Foreword: If you are uncomfortable with the f-word, we recommend you give this article a miss.
Writing about sex can be very painful.
Obviously, we can’t use words like “cock”, “cunt”, and “clit” when we write a sex article. Those are considered “pornographic”. If you want to write about sex, you need to use scientific terms like “penis”, “vagina”, and “clitoris”. You don’t “bang”, you “have sex”. You don’t “get laid”, you “have sex”. Sometimes, you can’t even say “have sex”; you have to say “become intimate”. You don’t “cum” (or “come”), you “have an orgasm”. At times, when it seems you have too many “orgasms”, you have to substitute it with “climax”.
I’m just glad that we haven’t gotten to the stage where we have to say, “I knew him … in the Biblical sense” instead of “we had sex”.
When it comes to describing sex, things get a little more challenging. Of course, there is the ever trusty missionary position that everyone is more familiar with. But what about “doggy style”. Nope, you will need to say, “he enters me from behind” because some people may take offense at the suggestion that a sex position could be associated with an animal. You know how one thing leads to another and, someone may end up saying you are promoting deviant sex.
You also cannot be too graphic when writing about sex. You can’t write, “When he thrusts his penis into your vagina, you need to thrust back …”. Apparently, most of us are supposed to lie back, spread our legs and let things happen to us. The active role of trying to build up your enjoyment in sex has to be implied:
So, no bouncing up and down his penis, no thrusting back and forth, no getting him to rub … oh, sorry, it’s “stimulate” … your clitoris … you just have to assume your readers will lie back, open their legs and know what to do to get that orgasm.
I have a real problem with the way we are expected to approach sex.
Fine if we have to use the scientific terms. I think it’s better than expecting writers to use euphemisms like “honeypot”, “manhood”, “pleasure button” … But there is something really unsexy about this rule as well.
For example, if we were to write about foreplay, one of the tips could go, “have him finger your clit for a few minutes”. But it’s too graphic and “rough-sounding”. So we probably have to edit it to read, “have your man gently stimulate your clitoris for a few minutes”. The longer vowel sounds in the second sentence give the illusion that it’s more “refine”.
I just want you to imagine yourself when you are having sex with your boyfriend or husband. Do you say “stimulate my clitoris” or, do you just go, “rub my clit”? I think it’s important for sex to be portrayed (1) honestly and (2) realistically.
Honest – because women don’t just “lie back”. We want to know how to get our orgasms.
Realistic – because sex needs to be accurately portrayed not just in the information bit but also in the depiction of the dynamics between the couple. No one says, “Slide your penis into my vagina now!”, we simply go, “Put it in!”
And there is also the bit where we have to moderate how much we love sex. Once, I wrote about trying a sex toy mentioned in Fifty Shades Of Grey. I had to take out how I was happy to finally achieve the orgasm I was hoping to get through my use of them. The portrayal of a horny, sex-loving woman who is unmarried is apparently not kosher.
Oh, “unmarried” is also a very important word to note here. So, women in this country do not live with their boyfriends. All of us are virginal, and happily living with our parents until the day we are legally married and allowed to have sex. Co-habitation is a practice that should not be actively promoted because we are individuals steeped in traditional values. I’m being sarcastic here, in case that is lost on you.
If an unmarried woman were to talk about having sex, “boyfriend” needs to become “partner”. Because “partner” could be mean “fiance” or “husband” too. It’s not clear what the legal status of this “partner” is but it’s okay because “boyfriend” clearly means you are having pre-marital sex. And … pre-marital sex is not okay … no matter how old you are, no matter how long you both have been together for, no matter how committed you are to the relationship … as long as ROM does not give you a certificate, you really shouldn’t be having sex.
I am all for being honest and open when it comes to passing on sexual knowledge. But at times, I feel this works against the media who wants to deal with the topic without glossing over the facts or using cheesy euphemisms. Why do I say that? Because sexually-suggestive songs are being played on the airwaves and getting away with it. Just yesterday, I heard a song that went something like, “Can you blow my whistle, baby, whistle, baby? … You just have to bring your lips real close … and go slow …”
Are you seriously telling me it’s really about blowing the whistle referees use on the soccer pitch?
And what about Shaggy singing, “Suck my sugarcane, baby”? You really think he’s promoting healthy eating here?
But I don’t want these songs to be taken off the radio.
They are euphemistic expressions of sex. And for songs, it’s really much better to use euphemisms to achieve that “poetic” thing. But you need to know what you are listening to. And in order for you to be able to do that, isn’t it just better to be able to talk openly and honestly about sex without glossing over the details already?
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes to meet Steven Tyler in person one day.