Language is anything but static, and the evolution of sex slang is some of the most entertaining evidence of its fluidity. But, while we have a slew of verbs to reference male self-pleasure, terminology for female masturbation falls short. While the guys are jacking, jerking, whacking, wanking, and beating off, women are...diddling themselves? Jilling off? (Does anyone actually use these phrases?)
This linguistic gender gap apparently exists in Swedish as well as English. Last month, the sex-education group the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Riksförbundet För Sexuell Upplysning, or RFSU) ran a contest to crowdsource new words for female masturbation. RFSU selected the 34 strongest submissions — which range from "pulla" to "klinka" to "selfa" — and plans to vote on the winner in June of next year. "Klittra," a portmanteau of the words "klitoris" (which means, you guessed it, "clitoris") and "glittra" (which apparently means both "glance" and "glitter) appears to be a frontrunner.
Vice Scandinavia spoke with Ljuba Veselinova, Associate Professor at Stockholm University's department of linguistics, for a professional opinion on whether "klittra" will catch on. "It often comes down to someone famous using a word for it to have a big impact and circulate," she observed. "For example, if Michael Jackson had come up with a new word, chances are that it would be used by us now." To secure "klittra" a spot in the lexicon, perhaps the RSFU should recruit a celebrity supporter. Maybe Robyn would be willing to sing about, you know, "dancing" on her own?