Ashley from the United States
When I was twelve, I broke my arm and had an elbow length cast; which meant every time I had to bathe I had to take a bath. I was sitting in the bath with my arm on the faucet one day and the water hit my clitoris. I was like holy shhittttt this is amazing and I came almost immediately. This was the first time I had any kind of experience like this so it was completely unexpected. It was this really intense feeling of warmth and it was all I could think about. For the next three months, I was masturbating in the bath every day.
After figuring out this thing that my body could do, I started to become more interested in other possibilities so I started watching a lot of porn. My parents never talked to me about sex and I grew up in a conservative state with an absence only sex ed program, so porn was the only place I felt I could find information.
It was a lot of Google image searches at first, which was pretty tame. It was the days of Limewire (an old-school media downloading service) so it was like,
“I am going to download one thing for seven hours, then look at it or watch it and hope it is good and hope I am not getting a bucket full of viruses.”
You really have to be dedicated to finding something on Limewire. I started with a lot of different kinds of porn, looking at pictures and just sort of let my mind start running. While looking at these, I thought it would be really nice to have some sort of penis like object for myself, so I made one.
I first tried masturbating in my vagina and it was super unpleasant, actually to the point it was really painful. Even putting a couple of fingers in my vagina felt really unpleasant, it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t understand why people would want to have vaginal sex. I could put tampons in and that was good enough.
It wasn’t long before I was watching a lot of anal sex porn and gang bang porn. Double penetration became my favorite keyword. I also had this weird fear of stretching out my vagina because no one really tells you how that works. I thought I don’t want to stretch out my vag but who cares about my butthole so I started masturbating with my ass. Not only did masturbating with my ass hurt less but it also felt better.
It was slow at first, I started out with smaller things and I worked my way up. I spent a lot of time making different sized dildos out of different materials but mostly I stuck with three main supplies: toilet paper, empty toilet paper rolls and electrical tape. Once I made one I was happy with, I would use it for a while then eventually make a new, bigger one. Between when I was thirteen and eighteen, I probably made more than ten different dildos.
I came up with the art of dildo making with limited access to supplies. I stuffed toilet paper in a finished toilet paper roll though the bottom until it came out the top and then taped it. The toilet paper rolls are about six or seven inches in length and when I wanted them even longer I would stack one on top of another. The amount of toilet paper that was stuffed in the middle of the toilet paper roll would determine how soft or firm it was. If I wanted them thicker, I would alternate wrapping toilet paper, tape, toilet paper, tape and so on and so on around the outside of the roll.
There was also a difference in electrical tapes. I found some that stuck to themselves a lot better than others and some that had a silky smooth finish, which was nice. I also made the base of the dildo wider so I never lost one or anything. It was very obvious to me that you wanted a base on it. It just makes so much sense even if you don’t know a lot about dildos. I used extra paper and kind of made a ball shape on the end because it was also something that I could grab. Sometimes they wouldn’t have the right shape and it wouldn’t be tapered enough and it would feel weird. It’s literally a sculpting activity, it’s like arts and crafts for dildos.
After all of the layers of toilet paper and tape, they were pretty solid, dense things. It didn’t have the pliable dick feel to them like silicone dildos but they were sturdy. If you aren’t using lube, it has to be somewhat solid. I actually don’t remember using a lot of lube. I’m not even sure what I used. I think that’s why it’s so easy for me to have anal sex now, I need pretty much no warm up and can go whenever.
There was also something really fun about pushing my body with these toys so I would make continuously bigger toys. The idea of trying to stick larger and larger things in my butt was super appealing to me. I also used to have this four-post bed and I would manage to fasten my legs above my head to the bedposts. I hadn’t even watched porn about it, I just thought it would be really fun to have that stretchy feeling. The feeling of my legs stretching and being pushed is really great for me so I thought, I’ll just do it to myself. Sometimes I would try to fasten the dildo to furniture and try to fuck myself with it, which helped me learn a lot about tape and how to put things on securely.
After a while, I would take the tape off because it was gross. I didn’t want to leave it because there would be germs and it would get weird. It wasn’t ritualistic, but it was my thing and I was very conscious about what I was doing. There was also a lot of shame in this whole process. I would often think to myself,
“I made a dildo, how horny and weird do you have to be to make your own ass dildo out of electrical tape?”
It felt really dirty to make it and to use these materials; it felt so childish and unprofessional. Now looking back, it feels much more normal. I didn’t have any other options, you don’t know how to buy things at that age. If you don’t have a credit card you can’t purchase things online, especially if you don’t really understand how money works. Shipping it to your house is really dangerous because what if your parents get it but where else are you going to ship it? You can’t drive somewhere to buy a toy and you’re too young to even get into the sex shops. You literally can’t buy sex toys unless your parents help you. There really aren’t a lot of options.
I never actually told anyone what I was doing either at the time or afterwards. I tried bringing it up casually with my friends in Jr. High but no one would talk about masturbation. Well, the guys were, but when I asked the girls about masturbation, they said it would be weird if girls masturbated because girls don’t masturbate and that was the end.
There was this weird shame when you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with people. This all was made even worse by the fact that our sex education was abstinence only. One of the things that we were actually told in sex ed was-
“Don’t have sex. If you do have sex, it’s like giving away a gift. You don’t re-gift things do you? You don’t use gifts and then give it to someone else on their birthday do you?”
I was like of course not! That’s, a shitty gift! Even though it wasn’t stated directly, sex was seen and portrayed as dirty. It was also taught that sex was this really important thing, which actually was really good for me. I can choose to have sex with someone and it feels healthy to me now, where as I feel that if I had jumped in when I was sixteen or seventeen, it would have been too overwhelming. I just didn’t feel emotionally comfortable with having sex with someone so masturbation was a good option.
Everything came crashing down when my mom found one of the dildos. By the time she found my hiding spot, my dildo was up to a terrifyingly big size. I think that was what scared her so much. She said she was scared I was going to stretch out my vagina. She was so upset and yelling at me so much that eventually I screamed back,
“I didn’t use it for my vagina, I used it for my ass!”
That probably wasn’t the right thing to say.
Here was the thing, I was so paranoid about my dildos that I would hide it inside a box, inside of a box, inside of a box, inside of yet another box, in the back of my closet, with a bunch of other boxes around it, on a shelf that was covered and packed full of other things. That isn’t something that you stumble on, it was hidden and then you shame me about it. She also showed my dad and that was the worst part about it; you don’t show a male member of the family. How do you talk to your dad after that? Why the fuck would you show him?
Even to this day, I don’t tell my mom anything. It’s not to be spiteful, it’s because you don’t get that trust back. If she had found it and wanted to talk about it, that would have been ok. That’s scary enough, but showing the male parent and saying we are disappointed in you for your sexuality is something that really hurts. Then adding all of the really aggressive questioning on top of it all.
I think that was part of the reason I never wanted to tell this story. It was one of those things where the look on her face was this terrified, disgusted look. I started to think everyone was going to react like that. It was traumatizing to the point where I didn’t masturbate or buy toys for the next five years. There was this overwhelming guilt, all this weird shame. I started having looping thoughts. If you can’t break your cycle of thoughts, it just makes you feel worse and worse and guiltier and guiltier. Plus you can’t talk to anyone about it because obviously you feel so much shame. So I just felt gross and disgusting, thinking why would any person need to masturbate like that?
It feels weird having your own secret. You are scared when people come into your room and you aren’t there. What if they find something? You assume peoples’ reactions are never going to be accepting or enthusiastic. No one ever says,
“Cool you use a dildo too! Pound it girl, I love masturbating!”
Now I actually talk to other women and help some of them buy their own sex toys and talk about my experiences. I don’t talk about the details or my mom finding my dildos but rather my love and appreciation for sex toys and for masturbation and how both of those things make sex better for me.