Cliteracy Class 3: flick your magic bean

If you’ve somehow misunderstood my overt innuendo, let me be totally clear: this week we are going to chat about one of my favourite things…MASTURBATION! Oh yes, Miss Pussy G loves a good stroke.  

It’s a tragedy of our sexually tight-lipped society that masturbation is rarely spoken about openly. But often, when a brave cliterate warrior rousts the topic with friends, people are eager to open up. For us ladies the land of flicking beans is a lonely secret kingdom, rarely portrayed or normalised in films and pop culture. When probing the pleasure palace with a friend – that is, the topic- she told me that upon her discovery of the blissful button she thought there was something wrong with her; this couldn’t be normal and must be bad.  

Internalised guilt and shame colour many people’s perceptions and explorations of masturbation. I remember as a young girl discovering the pulse of warmth and gratification that came from rubbing up on any soft surface. However, unlike my friend, I didn’t have the forethought to keep my findings a secret. Upon noticing my criminal activity, my mother took me aside and sternly told me that this was not to be done again. To say the least, I was terrified. 

In my childish brain, I could not understand what might be wrong about this ‘thing’ – the outcomes seemed good. The only way I could rationalise my mother’s grim warning was that this activity had some perilous cosmic effect. I concluded somehow that rubbing my private area would lead to the most horrible thing I could fathom – my grandmother’s death. This guilt and shame followed me throughout most of my teens and took years to unlearn, even after my grandmother had died of natural causes. Even as I matured and understood the irrationality of my logic, I still felt a pang of disgrace immediately after feeling the rush of pleasure. I was convinced there was something wrong with me, that I was an overly sexual weirdo. 

This is a change of tone from Miss Pussy’s usual sultry spirit, but the point is an important one. Sex and pleasure in all their forms are fantastic, but still complicated. Everyone enters their wondrous adventure with different baggage. With time, each of us can work through the weights holding us down. For me, this column is an exercise in shedding self-judgement. Hopefully it can help you on your path too. 

Now back to the alluring innuendos. Why masturbate? Said no one ever, but even so let me give you a couple of carnal cases in favour:  

  1. Orgasming and sexual stimulation have been shown to reduce stress, help you sleep better, and improve body image. 
  2. A study published in The Journals of Gerontology found that sexual activity, including masturbation, is correlated with better cognition in older age. So, to all of you hoping to run FTSE 100 companies into your 70s, get rubbing. 
  3. Contrary to masturbation’s portrayal in films, it isn’t all about the orgasm. You can get some serious sexual pleasure with teasing and touching, exploring what makes you feel good. 
  4. Most importantly, masturbation helps you get to know yourself, to know what you like and what to ask for with a partner. And let me tell you, that is really fucking sexy. 

As I draw this edition to a close, let me tell you about a moment of sexual confidence in my teens and the unlikely outcome that followed. I am sixteen and at a music festival with friends, we are all a bit tipsy and inevitably the topic of sex comes up with a turn to masturbation. My female friends are expressing their curiosity about the activity. None of them have done it before. With drunken confidence, I pipe up to say, ‘I do it.’ They looked shocked, but surprisingly without judgement. After a couple of probing questions, which I clumsily answer, the topic is abandoned. Then a couple of weeks later, the girls find me to tell me that they’ve all tried it and couldn’t believe what they had been missing. ‘We’ve called it Discovering America,’ one girl said. So go off and discover your Americas my cliterate students (but preferably be kind to the native Americans). 

Don’t forget your homework for this week. Check out O School’s article on tips for masturbation ( and the How Cum podcast for hilarious guidance on how to get that big ‘O’ (


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