Touching Vulvas Helped Me Touch My Own

CW: Sexual Assault, R*pe, Molestation, Masturbation, Ableism, Heteronormativity

I finally, at age 26, I have been able to masturbate with my own hand.

I know that this seems like TMI, or some oversharing over- exaggeration of a joke… but it’s not.

As long-time followers who have already read Masturbation After Molestation and watched My Video on the same subject already know; I have been unable to directly stimulate my own genitals with my own hand ever since I was molested at age 2.

I also had other experiences of r*pe and sexual assault/abuse at later developmental ages that made it difficult for me to even fathom coming to peace with my pussy parts.

I always had to depend on extensions of my hand or others to stimulate me. I shamefully had to repeatedly ask for assistance from others when I needed to take yeast infection medication, or when I lost a condom or tampon inside of myself. For all of my puberty, I depended on cis boys and men to give me satisfaction through instruction, as I could not satisfy myself with the feeling of my own hand against myself. (Until I found vibes and toys.)

And we could dig into the psychology of “why” my body and mind responded to trauma like this- how I, as a young toddler, had to make sense of what had happened to my body by deeming my own body as the enemy. How any other unfamiliar hand was welcome to touch, yet any hand familiar to me became something to trigger me into tears…

but that’s not the purpose of this post.

This post is about celebrating my breakthrough.

Because for years I remained in the closet to myself, terrified to tears of coming out into a world that expected me to be able to turn on and tango with genitals too similar to mine for comfort.

For years I found online connections to try and find comfort in others doing things for me and to me that I couldn’t bear to do to myself. And finding small moments to face my fears and anxieties by returning the favor.

The first time I touched a vulva I was terrified.

It looked, smelled, and felt just like my largest fear- my own genitals.

I felt self-conscious and horrified to admit my own inexperience with my body, let alone the bodies of others. It was always the base of all ableist/acephobic queer jokes: “we are better at being partners and having sex because we know what we like, we know how to do it to ourselves, we are more experienced at it…”

I heard these assumptions circulate in my head repeatedly as I also fought against the other trauma-developed compartments of my brain that told me, “to admit innocence is to admit vulnerability, and therefore defeat.” The part of my brain that had equivocated naïveté with harm screamed in resistance at allowing anyone to know, as I navigated sexual experiences, that I did not have the confidence of someone who had pleasured themselves “naturally.” I had, after all, had years of experience in all other ways. So I tapped into what I remembered as pleasurable and added my own preferences and spins to what I attempted.

And it worked. I went undetected as a “baby queer” as I tested the waters and faced my fears of literally going face first into my biggest fear. (Pun intended)

I found that I could please others with my hands in ways that I had always tried and failed to please myself.

I found that although my sexuality insisted that I expand into these waters, my gender still held me back.

I felt revolted by my own genitals, and as if something was missing. In some ways, I still do. And we could split hairs between sexual trauma and gender dysphoria to figure out why- we could argue that correlation doesn’t equate causation, and we could bring down the house in a rampage against those who uphold the gender binary and rape culture.

Or we could talk about how touching the vulvas of others has helped me be able to touch my own.

How learning to love, care for, and cherish the bodies of others has helped me to ease my anxieties over treating my body the same way. How I learned how to rub, flick, press, and caress others before myself. How I have been exceptionally careful in navigating the bodies of others who share the same parts as myself- knowing the ways in which those parts could be hurt. How I knew consent and communication before I knew cunnilingus- and how most persons I experienced had not.

This has come after an 11+ year- process of feeling inadequate and broken for not being able to do what most other sexually active peers deemed as normal. And this has come after 5+ years of actively trying to force myself to be able to do what I had heard came “naturally” to others.

I was never broken, just different in experience. I was never less-than, just more than others could comprehend. I was never weaker, weird, or wrong- but everyday sexual society made me to feel that way. And me being able to finally masturbate with direct stimulation from my own hand will not be that pivotal moment in the larger population where they realize trauma is valid, dysphoria is valid, and that alternative ways of pleasuring oneself is valid…

But for me, it is that pivotal moment.

And it’s a shame that it has taken me this long to realize that, and realize that my own discomfort with my preferences and abilities has made me an enforcer of these same stigmas. It doesn’t matter that it was unintentional, because the impact was clear. I was trying so hard for so long to be what was perceived as “normal”- to force myself to love what makes me uncomfortable in my own body, and to force myself to not love this same body part on others. To feel like my sexuality and gender are invalid because of my choices in self- love has been one of my largest personal disappointments and frustrations… But that is finally shifting.

I am finally finding love for my body; it’s texture, scent, and reactions. And I am going to focus on finding acceptance for myself in not loving my body at the same time; the genitals that have kept me pigeon-holed in a binary, the small breasts that I have felt obliged to enjoy, the body that has been misgendered… I am going to make myself re-examine the larger social factors that make me feel uncertain in any of this. And I hope that if you can relate, you re-examine yours too.

You don’t have to love yourself first before loving others.

Through loving others, you can see what you do and don’t love about yourself.

Not loving yourself or your parts is not an inherently immoral thing, and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise probably has an agenda. I’m not saying that self-hate isn’t capitalized on- I’m just not stating the obvious.

Anyone that tries to convince you that you must love yourself and your body in the ways that the larger population does, or at least pretends to- probably doesn’t have the same struggles or identities as you do. You may not even know these struggles and identities are a part of you yet.

Refusing to question the larger blanket “positivity” of self-love with critical introspection is more harmful than feigning contentment with yourself.

Although I am glad to have “overcome” one part of my life that has bothered me, I am still glad to have struggled with self love in all it’s forms; self-esteem, masturbation, self-image… because without that struggle I would not have discovered who I am.

Had I not questioned the status quo of sexuality and gender that made me feel inadequate and “bad” at loving myself, I would not have found my real self.

I have found my love for others with vulvas, and I have found that it’s okay to not always love mine. It will not make me any less of a person, and the same goes for you.

If you resonate or relate- I wish nothing but the best of self exploration for you, and hope that you find your own idea of self-love… and allow yourself to embrace it.

May you be Well, May you be Happy, May you be Free from Suffering

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