In the Name of Feminism, 14 Movies and TV Shows That Feature Female Masturbation

Breaking taboos one vibrator at a time.

Design by Monica Park

This just in: women masturbate! It's totally normal and healthy! Everyone does it! Yay! So, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about on-screen female masturbation scenes—which are pretty few and far between compared to their male equivalents because for some reason people get super uncomfortable with the idea that women like sex. And more specifically, like touching themselves. Even in 2017, this is considered pretty scandalous—so cheers to these films and TV shows for breaking taboos.

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1 Allison Williams, 'Girls'

The scene: Marnie masturbates in a public bathroom while leaning against the door.

Her comments on it: "A scene like [that] just gets added to the pile and gets smushed in. It's been really interesting being interviewed and being asked about it so much, because I'm like, 'Oh, yeah, well there have been seven episodes since that scene.' I also feel like we are showing these very intimate, private and specific moments in our characters' lives and it just sort of is a part of Marnie's puzzle."

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2 Caitlin Stasey, 'Reign'

The scene: Lest you forget, Reign is a CW show. And CW shows don't typically show sex, let alone masturbation. But this scene features a royal bedding ceremony with witnesses—one of whom is so turned on that she runs away to masturbate. 

Her comments on it:  "This is the thing: I don't care about being naked on screen. I don't care about masturbating on screen; I don't care about sex scenes on screen. The aftermath is fine; I don't care who sees it. It's the actual process of filming it that sucks. It's unsexy, it's incredibly technical, it's incredibly boring and also incredibly embarrassing. You're just like writhing around in front of a group of maybe 30 dudes because the set is primarily men…. But the act of a woman actually taking care of herself in that way is incredibly powerful."

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3 Beth Behrs, 'Two Broke Girls'

The scene: Beth's roommate finds her masturbating in the bathtub with a shower head. Everything happens off screen, but the hijinks!

Her comments on it: None, because BFD.

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4 Lea DeLaria, 'Orange Is the New Black'

The scene: Boo is seen getting off with the end of a screwdriver, because when in jail, you gotta make due. 

Her comments on it: "I jumped up and down like a little girl. I was that excited. Because I knew it was going to be something that people will remember. And indeed, it is. The first take, I started laughing because I made the mistake of thinking about what I was doing. That's a huge mistake when acting—you shouldn't think about it. So, the first take was one of the first shots on our gag reel. It was me, starting to masturbate, and howling with laughter. It's just like, 'What am I doing? I'm getting paid to do this.' I can't tell you how many people have asked me to autograph their screwdrivers."

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5 Ilana Glazer, 'Broad City'

The scene: Glazer performs her "pre-masturbation ritual," which involves a mirror, candles, and a giant vibrator. Treat yourself.

Her comments on female sexuality on the show in general: "It's like these girls are horny but not under the male gaze. They're horny, period. Just starting from the vagina, not starting from some man looking at them."

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6 Amy Adams, 'Junebug'

The scene: Adams' very pregnant character masturbates in bed while looking at a photo of her husband. 

Her comments on it: While talking about the most difficult scene to film in the movie, Adams said "It's a toss up between the masturbation and the hospital...it was such an intimate and vulnerable moment."

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7 Joan Allen, 'Pleasantville'

The scene: Allen is seen masturbating in the bathtub as the screen changes from black to color. 

Her comments on it: None, because BFD.

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8 Kate Walsh, 'Just Before I Go'

The scene: Kate Walsh's character masturbates while sleep walking.

Her comments on it: "We actually shot all of those on the second day of shooting. [Director Courteney Cox] was great; she made me feel super safe."

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9 Maggie Gyllenhaal, 'Secretary'

The scene: Gyllenhaal's character fantasizes about her boss while masturbating. 

Her comments on sex in the film: "I love the fact that people wanna talk about sex. I mean, I wanna talk about sex, too."

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10 Shiri Appleby, 'Unreal'

The scene: Rachel is masturbating to porn with a vibrator in the back of a van.

Her comments on it: "The opening and closing scenes of episode 105 of UnREAL really sparked a conversation. Who knew a women pleasuring herself would be so newsworthy."

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11 Naomi Watts, 'Mullholland Drive'

The scene: Watts' character masturbates on a bed, a moment that was so uncomfortable for the actress that director David Lynch had a tent made around her so she could be completely separated from the crew. 

Her comments on it: "I was mad at him for making me do this! I remember saying, 'David, I can't do this!, I can't do this! and being mad at him....I did anger, I did crying, it was just wildly uncomfortable. The thing with David is he just keeps you going, you want to please him because he's after something really true and you don't want to give up."

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12 Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan'

The scene: Okay, so Portman's masturbation scene was kind of unrealistic (for most women, masturbating isn't a male's fantasy come to life, like it was depicted in this film)—but it basically consists of her writhing around on her bed.

Her comments on it: "So disgusting. It was akin to the experience of watching the movie with my parents sitting next to me, let me tell you."

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13 Riley Keough, 'The Girlfriend Experience'

The scene: Keough's character, an escort, enjoys watching herself masturbate. 

Her comments on it: "We wanted to show things that you don't really see, like the girl getting her period or the girl masturbating… You really feel like you're creeping in on this girl, so it's a bit uncomfortable. It's not like we're showing her masturbate just to have a masturbation scene. It's showing every part of this person and her private moments."

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14 Lizzy Caplan, 'Masters of Sex'

The scene: Her character stands completely naked and masturbates as Michael Sheen's character watches.

Her comments on it: "That was shitty. I could not have been more well protected...crew was as paired down as possible, these are my friends now. I just remember sitting in my trailer feeling for the first time since being on the show that I don't know if I can walk out there. What is it going to take to be able to walk out there and do this." 

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