Adult content and NSFW – #vocabulary around sex

[I’ve added NSFW in the title because I guess this isn’t something you want your employer to see. Having said that, it’s not pornographic in content. At least, not a lot. 😉 ]

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Years, actually.

I’ve noticed that words relating to pleasurable experiences of sex (or masturbation) sound quite… forbidding. Not just in English – this is the case for Greek as well (I can’t speak of other languages, cause I haven’t expanded my vocabulary that far – yet). I mean, for example, in English you have:

  • masturbation (and the verb to masturbate)
  • to jerk off
  • to pleasure oneself (??? that just sounds weird)

I can’t think of any more right now but come on! I mean, this experience is one of the most natural (if not frequent…for some) things for a human being to do. For some people, it’s even more pleasurable than the act of sex itself. In fact, let’s do a bit of ‘market research’: I dare you to ask your partner next time you’re in bed with them (if you have one, of course. If you don’t, ask your closest friend). Ask them to be honest – and for those in relationships, don’t be offended if they enjoy it more than sex. Such things are not something to hold against anybody.

So…what was I saying? Ah yes! It’s possible that I’m exaggerating here or just have a very prudish ear, but if someone tells me to jerk them off, it kind of puts me off.

Or imagine this scenario: a couple are in bed and, after a bit of foreplay, they are both very turned on (or aroused, as I might say…depending on the day *). Let’s assume they have no inhibitions and are willing to do whatever their partner asks for. Therefore,one of the two says:
‘I want you to masturbate for me.’ (Or ‘Jerk yourself off for me’ or ‘Pleasure yourself for me’ [the last one sounds kind of Victorian… or is it just me?])

I don’t know about you, but for me, that just sounds either very sterile or clinical (masturbate/masturbation) or just very crude (jerk off). I’m not saying I want something that reminds me of puppies and roses, but it would be nice to have a word that actually is a pleasure to say.

Like the word… orgasm. Or…er… let’s see… titillating.

Reading and saying those actually feels good, doesn’t it? (Or is it just me?)

Ultimately, my question is this:
Why is it that the vocabulary around sex and masturbation makes them sound so unappealing – and sometimes even painful? There are millions of examples that I could list here (the only one that comes to mind right now is ‘fisting’. It is exactly what it says it is, but it doesn’t exactly encourage anyone who isn’t into it to try it).

Aside from this, there’s also the vocabulary intertwined with female and male sexuality and organs respectively: for example, cunt, muff, snatch, dick, cock, slut (because obviously only women who enjoy sex are to be shamed in public)… Again, I may be being prudish, I don’t know, but I don’t like writing these in a story. The acoustics/aesthetics of these words just don’t sit well with me. Of course, it does depend on the effect I’m going for; sex – like so many other things – can be slow and gentle, or rough and fast, so I do take advantage of the variety on occasion. Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining.

For anyone who’s read even just a bit of feminist discourse on slut-shaming or a woman’s right to her body, consent, and sexuality will probably recognise that I’m not the first or the last person to bring this to anyone’s attention. Also,it’s possible that we will end up agreeing that such words shouldn’t be ejected from the language, but rather reclaimed.

Nonetheless, I would say we need a new vocabulary for sex or a more sex-positive language.

At least, I do.

 

 

*For some reason, the aesthetics of the word’arouse’ (aroused/arousal) have always sounded and looked better to me (maybe it’s the ‘r’ or the fact that you can make it sound like a wolf howl if you exaggerate the ‘ou’ sound). I have been made fun of for this, but I still love that word.

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6 thoughts on “Adult content and NSFW – #vocabulary around sex

  1. Better than ‘wank’. Of course, Victorians have a lot to answer for here-doctors thought ‘female hysteria’ could be cured by masturbating the patients. Pervs…

  2. LOL. Have to concur, the practice was touted as ‘massage cures’ and ‘vibrating cures’ – a precursor to, well, a rather well known rabbit.

    I found ‘choking the chicken’ quite amusing but again, violent, ‘smacking the ham’… one comedian coined the phrase ‘dropping the kids off at the pool’ as a synonym for a toilet wank…

    I once read a book in which a character, (a Greek God, those pesky fornicators, eh Wolfie?) requested to be “milked” Not quite sure how I feel about that. It is still agricultural, we are still speaking of ‘country matters’ of course, but it is slightly more delicate. Tough one this.. One could always follow E.M. Forster’s lead and ask one’s lover to simply ‘touch.’

  3. Ermehgerd…. I totally forgot ‘playing’ ie with yourself. That’s actually innocuous enough to be mentioned casually. I know this is late to the party.

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