A 13 year old discusses masturbating with her hormone monster and her genitals

Girls Are Horny Too, and other important truths from Big Mouth on Netflix

Madeleine Chapman celebrates the girl truths of Netflix’s hit show about puberty, Big Mouth.

Girls are horny too. Girls are angry too. How to have an orgasm. The episode titles of Big Mouth are literal and accurate. Girls are horny too! Girls are angry too! How to have an orgasm!

Big Mouth follows a group of 13 year olds as they figure out their bodies, sexualities, and friendships in the hellscape that is middle school. Nick and Andrew are best friends experiencing puberty in vastly different ways. But even then, their embarrassments and experiences feel familiar because they are. We’ve been watching teen boys figure out life and sex on the big screen for decades.

But when episodes are dedicated to the girls of the show, it feels new. That acknowledging truths like ‘girls masturbate’ on a TV show still feels like a big deal in this late stage of humanity’s life is grim. But at least we can laugh through the tears. Although the show is about puberty and should probably be shown in sex ed classes all over the world, it skews old. Yes, there are first periods and first kisses, but there’s also an extended joke where Joe Walsh of The Eagles is sad that Don Henley of The Eagles doesn’t call him on his birthday anymore. That’s mature content and may disturb some viewers.

In honour of Big Mouth‘s latest season now being available to watch in one go on Netflix, here are my favourite moments from the gross show that could.

Girls are horny too

Back in season one, Big Mouth revealed humanity’s deepest, darkest secret: that girls with braces or overalls or t-shirts or headbands or literally anything else can be horny.

Before porn took over the internet, the easiest way for anti-social pubescent girls to figure out if they were horny, about to get their period, or both, was to read a book. Guys were allowed to wear their horniness on their sleeves and socks but girls had to be subtle about it. Books were respected, unlike magazines, and the sex stuff could be safely hidden away on page 374.

Imagine if everyone knew this

Paullina Simons wrote the Bronze Horseman trilogy and Tully, four very long, frequently dark, and extremely horny books. Yes, they were very popular at St Mary’s College, Wellington between the years 2000 and 2009. In Big Mouth, the book of choice for 13 year old girls, 16 year old girls, and middle-aged women is The Rock of Gibraltar. It unites all the female characters in the show in shared lust for the protagonist Gustavo and unites all the teen boys in shared astonishment that girls and women are at all interested in sex.

I tried to figure out if any other shows or movies had allowed teen girls to be unabashedly horny and stopped short of using Google because we all know what those search terms would bring up and it’s not Booksmart (2019).

And they act on it

Masturbation is a fundamentally individual journey. The only thing girls are encouraged to speak about less than feeling horny is doing something about it. Throughout the first two seasons, the girls speak about pleasure in abstract ways. A sinking in the stomach, a heartbeat not in the heart. But in season three, Jessi’s vagina (voiced excellently by Kristen Wiig) demands action.

How To Have An Orgasm explores exactly that. In a lovely scene, Jessi asks her friend Missy what it’s like to orgasm and Missy – who regularly fantasises about Nathan Fillion – describes the sensation as best she can. It sounds wonderful and Jessi wants to know the feeling. If you watch this episode and feel like it’s a little too open and honest for you, the antidote is season one, episode seven of Masters of Sex. Set in the 1950s and based off real sex research, a woman (Allison Janney) learns at age 50 that all the times she thought she was experiencing this overrated orgasm others had whispered about, she was experiencing nothing but the weight of her husband on top of her. It’s a genuinely heartbreaking scene and a reminder of how many generations of women have been, and continue to be, shamed into silence about their sexual wants. So yes, I’m a big fan of the talking vagina.

Girls get angry

An angry man is passionate, has principles, and stands up for them. An angry woman needs to calm down. When sweet, demure Missy begins to reckon with her angry thoughts in season three, she at first tries valiantly to keep them locked up. As a 25 year old who has only just stopped including an apology in literally every email I send, Missy’s dilemma was all too familiar.

Eventually, Missy lets herself express her anger and it’s inspirational. She says what she wants to say and people listen. Unfortunately, that’s probably the more unrealistic part of the show, because rarely does expressing anger work out well for women, which probably explains why so few do it. I don’t think anyone I know would describe me as an angry person, and I’ve often said that I’m not quick to anger because “being angry is exhausting”. But I’ve come to realise that it wasn’t being angry that’s exhausting, it’s being angry while pretending not to be that wastes energy. Seeing Missy be angry and, fascinatingly, be good at it, made me wish I could do the same. Because right now, almost all disagreements I have are still accompanied by this happening in my brain.

There’s no such thing as a nice period experience

If anyone has ever tried to tell you otherwise, step away from their lies. The sentence “I got my period in…” has no good ending. I dare you to try think of one. When Jessi gets her first period in the Statue of Liberty in season one, it has every period nightmare ingredient: white shorts, in public, in crowded public, and noticed by someone else before herself.

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It feels like an extreme example fit for dramatisation, but Jessi’s experience is far from unique. One of the great wonders of life is that no matter how many periods you’ve had or how practiced you are in the art of bleeding from your vagina, you will wake up on a Japanese flag as a fully grown adult and you will have to go to Briscoes the next weekend. Fun fact: I once got my period while shopping for sheets at Briscoes. And when I say “once” I mean this year. It happened this year. Cut out the middle man, right ladies?! I had to walk 15 minutes to the mall to buy a change of undies and some pads from K-Mart. I didn’t even buy anything at Briscoes because I was too preoccupied by my uterine lining falling out. Anyway, the period episode was fun, both on Big Mouth and in my real life.

Women poo

I haven’t seen all the science but apparently it’s true.


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