The Language of Sex is Male

Nearly all terms describing the sexual act are male-oriented. Is this a case of gender stereotyping or incontrovertible sex differences?

The latest article to question whether hookup culture hurts women concludes that based on all available evidence, it can hardly be said to empower us. Hannah Rosin and Kate Taylor have recently argued otherwise:

“Smart, pretty, and most of all, independent women…use casual sex for pleasure in a way once monopolized by men. They sleep with guys but don’t date them. They talk almost clinically about the “‘cost-benefit’ analyses and the ‘low risk and low investment costs’ of hooking up.” Hooking up is about satisfying a physical need, and nothing more.”

But Drexler is well aware of the data, which demonstrates that very few women actually feel or behave this way. She notes some common themes sounded by women about the hookup experience:

  • Alcohol required.
  • Get it over with.
  • No orgasm.
  • That hardly represents equality. Drexler notes that a current popular term for sex on college campuses is “pound.” That is just one of the terms that has sprung up to describe sex that is all about the guy getting off, with little or no regard for the girl’s experience.

    In her view, this is just one more example of an unfair sexual double standard. It reminds me of a blog post I read several years ago – the writer said, “Call it whatever you like, it’s always the woman who gets fucked.” Male penetration and the female’s reception of penetration creates an asymmetry. A physical one certainly, and I would argue an emotional one as well. Women and men don’t cross swords. Men drive the sword home, women are unarmed. We allow entry.

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    Out of curiosity, I decided to research all of the terms used colloquially to describe sexual intercourse. I’ve divided them into male and female-oriented terms:

    Male-oriented terms for sex:
  • ball
  • bang
  • beat
  • blaze
  • bone
  • destroy
  • dig her out
  • fuck the shit out of
  • hit
  • hose
  • impale
  • jackhammer
  • kick it
  • knock it out
  • lay pipe
  • mash
  • pork
  • pound
  • pump
  • rail
  • ram
  • score
  • screw
  • slam
  • slay
  • smash
  • take her
  • tap
  • wham bam thank you maam
  • Note how many of these terms are active, even downright aggressive or violent. Many refer to the male anatomy.

    In contrast, I could only find two terms to describe sex from a female perspective:

  • get mounted
  • ride dick
  • Women are also referred to in pejorative terms, usually indicating promiscuity, e.g. cum dumpster, cum receptacle. Some terms that might indicate an active female role during sex include envelop, sheath, or grip, but I have never heard anyone describe the act of sex in those terms.

    Purr, purr, thank you sir?

    Doubt it.

    Peggy Drexler bemoans our adherence to gender stereotypes, but I think it comes down to basic anatomical differences.

    It’s always the woman who gets fucked.

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