Love Joule – A Female Masturbation Bar in Tokyo

Female masturbation is a taboo subject in most societies. Often not openly discussed or joked about, it contrasts strongly with male masturbation. Today, I read an article on HuffPost about a bar in Japan that is trying to change this: “Love Joule, Japan’s First Bar Devoted to Female Masturbation, Opens in Tokyo” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/love-joule-japans-first-bar-devoted-female-masturbation-opens-tokyo_n_1930552.html). Love Joule is seeking to open a dialogue on female masturbation and remedy the way society views it.  Like our class discussion on the limited study of the clitoris and the vagina in medical circles, this speaks to the way female sexuality in general is hidden and pushed under the table. The focus on the uterus and female fertility as all-important seems to necessitate female sexual pleasure as being viewed as unnecessary or dirty. It is interesting that the bar forbids men to enter on their own, highlighting that to celebrate female sexuality one must exclude single men. It points to the idea that if men are present, female sexuality becomes an object for them and cannot be openly expressed by the women themselves. The woman interviewed brings this up when she mentions being happy the bar is a place where she can be free of male attention. However, it is ironic that the bar was described as being popular with those in the “commercial sex” and “adult film industry” as these industries are often viewed as dirty themselves. This seems to indicate that only those women who are already engaged in illicit activities may feel comfortable discussing masturbation or their sexuality. Hopefully, the bar will not be pushed aside through this association but will actually be successful in opening a debate.

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