Did you know that in some circles May is known as “Masturbation Month”?
I didn’t until recently, but I do now.
Personally I prefer the term “self pleasure” as it sounds so much nicer to me, further from the horror of “self abuse” and all the judgement that goes with it.
The phrase “biding my time” is my new go to euphemism after hearing Heidi Docherty’s “Self Pleasure Ditty.”
For me May has another older connection; International Worker’s day.
What started as a campaign to establish an 8 hour working day continues as a celebration of and holiday for, the working class everywhere.
As someone who studied left wing politics as a student, and still have a copy of the Communist Manifesto somewhere, I have always held on to the idea that whatever work I do, I do not to want to be alienated from my own labour.
That is to say I want to choose my work and have some influence over the outcome.
It’s about how I spend my life energy really.
This is a luxury that not everyone can experience, but I imagine that everyone who works would rather have a job they like than not.
I love my job. I get to be creative and express myself. I get to meet interesting people, and if push comes to shove, I can turn down any work I really don’t want to do.
Alienated workers can’t do that. The campaign for an 8 hour working day with dignity and good working conditions for all is still to be achieved.
It makes me think of the same rights and dignity when it comes to the sexual side of life.
Not all individuals are free to choose their experiences of sexuality which is a universal scandal.
Some of us can’t even imagine our sexuality as something which is our own and over which we have complete sovereignty.
Some of us however are privileged to be in that position, and yet there are elements in our culture and upbringing which can interfere with that freedom.
I’ve been reflecting on what I think freedom in sexuality really looks like.
For me these questions help me explore the subject a little bit further for myself:
Can I ask for something I want?
Can I effectively communicate when I don’t want something?
Can I help myself to get more in the mood if I know I’d like to be with my partner but my body is stiff and distracted and closed.
If I am on my own do I feel able to express my sexual self?
If I am with a partner am I free to find pleasure for myself and to negotiate and communicate about that?
If I can’t answer yes to all these questions despite being a woman of privilege, in a safe and loving relationship, I want to know why and to be able to address it for myself and for the sake of other women.
A friend recently told me that many years ago I once proclaimed to her: “To masturbate IS to own the means of production.”
I guess I’ve been thinking about this stuff for long time and will be for some time to come.
I wonder what you think about this subject, and what questions you might add to the list above..?
ML Queen of Revelry x