive and nurturing that type of development verse young women of color who are considered a “problem,” that needs a solution, generally not having sex and based on the assumption that they are too sexual so they must be first controlled, then “liberated.”
I might be imagining that, but I do feel like there is this assumption that sexual self exploration is something relegated to “liberated” women, which are generally privileged and when women of color can reach the point at which they are no longer oppressed, they too can partake in this type of sexual self liberation whether it be through masturbation or other types of sex.

What do you think is missing from feminist conversations of masturbation? Or better yet, what is missing generally from conversations about masturbation?

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