Sex is everywhere.
Even in a very religious and conservative society; we see it in the media and on the internet, we casually slip sexual innuendos into our day-to-day conversations and we think about it, a lot. If you happen to be a straight Egyptian teenage boy, chances are you’ve talked with your other “straight Egyptian teenage boy” friends about sex, and more specifically: masturbation. It’s no secret to almost everyone that the guys our age masturbate regularly and share their descriptive stories of when and how they do it to their pals. But what about girls? Doesn’t masturbation give them the kind of pleasure their male counterparts experience? Why do they not do it as often as boys do and casually talk about it to one another? Or do they -but secretly?
If you ask yourself this question: “Do men have stronger sex drives than women?” your mind will automatically answer that question with a yes. With all we see around us and, in the media, it’d be the logical thing to think that. Given that way more men than women watch porn, think about sex and talk about it, it’d be stupid not to think that men have stronger libido* than women do. In fact, there are even studies that support this idea. A study was conducted in 2015, where 6 men and 8 women approached 162 men and 119 women either at a nightclub or at a college campus and issued an invitation for casual sex. A notably larger percentage of men accepted this offer than women.
What is interesting, however, is that the same study was conducted in a different environment, where the same researchers showed both men and women photos of possible suitors and asked them whether they would consent to casual sex. And guess what? The gender difference disappeared, because women found themselves in a safer situation. With that being said, our culture and social norms play a much greater role in shaping the way men and women develop their sexual relationships.
The thing is, it really isn’t that simple. Women’s libido and sexual turn-ons are much more complicated than men’s, so it’d be stupid to compare how men and women think about and experience sex. A woman’s sex life is much more easily influenced by social and cultural factors than with men. Other factors like socioeconomic class and education level, for example, also have great impact on women and their sex life. Men and boys (e.g in Egypt) from all classes seem to regularly watch porn. Even though watching porn or engaging in any sexual activity before marriage is frowned upon for both sexes, women seem to be suffering more from this sexual repression. Unlike men who deal with this repression with masturbation, most Egyptian women cannot find the same outlet because they deal with much more on top of that repression.
Our society has taught us all that women are not their own beings, but rather a part of one – a man. Women have been for years told that their bodies are objects, that they need to cover up their bodies and never ever talk about it. In almost every country in Africa, FGM is carried out on many young girls in an attempt to strip them of their sexual desires; turning them into objects- cold and without any feelings. It’s not that women have a weaker sex drive, it’s that women are told to believe that they should have no sex drive. The idea that their bodies are objects that exist to give pleasure rather than be given pleasure has been embedded into our subconscious for the entirety of humanity existing, whether we see it or not. This can easily be an explanation as to why women do not masturbate the way that men typically do; they do not know nor do they believe that they as well can have or deserve control of their body in ways which include sexual pleasures.
What’s more is that there has always been a lacking in science when it comes to women. Most ideologies, theories and studies were developed by male scientists and philosophers and were based on male test subjects. In short, science was made by men about men, so whenever women came into the picture, they’d be studied or looked at in comparison to men, instead of their own individual beings who should be treated and studied as their own separate, individual entity. The reason I mention this is because we don’t really understand women’s sexuality. Men have rigid and definitive sexualities, whereas women are more fluid when it comes to libido. The mere idea of women even enjoying sex has never even crossed anyone’s mind. My grandma, for example, was giving my sister some ‘advice’ by telling her to marry an older man, because that way: she will not grow too old for him and he will not have to look at another girl. The thing is, my grandma isn’t the only one who thinks that way; every other Egyptian does. Everyone emphasizes on the importance of women being desirable to men, but barely ever the opposite.
Going back to the main point: women can masturbate as well- it’s a statement many will find unbelievable and difficult to grasp. It’s a statement that battles the ideologies that have been ingrained in us from the day we were born, it threatens men’s sexual beings to know that the women before them share the same sexual desires as them, that the women they take to bed are as in need of the sexual pleasures as them! The concept of masturabtion and sexual desires is a toxic line for many women, they refuse to talk about it and shy away from the thought of sex. The reason they shy away is because they don’t know or don’t want to know that they also have a desire for sex. The core of everyone’s problems: fear of what is unknown. Both men and women have never even gave one tiny thought to the idea of women also wanting to get down and dirty. Women’s libido was never explored by the people, the media or the science; this explains why we know almost nothing about it. The fact that we know nothing about it makes us fear the information, it makes us fear the possibility that there is information that we do not yet know.