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Factors Related to Female Autoerotic Stimulation

By LoreOlvera Apr 11, 2013 1241 Words
Running head: FACTORS RELATED TO FEMALE AUTOEROTIC STIMULATION

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Factors Related to Female Autoerotic Stimulation Lorena Olvera Moreno Widener University

FACTORS RELATED TO FEMALE AUTOEROTIC STIMULATION Autoeroticism is an activity related to the self, it can consist of different activities from sexual fantasies, erotic dreams, body caresses and self-masturbation (Yarber, Sayad, & Strong, 2010). The etymology of the word masturbation has an uncertain origin; however, one of the most common etymologies comes from the latin manstuprare. Manstuprare is formed by two parts: manus (hand) plus stuprare (oneself) (Harper, 2012). As a result, masturbation only includes the use of the hand. Since in this essay we are going to talk about different kinds of autoeroticism, autoerotic stimulation is more inclusive. Female autoerotic stimulation can be studied from different perspectives. A possible perspective is analyzing the aspects of female sexuality that affect or decrease the frequency or quality in this kind of stimulation. Another

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possibility is based on the motivations or reasons that women who practice this experience state. Therefore, there are four aspects that can be related to female autoerotic stimulation: anatomical location of genitals, education, social conditioning and sexual background. The anatomical location of genitals can interfere in female autoerotic stimulation because they are not located in a place as visible as the penis. The vulva or external female genitals consist of the mons pubis, the clitoris, the labia majora and the labia minora (Yarber et al., 2010). The mons pubis, in adult life is covered by pubic hair which obstructs the view of the vulva in standing or lying down position. In addition, the clitoris is covered by a piece of skin called clitoral hood while is not enlarged (Yarber et al., 2010). These anatomical parts impede the women from having a wider vision of her genitals, thus they are unable to distinguish between the aroused state in comparison to their basal state; therefore, the possible knowledge and understanding about her body is reduced. Secondly, the social conditioning can directly affect the frequency of self-erotic stimulation in women in contrast with men. Many surveys, for instance Alfred Kinsey (1953), L.

FACTORS RELATED TO FEMALE AUTOEROTIC STIMULATION Elliot and C. Brantley (1997), and E. Laumann, J. Gagnon, R. Michael and S. Michael (1994) indicate that the gender differences in masturbation are significant (as cited in Yarber et al., 2010). According to Alfred Kinsey survey (1953) 92% of men and 58% of women practice masturbation (as cited in Yarber et al., 2010). Similarly, L. Elliot and C. Brantley (1997) found that 50% of college men masturbate against 31% of college women (as cited in Yarber et al., 2010). Likewise, E. Laumann et al. (1994) found that 42% of women had masturbated the last year against 62% of men (as cited in Yarber et al., 2010).

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The differences in frequency of masturbation between genders have a social origin. Kelly James (2011) explains that “sexual pleasure is socially constructed [and that] our experience of sexual pleasure reflects values, beliefs, and standards” (p. 33). The way people make decisions about sexuality and the origin of those values and beliefs come from media sources, peer groups, and family contexts (James, 2011). Some years ago the focus was on the sexual acts, some of which were seen as morally corrupt; nowadays, society focuses on who practices the act (Fischer, 2011). Then, morality becomes a type of social control which is socially and historically constructed mainly by men. When men realized their role in reproduction, they started to control women’s sexuality preventing premarital sex and preventing women from knowing their bodies and finding the key to pleasure; the result: the Good girl-Wife/Mother who has low sexual interest (Crane, B. & Crane-Seeber, J., 2003). Moreover, morality is strongly linked to religion, subsequently people who are less religiously devout present more masturbation incidence than those who are not (Yarber et al., 2010). Thirdly, the level of education is an important factor which relates to female autoerotic stimulation that is, “the more educated one becomes, the more frequently he or she masturbates” (Yarber et al., 2010, p. 277). The education received on this topic can be formal (through school)

FACTORS RELATED TO FEMALE AUTOEROTIC STIMULATION or informal (through peers, family and media channels). There is a significant difference in the sexual education received by boys compared to that received by girls. Based upon personal

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experience, at least in Mexico, the information is more complete in relation to male genitals than female ones; in text books (elementary, secondary and high school) they just teach female internal structures, while related to males they show external as well as internal structures. In addition, boys discuss masturbatory experiences with friends, while girls rarely do it (Yarber, Sayad, & Strong, 2010). Moreover, autoerotic stimulation means learning about the sexual body (Yarber, Sayad, & Strong, 2010); if it is not part of sexual education or not explained by informal resources, and is likewise repressed, the person will reduce or avoid having these practices. Fourthly, another aspect that influences female autoerotic stimulation is her sexual background. According to M. Gerressu, C. Mercer, C. Graham, K. Wellings and A. Johnson (2008) the frequency in female masturbation is related to frequency of intercourse, the size of the range of sexual behaviors, the quantity of sexual partners in the past, and same-sex sexual partners (as cited in Yarber, et al., 2010). This means that a woman who initiates sexual activity at a younger age, who likes variety in her sexual behaviors (the different manifestations of sexual and erotic life), who has bisexual behaviors, and who has sex frequently, is more likely to practice masturbation. However, as stated in the introduction, masturbation is not the only practice related to autoeroticism. Besides the use of fingers and hand, women stimulate their bodies utilizing different kinds of objects: rubbing against a furniture or fabric, using a dildo or a vibrator, using vegetables, beside others (Dodson, 2005). Therefore, the range of sexual behaviors stated by Gerressu et al. (2008) could be also associated not just with couple erotic behaviors but autoerotic ones too.

FACTORS RELATED TO FEMALE AUTOEROTIC STIMULATION The differences found in the frequency of autoerotic stimulation between genders can

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have a basis in these four aspects: location of genitals that are not as visible as in males, the level of education related mainly to sexuality, the social conditioning based on gender roles and social expectations, and the sexual background of the person which can be acquired through having a healthy sex life.

FACTORS RELATED TO FEMALE AUTOEROTIC STIMULATION References

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Crane, B. & Crane-Seeber, J. (2003). The four boxes of gendered sexuality: Good girl/bad girl & tough guy/sweet guy. In Heasley, R. & Crane, B. (Ed.), Sexual lives: A reader on the theories and realities of human sexualities. (pp. 196). New York: McGraw Hill.

Dodson, B. (Producer & Director). (2005). Orgasmic women. [Video/DVD]

Fischer, N. (2011). Purity and pollution. In Steven Seidman, Nancy Fischer and Chet Meeks (Eds.), Introducing the new sexuality studies (2nd ed.) (pp. 38-44). New York: Routledge.

Harper, D. (2012). Masturbation. In Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved from http:// http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=masturbation

James, K. (2011). Sexual pleasure. In Steven Seidman, Nancy Fischer and Chet Meeks (Eds.), Introducing the new sexuality studies (2nd ed.) (pp.32-37). New York: Routledge.

Yarber, W., Sayad, B., & Strong, B. (2010). Human sexuality: Diversity in contemporary america (7th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

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