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If an alien came down and observed depictions of wanking in popular culture, they’d be forgiven for thinking that only men do it. Beating the bishop, pulling the pork sword, choking the chicken…it always seems to come down to getting wood. But as most of us know, girls do it. Yes, we shuffle the Kit Kat, buff the muffin and paddle the pink canoe like the rest. Indeed, a survey of both male and female masturbation by sex toy manufacturers LoveHoney showed that women do it more than men – with 65 per cent of female respondents admitting to special alone time compared with 59 per cent of male respondents. 

Other girls at school

Unfortunately, most information related to female self-pleasure out there seems to consist of “how to” guides – and a lot of them are utter tosh, suggesting candles, soft music, an episode or two of Oprah and perhaps a bit of reflection on Mother Earth. Urgh. Nobody would purport to tell a man how to have a wank, so why do we do it to women? And how does it affect the way we relate to our bodies?

We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re having a wank. 

“I come from a very liberal family so the idea of enjoying my body safely, sanely and consensually came up pretty early for me,” reveals Sammi, 32. “In fact, I even remember my big sister gently telling me when I was about 13 and developing fast that boys would be interested in me (unfortunately she didn’t mention girls, but that’s another story) but for now it was a better idea to, ahem, keep my fun to myself!” Sammi began talking openly about masturbating to other girls at school but was firmly told off by a teacher, even though she and her peers were already putting condoms on hockey sticks and watching shaky videos simulating sperms going into eggs while they were in class.

Fuzzy feeling

Tara, 24, tells quite a different story. “I was about 18 when the penny finally dropped,” she laughs. “I had vaguely wondered what the fuzzy feeling and the eventual rush I got when I did certain things were, but I just shrugged it off. It was only when I was leafing through one of my mother’s women’s magazines one crushingly boring Sunday afternoon that I realised what I’d been doing. I rushed upstairs and had a far less boring afternoon after that…” Tara’s tale is a good illustration of how knowledge is power. 

For my part, I suppose I was somewhere in between the two growing up. My parents never sat me down and embarrassed the fuck out of me with a detailed explanation of female masturbation and how to fiddle with my lady garden, but neither did they ever hide anything from me if I asked. As an adult I find I can speak freely to them about sex and I should imagine they’d be a bit offended if I couldn’t. Indeed, when I told my father I was off upstairs to write an article about wanking he shrugged and said “Everyone does it!” thus conjuring up images I’m not entirely sure I appreciated. 

Classic fingering

Lying awake thinking about what I’d write for this article, I developed a fun game. You can play this too. Which animals do you think wank? Obviously it must be a bit difficult for some of them to reach, but you’d be surprised how many of them do it – sometimes in quite amazing positions that even Cosmo wouldn’t dream up. Monkeys, adorable little pervs that they are, manage it. Dolphins and whales rub up against things. Elephants – big time (literally). Walruses, rats, bats, lizards, turtles, penguins – all at it too. 

Humans, too, find many weird and wonderful ways to do it. Some women hump a pillow (or is that just me?), some of us go for the classic fingering technique, some get out our Rabbit, some begin with a boob massage, some lucky souls can apparently do it by just thinking about cumming… So come on, girls, stop letting the boys hog the slimelight and let’s shout it loud and proud. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re having a wank. 

Thinking about exploring polyamory? Find your essential guide right here.

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Charlotte Dingle

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