New feature: What a load of wank

Hordes of girls dream of becoming glamour models, but are too embarrassed to even talk about masturbation. Sophie Platt rages against a taboo which only affects girls and women

One rainy day a couple of months ago, I sat down with my flatmate-and-partner-in-unemployment, Gem, for the great pursuit of the jobless that is The Jeremy Kyle Show. Flicking through the channels, we came across one of those Channel 4 programmes aimed at schools, this one tackling the tricky topic of masturbation. Intrigued, we settled down to watch. The aim of the show was to highlight masturbation as one of the last taboos in today’s society, and to shatter its reputation as being wrong and dirty – quite an ambitious mission statement for a half-hour programme! The presenter spoke to several (and very brave, I might add) same-sex groups of school kids, and asked them about their opinions and experiences.

Initially, the most striking thing was the difference in body language between the sexes. The boys were more than happy to talk about a subject close to their hearts. Cue much hearty bantering about who held the record for the most times in one day, who had discovered it the earliest, and so on.

The girls, on the other hand, looked like they were confessing to murder – lots of red faces, sideways glances, hushed voices and furrowing of brows, not to mention vicious shaking of heads. When this was commented on by the presenter, one girl hissed indignantly that: “Of course boys do it more, because that’s natural for them, but it’s just not a natural for a girl.”

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