happyplaytime is / will be a gamification of “female masturbation,” in the tradition of jane mcgonigal’s idea that no one will want to go for a jog unless they get points for it. (the effect that this actually has, of course, is to disenfranchise us of our own ability to decide the value of the activities we enjoy in our own lives.) the intention of the game is to remove the shame associated with being a girl / woman and masturbating by “rebrand[ing] the entire concept of female masturbation through education and light-hearted games” and by teaching “female anatomy.” the game has a happy anime-vulva mascot, and players are taught masturbation techniques by touching her in various ways.
there’s a lot of shame in our culture associated with being a woman who masturbates, yeah. a lot of women & girls don’t feel as comfortable with their bodies as i’d want them to. but i don’t think gamifying masturbation is the solution. our society already gamifies sex, and it already creates ridiculous expectations for us and our bodies. a scary part of this is the idea that men’s sexuality is normative, and if women aren’t masturbating as much as men, something’s wrong with them.
look through the infographics on the game’s page. look at how masturbation is being framed. “46.6% of women masturbate less than once a month every year. gals, you can do better!” the way to overcome shame is definitely not to shame women for what they don’t do with their bodies. there’s this unfortunate idea of “sex positivity” i encounter all the time that essentially just shames people for not having enough sex and pressures them into doing it more. making masturbation into a universal competition is going to achieve only that: people are going to get pressured into using their bodies in the ways that are arbitrarily defined as normative.
and don’t get me started on the cissexism of reducing “female masturbation” to learning how to stimulate a vulva. let me put this in caps so it’ll be clear: NOT ALL WOMEN HAVE VULVAS / VAGINAS. (as a corollary, not all people with vaginas are women.) i’m a trans woman, i have a cock and i need a hitachi vibrator to get off most of the time. it’s not something i can do (or desire to do) very often. i spent a long time feeling guilty about the fact that i can’t / don’t really want to get off during sex with my partners most of the time. “sex positivity” shouldn’t mean making people feel guilty for not having sex. who defines what “sex” means anyway?
people’s bodies are all different and have different needs. any attempt to define what the one way to masturbate is is inherently reductivist. sex is NOT a “one size fits all” thing, as my friend lillian eloquently put it. in a sex-phobic patriarchal society, we’re taught to feel a lot of shame and confusion about our bodies. the solution is not to put the blame for that on women.