Despite being a prominent topic in pop culture today, self-pleasure or female masturbation still carries a stigma and is treated as a hush-hush topic to not be spoken about. At its core, it has to do with us Southeast Asians being brought up in a culture that finds sex, in general, to be immoral.
To help understand that better, Saranikka, entrepreneur and co-founder of pleasure toy business, Vaib Store, explains, “I believe there are two factors that caused this. One, repression. For years, many educators, parents and even community leaders chose to promote abstinence or demonising sex to ‘solve’ issues relating to sex such as STDs, harassment and unplanned pregnancy. People are entitled to their own beliefs but having sexual desires is not wrong. In fact, it’s natural. Especially when it comes to masturbation, you are not hurting anyone.”
“The second factor, is, of course, patriarchy. Women are often objectified as sex objects to a point where, whenever we try to express our sexuality, it is often deemed as ‘selling one self’, ‘dirty’ and ‘slutty’. As an example, we often receive customers who repetitively apologise to us for talking about masturbation and sex. I want to assure these ladies that their pleasures are valid and their pleasure matters.”
Inspired by her own experience, Saranikka felt that people needed a space to discuss self-pleasure in a professional capacity. “It doesn’t need to be vulgar and crude. If we keep repressing sexual desires, it can lead to mental distress, misinformation about sex, and even difficulties to experience sex once it happens.”
When starting out, Vaib Store was met with resistance and even mockery. “I remember how people were making fun of us, even being angry at one point, just for sharing our products. ‘Ladies should use their brain, not toys,’ was one of the comments we got,” she shares.
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Understanding how unconventional her products were and how people were uncomfortable with what they didn’t know about, she decided to share more, and share better, with in-depth descriptions and even videos to normalise the topic. “We added educational posts to normalise conversing about sexuality and sensuality. We engaged with influencers which help humanise our effort, making self-pleasure a relatable thing, which helps in reducing fear among our customers.”
What Saranikka wants everyone to know is that having sexual desires is completely natural and that you’re not hurting anyone in this process. Not only is self-pleasure proven to lower stress levels, but it will also help you sleep better and increase your self-esteem. “It’s one of the best ways to know what you like, which will help tremendously when you are with a partner. There’s more good and than bad that come with masturbation, if it’s done right,” she says.
Achieve the Big O
Here are Saranikka’s tips on getting it on and getting it done right on your own.
1.“Masturbation is a process. You can’t turn on your vibrator and just go. Treat masturbation like a spa day. Light some candles, take a nice bath, read or watch erotica and explore all your sensitive areas. Don’t rush!”
2. “Lubricants are very important! If you are a vulva owner, it can help you reduce friction that might irritate and the tear skin. Lubricants also boosts pleasure. Water-based lubricant is the best, as a silicone-based lubricant can damage silicone toys.”
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3. “Having a hard time orgasming? Take a break and try different positions. Also, if you have the means, try different toys that provide different types of orgasm. It may be different to what you usually experience, but sometimes all you need is a little change. Our best-seller is called Violet Swirl and what we call a dual vibrator that offers external and internal stimulation. The best thing about Violet Swirl is that it has a suction function that imitates oral sex. It offers different modes and levels of vibrations. We received so many good reviews on Violet Swirl. Many customers have said that this toy blew their minds!”