A cacophony of euphemisms reveals male feelings about sex on campus

by Max Carter

Men all over the world, including men in the Whitworth community, have different words and terms for the act of sex.

In a brief survey, men at Whitworth revealed which euphemisms for sex they have heard on campus.

The sex euphemism heard most often by men on campus at Whitworth is “sleep with”, which is surprising to me. The vast majority of sexual euphemisms used by men are aggressive and often violent.

Of the 13 euphemisms listed in the survey, there are 10 associated with rape culture and aggression, while three were associated with romance and love. In a close second was “f-ck” and not far behind in third was “bang.” As much optimism as the most commonly heard euphemism may instill, there seems to be no question that Whitworth is not immune to the deep, lasting influence that pop culture has had on establishing rape culture in America. But that’s another conversation…

The survey does indicate that there is a significant body of men at Whitworth who often hear sex referred to in a romantic way. The euphemism “make love” came in fourth place, while the third positively oriented euphemism, “shag,” was dead last.

It definitely seems that men at Whitworth talk about sex in differing ways, and while one can only speculate based on limited data, some trends in the survey raise intriguing questions.

There is a stark contrast between the euphemisms “sleep with” and “f-ck.” By definition, “sleep with” has a positive, romantic con- notation. On the other hand, “f-ck” tends to have aggressive connotations. Yet they were close in votes.

After gathering the data, we categorized each euphemism in the survey as either a “rape culture” euphemism or“non-rapeculture” euphemism. These categorizations were based on the non-sexual definition of the word(s).

As another example, one of the other options on the survey, “slay,” is extremely violent by definition. In fact, to “slay” means to kill. Clearly, that is not the meaning of the term “slay” when used in a sexual context, but there are, nonetheless, violent connotations.

These conversations run deep in our media-driven society, and can only be properly addressed with in-depth, analytical studies. Yet, they can still be addressed to our best abilities.

At Whitworth, a private Christian university, many students are deeply devoted to their faith. On the flip-side, as a university that does not require a statement of faith, there are also students that practice religions other than Christianity, or who are not religious at all. Because of the differing religious views at Whitworth, there is diversity in worldviews throughout the community.

While the data gathered in the survey does not provide any concrete conclusions regarding how men at Whitworth talk and think about sex, it is useful in beginning the conversation.

With all of this in mind, one can’t help but ponder how the religious views of men at Whitworth University may influence the way they talk about sex.

Contact Max Carter at mcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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