Welcome to The Mad Logophile. Here, we explore word origins, evolution and usage. Words are alive: they are born, they change and, sometimes, they die. They are our principal tool for communicating with one another. There are over one million words in the English language yet only an estimated 171,476 words are in common current use. As a logophile, I enjoy discovering new words, using them and learning about their origins. Please join in.
Okay folks, this week we're getting down and dirty. Really down and dirty. But we are all adults here so we can deal with **gasp** TEH SEX. Right? Some of the words and phrases in this diary are pretty hardcore. So if that bothers you, you should probably give us a pass this time. If your heart can handle it, though, follow me below the fold into the XXX world...
Whoever said there is nothing new under the sun might have been thinking of sex. And they would be right, in one sense. Many of our habits, customs and kinks can be traced back hundreds or even thousands of years. Peeping Tom did his peeping in 1050 (though the concept is much older) and we still have voyeurs. Oedipus committed incest even further back and Sappho is still a symbol of lesbianism despite most of her work being lost in time. Pimps did the same job in Elizabethan England as they do in modern New York City. The great books of sex are with us still; The Kama Sutra and The Perfumed Garden are every bit as popular now as when they were first published.
Some things certainly don't change. But some do. Our recent ancestors didn't have porn magazines, videos or the Internet. Their sex toys weren't battery-operated. They didn't have cheap printing (only the well-off could afford those exotic books mentioned above). And, even more important, society has changed. It's not so much that we have new ways of performing sex but that sensuality and satisfaction is now widely available across all strata of society. It's not just for the rich anymore. So, while sex has changed in degree and detail, its essentials have pretty much remained the same.
And now, one last warning: Though there were a few terms that I just couldn't bring myself to put on this list, there are still many that are quite graphic. Last call for those who need to bail! Please be advised that any links provided may contain adult material.
Probably the most basic thing in regard to sex is one's orientation. If you are exclusively interested in the opposite sex, you are heterosexual, straight, hetero or het. Those who enjoy sex with either gender are bisexual , bi or AC/DC. Or maybe you like ambisextrous, a word coined by the irrepressible Tallulah Bankhead. If you might like to try bisexuality, you are bicurious. If you prefer those of your own sex as sexual partners, you are homosexual: gay if you are a man, lesbian if a woman (women can be called gay but never the other way around). There are other slang words for both gays and lesbians but most are quite insulting so I'm not going to offend anyone (follow the link if you're curious). Someone who was one sex at birth but who identifies their gender as what society considers the "opposite" sex, is transsexual: this term is correct whether the person has has had re-assignment surgery or not. Someone who is transgender can either be transsexual (non, pre or post-op) or simply dress as the opposite gender. Lastly, someone who dresses in clothing of the opposite sex but is usually not gay is a transvestite.
There are many names for the sex act itself. They can be as tame as make out or do it or as raunchy as putting the beef in the taco. Popular terms include: ball, boff, fuck, get it on, get off, get laid, nooky, poke, pork, screw, shag and make whoopee. There are, of course, many more. Foreplay is considered to be any pleasurable activity leading to intercourse. It is here where the human imagination has run wild with, well... pleasurable results. Oral sex is very popular as a form of foreplay. Women can perform fellatio, known as a blow job or head with or without Frenching, humming or teabagging (you knew it would show up here, didn't you?). More terms here. Men can return the favor with cunnilingus, also known as going down, muff diving or eating a fur burger. There are as many variations on the latter idea as there are synonyms for the female genitalia, most of them food-related: bearded clam, beaver, box, cooch, hair pie, muffin, pussy, snatch and twat are common ones. And there are more... The word cunt, while considered to be derogatory now, actually has its beginnings in a name for the Hindu goddess, Kali. Of course, there are many nicknames for the male member, as well: arrow, beaver cleaver, bishop, cock, dick, dong, dork, johnson, pecker, peter, prick, tallywhacker and trouser snake are among them. Men seem to be more apt to name their shaft than women to give their clam a nickname. Men and women have secondary sex organs and they too have their interesting nicknames. The scrotum and testicles are some times known as balls, basket, cobblers, eggs, goolies or nuts. The entire package is sometimes referred to as tackle or (I love this one) meat and veg. Ladies have breasts which, when not performing their primary function of nourishment for a baby, are quite popular as sexual playthings. Variously known as boobies, hooters, jugs, knockers, melons, rack or tits, it could be argued that perhaps too much significance is given to them in today's society. After all, we don't have any restaurants called Goolies, do we?
Of course, it's good to know the biological terms for these parts. The male penis and female vagina are considered the primary sex organs. The penis is composed of two cylinder-shaped vascular tissue bodies called the corpora cavernosa. Through these, the urethra, two arteries, veins and nerves run through the erectile tissue. The long part of the penis is the shaft, at the end of which is the head, or glans penis. The opening at the tip of the glans, which allows for urination and ejaculation, is the meatus. The external female genitalia is collectively known as the vulva. The fatty mound covering the pubic bone is the mons veneris (mound of Venus - kinda romantic, huh?). Protecting the vagina are the labia majora and labia minora; two sets of "lips." At the top of the vulva is the clitoris, an organ that functions solely for sexual pleasure. The internal reproductive organs of both sexes are another subject entirely and not really important in our discussion here.
Sometimes, we don't have access to a sex partner. At those times we must resort to masturbation. There are lots of colorful terms for self-love. Men can bash the bishop, choke the chicken, jack or jerk off, pull taffy, toss off or wank. Ladies have fewer nifty ways of describing auto-eroticism, confining it mostly to diddling and fingering. If you are brave and want a very long list of terms for both men and women, try Masturbation Cafe. It's very...um... colorful. Or you can use the Random Masturbation Synonym Generator to come up with some new ones.
We humans are tool users and that tendency extends to sex. Toys for sex go back to ancient times: Egyptian art depicts female dancers carrying sculptures of an oversized erect penis. Around 500 BCE saw the invention of the olisbos, an early version of the dildo, in Greece. In China, at around the same time, ben-wa balls were invented. Soon after, olive oil was noted as both a contraceptive and lubricant. Time and ingenuity brought new toys and improvements on old ones. The discovery of latex in the 1930's was a huge leap forward. Nowadays, the possibilities are varied and (naturally enough) exciting. Among the modern choices are:
♥ Ampallang - A male genital piercing that penetrates horizontally through the glans of the penis.
♥ Anal beads - A string of small balls on a string. Designed to be inserted into the anus and pulled out during orgasm to heighten the sensation.
♥ Ben-Wa Balls - A pair of orbs with ball bearings inside. When inserted into the vagina, they roll around and create subtle vibrations.
♥ Blow-Up Doll - A life-size doll often used as a surrogate partner.
♥ Butt Plug - A dildo specially designed for insertion into the anus.
♥ Clitoral Stimulator -A vibrator that is designed to be worn against the clitoris, usually via straps.
♥ Dildo - A cylindrically shaped object used for sexual stimulation via insertion. A Double Dildo is a double-ended dildo that can be used by two individuals simultaneously.
♥ Erection Ring/Cock Ring - A strap of leather, rubber or metal that is placed around the base of the penis (and sometimes, testicles) to promote firmer and longer-lasting erections.
♥ Extender - A device that attaches to the end of the penis, giving it a greater length and/or width.
♥ French Tickler - A condom with a kick: plastic or rubber attachments, often in the form of nubs. This should not be relied upon for contraception, being a novelty item.
♥ Fuck-Me Shoes - While not a sex toy per se, are quite popular in sex play. They are typically very high spiked heels sometime with cut-aways.
♥ G-String - Originally worn by strippers and exotic dancers, this is a type of underwear that replaces the rear panel with a spaghetti strap.
♥ Kama-Sutra Chair - A chair designed to facilitate the positions illustrated in the famous book. Made today under the name Tantra Chair.
♥ Marital Aid - Euphemism for a sex toy.
♥ Massager - Ostensibly sold to relax sore muscles, but we know what they're really used for... ;)
♥ Masturbator - A device used to assist men in masturbation, it is often shaped like a vagina. Also known as a sleeve.
♥ Nipple Clamps - Pretty self-explanatory. They are often attached to one another with a chain.
♥ Pasties - Small adhesive patches that cover only the nipple. Often worn with a matching G-String.
♥ Penis Pump - A vacuum device which creates an erection. Despite claims, it cannot permanently enlarge a penis.
♥ Prince Albert - A penile piercing which runs from the urethra downward and exits below the glans.
♥ Realistic - A dildo modeled after an actual penis, usually a popular porn actor like John Holmes or Ron Jeremy.
♥ Strap-On - A dildo or vibrator that is attached via a harness.
♥ Sybian - A masturbation device for women. It consists of a saddle-like seat with a rod protruding. It runs by electric motor and can be controlled as to vibration and rotation. It even has attachments. Invented by Dave Lampert in the mid-80's.
♥ Vibrator - A device that creates a vibration, either through batteries or AC.
There are almost as many varieties of sex play as there are people. They can range from mild, such as axillism (a fetish for armpits) to heavy-duty bondage. The world of kinks can be bizarre. Although most folks seem to prefer vanilla sex, with maybe an occasional sex toy or diversion, a trip into the slightly off-color might be fun. The rules should always be; if either partner becomes uncomfortable, play is halted. A brief glossary of kinks & fetishes follows:
♥ Autoerotic asphyxiation is the act of self-induced strangulation or asphyxiation while masturbating or during sex. Also called autoerotic srangulation, scarfing or sexual-asphyxia. This is and not recommended!
♥ Axillism refers to using the armpit as a vagina substitute. Also known as axillary-intercourse, bagpiping, coitus-in-axilla, huffling or a pit-job.
♥ BDSM is a catch-all term for any or all of the activities covered by its acronyms: B&D (bondage-and-discipline), D&S (domination-and-submission) and S&M (sadism and masochism). This is done with mutual consent. All sexual orientations can be into BDSM; straight, gay, bi, transsexual, monogamous or polyamorous. Some view BDSM as itself an orientation. Activities can range from gentle restraint to pony rides to beatings. It is important to differentiate BDSM from abuse - the latter is not mutual and the power in the relationship is not subject to change or negotiation. A very good explanation of BDSM can be found here.
♥ Bestiality describes sexual relations with an animal. This can include intercourse, frottage, oral sex or anal sex. AKA animal-sex, beastiality, erotic-zoophilism, interspecies-sex, zooerastia or zooerasty.
♥ Body Painting is exactly what it implies; painting the body as part of sex-play. This is different from body painting as an art form.
♥ Bondage refers to a safe sexual activity in which one partner is safely restrained. The restraints can range from silk scarves to handcuffs to cages. A safe word is always agreed upon in advance should the person being restrained feel uncomfortable at any time. Kinbakuis a Japanese twist on bondage.
♥ A fetish is a sexual attraction to a specific part of the body or an object not usually associated with sex. Some common fetishes are breast, legs, leather or rubber.
♥ Frottage refers to rubbing of the sexual organs, usually with clothes on. Also known as dry-humping, it is on display on the dance floor of any club. Sometimes, it is done without the knowledge of the person being rubbed against. This is, of course, a form of sexual assault and should be treated accordingly. Peter Gabriel wrote a song about this called I Have The Touch, possibly the only song extant concerning this fetish.
♥ Naturism or nudism is more of a life-style than a kink. Some people live in communities where naturism is part and parcel of everyday living. Some prefer an occasional day at a clothing-optional beach. Either way, the life-style has lost much of its taboo.
♥ Nymphomania is hypersexuality in a woman. Men suffer from satyriasis. Both words describe an abnormally high libido, to a point where it disrupts the victim's life and causes distress and serious problems.
♥ An orgy is group sex, simply. It can refer to a small group such as a three-way or couples all the way up to a roomful of people. The orgy of ancient Greece was part of the Mystery religions of Dionysus and Demeter. Orgies dedicated to Dionysus were known in Rome as Bacchanalia, though both venerated the same god of wine and parties.
♥ Prosaphism is the word for men watching sex between two women as a fetish. The word is credited to French philosopher Charles Fourier, who also coined the term feminism.
♥ The act of snurging is to gain erotic pleasure from the sniffing of bicycle saddles. Probably a fetish best kept to one's self.
♥ Water sports does not refer to swimming but to erotic fetishism of urine. The subject often enjoys being urinated on as part of sex play. Also called urophilia, urolagnia, peegames, piss-play, wet-fun, wet-sex and wet-times.
♥ Wife-swapping may have gone underground but in its heyday it was accepted as a new and fun way to spice up the ostensibly boring sex lives of suburban couples. Also known as key parties - because the couple's car keys were all placed in a bowl and drawn to choose partners - wife-swapping parties were all the rage. Also known as partouz.
♥ YIFF is an acronym for "Young Incredibly Fuckable Furry" and describes an interesting fetish involving furry costumes. Originating with the sound that foxes make during mating, yiffing is sex play with furry costumes or animal masks/make-up. According to enthusiasts, the furry lifestyle breaks down to 40% bi, 30% gay and 30% straight. If you see someone in a plushie at a con, look for a yellow star; if there isn't one, chances are this person is NOT of the yiff persuasion.
When I started this diary - quite awhile ago - I thought that it could be finished relatively quickly. I had a good book to help me along and a few good websites. But things seemed to conspire against me: the weather, the electricity & cable, my wireless system... seemed every time I got rolling, I'd get shut down. And, wouldn't you know it, the weather is trying again. We've broken 3 records so far this week and it's not getting any cooler. Sitting at the computer in this heat is torture (only able to today because we left all the windows open and fans blowing overnight which worked for a little while). So, rather than hope for cooler weather this coming week, I thought it best to publish the first half of the diary. It's turning out to be longer than I thought, as well, so it's probably for the best. Please enjoy this first half and I'll be back in two weeks with the rest (the Universe willing).