What do you call it? Flicking the bean? Wanking? Good old masturbation? If you're a woman, you can now refer to your masturbatory fun as klittra. In June, the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) released the news that they came up with a new word for female masturbation. The reactions in the sex writing world were mixed. My take? At least we're talking about female it.

Upon seeing the news, my first thought was, “Huh, good to see female masturbation in the headlines.” My next thought was, “Klittra??” I wasn't alone in my thinking. Even though I'm not fond of the word, at the end of the day, all that matters is that we're talking more about masturbation and women in a positive way.

Different Ways to Say the Same Thing

I'm a big fan of calling things what they are, but I also love a good euphemism. Before I hit the age of 32, I didn't refer to masturbation by any name ... at all. It didn't exist for me. Sad, but true. Now, after a few years of making up for lost time, I realize that there are a million ways to name the one thing that few women talk about.

  • Masturbation (of course)
  • Klittra, a combination of glitter and clitoris. Thank you, Sweden.
  • Jilling off, the sister to jacking off
  • Flicking the bean. The clitoris is supposed to be "the bean," I guess.
  • Wanking, a fun one from the U.K.
  • Rubbing one out. I've used this a few times myself!
  • Polishing the pearl, which is right up there with “flicking the bean.”

However you say it, the idea should be the same. It's all about self-pleasure. You can do it alone. You can do it with your partner. You can include toys. The options are unlimited. Amazing, isn't it?

Why Female Masturbation Is Great

If your childhood was anything like mine, you may have grown up hearing about boys with hairy palms and pending blindness in the rare event that masturbation was discussed. I hung out with the guys, and believe me, there were plenty of jokes about blindness and socks. Do you remember masturbation for girls ever being discussed? I don't.

It was something “good girls” just didn't do. For many of us, myself included, that stigma wrecked our sexuality for years. That is, until I took myself quite firmly in hand and discovered the joys of masturbating. Many women who masturbate on a regular basis won't admit they do it. They treat it as if it's something to be ashamed of.

There are so many good reasons to wank, jill, flick, or polish. When we masturbate, we learn what we like (and what we don't like). We experience orgasms on our own – or with a partner. We discover plenty of our personal buttons for what works and what doesn't. We sleep better. We relax. Heck, it's good for our health. There are so many good things about masturbation. You'd think we'd talk about it more than we do.

Calling It “Klittra” Isn't as Important as the Discussion

For some people, having a specific term for female masturbation might make a difference in how they feel about the act itself. That's never a bad thing. Yet, having a name for our solo orgasmic habits is less important than having a public discussion about something that many women grew up learning that “only guys do.”

If you're squicked out, mildly offended, or laughing your ass off at the new term, I hear ya. It's not a word I'll be adding to my vocabulary, either. The whole point of the new word was to encourage more talk about women, young and old, enjoying masturbation. I don't care what you call it. That's always a worthy conversation to have.

There's no shame in masturbation, regardless of gender or terminology. The shame is that so many people, especially women, have been made to feel like what they're doing is wrong. Too many myths and misconceptions surround masturbation. If having a strange little name like "klittra" makes masturbation seem more normal and makes it easier for people to masturbate or talk about it, then I say, "Mission Accomplished, Sweden."

Because I'm curious, what do you call masturbation? Do you think you'll use “klittra” anytime soon?