Shailene Woodley Is Right: Masturbation Should Totally Be Taught in School

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley may be a young actress with no kids, but she's already got the right idea about raising them. The 24-year-old said recently in an interview that she would like to see masturbation taught in schools. And right she is.



"As a young woman you don't learn how to pleasure yourself, you don't learn what an orgasm should be, you don't learn that you should have feelings of satisfaction," Woodley told fashion magazine Net-a-Porter.

"If masturbation were taught in school, I wonder how [many] fewer people would get herpes aged 16, or pregnant at 14?" she added.

She's on to something.

For generations, women have not been taught to pleasure ourselves. Consider this: Vibrators were invented to help "hysterical" women (i.e., sexually frustrated women) find a release. At the time, women were not considered sexual beings. According to Psychology Today, doctors at the time believed that: 

Women were simply fleshy receptacles for male lust and that intercourse culminating in male ejaculation fulfilled women's erotic needs. Women were socialized to believe that 'ladies' had no sex drive, and that duty required them to put up with sex in order to keep their husbands happy and have children.

Is it any wonder they went to the doctors in droves complaining of anxiety, nervousness, erotic dreams, and discomfort?

Things have not improved too dramatically in the last 150 years, either. It is only in the past 10 to 15 years we have even recognized the clitoris as a viable organ that is more than the little nub that sticks outside the body. In fact, the clitoris is a large, wrap-around organ that is more like an internal penis. In France, a program will now start teaching schoolchildren about the organ and women's sexual pleasure. So Woodley is right on the cutting edge. We need to do the same.

More from CafeMom: Our Kids Need Better Sex Ed -- & This 3-D Clitoris in Classrooms Is a Good Start

The fact is, even the conservatives can get behind masturbation as a concept. Doesn't it stand to reason that a person who is sexually satisfied by her own exploration of her own body is far less likely to need to seek pleasure elsewhere? Are teens who understand how to pleasure themselves less likely to get pregnant -- or even have sex before they're truly emotionally ready?

The fact is, masturbation provides a safe sexual release. Plus it is fun. People who do it experience pleasure and get to know their own bodies. It's a huge win.

One of the most important things I did as a little girl was to learn to pleasure myself. I don't even know how I discovered it, but I did and it is a lot of the reason I didn't date early or have sex early. And then once I did start having sex, it was that much better. Because I knew what my body was capable of doing, I wouldn't settle for less. I have never been okay with not having an orgasm. I expect one every time. Because I know I can. I know my body.

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I plan to talk to my kids about masturbation as a viable alternative to teen sex. I plan to teach them about pleasure and especially to teach my girls that they need not be merely receptacles for someone else's pleasure. There is no shame in knowing your own body. As Woody Allen once said: "Don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone you love." Exactly.

More than anything, we all want our children to love themselves. Why on earth wouldn't we teach them how to do so safely and privately? Everyone does it. Let's not make our kids feel ashamed of that. Let's bring it out of the closet and show them how waiting for sex can actually work in their lives, while still feeling amazing.


Image via Splash News

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