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URGE’s annual self-love week touches on female masturbation

United for Reproductive and Gender Equity sought to educate students on the myths behind female masturbation.

Manny Frausto and Kevin Flores

United+for+Reproductive+and+Gender+Equity+board+member+Karina+Sarabia+leads+a+discussion+during+its+female+masturbation+workshop+in+the+University+Student+Union+on+Tuesday.+
United for Reproductive and Gender Equity board member Karina Sarabia leads a discussion during its female masturbation workshop in the University Student Union on Tuesday.

United for Reproductive and Gender Equity board member Karina Sarabia leads a discussion during its female masturbation workshop in the University Student Union on Tuesday.

Michael Ares

Michael Ares

United for Reproductive and Gender Equity board member Karina Sarabia leads a discussion during its female masturbation workshop in the University Student Union on Tuesday.

Nicca Panggat, Assistant News Editor

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Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right may B A Start to the perfect cheat-filled affair—with yourself.

At United for Reproductive and Gender Equity’s female masturbation workshop on Tuesday, students at California State University, Long Beach took a tip from ‘90s Konami wisdom, swapping out game controllers for fingers, dildos and vibrators as topics of conversation.

The gathering was the first event in URGE’s annual Self-Love Week. The workshop set out to educate both women and men on the common practice of masturbation in order to make people more comfortable and accepting of the idea that everyone does it, URGE board member Nathalia Diaz said.

“As a culture, women are not really allowed to express themselves sexually,” Diaz said. “If you do, then there’s this double standard that you’re a whore, you’re a slut, and you’re not supposed to like those things; we think that it’s just human nature and we should all be allowed to express ourselves sexually.”

The focus of the event was female masturbation specifically because of the negative stigma that the act holds in society today, Diaz said. She attributes some of this to the fact that male self-pleasure is shown so commonly in movies, but scenes depicting female self-pleasure are considerably scarce.

Overall, 60 percent of women aged 18 to 19, 64.3 percent of women aged 20-24 and 70 percent of women aged 25 to 29 admitted to masturbating in the year 2010, according to the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.

“[The stigma with female masturbation is] that it’s a dirty thing that only a certain kind of people do it—especially for females,” sophomore Janine McDonell, a Japanese studies major at CSULB, said. “I wanted to come to this [event] because it was specifically about masturbation for females.”

The masturbation workshop also discussed how to self-love safely with the use of condoms, proper lubricant and a basic biology lesson that labeled the different parts of the vagina.

“We planned the workshop with our club members and [safety with toys] was one of the topics that they stressed the importance of,” sophomore English education major at CSULB and URGE board member Karina Sarabia said. “We all feel that people are very curious about them, but because of their stigma they don’t want to experiment with them or even go out of their way to learn about them.”

Sarabia said that the goal was to help alleviate some curiosity and answer questions for those people, and show them what to look for so they could be safe in experimenting.

“At least now they know what to look for and what to be cautious of,” Sarabia said.

Sarabia said that most of the attendees of the masturbation workshop were actually walk-ins rather than club members, and people just generally curious about the practices and stigma behind female masturbation.

“I hope people are able to feel better about themselves and be okay with masturbating,” Natalia said. “[I hope they can begin] accepting every part of themselves that surrounds sexual pleasure.”

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