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Shailene Woodley Praises Masturbation's Health Benefits

By Laura Hertzfeld ; Updated June 13, 2017

Harking back to Divinyl’s 1990 hit “I Touch Myself,” actress Shailene Woodley thinks teaching masturbation in schools would help empower girls to take charge of their sexuality. And, as a public-health bonus, she believe it would be a good way to thwart teen pregnancy.

The star of the “Divergent” trilogy, whose new film “Snowden” was released last week, told Net-a-Porter in an interview: “I’ve always had a dream of making a book called ‘There’s No Right Way to Masturbate.’ If masturbation were taught in school, I wonder how [many] fewer people would get herpes aged 16 or pregnant at 14?”

She might be on to something. A study released earlier this month by the BMJ found that kids are turned off by old-fashioned and outdated approaches to sex education in schools.

“Although sex is a potent and potentially embarrassing topic,” the report said, “schools appear reluctant to acknowledge this and attempt to teach SRE [sex and relationship education] in the same way as other subjects.”

The study also found sex education to be perceived by students as “negative, heterosexist and out of touch.” Perhaps Woodley’s sex-positive approach to masturbation isn’t such an out-there idea to add to the curriculum.

Woodley is no stranger to making headlines by talking about taboo subjects. In a 2014 interview with Time magazine, the then-22-year-old star refused to label herself as a feminist. “My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other,” she said.

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