Opinion | We all have meat to beat

By Grace DeLallo, Assistant Opinions Editor

The year is 2014. I am in middle school. I come across a post on either Tumblr or Twitter — I can’t remember — that read, “I will not beat my meat until McDonald’s brings back the McRib.” 

Now, it’s understandable why a middle schooler would find this hilarious, but what makes this slightly concerning is that a 22-year-old also finds this hilarious and almost exclusively refers to masturbation as “beating meat.” But before you really begin to judge me, hear me out. I think that the term “beating meat” makes talking about masturbation a little easier. This, and when compared to some of the more popular turns of phrase, like jerking off, beating meat is applicable to everyone because, well, we all have meat to beat. 

Okay, so now that we have context, let’s dive into why I am even discussing masturbation in the first place. I first started masturbating in seventh grade. That may seem early, but conversations on the back of the school bus assured me that I was not ahead of the curve by any means. What does come as a shock, as I found out in those early days, was the notion that women masturbate. The boys were shocked at this revelation, that women, girls could and were — dare I say — beating their meat. The Netflix series “Big Mouth” addressed this phenomenon in astonishing accuracy in the season three episode “How to Have an Orgasm,” leaving me to believe that this is a common experience among young women, at least in American culture.

Regardless, when I started masturbating, I felt an overwhelming sense of shame and embarrassment — but I didn’t know why. I could orgasm, but the whole prospect of touching myself made me feel anxious to the point where my stomach would hurt. I couldn’t talk to anyone about masturbating except in silly, juvenile 20-minute conversations with classmates on the way home. I felt isolated and alone and I resented my body for, existing? I’m not sure. I tried to consult Google, but alas, I couldn’t access anything substantial seven to eight years ago. Even Urban Dictionary failed me.  

I’m still not exactly sure why I felt such incredible shame, but from my own experience and that of others, I’ve gathered that males perceive female pleasure as something that is given to women, and not something they can provide for themselves. What my young mind consumed and translated from television reinforced the message that sex is private and reserved and a woman’s role is to serve the man. If you can’t fulfill that role, you’ll be ousted and marked with whatever scarlet letter society assigns you. Women then absorb these messages, affecting their relationships with their bodies — more specifically their sex parts. 

I mean, think of the orgasm gap that plagues society. This gap refers to the fact that cisgender women in heterosexual relationships experience a frankly terrifying disparity in how often they orgasm

But let’s forget the partner for a second. A friend told me recently that EIGHT of her friends disclosed that they have never orgasmed. Some have never had sex, while some have partners. I was genuinely horrified. My jaw dropped. In this day and age, when you can purchase a vibrator online and have it at your door within two days, how could a 20-something-year-old woman have never experienced real sexual pleasure? Even more horrifying is finding out that 10% of women have never orgasmed. 

If you look at the stats, you’ll see that women masturbate far less than men — but why, especially if it isn’t attributed to sex drive? We all have meat to beat, so why are some beating off more than others? Well, there are a lot of issues, but I’ll point out the ones I tend to identify. 

  1. Women have more sexual pressure on them. Are you sexually active and don’t have a steady partner — you’re a slut. Are you in a relationship, or seeing someone but won’t put out — you’re a prude. You touch yourself — how shameful. 
  2. Unrealistic expectations consume most people’s interpretation of sex. Hollywood inaccurately portrays sex time after time with few exceptions. The dominant narrative revolves around a hot, steamy encounter where the woman grips the sheets, her toes curl, every muscle is engaged in an exorcist-style rise off the bed upon orgasming. Hollywood, WHERE IS THE FOREPLAY? You, highly unrealistic sex scenes, are the cause of so many dry vaginas being uncomfortably penetrated without female orgasm and for that, I will never forgive you.
  3. We are not taught how to have sex. Sex education in this country is abysmal, and I rarely hear conversations that center around female pleasure. 
  4. Women are the subject of the heterosexual male fantasies and when they stray from the male gaze created through porn, they are treated horribly and have their sexual prowess diminished. The porn industry not only warps how men view women and sex, but also makes it much easier for men to orgasm — proudly and at elevated frequencies — which puts women, queer, and nonbinary people at yet another disadvantage when it comes to coming. 

And this isn’t to invalidate people besides women who orgasm — I think that everyone deserves to come. But I’m not jazzed that people, mainly women, queer and non-binary people, have their self-pleasure sabotaged by systems generally outside of their control. I’m talking about the patriarchy and toxic masculinity, if you’re not keeping up. 

“Oh, here we go, another rant about the patriarchy.” I’m just getting ahead of the haters here, but yes, I sure as shit am talking about the patriarchy. Simply boiled down, patriarchy is a society that is male-dominated. So when men have negative perceptions of female pleasure or feel that women’s pleasure belongs in their hands, women don’t come. Apparently the same people who want to control female-pleasure are the same people who can’t find the clitoris. How ironic. 

Frankly, if people are sexually unsatisfied during their years of sexual exploration, it can have a huge impact on future pleasure. Their sexual pleasure no longer centers around them or the experience with their partner, it becomes completely centered around a cisgender man who just needs a few tugs and he’s ready to go. So, how do we resolve this crisis? Well, it all comes down to beating your meat. 

Listen, there are many ways to fulfill your sexual needs as a solo rider. There is an entire industry dedicated to helping people find self-pleasure

If you don’t know how to orgasm without a partner, you don’t truly know your body. You’re giving part of your autonomy over to a person who can’t satisfy you, and if they can, then you endow them with sole sexual power over yourself. Any unequal distribution of sexual power is too much, so I introduce to you a 100% Grace K. DeLallo original acronym — M2B, aka, Meat to Beat. 

Next time you encounter a friend or two or eight who have not enjoyed their right to orgasm, please inform them of M2B and their right to orgasm. Also, encourage them to invest in a vibrator — here’s the one I have, and let me tell you, it’s tried and true. 

Whether you have a partner, partners or are single, you should explore your body and find what excites you — and trust me, you’ll know the excitement when you feel it. 

Grace DeLallo writes about whatever she wants. Write to her at [email protected].