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 now, this is considered pretty scandalous—so cheers to films and TV shows like Fleabag, Girls, The Deuce, and Reign for breaking taboos.
The scene: Rooney's character gives herself her first ever orgasm thanks to masturbation. Because you really don't need another person to enjoy yourself, mmmkay?
Her comments on the scene: "When they said we’d be doing that scene, I thought 'Yeah I’ll do that. Why not?' How many times have you seen a boy having a wank? All the time! It’s all they talk about! I thought: 'Let’s do it for the girls.'"
The scene: Gyllenhaal's character masturbates after sex thanks to not orgasming during the deed itself. Relatable!
Her comments on the scene, and why she *asked* for it to be included: "I thought here’s all this performative sex, all this transactional sex. I wanted to know what her desire looks like. And after we filmed it, he was like, 'Okay. Okay. We’re okay. We have made something feminist. We have.'"
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
The scene: Recent high school grad Brandy (Plaza) wants to be more sexually experienced before she starts college, so she makes a list of experiences she wants and spends the summer checking them off. One item on the list is to bring herself to orgasm by masturbating.
Her comments on it: "[Director Maggie Carey was] like, 'Well, the camera is going to see everything, so you just have to do it.' And I was like, ‘OK,' so I’m just gonna put my hands in my underwear. All the sex stuff was kind of under this umbrella of awkward comedy, so I didn’t ever feel like ‘Oh my God, I’m baring my sexual self.’ But I hope that people know that I’m better at sex than that."