I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—with the rise of sexual content in YA literature, I firmly believe there should be at least the mention (!!!) of self pleasure. I was a young teen (~13) when the sexual content in YA started increasing—I.e. books like A Court of Mist & Fury came out. Being exposed to that content was GOOD for me; in the long term it helped me overcome the shame, guilt, and repression that came with a religious upbringing and also just being a Girl in modern society. I learned way, WAY more about sex from books than I ever did from school or my (at the time, conservative Christian) friends—and I’m so grateful that what I learned was largely from the sex positive, female-pleasure centric point of view. But even as more ACOMAF* style books come out, e.g. Serpent & Dove or (less explicit) Down Comes the Night, there’s virtually no mention of self pleasure or female solo sex. I’m glad to see more sex positive content and genuinely believe it will help younger girls not only overcome their own guilt and shame, but also be more open and comfortable discussing sex and pleasure—especially with friends and partners, ideally leading to 1) safer practices (e.g. open discussion ahead re: STDs) and 2) better, more fun experiences (communicating their own needs and desires) the way that it did for me. But I would also love to see books even occasionally exploring the idea of one’s sexuality independently of partner(s), as it inherently does—rather than silently insinuating that ~doesn’t exist~ and/or isn’t a vital and fulfilling part of one’s sex life.
*The ACOTAR series does have quite a few mentions of self pleasure thankfully, and even more in the later books (though I think those are classified as NA or possibly adult)!