"Don't play with yourself." It's a phrase that's been heard by far too many impressionable young children. When girls and boys start to discover their bodies it can be a source of much embarrassment for parents. Soon children consider the exploration of their private areas as bad, or even forbidden. And so starts the association between guilt and pleasure.
It does not end here, however. As the insecure adolescent enters high school, he or she is confronted by another social taboo. It is quite clear that it is not okay to talk about masturbation. Thoughts of social acceptance are paramount and it's important not to rock the boat. Self-exploration is a forbidden subject. Myths and rumors abound, leaving the adolescent alone in a world filled with questions and far too few answers.
Furthermore, teenagers are bombarded with moral admonitions against promiscuity and pre-marital sex, not to mention the ever-present fear of STDs and unwanted pregnancies that often go hand-in-hand with such behavior.
What all this leads to is an association between sexual pleasure and guilt. Sexual gratification ~ an eminently important and essential subject most people have a vested interest in ~ becomes relegated to the margins of polite society. Sex in all its glorious forms becomes clouded in a haze of misinformation and innuendo. Even a half-century after the publication of Kinsey's groundbreaking studies on human sexuality, North American society remains haunted by a nagging Puritanism.
In many ways, sex toys are the final stumbling block on the path to sexual openness. Birth control, homosexuality, masturbation ~ these are all facets of sexuality that have by and large been brought out into frank and open discourse, mostly because of television.
Sex toys are a completely healthy way to explore sexual pleasure. Because of the society we live in, however, they continue to be a guilty pleasure. This is slowly changing. Mainstream media is starting to admit that sex toys do indeed exist, and yes, people do use and enjoy them. From Talk Sex with Sue to Sex And The City, sex toys are gaining acceptance.
So let the guilt slide off your back and: Go play with yourself!
"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So....get on your way." Dr Seuss