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Orgasm Girl: How My Relationship to Masturbation Grew From Secrecy to Celebration

Orgasm Girl: How My Relationship to Masturbation Grew From Secrecy to Celebration

Giving myself an orgasm is a reminder of my strong sense of intuition and a reminder that I am all I need to feel complete. 

summer of sex

By Maggie Lam 

I often think about how exploring my sexuality at a young age has led to my current relationship with sex and my knowledge of self-pleasure. I remember how one day when I was around 7 years old, I used my fingers to spread apart the skin between my legs, and I remember feeling the softness of my gogot  – the sounding of the word for ‘vulva’ in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect my family speaks. As my finger pushed harder and quicker, each touch magnified an intense yet comforting sensation. My breath deepened and relaxation washed over me. 

I remember looking at my gogot after it began feeling too sensitive to the touch and began pulsing. I marveled at the release that had come, how it webbed my fingers with strings and bubbles of an alien substance. As I regained focus on my surroundings, the living room sofa I returned to every day after school, the television volume on loud, I felt curious about what I had just experienced. Am I the first person to discover this feeling? Are there any consequences to touching myself like this? 

It wasn’t until a few years later, at around age 10, when I came across the answers online. I remember playing the flash game “Orgasm Girl”, which involved an anime girl who slept in lingerie, her body splayed across a bed, and a floating heart rate meter. I would interact with Orgasm Girl with the mouse cursor, which hovered over her body and stimulated her with each click, increasing her heart rate and the likelihood of waking her up. This game and other media taught me that the pleasure I had been giving myself every day, which had blossomed into the early morning and late-night sessions, was called masturbating, and that achievement of the pleasure I was experiencing was called an orgasm. 

Knowing the names to what I had kept private for years connected my childhood explorations to the adult context of sex that I sometimes felt uncomfortable around. I remember how silence would consume the room when my family and I watched cinematic scenes of lovers in bed. But when I was alone, engaging with the television or the computer, I pursued pornography, these scenes of physical intimacy, and I masturbated to them. Being able to explore my sexuality in private led to a sense of confidence when I felt a strong desire to have penetrative sex in my teenage years. 

Our Summer of Sex is made possible by the sponsorship of Planned Parenthood. With their help, we are able to bring you this thoughtful series delving into the subject of sex and amplify the voices of marginalized people and communities. 

The sex I ended up having, when I was 17 years old, with my quiet, aloof, white teenage boyfriend, was enjoyable because it felt similar to the porn I had been watching for many years. I gained a great sense of satisfaction by being penetrated and making him cum but I did not know how or why it was important to center my own pleasure when having sex. Also, the dependency that grew out of thinking I need a man to fulfill my sexual pleasure veiled my already powerful ability to give myself orgasms. Instead of being spammed by white, male-centered media, I needed images and discussions of pleasure made for queer Asian girls like me. As a young girl, despite knowing very well how to access my own body’s center of pleasure, I did not think of myself as an authority on sex. 

In college, I found myself among an outspoken, sex-positive and feminist community made up of queer women and non-binary people of color. Receiving political and cultural knowledge from my loving friends, who inspired me to read Black radical feminists like Audre Lorde, bell hooks, and adrienne maree brown, I had the tools and support to grow into my full feminist self, which has meant exploring my queerness and getting in touch with my body, knowing it is a site of power. My relationship to masturbating has grown from secrecy to celebration, seeing it as one form of consistent, daily practices of self-care. Giving myself an orgasm is a reminder of my strong sense of intuition and a reminder that I am all I need to feel complete. 

This summer, at 23 years old, I have been exploring my relationship to polyamory—intimate sexual and romantic relationships with multiple partners—as well as BDSM, enjoying the new pleasure that comes with restriction, sensory deprivation, and pain. One afternoon, my partner fingered my g-spot, and I squirted for the first time, gushing all at once and experiencing a deeper orgasm than ever before. I am able to see the connection between the freedom to explore my childhood sexuality and the confidence I have now as an adult to seek out and own what I like. Understanding what pleases me sexually has involved learning about giving and receiving consent and the need to practice it. My own journey makes me wonder how different society would be if children were encouraged to explore and understand their sexuality. Perhaps, we would see a society that is more tolerant and accepting of diverse sexual expressions and more aware and proactive in ending rape culture. 

While writing this essay, I went home to dig up some photos of me that my grandparents took when I was a baby, still living in China. After pulling the photo albums out of a dusty box, I grinned at what I saw. In my favorite photo of myself, I am 1-2 years old, I am laughing and sitting on the floor, my hands wrapped around my gogot, and my face is covered in sweat and glee. Seeing this photo today, I seek to honor my childhood self by continuing to enjoy and find new sexual experiences that bring me satisfaction and completion.

Maggie Lam is a pleasure-seeker first, writer second, which means she always masturbates before writing her pieces. Her writing experience includes poetry, journalism, and personal essays. Born in Hong Kong, she currently lives in the Bay Area. 

You can support Planned Parenthood by donatingtaking action, and volunteering. At a time when our reproductive rights are under attack, it is imperative that those of us who are able to help lend our time, energy, and funds to combating the forces that seek to control our bodies and prevent healthcare access for marginalized people. 

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