Sex Ed in Bed

A genital by any other name...
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

Who would want to address their penis as Old Slimy, the cranny-haunter, or the fornicator (said with a Schwarzenegger accent) when, instead it could be called the glory pole, pride of the morning, or the giggly stick? Who would want to slurp down pecker snot, when there’s pearly passion potion to enjoy? And I’d much rather “hitchhike to heaven” than “saw my log” (Youch!). These are just a few of the more colorful titles in The Big Book of Filth by Jonathon Green. He has amassed 6500 sexual slang words and phrases, and this is only in English! With such a preoccupation for not using the actual titles, ya’ gotta wonder — Oh! stab in the dark — if our society may have a teensy bit of discomfort regarding sexuality.

Indeed, sticks and stones may break bones, but words still pack quite a wallop. In fact, the spoken or written word is a popular weapon of choice in this day and age. Sexually speaking, our linguistic communication is a virtual minefield. Whether it’s the labels we use for sexual organs and activities, or the words we utter when cursing, the vast majority of sexual lingo has a negative connotation.

Lets also not forget the intentionally degrading use of pejorative name-calling. Many of us had frightening experiences of verbal and physical violence because of our sexuality. Why just recently, in the Castro of San Francisco a couple of lost rednecks hollered, “Fagot!” out of their run down pickup truck at a friend and I.

Don’t get me wrong; personalizing our sexuality, especially our body parts naturally occurs in many cultures. It’s just like having nicknames for loved ones. For example, the slang term for penis that rolls off my tongue most easily is, “Mr. Happy.” Don’t ask me why or how it got started. He’s just always been Mr. Happy to me. While shopping for groceries, a friend talked to me about her lack of comfort with her vulva (I find a grocery store is always an entertaining place to talk about pussy). While I suggested she nickname her crotch as a way to warm up to it, simultaneously I spied that kind of cookie with a dab of jelly in the center called, “Verona.” I’m happy to report that my friend is spending quality time these days with her Verona.

Ultimately, the priority is to make our sexual language as positive as possible. An easy way of doing this is to casually use the actual name of any given body part or activity. This is especially important for parents when talking to their kids about sex. Constantly avoiding the names of body parts can subtly give the impression that something is wrong with that part of the body, or with sex in general. So when in doubt, just confidently use the actual names.

Furthermore, filtering out negative verbiage just takes a little creativity, especially when we have literally thousands of names to choose from. To be honest, it’s often hard to determine if a label’s connotation is positive or negative. That’s why, most importantly, we’ve got to take every opportunity to transform negative slang into positive. After all, it’s not the actual word that is negative; it’s the meaning we place on it that’s negative. We don’t blame the letters E, V, I and L for all the bad things in the world (well, maybe Bush does). Even the word “bad,” can mean good. Therefore, I think if the slang “cool,” and “hot” can actually mean the same thing, we can certainly take what is negative and make it positive.

I’ve met some who just can’t let go of a particular slang’s negativity, like, “queer” or “fag,” because every time it’s spoken they are yanked back to some painful memory. No doubt it was horrible, but how long are you going to let some bully, in a sense, regale you all over again every time that word rings in your ears? Honey, get some therapy and leave your pain in the past. Claiming the word for yourself is showing that you courageously choose not to be victimized by it ever again. Like when those red necks yelled at us, my friend slapped his ass and yelled back, “That’s right, baby!”

At the last Folsom Street Fair, I got into watching this shirtless couple go at it right there under the hot sun. They were sweating, kissing and licking. They loosened their pants to free up stiffies and show off their bubble butts. They were so sexy. In fact, they were down right dirty. No, they were beyond dirty. They were nasty-dirty! And believe me, I use the word “nasty-dirty” with the utmost respect!

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