Author Jenny Block on masturbation as self care and female orgasm as empowerment

BY NATASIA LANGFELDER
Lesbian.com

Author Jenny Block [Photo by Steph Grant]

Jenny Block is the master of female orgasm and her latest book, “The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex: All You Need to Know About Masturbation” hit bookshelves this May. Block has made a name for herself with her previous books, “O Wow! Discovering your Ultimate Orgasm” and “Open” as a sex positive queer writer, who specializes in women’s empowerment through orgasm.

Block’s female positive sex advice has been featured on leading websites such as Huffington Post, Playboy, Bustle and many more. She has also been called to appear on TV, and has been featured on the Tyra Banks Show and The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, to name a few. Jenny I sat down to chat about her latest book and masturbation as self care.

How did you come up with the idea to write “The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex”?  

I was researching for my second book, “O Wow!” and I had interviewed about 150 women and was mesmerized by the answers. It occurred to me that part of the issue is that they were not masturbating. So I starting asking people if they were masturbating. My poor friends would like to have one brunch without me saying “pussy” out loud!

Women act as if masturbation is a mystery that we shouldn’t be talking about. They don’t make the connection that you need to do it yourself so you know what you need when you are with a partner. Women assume all orgasms should be with a partner.

What was your process for writing this book? 

I did so much research. It felt like an immersion course, it was like when you are learning a language. Read everything I could get my hands on. While I was talking to everyone [about masturbation] I did become a bit of a hermit. I was a college writing professor for about 10 years. There is a lot of writing and re-writing that goes into it. My students would freak out when I told them to throw out 2/3s of what they write.

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Photo by Steph Grant – www.stephgrantphotogrpahy.com

I really loved that this book was written by a queer woman, most self-help books aren’t. But there’s a lot of value in a queer woman explaining how women get off. How did you decide how to approach this subject to make it accessible for all women? 

I live in a sex positive bubble and sometimes make assumptions that everyone is on the same wavelength. But sometimes the most well-traveled, lovely people don’t know much about how to get themselves off. It was really a matter of getting my own head out of the sand and taking the temperature of what is really going on out there with women.

Masturbation is the barometer of what’s going on in a woman’s life. Is she stressed? Is she putting herself last? When you are busy and stressed, the first thing to go is self care. Things like eating healthy, exercising and masturbating go out the window. It’s the first thing to go! And that’s terrible!

When we are stressed we give up all the things that help us take care of ourselves. It’s all the same as eating properly and working out. It’s just as important. I don’t get upset about brushing my teeth at night. Masturbation is included in self care and we aren’t taught that. Taking the time and energy to take care of yourself is so important

Don’t feel well? Masturbate! Stressed out? Masturbate!

Yes! That’s so true and so important. 

All that Brock turned shit going around. Lack of value.

If we talked about masturbation maybe we could elevate women in general. Women don’t talk about masturbation, or we don’t do it, or we don’t value it. People always say, ”Oh women can go without it,” when they talk about sex.

There was even an entire Seinfeld episode about masturbation. The men in the show thought Elaine would win, they even wanted to exclude her from the contest. But she was the first one out!

You describe intimate experiences with partners in the book- did you tell any of them they were going to be mentioned beforehand? What did they think of being included? 

That’s almost the thing I lead with! I should get a t-shirt that says, “be careful you might end up in my next book.” I’m really up front with that. People think it’s funny. Even if we are just friends, you’re warned if you hang out with me in any way, things can be very public.

My partner now is relatively conservative in that way. I told her I’m not writing erotica. If I write about how good she is in bed she will be embarrassed. But it’s better than saying she’s bad in bed!

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When I was reading this book, I was thinking that it would be really beneficial to straight women. Have you been able to reach out to straight readers? 

I have a good straight following! I hate to be that queer girl that is like, “We do everything better than you do.” But I’ve been on both sides, and I’ve never had to tell a women it’s two inches away from where you think it is.

My book gets sequestered in the LGBT section but it’s probably more needed by straight people.

Which is crazy, because it’s a general self-help book for women. Masturbation isn’t just for gay women. Just because it was written by a queer woman, doesn’t mean it should automatically be shelved in the LGBT section. 

There was a sad comment on my second book. One woman told me we are past all this and we are all sex positive. I was like, “Oh honey, you have no idea.” She said my book about female orgasm was not necessary and that scared me even more. I feel really responsible as a lesbian with all the “secrets.” I feel like we should share them.

One time, I ended up out with three or four straight couples after a reading. The men were looking at their partners saying, “Why don’t you tell me this stuff?” And it was earth shattering for me. We [queer women] are always with our community. It’s not a conversation queer women are having. In the straight community they are saying, ““Of course you can get off in 13 seconds of penis in vagina intercourse and nothing else. That’s what they show in all the movies. That’s what’s in the magazines.”

I’m a writer who sleeps with women. I’m not a queer writer. I want people to know I’m queer, definitely, but it is confounding because this book is universal.

I like to say that I am uniquely qualified, because I did live on the other side of the fence. Theoretically I was a practicing hetero for some time- I know what it is to sleep with men. I would like more straight women to read my book. Straight women find the writing the most profound, queer women are like “right on.”

The community at large thinks of being queer as a lifestyle. But we are all people just trying to figure it out. I get asked relationship questions, it’s a little different, but it’s still two human beings trying to live. The straight community can learn a lot from the queer community meanwhile the straight community has all these rules they have to life by.

Any final thoughts for our readers?

I would like to see the fun put back in sex! If you don’t laugh once during sex you are doing it wrong. Women say they could “never tell” xyz to a partner. But sex should be fun! There’s so much pressure to be hot and have hot, crazy, wild, sex. But good sex involved being connected to another person or humans. Making sex fun again is part of my mission as well.

In the name of women’s empowerment- I want to remind women that masturbation and orgasm is both their right and their responsibility. Masturbation is part of taking care of yourself. Every average, healthy woman should be masturbating.

As I say in my book, “Your orgasm is your responsibility. No one else can make you come. Another people can help facilitate your orgasm. But they can’t make you come. If you can’t make yourself come, you can’t expect anyone else to be a part of making you come. How can your partner help you if you don’t know how it works yourself?”

You heard Jenny! Go out and masturbate! You can find Jenny at her website, www.thejennyblock.com. Purchase her books on Amazon, and like her on Facebook.

 

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

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