Painting my Middle Finger Nail Dark Red – Thoughts on Female* Self-Sex

On the wall of my room, there’s a photograph of a woman* lying naked in bed, with her hand in her panties, obviously pleasuring herself.
This is a powerful picture to me and I wish to see notions of female* self-sex¹ in public more often – not in the sense of witnessing, nor necessarily in the sense of explicit presentation. More like the opposite of invisibility and lacking awareness about it’s existence – let’s say I wish female* self-sex to be more represented in general.

In pictures of female* self-sex I see the potential to contribute to a broader view on sex and sexuality.

It might be seen as anachronistic, but surprisingly often ‚having sex‘ is regarded to be ‚intercourse‘, no more, no less, no other. If this is a new thought to you, I will try to put it in easy words: having sex is not limited to / doesn‘t necessarily involve / might not even be connected to putting a penis into a vagina. Surprisingly enough, somewhere out there, some people still belief in the ‚magical phallus‘ that can cure every bad and enlighten every woman* with it’s power … may it be the guy from the one-night stand (that for sure will stay a one-time encounter when behaving as follows) who tells you how unsatisfying things are when he isn‘t able to ‚perform‘ intercourse (so everything else was … done out of duty, to ‚get to it‘, or what?…) … or ‚anti-feminists‘ who deny critical analysis from feminists and blame them to be just confused and frustrated due to lacking penis-contact. Really – the offer for supporting patriarchy is getting a share of the privilege in the form of penetration by the holy phallus? Well, you‘d better get better arguments or I‘ll need to continue with feminism …

Sexuality and sexual desires are closely connected to our personalities and are different for every.body. Some people don‘t know sexual feelings or desires. Some aren‘t interested in sexual interactions or relationships with others. Some want to have sex only when in a (life-long) couple-relationship, others want to gain experience with lots of different people. Some need personal bonding, like in friendships, others prefer not to mix sexual encounters and other relationships. Some are interested only in women* or only in men* or both, or in masculine women* or feminine men*, or just in the person_s they are in love with. For some it is most important the other person is into the same ‚preferences‘, or is aware of whatever triggers, or sensitive for consensual communication, or laughs about the same things or dresses, smells, touches them in a certain way. Most probably a mixture of several of these things and infinite aspects more.

Sexuality can be very different in consideration of partner_s, practices, preferences, interests and which priorities it has or hasn‘t in our lives. It depends on ourselves, what ‚having sex‘ and sexuality means for us. It can include fantasies, the ones you want to play out as well as the ones that are to stay in your mind; it can be a feeling in the way you move, the way you dress and present yourself – to yourself or to others; it can be the joy of desire when watching, reading, listening to or imaging scenes, texts, pictures, sounds, ideas that appeal to you; it can be whatever you desire to do or passionately do with another person (looking, talking, touching, …) – or just with yourself. It’s about enjoying, about exploring and curiosity, about respect and sensitivity for yourself, and probably about much more and much other. Discovering and accepting our sexuality has a great potential to provide ourselves with feelings of power (and vulnerability, thereby empathy) and support our guidance to self-esteem and self-determination.

Looking at things this way, it seems ridiculous that self-sex often is regarded as a ’substitute‘ for ‚real‘ sex, and existing only for people without partners. The general perception: persons who are not part of a couple don‘t have sex (meaning: couple = only setting for sexual interaction; sex = intercourse). Well, they do. With all kinds of people, in all kinds of relationships, with or without penises, and with or without other people.

And in comparison to notions of self-exploring the ‚holy phallus‘, there are rarely notions of women* getting comfortable with their ‚magic vagina‘ [or her penis or other parts, that’s still almost invisible]. Thinking of the concepts that imply women*s (sexual) passivity and disinterest, the concepts that nurture a biased relationship to body and mind/personality, thinking of the ’scars‘ of body shaming on females* that comes with it … I feel that these notions of female* self-sex could reveal these lies and breakdown their pressure.

So this is what I see in the photograph of female* self-sex: a woman* with sexual desires, who is not ashamed about these feelings, herself, her body; a woman* who doesn‘t need to be in a couple-relationship to enjoy sexual experience; a woman* who doesn‘t need the help of a man* to get satisfaction; a self-confident and joyful woman* who decides on her own what ‚having sex‘ means, how, when and with whom (no matter if male*, female* or other*) or whom not she’s going to enjoy that with.

Unfortunately I can‘t carry that photograph with me around, or make people_guys just understand its meaning.
But in another way I‘m trying to carry my message along:

I paint my middle finger nail
dark red
so you easily can keep in mind
my basic message:

Fuck you
I don‘t need you
to fuck me


¹ I know the precise term would be ‚masturbation‘, but this sounds way too clinical to express something enjoyable. Lack of appropriate and self-determined words is problematic for communication, and as communication itself is a major act of action and resistance, reclaiming and creating words and language is key to emancipation from oppression. So I‘m not going to use the term ‚masturbation‘, cause I don‘t like it, instead I‘ll be using the expression ’self-sex‘; as easy as that.