Some great colloquialisms for sex that are now gone — but shouldn’t be forgotten.
There’s something that I just love about antiquated English. As the dictionary adds words like “defriending” and “muggle,” I like to think about the words they take out. And pepper those into conversation whenever I can.
This goes doubly when discussing sex. It stands to reason — people have been talking about sex since they figured out how to do it… and, because of the eternal taboo surrounding it, they’ve created millions of euphemisms and alternative words.
I dug through some old dictionaries to find these out-of-date sexual terms, all of which would really be great in the modern vernacular. For times when saying “buggery” and “slattern” isn’t dated enough, these terms come into play. Enjoy, fornicators.
1 | St. George and the dragon – sex with the woman on top of the man
This term is based off the Christian story about St. George visiting a pagan town, taming the dragon that was terrorizing them, and then offering to kill the dragon if everyone in the town converted to Christianity. You know, par for the course.
Anyway, this has been depicted repeatedly in fine art — and it always looks like St. George and his horse are mounting the dragon. And there’s stabbing involved. Through that iconography, this evolved into a euphemism for female-on-male sex. (Which is ironic, since St. George killing the dragon and then converting the town was clearly missionary work.)
2 | houghmagandy – sexual intercourse, generally adulterous in nature
I like this one for times when words like intercourse and coitus feel too common. It also has a wonderful, comedy-friendly pronunciation — HOCH-muh-gan-dee — with the first syllable like you’re clearing your throat and/or doing a derivative impression of a Middle Easterner.
3 | cottager – one who solicits sex in a public toilet
Part of the age-old question: What came first, the cottager or the glory hole? If not for the cottager, there would be no need for the glory hole… but if not for the glory hole, would one even endeavor to be a cottager? It’s these questions and more I’m going to answer if philosophy ever becomes a viable career again.
4 | lechercraft – an act of promiscuity; modern: a one-night stand
I chose this because it felt like a mash-up of lechers and hovercrafts, and that paints such a vivid picture in my head. A group of perverts riding down a river on a hovercraft. It’s similar to that painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, just with more wispy mustaches and sleeveless t-shirts.
5 | make a coffee house of a woman’s c*** – withdrawing from sex before ejaculation
This is a Shakespearean-era term. “Coffee house” is a term for a brothel; and when you pull out, you’ve treated the beautiful act of making love to your woman the same way you’d handle a lady of a coffee house. (A barista, perhaps?) Anyway, all I could think of was Idiocracy and its Starbuxxx locations.
6 | warming pan – a mistress
The real definition of a warming pan is a pan that was used to heat the bedsheets. This alternate definition is a mid-1600s term for a female involved in an adulterous relationship and, somehow, is an evocative, unmatched mix of hilarious, offensive, misogynistic and graphic. Comparing a woman to a warm household appliances will do that.
7 | detumescence – the state of a non-erect penis
It’s such an elegant term for being flaccid. And, fittingly, it sounds like one of the acts in a Greek tragedy.
8 | slam like a dunny door in a gale – a quick sexual encounter
To translate from folksy colloquial to English, a dunny door is an outhouse door… and when there’s wind, it slams open and shut, back and forth, quickly. This is a term that would be used if Dan Rather or Keith Jackson were doing commentary on your sexual relations, and would definitely be peppered with some Whoa Nellys and some Hold the Phones.
9 | algolagnia – a sexual tendency where one derives sexual pleasure and stimulation from physical pain
This is a very ornate way of talking about sadomasochism. You can tell it’s ornate because the official pronunciation is /ælgə lægniə/ — and anything with that many diphthongs and schwas is clearly putting on airs.
10 | tribadism – non-penetrative sex between two women
We modern brutes prefer “scissoring.” South Park gets at least 98 percent of the blame for that. I know I can’t even say the word “scissors” when referring to actual, metal, paper-cutting scissors without slipping into a Mr. Garrison voice.
11 | grass sandwich – sex outdoors
If only they’d kept going and created “sandwich” descriptions of all the different places to have sex. Sex in a bed could be a sheet sandwich, sex in the kitchen could be a Formica sandwich, sex in the backseat could be a vinyl sandwich or leather sandwich (depending on the options package), and sex on the beach could be a sand2wich.
Yup, 60 words, all as a setup to an exponent joke.