Can the Gamification of Female Masturbation Remove Its Social Stigma? – GCo...

Can the Gamification of Female Masturbation Remove Its Social Stigma? – GCo Exclusive


Can HappyPlayTime Free Masturbation from Shame?

Masturbater. Master Baiter?

Whether you’re an expert animal trapper or a normal person who enjoys self-pleasure, the mere sound of the word masturbation isn’t pleasant for anyone. The clunky quadrisyllabic term meant to describe personal relief is so socially awkward that it’s ostensibly forbidden to talk about, despite being something every human being has engaged with at some point in our lives. Masturbation as it relates to women is an even bigger taboo to discuss, as a result of widespread dogma pushing absolute female purity throughout the development of most modern societies.

The act of masturbation is an important step in our sexual development as human beings, yet this dogma still exists. As a result of this many females feel a societal pressure to live up to these outdated beliefs and suffer from negative self-image and lowered self-esteem for their natural desires. The fact remains that many women and girls don’t masturbate at all and may not even know how to but does it need to be this way?

HappyPlayTime is a pet project by designer Tina Gong that seeks to rebrand the entire concept of female masturbation through education and light-hearted games. The game is a mobile app currently in development that will teach female anatomy and provide lessons on masturbation techniques through a number of minigames. At the heart of all this is HPT’s mascot: the pink, fleshy, and gleeful personification of a vagina.

When I inquired about the nature of the mascot, Tina explained that it goes back to rebranding our preconceived notions about masturbation. Teaching an anatomy lesson with a mission to educate about female masturbation is too much of a serious topic when taught in the traditional education model and it is difficult to separate the idea of empowering females to masturbate from a feminist perspective. HPT’s approach to education involves a quick demonstration of different masturbation techniques for each level, followed by a freestyle portion that has the player perform each technique on the mascot. Completion of each level builds up to a fantastically funny and wacky climax upon completion.

Tina commented that the game’s success isn’t relient on having people understand her vision of freeing masturbation for females, which cleverly follows Nicole Lazzarro’s design philosophy for the successful Tilt World social impact game. If users can pick up the game, play it, laugh, and share it with their friends, then the inherent taboo surrounding the conversation about female masturbation has been lifted; you don’t need to bash your beliefs over the heads of your players in order to make a point. By representing the whole process around a lighthearted and comical character and games, the masturbation topic at hand is easier to discuss. Tina also mentioned future plans for making an arduino-powered vibrator companion to work with HPT.

HPT is still in early development but Tina is aiming to have a playable alpha version available later this summer. To learn more about HappyPlayTime, sign up for its newsletter and get access to the alpha when it comes out.

What do you think? Is making light of masturbation the right path for releasing the stigma around it?


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  1. Is the mascot a vagina or the labia? It’s not correct to refer to the whole area as ‘vagina’. Two different things. Is this about both clitoral and vaginal masturbation?

  2. maybe it’s because of the fact that women don’t have the same sex drive as men, so they don’t masturbate as much. no social stigma should be attached to something done in private and nobody partaking in said private activity should give a shit what anyone thinks about it.

  3. This is a strange mission, considering the truly serious problems in the world. The reason I don’t talk about masturbation — when I don’t talk about it — is that I don’t discuss anything sexually pleasurable with anyone I don’t want to have sex with, or am not very extremely intimate with. I have a close friend who won’t masturbate out of frustration, not over inability or ignorance of technique, and not due to this theory of social stigma, but because she needs the entire story of how she met the person she’s fantasizing about before she can get to the part where they take their clothes off in her imagination. By then she’s not horny any more. I suspect the reason more women don’t masturbate is that we tend to crave social interaction during sex. Men are more likely than women to prefer solitary orgasm: they like to look at their preferred sex partners’ bodies, and the visual is wired straight to the penis. They don’t need a story or social bonding to achieve orgasm. Even after having sex with a partner men are not as likely as women to replay the interaction. I disagree with the author’s proposed theory that taboos and social stigma are the root of societal failure to discuss masturbation, as well as the cause of women not masturbating as often as men overall. Failure to acknowledge the adaptations of evolution in our sexuality is poor sexual science. It’s very sloppy for an academic intellectual to blame every common characteristic of women and men on sexist, arbitrary, constructed rules. There will be no advance in human rights unless innate differences are recognized, understood, and accepted.

  4. Yes!! OMG, YESSSS!!! There needs to be more open discussion about female sexuality and less slut-shaming. A light-hearted game is one (of many) ways to get the message across that masturbation, for both men and women, is completely NATURAL!

  5. I disagree with the “we can do better” because people shouldn’t be shamed or pressured for the sex acts that they are or are not doing. however if this site helps girls to feel less shamed and guilty about their bodies then I’m all for it. So much myth continues today around women and our sexuality.

  6. I guess I just don’t really see any reason for such stigma to be attached (nor do I see any such stigma personally).

  7. Sorry about that but the character looks like a creepy Clive Barker’s Nightbreed design (The gutted chicken-babygirl)

  8. Sorry, that’s not something I want to discuss with my girlfriends! Not that I’m ashamed, but there’s such a thing as TMI! I don’t talk about my sex life, the regularity of my cycle, or other personal things. That doesn’t mean there’s a stigma against it, just that my private life is just that. Private!

  9. I don’t think this is really to “get you going” but more of a “how to”. As a girl growing up in a strict household/a household where we don’t really talk about this, I think this is a great app for girls!

  10. Ugh. Does your blog hire no women willing to write about this? The fact that the writer refers to women as “females” (ugh) and tries to suggest most women and girls don’t masturbate (we do, we just dont talk about it because we live in a horribly sexist society where we’re told our bodies and vaginas are gross) suggests no. Maybe next time find someone to write the story who has a bit more expertise.

  11. When I was growing up there wasn’t anyone I felt that I could talk to about sexuality. School? Teachers? Yeah right, the most we had was a talk about periods and how we’d develop. At home? I never felt comfortable talking to my mum about it- that kind of thing just wasn’t ‘done’. There should be a lot more done to teach girls in particular to have a healthy attitude towards sex and masturbation and that includes being able to talk about it with others in a safe environment. Not talking just gives the appearance of shame. (Also, that character is rather disturbing- it looks like a weird chicken). I’m slightly weary of that graph as well- what was the age group investigated? How many women were included? Were they following a religion that prohibits masturbation etc.

  12. Maybe? It’s a nice effort for sure. It’s thought out, the heart’s in
    the right place, and the design is aesthetically pleasing. …but I’m
    sorry… It’s incredibly awkward to me that you are “masturbating” a
    cartoony character that looks like infantilised genitalia with a
    friendly face on your phone to sexual release. Imagine a counterpart to
    this game… about a jolly anthropomorphic penis that looked like a cute little baby boy. I’m pretty open about
    sexuality with my friends and family (we casually discuss the strangest
    sex stuff on occasion, but never about OURSELVES, personally, and that’s
    the way we like it), but this game made me cringe horribly when I saw
    it because of the mascot. I’ve seen dildos with faces on them and I have
    the same reaction… repulsion.

    I’m female and the things the
    vulva mascot (mascunt? hehe) says are way too cutesy/awkward for me. If I
    were a young teen I would have probably not been drawn to this game.
    Maybe it wold work for some girls I don’t know, but this is a turn off
    to me. It’s also a turn off for me personally because I’m hetero and
    find it near impossible to be interested in playing with a vulva that is
    not my own. No way I’d EVER use a game like this with a vibrating
    attachment. Sex toys and phones should be separate… phones have a lot
    of microbes on them from all the public handling, last thing you need is
    cross contamination. Plus… you’re masturbating with a cutesy cartoon
    character that looks kind of like a baby. Also what if someone phoned
    you while you were doing something on screen, and then you accidentally
    picked up and then… “what’s that sound?”

    I don’t think we should shame people
    for masturbation. Loving yourself is healthy, and I encourage it because
    people tend to be in better moods when they aren’t sexually frustrated!
    However I also don’t think we should shame people for not masturbating,
    not masturbating enough (!), or for being embarrassed about if they do
    or don’t. Not being interested in masturbating, for whatever reason, is
    ok too. Not wanting to talk about masturbation, is ok as well. Not
    everything has to be “out there” for discussion. Not everyone holds sex
    to the highest priority in their life. Not everyone sees sex as a casual
    thing. Not everyone has a raging sex drive. It’s not really a bad thing
    if you’re happy otherwise.

    Women don’t poop, fart, or
    masturbate, right? No, of course we do. It’s silly. I’d like to
    generally see men a bit more embarrassed, and women a bit less
    embarrassed about bodily functions. These topics shouldn’t be socially damning,
    but I also don’t care to discuss masturbatory or toilet habits with

  13. This is very exciting for me. I began working on my one woman show this year, an improvised show called Women Who Wank, which deals with just this. The time is right.

  14. This is an AWESOME idea! I remember feeling so guilty for my drive for clitoral orgasms, that I would try very HARD to break the habit. Part of my idea for “starting high school properly” was to eliminate the practice before I started in the fall (that didn’t last). This would be GREAT as part of sex education. They pass out condoms, don’t they? ; ).