By now you may have heard about how a Christian author says “masturbation is a direct path to Satan.”
I’m a pretty firm believer in the fact that masturbation is a natural, healthy expression of sexuality, and I’ll direct you to some resources at the bottom of this post if you want more information about it. But what I really want to talk about here is the claim that “Dildos and all of those other sex toys have been used for thousands of years in demonic sex rituals.”
While I don’t have the background in ancient religious history to debate that statement, I will say this: sex toys have medical uses, and it’s important not to lose sight of that fact in the furor over this issue.
The Mayo Clinic lists a number of conditions under the heading dyspareunia (or painful sexual intercourse). To take one example, vaginismus is a serious condition that impacts many women, making sexual intercourse painful if not impossible. The vaginal muscles spasm uncontrollably, and as part of treatment, dildos called dilators are used to stretch the tight muscles, hopefully getting them accommodated to contact.
Other medical issues are treated with dilators as well; the site Vaginismus.com lists a number of “post-surgical recovery programs and conditions such as dyspareunia, vaginal narrowing, vaginal agenesis, vaginal atrophy, age related problems/changes, reconditioning the vagina after long periods of no sex, and other similar gynecological issues.” Some medical centers recommend them for post-menopausal women who experience painful vaginal tightness.
In intersex people (those whose bodies do not conform precisely to dualistic definitions of male/female anatomy; it’s estimated that 1-2 out of 1,000 births do not fit the medical standard of binary anatomical conformity), certain conditions lead to incompletely developed vaginas. Dilator therapy is an option for those wishing to normalize their vaginas without (or before) attempting surgery.
Additionally, though this isn’t likely to win any friends among conservatives or bigots, some trans women use a dilator after a vaginoplasty to maintain the structures of their vaginas.
In short, to tell women that they shouldn’t use dildos to therapeutically treat their vaginas is misogynist, just another way of denying women control over their bodies and their lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cisgender woman, a trans woman, an intersex woman, or a non-binary person who may or may not have a vagina – I support women and, really, all people who want to use medical and/or sexual technologies to enhance their living.
Hopefully y’all are on board with me to this point. For those who want a bit more info about the health benefits of masturbation, check out these links:
- Is Masturbation Okay? (Yep) on Scarleteen.com
- Planned Parenthood dispels some stereotypes about masturbation here
- Check out Betty Dodson’s masturbation tag on her site for tons of Q&As, tips, and more
…Oh, and apparently Ted Cruz tried to ban dildos in Texas one time. I’m guessing nobody told him about vaginismus either.