I've found, as a cis girl, that people find it weird for me to talk about my sexuality. I don't just mean my bisexuality, but people have actually frowned upon me using the word 'masturbation' in public. Equally, I've seen my male friends talk in some explicit detail about things they've done, and no-one batted an eyelid. So why is it weird for girls to talk about it? It's not like women - in fact, because gender is a spectrum - it's not like people who possess vaginas (I googled alternative words and believe me that was by far the most pleasant) don't experience sexual feelings.
My mother isn't traditional or anti-sex - she gave me the birds & the bees conversation ('or the bees and the bees, if that's what you're into' she also said). She also talked to me about consent and all that stuff, but she never delved into the idea of masturbation. In fact, I first discovered what that word meant by reading a Wattpad book. That says a lot, doesn't it?
And I thought it was weird. I'd never heard another girl talk about the idea of masturbation. It wasn't until a sleepover that one of my friends, a no filter, very open friend, suddenly brought it up. It was quickly shut down. Meanwhile, some of my male friends - from as young as fourteen - were openly talking about watching porn and reading magazines they'd found in their older brother's room.
It wasn't until I was about fifteen that I actually began to push aside the idea that it was weird - It's not like anyone will find out, I thought. It was definitely a milestone for me in terms of maturing. In fact, it's likely a milestone for a lot of people. The legal age where I live is sixteen, so for a lot of people being fifteen is only a few months off becoming sexually active with other people. I've learned a lot of my likes and dislikes from my me-time and I imagine that it'll help me out a lot in the future with partners.
Even as I'm writing this article, I'm wondering if it's TMI. But why? Just today, one of my friends was telling me very openly about his sex life with his boyfriend. So again, I ask, why is it so weird for girls to talk about it? People with biologically female parts feel the same kind of hormonal things that people with male parts do, with the exception of ace people.
I try to include advice in my articles - obviously, when it comes down to sexuality everyone has different likes and dislike so I can't promise 100% success rates, but there are a few things I've learned.
1) Don't be embarrassed. Teenagers feel ten million different things and sex hormones are probably about a million of those things. Chances are, most people you know have whacked one out at one point or another. It's a totally natural thing.
2) You'll discover a lot of things. Sexuality is such a vast spectrum and you might find things out about yourself, such as turn ons and turn offs. Some people embrace these, and other people push them aside and find their own thing. That's totally fine. Go with whatever feels right for you.
3) It's different for everyone. Some people might start to feel sexual attraction younger than others - puberty works at different rates. One of my friends, who didn't start her period till she was 17, didn't actually feel sexual attraction to her boyfriend until a few months after they'd had sex the first time. (She actually offered that piece of information for this article, I'm not just typing up all the tea on my friends.)
4) Be careful. Some people like to watch videos or read things of a sexual nature whilst they masturbate, but a lot of websites can have viruses or dodgy adverts. This wouldn't really be an article for teenagers unless it had a piece of advice on cyber safety, would it?
5) Don't feel pressure to do anything. Some people might feel nothing at all and you shouldn't read this and think 'Jazz masturbates, so should I.' I'm a very open book when it comes to sexuality but some aren't. Only do what feels right and natural for you.
As I said, everyone's experiences are different. Some people could easily read this and think 'she didn't start till she was fifteen?!' while a twenty year old might read this never having masturbated at all. My advice is very general but might not apply to everyone. Sexuality is a thing that cannot be forced.
It feels weird to sign this article off with good luck. I think a better alternative is 'have fun.' Don't hold back - embrace what you feel and for what must be the tenth time, don't force anything. That is probably the most important thing to take from this article.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.