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Dealing with Friends

continued...

Myth 2: You have to have intercourse to have sexual pleasure.
Truth: You don’t need to be sexually intimate with anyone to have an orgasm.

Let me fill you in on a mother’s secret: Most moms of little boys (and maybe even bigger boys) downright expect that they’ll have a hand down their pants at some time every day!

There seems to be a different standard for girls, however. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen mothers reprimand their little girls for “playing with themselves.” I can’t tell you why this is true—that’s a subject for a class on society and gender—but (surprise) I can give you my opinion: This is ridiculous. It’s totally normal for girls, like boys, to explore their bodies in search of that “good feeling” that comes from touching a certain place in a certain way. This is true for a toddler, it’s true for a teenager, and it’s true for an adult woman. Studies have shown that 80 percent of teenage boys and 60 percent of teenage girls have masturbated by the age of eighteen. It’s common, normal, and one of the few things that truly has no risks at all. Touching yourself doesn’t cause psychological problems, doesn’t make you a pervert, and doesn’t make you go blind. There shouldn’t be any areas of your body that you’re afraid to touch, and you shouldn’t feel there’s anything wrong with you for enjoying that sensation.

In fact, something very positive can result from learning how to provide yourself with this form of physical pleasure. Whether you call it self-stimulation, masturbation, or auto-arousal, the concept is the same: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE SEXUALLY INTIMATE WITH ANOTHER PERSON IN ORDER TO GET THIS FEELING. You can achieve these feelings all by yourself. While there certainly are meaningful social consequences that result from having a close physical relationship with someone when you are emotionally and physically ready, you should know that you don’t have to seek out another person purely as a means of providing this physical feeling.

Also, by exploring your own body and how it responds to different types of touching, you may be more aware of your own sexual likes and dislikes in the future, when there is another person involved. And if you’re wondering about orgasms (what they’re like, how to tell if/when you have one, etc.), don’t stress. Orgasms are different for each person but pretty easy to recognize. If you’ve had a really great physical feeling that starts small and gets bigger and bigger, you’ve probably had one. And if you haven’t, keep exploring your body—you will!

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