If your girlfriend says she doesn't do it, she's a liar. And I'm not talking about making out with your best friend, Bobby. Seriously, she admitted to it, and she's sorry. I'm talking about her once-in-a-while desire to scratch an old itch, or the tingly sensation that creeps up on her during a drunken night after you couldn't get hard and passed out. One way or another, every woman has at least tried her hand- no pun intended- at self-pleasure.

Don't get me wrong, you're a regular Casanova. But come on, you know that every once in a while you need to go out on a date with Handgela. Don't be such a hypocrite! It's no secret that chicks are oppressed. Just look at these restrictive devices called bras. So when given a method for taking control of our sexual pleasure, we women naturally run in the other direction. Lest we're nymphomanic maneaters.

For proof that society's no fan of female self-pleasure, just take a look at the English language. When it comes to the American vernacular, masturbation is likely the word that can lay claim to the greatest number of euphemisms. But like political office in our nation of equality, slang for getting it on with yourself pretty much exclusively belongs in the realm of men. From "choking the chicken" to "spanking the monkey," the phrases used to describe this act of pleasure have a decidedly masculine and aggressive flair. Not to mention they're useful for covering up the ugly truth of what you're doing- sitting in a computer chair rubbing lotion on your genitals, tricking your penis into thinking it's having sex.

Gender-normative politics aside, masturbation gets a pretty bad rap, whether you're brandishing a sword or sheath. From squishing the squid to polishing the pearl, too much of a good thing — a very good thing — can lead to hair on the palms, blindness, and cancer. Honestly, I have all three.

So boys, girls, and all others — do approach this activity with caution. To do it right, keep a few tips in mind:

1. Find an appropriate place and time. Look, oppression by the bourgeosie would light my fire too, but neither Marx nor your professor would appreciate mid-lecture lovin'. Take that thought home with you where you can mentally reenact your sick, socialist fantasies to your heart's desire. Also, the girl you're checking out in class is probably on facebook- that helps.

2. Set the mood for yourself. Masturbation doesn't have to happen on-the-fly. Candles, soft music, and a rich dessert like chocolate go a long way in making you feel special. When you wake up in the morning, you'll know that you weren't just using yourself for a quick jerk 'n jet. Hell, you might even follow up with a phone call. You're not a whore, are you?

3. Name your junk. Respectfully. For starters, let's quit that "Rocket" bullshit and stick to unassuming names like Peter. I know you're ready for takeoff, but some names seem like you're just overcompensating, let Peter do the talking.

Hey, and while you're at it, why not coin a new slang term for your favorite extracurricular?

I personally prefer "pruning the petals." And you?


Lena discusses "needlework" on her blog at SexAndTheIvy.com.
Questions? Comments? Email Lena at Elle @ sexandtheivy.com.