It did for me. I have vivid memories of masturbating starting at the age of 6. I also got in big trouble for pleasuring myself, even though I was doing it in a bathroom, behind closed doors. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing or why it felt so good, but it did, and I escaped to the bathroom every chance I got to rub my vulva. For some reason, I had the awareness that it was something you did in private, but even so, my mother barged into the bathroom one day, found me playing with my clit, and yelled at me like I’d done something totally unforgiveable. I didn’t understand why she was so angry and it made me feel bad about something that had brought me so much pleasure.
Read: It's Natural and Normal: How to Teach Your Kids About Masturbation
For the next 11 years, I snuck around and kept my regular masturbatory habits a secret. And when my mother died when I was 17, I went out two weeks later and bought my first vibrator. At this point, I was having clumsy sex (at best) with my boyfriend, but I also recognized that the only person responsible for pleasing me, was me. So, without the constant shadow of possible shaming, I took matters, ummm, into my own hands. I’ve held onto that me-first mentality when it comes to my pleasure and orgasm ever since.
It's called “running the fuck” and it's, hands down, my favorite Bettyism (and trust me, there’s no shortage of them). The expression dates back to the 1970s, when Dodson hosted group-sex parties in the same space as her Bodysex workshops. The gist is for women to take charge during intercourse, and to do what needs to be done to get off. This means using lube (especially if a penis is circumcised), maybe introducing a vibrator (for clitoral stimulation), and getting on top (to establish how fast and deep penetration should be). It's like dancing, only the woman takes the lead. Betty says that you can also "run a fuck" from the bottom, but it takes more finesse. My advice is to get on top and make your neighbors know your name.
As women, it's high time to own our pleasure and do everything in our power to break the stigma. As Woody Allen's character Alvy Singer said in Annie Hall, “Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone you love.” So please, go "run the fuck" and get all the pleasure you rightfully deserve. And if anyone has anything to say about it, there's a special place they can go. We need to keep talking about women and pleasure.