Swedish language

Klittra – Swedes Invent Word for Female Masturbation

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Sweden is all about equality for men and women. Which is why they have decided to invent a word for female masturbation: klittra.

Throughout history, women’s sexuality has been repressed. It is normal to talk about men masturbating, but female masturbation (or klittra) is taboo. Part of that is not having a word.

In 2013 the Congress of RSFU (Riksförbundet för Sexuell Upplysning or National Association for Sexual Information) voted that a word for female masturbation was needed. In November of 2014 they asked for suggestions and received over 1400 emails and had 200 unique words to choose from. They compiled the list down to 40, and klittra one by 30%. Read the original article here in Swedish.

The RSFU was founded in 1933 and is the main organization for sexual information and sex politics. They have 19 offices all throughout Sweden and you can find their website in English, among other languages.



  1. Thomas
    July 3, 2015 at 22:23 — Reply

    The spelling should be “masturbation”… it has nothing to do with master. It’s an archaic word meaning “defile oneself by hand”.

    • July 3, 2015 at 22:27 — Reply

      Thank you for the correction Thomas!

      This is from Dictionary.com:

      Word Origin and History for masturbation Expand
      1711 (earlier as mastupration, 1620s), from French masturbation and directly from Modern Latin masturbationem (nominative masturbatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin masturbari “to masturbate.” The long-standing speculation is that this Latin word is altered (probably by influence of turbare “to stir up”) from *manstuprare, from manu, ablative of manus “hand” (see manual ) + stuprare “defile” (oneself), from stuprum “defilement, dishonor,” related to stupere “to be stunned, stupefied” (see stupid ). But perhaps the first element represents an unattested *mazdo- “penis” [OED]. An earlier technical word for this was Onanism. Related: Masturbational.

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Hilary lived two years in Norrland, Sweden (Northern Sweden) and fell in love with the country. She lives in Prague, Czechia and hopes to one day soon return to Sweden.