As our once-upon-a-time land of Kamasutra reawakens to talking about sex, a question that still brings on the blush is masturbation. Especially in connection with women. Look up the Intertubes and you’ll find educational videos targeted at Indian men and boys. Female self-help? …crickets. Case in point: two AIB videos about sexuality, one for men and one for women. Man’s Best Friend is about male masturbation; A Woman’s Besties is about unsafe sex and periods!
Ask an Indian girl if she pleasures herself and you will get a) a gasp followed by a horrified ‘NO’, b) a noncommittal shrug, c) an embarrassed ‘Yes’ tinged with fake bravado. We are a long, long way from a simple, “I do.”
In the West, as understanding grows and shame diminishes, more women are willing to talk about their self-pleasuring routines. 92% percent in the US now say they take time out to masturbate, up from 74% in the last survey conducted in 1979.
The only Indian statistics I found went like this: Researchers studying first-year college women who self-identified as virgins found that 30% of those who masturbated described feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame associated with masturbation.