The down low on self-love

Self-love is still locked in the closet with all of society’s other taboos. But students campus-wide think the acceptance of masturbation should be revisited.

The subject can cause people to feel uncomfortable. Talking openly about masturbation and other sexual issues is considered improper by some, while others think that people shouldn’t have to keep zipped up about the issue., a leading medical information Web site, defines masturbation as “the self-stimulation of the genitals to achieve sexual arousal and pleasure.” According to the Web site, 95 percent of males and 89 percent of females have indulged in self-stimulation.

Although the vast majority of Americans have given their fingers some exercise, good luck getting them to admit it; excuses are abundant when some are confronted with private details.

For instance, Virginia Pease, a University senior in the aviation department, feels that masturbation is healthy, but the subject doesn’t have to be vocalized.

“The average college student is able to talk about masturbation easily because college is a liberal environment,” Pease said. “But for the everyday person it’s not common dinner table discussion.”

Dinner table or not, Ohio State University graduate student Katie Sorokas believes levels of acceptability lies along gender lines. Sorokas recently earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies at OSU, where she gained a gender-conscious understanding of the ways in which masturbation is confronted and discussed among men and women.

During the course of her undergraduate studies, she conducted an experiment in which she asked students to cite as many slang terms for gender-specific masturbation as they could. On average, OSU students were able to name 21 metaphors for male autoeroticism and only four for female self-pleasure.

“For men it’s easy to joke about because there’s a lot of slang they can use,” Sorokas said. “For women there’s no acceptable way to joke about it. But women should feel comfortable talking about it.”

Sorokas said she knows very few women who have readily admitted to engaging in manual stimulation, and she thinks she knows why: The slut/Madonna dichotomy, a theory suggesting there’s a double-standard that women must adhere to that either portrays them as sexually promiscuous or as uptight prudes.

“Expectations say you have to be this good girl all the time in public, but you have to be a bad girl in the bedroom,” she said. “If you’re not, it’s expected that your partner will move on.”

According to’s “Your Guide to Masturbation” page, “the medical community considers masturbation to be a natural and harmless expression of sexuality for both men and women.”

Regardless of gender roles, Adam Barber, a University senior in the creative writing program, believes masturbation should be discussed openly.

“If you can’t always get laid, sometimes it’s good to lay yourself,” Barber said. “I don’t think it should be as taboo as it is.”

Get the low down on slang terms for masterbation

1. Beat the Meat

2. Flipping the Bean

3. Petting the Kitty

4. Choking the Chicken

5. The Low 5

6. Flicking the Switch