Naming It

There always comes that awkward moment in every budding romance when you have to give each others’ genitals a name. Not pet names, but names that allow you to communicate certain desires. The problem here is that not everyone uses the same name for the same parts.

There’s only so long that you can go along without making a word commitment in this area. For a while you can try to use indirect references, saying, for example, you want him to put “it” in you, but you want to make sure he’s not holding something other than what you’re hoping for when you say that. And it doesn’t really work for me to call your vag “it” because it makes it seem diseased.

Grunting and pointing and using your hands in various ways will work for a while — maybe forever. But what if you’re having an online romance? That is just not going to fly on the phone, sorry. And it doesn’t translate at all on IM.

You can also go with the “personal genitals” idea. This is where you equate the person’s part with the person. For example, “I want you inside me” or “you’re so wet” or “I like it when you touch yourself.” These are normal things to say, and actually quite sweet. It’s sort of my preference, but it doesn’t always work. You find yourself getting all convoluted, trying to avoid saying the actual noun. Plus, when things get really down and dirty, or when you want to say it a little rougher, maybe, because you’re feeling like an animal, it doesn’t ring true. It’s a bit too civilized and PC.

So you eventually have to choose your word.

If you say the wrong word, it can be offensive, but it’s an awkward sort of offense. It’s not like you’ve necessarily had a dinner table discussion about the merits of “pussy” vs. “cunt,” or “dick” vs. “cock.” That happens later. I’m talking about the beginning of the relationship, particularly that part where you haven’t actually done anything yet. Or not much. Anyway, the offended party is not likely to correct you, mid-stroke, to correct your English. After all, it was heartfelt, what you said. It’s just that now, you’re calling her vagina a “cunt” and that’s not what she calls it, and so — there’s a disconnect. Something’s off.

There’s always Latin as a fallback — “oh, your vagina is so tight!” is ok if you’re in stirrups in the ob-gyn’s office, but in the bedroom it’s just off. Saying “I want your penis in my mouth” is, I suppose, safe, but it just feels medical, or like you’re not even talking about my thing. Using the Latin is about playing it safe, about not deciding, about not risking. You have to get beyond that, into dirty land.

It’s delicate, though, isn’t it?  What happens if the lusty word I want to use for vag is “pussy” but you hate that word because your grandmother called each of her 17 cats “pussy”?  So what do you do? Well, you have to use the word you want me to use yourself, and hope that I’m paying attention. But then — what if the word you use doesn’t feel right to me? Making me put “cunt” in my mouth (aside from the obvious pleasure) might make me feel like a bad actor — here comes my line, oh! — “your — uh — cunt — oh baby — yummy, uh, your cunt is so…arggh! oh fuck, what was I going to say?” yada yada. 

Same goes for me. I don’t particularly like “dick” because I know a lot of them. For me, “dick” has perjorative undertones. But maybe that’s your favorite word! And in any case, in the moment, whatever you call it — well, I’m pretty much willing to overlook most everything to make sure my “dick” gets where I want it to be. I mean, let’s not quibble over the particulars. And yet…it leaves us with memories we want to edit, just a wee bit.

I’ve kind of settled on “cock” but that doesn’t totally fit either, no pun intended. Sounds a little too much like some purple-clad prince, strutting around and too proud to get dirty. M uses “dick” but not often enough that it bothers me. Oh wait, that didn’t come out right. Ack — never mind.

Now that I’m thinking of it, it’s really about how it’s said, rather than the word itself. That’s the real risk — saying the right word without the proper level of feeling, without that let-loose yawp erupting from your chest, from your deepest swellings of blind lust & desire. You don’t let that out and you’re hiding yourself, you’re not connecting, no matter what word you use.

About David

Prone to musing and to being prone. Father to two, writer, engineer.
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3 Responses to Naming It


    Excellent post…still laughing. 😉

  2. Sarah says:

    So I’m at a wine tasting once with C and there are two girls there (with a designated driver) who are three sheets to it. They notice us being affectionate and start talking about how “adorable” we are. One of them is using the word “fuck” a lot and suddenly self-awareness kicks in and she apologizes on the off-chance that we’re offended. We tell her we’re not. She informs us that fuck is her favorite word.

    Her friend looks up from a drunken stupor and says proudly, “My favorite word is PUSSY.” To which C replies, “Me too, pussy is my favorite word too.”

    It’s all in the delivery (as is so much). 🙂

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