Discourses of Female Masturbation in Human Sexuality Textbooks


  • Isha Leibel MacEwan University


Many studies show that masturbation is a common and healthy aspect of human functioning (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002). Despite this, masturbation has been, and continues to be, perceived by society as a sinful, unhealthy, immoral, and/or shameful act (Hare,1962; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2002; Studd & Schwenkhagen, 2009). Female masturbation, in particular, is subject to harsh social criticism and experiences elevated levels of conceived social unacceptability. Female masturbation is demonized within society to such a degree that it is often perceived as inherently unworthy of discussion or consideration (Garlick, 2012; Stolberg, 2000). The purpose of this study is to trace the ways in which female masturbation is discussed in Human Sexuality textbooks. By conducting a content and discourse analysis of 21 Human Sexuality textbooks and encyclopedias, I explore the dominant themes in which female masturbation is represented.

Department: Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alissa Overend