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Morton Bast

Editorial Assistant & Community Mentor, TED

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What metaphors for sex are used in your country?

In his talk, sexuality educator Al Vernacchio laments the flawed metaphor that many Americans use to talk about sex: baseball. Instead of this regulated and competitive framework, he suggest that we think about sex like pizza -- a communicative and collaborative experience.

The baseball metaphor is indeed very common in the US. So I wondered, what metaphors for sex are commonly used in other countries or in other languages? Are there Americans, too, who grew up with a different metaphor? And what else besides pizza would be a helpful new one?

Share some funny or interesting euphemisms for sex from your own culture!

Topics: culture metaphor sex
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    Jul 15 2013: Kill the cat (billi marna)

    In my country the next day of honeymoon , all friends of male would ask a question , did you kill the cat?

    They certainly want to know....You had your way or not?

    It is believed this sets the relationship equation between the husband and wife in coming days. If you had your way than you are the one likely to wear pants in the house otherwise women is likely to domiante in a relationship.
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      Jul 15 2013: I made great plans to kill the cat 25 years ago. I realized it is a tough task for a rat.
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      Jul 15 2013: I think this is a really good example of our metaphors reflecting the dominant culture. "Killing the cat" expresses a clear power structure. One can listen to this metaphor and easily tell that sex is not expected to be an equal act in that context.
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        Jul 16 2013: I think it is more complicated than you imagine Morton. 'Killing the cat' surely expresses a power structure with hint of male domination, but the sexual connotation is only part of that domination. Killing the cat on the first night after wedding implies establishing the role of a master by men over everything.
        But let me explain why I say this is complicated.
        In Indian parlance Jaru ka ghulam is a popular euphemism too. Jaru = wife, Ghulam = slave and ka means of. This is more powerful in expression compared to what you may understand by the word henpecked. And undeniably, this slavery is on account of a submission to the power of female sexuality. Sex is not not an equal act in this context as well but the master-slave relationship is reversed.

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