What Does Jerking Off Mean?

when and how to use the term jerking off

Since slang is ever-evolving, every once in a while we might hear something we’re not sure we understood correctly. Especially when it comes to a topic like masturbation and sex, there tend to be a lot of different ways to say the same thing due to people wanting to be less direct with their language.

Here at TENGA, We don’t shy away from the topic of masturbation, but even on the TENGA STORE USA we like to refer to self-pleasure in a myriad of ways in order to normalize the act.

If you live in an English-speaking country, it is very likely that you have come across the term “jerking off.” This is a slang term for masturbation, among many others.

Let’s take a look at why this term is phrased as “jerking off”, when and how to use this term, and other slang for masturbation that you may or may not have heard of.


there are a myriad of terms to refer to self-pleasure, such as jerking off

Why So Much Slang for Masturbation?

While you may have come across some people that consider masturbation a taboo topic, the strictness of their beliefs most likely hardly compares to society in the 1800s.

Recent slang for masturbation uses a bit of humor and wit to normalize the act and make the conversation casual, but this differs vastly from the slang of the past, such as “self-pollution” that was used in order to deeply stigmatize the act of masturbation.

Even the origin of the word ‘masturbate’ might come from the latin ‘manus’, or hand, and  ‘stuprare’, to defile, literally meaning ‘to defile by the hand’.

As companies like TENGA and their fans work towards destigmatizing masturbation, slang that vilifies masturbators is on its way out, and more vocabulary that promotes the benefits of masturbation have come into play, with “self-pleasure” as a clear example.

jerk off is an informal or rude way to refer to masturbation

Jerking Off

Collins Dictionary lists “jerk off” as an informal or rude way to refer to masturbation.

While this terminology is very common, it is considered quite informal, as you won’t see any medical professionals refer to masturbation as “jerking off.”

This term came to be from the etymology of “jerk”, which denotes a rapid pulling motion. Because this term was often used for pulling cylindrical-like objects like a rope, it became associated with male masturbation.

While not as common, it should be noted that “a jerkoff” can also refer to one who is foolish in character, or a bumbling, stupid person. Quite why this is, we will leave to your imagination.

looking up other masturbation slang such as jack off beat my meat choke the chicken wank fap self-pleasure onanism

Other Masturbation Slang/Terminology

  • Jack off / Beat off

More usages of the verb + “off” form to acknowledge that the motion involves something moving away from the source.

  • Beat my meat

Because the common act of pounding meat to enhance tenderness when preparing food can be referred to as “beating meat,” English speakers took this catchy rhyme to refer to masturbation, regardless of the stroking motion of masturbation being much less intense than the beating of meat.

  • Choke the chicken / Crank my hog

Referring to a penis as an animal that may resemble the penis in some way and attaching a verb that expresses holding or moving is a common method of creating euphemisms for masturbation.

  • Wank

More common amongst British-English speakers, to “wank” also falls under the rude category when it comes to referring to masturbation. The origin of “wank” seems to be a bit elusive, with the earliest evidence of usage from lexicographer and etymologist Eric Partidge in 1949, possibly as a play on similar-sounding words such as to wang or whack.

  • Fap

An onomatopoeia from the sounds of masturbation, almost exclusively used online.

  • Self-pleasure

A go-to general term for broadly referring to masturbation without any hints of lewd explicitness. This term is often used by sex toy brands like TENGA in order to create a sense of normalcy and sensuality towards masturbation.

  • Onanism

Although technically a reference to the “pull-out method” that was performed by Onan, second son of Judah, and was claimed as a sin, “onanism” became a synonym for masturbation in English in the 1700s.


With so many ways to refer to masturbation, it may be hard to choose the perfect term for the perfect moment.

While a term like “jerk off” is commonly used amongst young English speakers in casual settings, usage may be frowned upon when speaking to someone you’d like to have a good rapport with, such as a teacher or parent.

If you don’t mind the possibility of your message receiver believing you to be a rapscallion, feel free to let loose and use the term “jerk off” as much as you’d like.

 However, if you would like your language to stray away from the path of deviance, a term like “self-pleasure” will suffice, and a great way to enhance your self-pleasure is to shop at the TENGA STORE USA!

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