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On wanking (part 2): porn and pervasive slut-shaming

16 May 2016

So you want to have a glorious, fantasy-fuelled wank – but you’re not sure what material is gonna get you there. Finding the right thing for you takes some time. Our imaginations are fruitful tools, but you may well want other stimuli. If you’re a fairly conscientious type you may worry about the ethics of what you’re consuming. I know I do. There have been times where I’ve been watching a video or listening to an audio story and been disgusted by a sexist or racist slur. I worry that I am fuelling an industry built on exploitation.

Porn is reflective of our society at large, so the misogynoir we see in the rest of our media is merely amplified in adult videos. I certainly don’t believe that porn is inherently anti-woman but the fact still remains that a hell of a lot of it is geared towards the male viewer. Not to say that women need sex to be drenched in romance to get off, but a lot of porn shows sex as something that is done to a woman. The internet is rife with ridiculous, violent and misogynistic stuff that will not only kill your wide on but may also traumatise you. Add to this the contention that you may feel like the fantasies that run through your head are wrong – despite your feminist beliefs, you might just want to be tied up and dominated. This can be a confusing thing to accept, but remember that your head is a safe space to play these things out. Ultimately, you know your boundaries. It’s okay to think about these things and know you don’t necessarily want to act on them and that if you do that’s also cool!

Porn can be difficult but, with some earnest searching, you can find some great stuff. There’s erotica, both to read and to listen to, which is often more ‘artful’ and tends to be written with the female reader in mind (only problem with books is you need one hand to hold the book and the other to turn the page, so…). There’s some really good stuff out there but, as we all know, writing sex well is a difficult task – so it may take a bit of reading before you find something that doesn’t make you feel nauseous. Personally, I like audio erotica – still literary and word-based but both hands are free to do whatever you gots ta do, wink wink nudge nudge. A good blog to check out is Orgasmic Tips For Girls . It’s an inclusive and fun little corner of the internet which caters to all types of women. There’s a lot of emphasis on body positivity and all orientations and preferences are acknowledged and celebrated – however, it is still overwhelmingly white in the people it depicts. There’s also Afro Orgasm that caters to people of colour without the lens of fetishisation that PoC so often suffer in the porn industry.

There’s a pervading fallacy that wanking is the preserve of the sex crazed or the lonely (and perhaps a sub sector of the two). This is utter rubish. I might go for it three times in one day, then not bother for two weeks because I’m busy/tired/not in the mood/the batteries are dead. But no matter what your habits, it’s your body and anyone dictating how and why you have your fun can just jog right along. Though we are far from the days when women were sectioned for ‘nymphomania’, we are still expected to justify our relationships with masturbation. The language used to describe a woman who wanks is usually condescending or venomous – either the woman is clearly in need of the D or she is such an insatiable slut that she just can’t keep her hands out of her pants. It’s all so ridiculous when we consider the fact that we would never question the fact that a man masturbates and would perhaps be a little incredulous if he didn’t. Either way, we don’t make any of the sweeping assumptions about what that says about his virtue. There is clearly still an irrational fear around female desire and agency.

For all people’s fussing, you’d think if we were all to agree not to deny our bodies what they desire, the world would descend into complete chaos. As awesome an idea for an apocalypse movie that is, I have to say I really don’t think it’s that deep. I am embracing wanking as a free and harmless form of escapism. A beautiful world of indulgence where I rule, I thrive and I prosper. How, where and why you wank is not some grand statement about who you are as a person. At the end of the day, your body is a bad ass fairground of numerous delights and we are all entitled to some playtime.