By Demi Whitnell

Queerify-ing your language around masturbation

We need to take a look at the language we use about masturbation.

Traditionally, it has been heavily gendered. Rooted in a misconception that genitalia = gender identity it has excluded trans and gender diverse individuals.

Not only is queerifying the language we use around masturbation a issue for companies and content creators. It's also an issue for every person who masturbates too. So, let’s dismantle some gendered terms and discuss how we can queerify them!

Anyone can ‘wank’

‘Wank’ is a term that's typically used by biological men to describe masturbating, originating in 1970s England. But, anyone of any gender identity can wank!

It is a gender-neutral term that everyone should be using. These outdated terms also reinforce stereotypes and misconceptions about masturbation. Portraying masturbation through a male lens. Some suggest that the term ‘wank’ is too harsh for *AFAB masturbation and to that I roll my eyes. Reclaim the term ‘wank’ and use it with pride.

There are over 1400 terms for AFAB masturbation, many rooted in misogyny, violence, and sexism.

‘Jacking off’ is for everyone

Another term that's attached to **AMAB masturbation but can be used by any individual. What’s important to remember is that there is no right way to masturbate. And because of that, the language we use about masturbation is very universal. There isn’t a ‘Jill off’ and there shouldn’t be!

Interestingly, in February of this year, the Swedes created a new term for AFAB masturbation which seemed to give those with a vulva a less masculine and harsh term for pleasuring themselves - ‘Klittra’. This term is gender-specific, for those who identify as a woman. Some women may wish to use this specific term as a replacement for crude phrases like ‘flicking the bean’. But, remember that this is gender specific and not every individual with a vulva will wish to use it.

It’s not always a ‘female’ orgasm

When you refer to a clitoral orgasm, be wary of using the phrase ‘female orgasm’ because not everyone who has a clitoris identifies as a woman. The clitoris has no gender identity — neither do clitoral stimulation toys!

Similarly, it's not a ‘male’ orgasm

Some women have penises, some men have penises, some gender diverse individuals have penises. Do not attach genitalia to gender identity. Genitalia defines biological sex, not gender identity and definitely not how your orgasm. It’s best practise to use AFAB and AMAB when referring to an individuals sex and genitalia.

‘Male vibrator’ — anyone can use a vibrator

Most individuals can use a vibrator, but, many are still presented on the market as a ‘male vibrator’. Changing the way we discuss sex toys is crucial for trans and gender diverse individuals. Yes, some toys will have specific jobs for either AFAB or AMAB’s. But there are also a vast majority out there that can be used on either genitalia and for any gender identity.

This is just the tip of the iceberg (clitoris euphuism intended). This Masturbation May (and every month) consider how you discuss masturbation both personally and publicly.

Challenge gendered language if it is unnecessary, queerify your discourse, and wank as often as you like!

*AFAB means assigned female at birth

**AMAB means assigned male at birth