Japanese women will frequently open up about their sex lives with partners, but when it comes to mentioning their masturbation habits, they tend to clam up, according to Cyzo.
A survey the monthly carried out among 50 women in their 20s or 30s found that 90 percent felt it was perfectly natural for men to masturbate, but only 56 percent felt women should bring themselves off.
Among the reasons women gave for believing sisters shouldn't be doing it for themselves were that female masturbation is "dirty," "embarrassing" and "something only women who can't find a guy would do."
Sex therapist Kim Myung Gun tries to explain why masturbation has become such a taboo topic for Japanese women.
"Masturbation for men involves expelling the pleasure outside of their bodies in an action that's kind of like expunging any other waste product. But for women, there's no ejaculation involved and all the pleasure remains inside them, so talking about masturbation involves revealing to other people their innermost selves," the sex expert tells Cyzo. "I'd say that's why women are ashamed by masturbation and tend to treat talk of the practice as a taboo."
Kim adds that a woman's home environment while she's growing up has a tremendous influence on her adult attitude toward masturbation. He says that if, for example, her parents did not get along well and her mother developed a negative attitude toward men, this would make a woman wary of men, suppress her curiosity about sex and tend to strengthen inhibitions she had about physical intimacy and self-pleasure.
Dr. Kunio Kitamura, head of the Japan Family Planning Association Clinic agrees.
"Women should become more active about masturbation," Kitamura says.
Kitamura says he has been researching Japanese sexuality for more than 30 years and is disappointed that women don't take enough advantage of their chances to masturbate.
"Many women come to my clinic with worries because a man has suggested their performance in bed was no good and that they're probably frigid. I tell them not to worry and that 'frigid' is a word that selfish men have made up because they don't care enough for women," Kitamura says. "Even if they can't orgasm during sex, many women are able to reach a climax by masturbating. Remember sex involves somebody else, even if they are a beloved husband or lover. I think it's a bonus if they can derive sexual pleasure while engaged with one of those beloved people. That's why, to have fruitful sex, a woman should explore her body through masturbation so that she can find out where she feels good and then direct a man toward those areas when they are having sex together."Kitamura says Japan's patriarchal structure is harmful.
"Japan's male-dominated society," the doctor tells Cyzo, "is a major obstacle for women's masturbation."