Have you heard “Touch Myself”, T-Boz’s Ode to Masturbation?

Masturbation is a topic that’s been tackled in music before. Tori Amos’ “Icicle” and Macy Gray’s “B.O.B” are fine examples. And even though R&B singer Tweet has denied that “Oops (Oh My)” is about self-stimulation, it’s ingrained in people’s minds as an anthem all about servicing one’s self. But one song people seem to glaze over is T-Boz’s 1996 track “Touch Myself”, which was written and produced by her childhood friend Dallas Austin. It signifies the first time T-Boz shared a a musical offering outside of her work with platinum-selling girl group TLC.

I believe the majority of the aversion to masturbation comes from Christianity, which we all know has deep roots in heterosexual men’s pleasure. Of course, that core of male pleasure goes beyond sex. It encapsulates other aspects of certain women’s lives, like fashion, beauty, and beliefs, but sex is certainly the biggest facet. This is why men revel in conquests and are not required to care if their partner orgasms or not. Women are not viewed as complete, autonomous vessels, but instead as objects for heterosexual men to obtain and restrict. Their pleasure as singular beings is not a focus.

Christianity has long celebrated women for doing anything other than pleasing themselves, but applauds the women who do what it takes to please men. It is honorable to bring constant joy to their families, random men they come in contact with, and the man that they are in a relationship with. But when do women get to just make themselves feel good?

Christian women have passed down their oppression to their girls (who are now women) and although those children may not identify as Christian, they are informed by Christian, eurocentric standards of living. Some grown women have have sexual desires that they are utterly ashamed of and were never taught to comprehend. They try to masturbate to avoid the guilt of having sex outside of marriage. But unfortunately, self pleasure can actually heighten their guilt, creating confusion and sexual frustration. What many fail to realize is that masturbation is safe, and that it’s been going on for centuries. According to Unbound‘s Guide to Masturbation, people, specifically women, began masturbating as early as the 4th millennium. We know because there’s artistic proof.

Let it be known that loving on yourself also has serious benefits. Planned Parenthood says that masturbating can “help treat sexual problems, helps with period pain, and strengthens muscle tone in your nether regions”. It can also completely eliminate the shame of a hook up with a loser that you only hit up out of extreme horniness! But even if you are in a relationship, masturbation can help you learn more about what you enjoy during sex. It can also give you more insight about the way your body works, which is something everyone needs. No one can teach you more about yourself than you!

It’s not up for debate, “Touch Myself” is all about taking away the stigma of masturbating. The R&B superstar, known for her raspy vocals, sings “I’m not afraid to touch myself, it’s alright” during the song’s refrain. Since the early days of their career, TLC has made it their duty to promote safe sex. From their condom-accented outfits to the second verse in “Waterfalls”, the group urged people to protect themselves when having sex. T-Boz’s solo venture is a perfect continuation of the guidelines TLC adhered to.

Masturbation is a perfectly normal, healthy way to connect with yourself in a sexual way. Don’t let viewpoints ruin it for you, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We need to open conversations about masturbation so we can come to better conclusions than the rigid ones that already exist.