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Updated on the 1st of every month

by Veronica Hallowell

Masturbation. The term brings to mind images of a pimply-faced teenage boy breathing heavily over his mom's latest issue of Cosmo as he awkwardly attempts to pleasure his newly discovered nether regions. But the truth is we all masturbate, and we masturbate a lot: the young, the old, the ugly, the beautiful, the males, and last but not least, the females.

Most women won't admit that they masturbate regularly. Despite having the women's liberation movement and the sexual revolution under our belts, many women still cringe when the topic comes up. In an informal survey, I asked about thirty girls about their sex lives. The majority of them were extremely comfortable discussing sex, sometimes in graphic detail. Nevertheless, when I asked each girl how often she masturbates, almost every respondee met the question with immediate hesitation.

Why are we so uncomfortable with masturbation? Maybe it's because our sexual organs are so neatly tucked away that we feel we have less reason to take satisfaction into our own hands. Luckily, of the thirty some girls I spoke with, a few of them were willing to take part in somewhat of a round table discussion on female masturbation. Julie, Michelle, Sarah, and I had a few drinks together and discussed self-pleasuring. I wanted to find out how often girls masturbate, how they masturbate, and who they think about during their solo performances.

Drink One. We eased into the topic by comparing who we think about when we masturbate. One of the major differences between male and female masturbation is that the male of the species does not require too much stimuli before the beating begins. A Victoria's Secret catalogue or a sexy scene from a soap opera will often suffice to get the ball rolling. Females, however, requires much more mental preparation to activate the sex drive. We generally create vivid mental images of fictional scenarios to turn ourselves on. Michelle was the first to confess that she often thinks about her boss: "He's not even that hot. I think it's just a power thing or maybe because it's a faux pas. I usually imagine that we're in his office. I know it's kind of cheesy and cliché, but it always works. The bad part is I started turning red whenever I see him at work. I have this horrible suspicion that he knows."

Sometimes the best scenario is actually recreating an old one. "I dated this guy-I don't know-two years ago," admits Julie, "We just had amazing sex all the time. We didn't really fit together personality-wise, so it didn't work out. But the sex was so good I still like to reminisce now and then."

Sarah was the only non-singleton of the group. Nevertheless, she doesn't always think about her boyfriend while masturbating: "I think about him sometimes, but the best part about masturbating is that it's guilt-free cheating. I think about who ever I want, and my conscience stays completely clean-although I'd never tell him who I think about. He'd freak."

Drink Two. How often do women masturbate? "It depends," says Sarah. "I don't live with my boyfriend, so I guess I'm more prone to masturbate during the week when we're not together. I guess maybe twice a week. I don't really make tallies."

One of great things about masturbation is that it is a natural sedative. "I am an insomniac," claims Julie, "so I often masturbate when I'm having trouble sleeping, which could be up to 7 nights a week." As a fellow insomniac I agree. Not only does masturbating make you feel more relaxed, it's a hell of a lot better than counting sheep.

Drink Three my now tipsy state, I am curious to find out each girl's technique. Of the four of us, Michelle was the only one who actually owns a vibrator. "I got it as a present," she says semi-defensively, "but it turned out to be one of the best presents anyone has given me. Technology is great. I recommend it. People always think that they're really loud and that they'll wake up their roommate or, God forbid, the neighbours. But it's 2003. Technology has evolved."

Sarah admits to being a finger girl as do I, but Julie convinces us all of the wondrous possibilities of this egg shaped device she bought in a sex store a few years ago. "It's amazing," she says, "and it's so small, and nobody has any idea what it is. It could be an ornament for all they know. I sometimes use it as a centerpiece at Easter." We are all a little shocked until she smirks, and we decide to assume that she is kidding. "The texture is really smooth," she continues, "and it just feels great. I use my fingers too, but this spices things up a little." From the look one everyone's face, we will all probably run into one another tomorrow at a sex store. But then again, maybe not because girls don't masturbate, right?

Why wait? Plan your New Years early.

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