Female Masturbation in Art

Manara

I’ve been writing for VibesWeek for a few months now, but the reactions I get when I tell people what I do and what this magazine is about still shock me. When I tell them, they make faces that are a mix between ‘You’re crazy!’ and ‘Did you actually just say…sex?!’

I still can’t wrap my head around it and let me stop you right there—this doesn’t have to do with chit chat or fluff. Actually, this involves the most natural thing in the world. I’ll be honest, when I was given the opportunity to talk about art in Eros (and vice versa), I remember feeling a little embarrassed. The first question that popped into my mind was “What will my family think?”

It goes without saying that I was worried over nothing, and that in the end, my grandmother will never find out about this! Before accepting, however, I reflected over it and realized that sex is something so intimate, deep, and free that it could never be judged in any way. And further, writing about this topic should never elicit negative effects.

Speaking of faces people make, just imagine the faces they would make when hearing about female masturbation! But since May is the month dedicated precisely to this topic, here I find myself reflecting over what to write.

The truth is, we should first gain a perspective on women’s sexuality. The simple fact that a woman can experience ‘pleasure’ also through ‘self-pleasure’ (sorry for the play on words) shouldn’t be scandalised.

Why can men have a good ol’ time while joking freely about masturbation, but instead, women have to pay attention to how they speak about themselves out of fear of being judged?

It comes naturally to question how self-love and love for one’s body can become something to hide or even something to be ashamed of, based merely on cultural history, in which women come second to men. Further, women are subject to the pleasure of men, without taking their own needs into consideration.

So, with the desire to overcome this vision and celebrate female masturbation across art, I started researching compelling pieces of work, which was no easy feat. All of this has made me think even more about how female masturbation has been, and still is, a taboo.

Luckily, art also serves as a tool to open minds and we can always find some exceptions!

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Designs that struck me include works that recall the real, supple nature of the female body, and the fusion between a woman and her sexuality. We don’t know if the subjects designed by these artists were models, partners immortalized in intimacy, or simply desires of the flesh. What counts for us today is learning how to delve into the surface, to educate, and to understand ourselves.

Specifically, loving yourself and your body shouldn’t come across as strange. Rather, it should encourage both our physical and mental well-being, in all ways. If we think about it, our body is our partner from the very moment we come into this world and it’s the only one that will accompany us on our entire journey in life. It’s exactly for this reason that we all need to learn to love it, discover it, and even humor it! But that’s not all; besides not having any negative effects, masturbation has a ton of certified benefits!

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It really helps us obtain a better understanding of our bodies, to allow us to know what we like, and consequently, to improve our relationships. Further (and I didn’t even know this), the moment we orgasm, our body releases a series of endorphins and other substances that boost our sleep cycles as well as our moods. So basically, we can infer that its only contradiction is the one we ourselves have placed on masturbation—especially female masturbation. Helping us better understand this positive thought in terms of feminine sexuality is contemporary artist, Jodryn McGeachin, who shows us completely normal bodies in equally normal attitudes of love.

At this point, we can only hope that masturbation–and it bears repeating—female masturbation, especially, will return to being not only something normal, but also something positive. I used the verb ‘return’ because, while we may usually think the opposite, in ancient times the concept of sexuality was generally much more open than ours today.

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I’m referring to the Roman and Greek times, before the dawn of Christianity began to restrict this vision and gave birth to the concept of sin, which was linked to sexual practice and the manifestation that demonic intervention was surely present in all cases of sexual intercourse that did not have the goal of reproduction at its core.

Now the time has come to end here with this vision!
I’ll leave you all to examine these drawings, also because I have to go to…to celebrate this month of female masturbation in the best way!

(Critica D'Arte)

Sex and Art have always been linked together; they free the mind and the spirit. Plutarco once said: "the mind is not vase you just fill, it's a fire to light on". Let's start a journey to discover how much sex has been present - although covered - in art.

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