I am in full support of consenting adults enjoying whatever kind of sex satisfies and brings them closer to their partner. To each their own. I just want to change the way we talk about it.
Alright. Truth be told, I am fan of the language. Yes, I have a great love for language as a whole. But here I mean – profanity, curse words, swearing. You have to understand, it started very young. I am one of five kids (second oldest) within six years. That’s right. That means a little more than a year separates any of us. So, you can imagine, five children of nearly the same age growing up in one house…we ruled the roost.
For some reason, the idea of setting limits on our language was entirely foreign to either of my parents. We swore with abandon. My dad would only complain, “You all sound like a bunch of drunken sailors.” To which, some younger brother would reply, “Ha ha, fuck you!” And so it was.
This means that I have a continual undercurrent of swear words waiting at the ready of my verbal consciousness. I slip into profanity the way some people slip into their birthplace accent – when I’m tired, or worked up, or simply in comfortable adult company. True, I’ve had moments of sincere embarrassment, when the F-word arrives in fully inappropriate settings. The grace is in the recovery. I live a mix of careful grown-up discipline and occasional bursts of joyful release.
So, let it be known. I am an absolute fan.
Today, though, I need to address something significant for our cultural health and social evolution… something that has been germinating in me for a while now. This is important to me personally, and to where we are all headed, collectively as humans.
We need to get the “fuck” out of sex.
This started some idle day, while sitting in traffic waiting at a stop light. My eyes were resting calmly on the cars in front of me, my mind wandering. When, suddenly I realized what I was looking at. It was a stencil bumper sticker on the rear window of a good-sized truck. It was the word “cancer” with a little human figure, off to the left, humping the letter c.
I understood the joke was “Fuck Cancer.” But there was something about seeing that image. What?! After the head-shaking absurdity receded, it brought the problem clearly into focus. The figure was “having sex” with something they utterly despised. Ah, ha. I had to face the painful truth of it all. We have confused violence and sex through one of my favorite undercurrent words, Fuck.
Now, as a sexuality educator and a professional coach for love, sexuality, and human connections, I have valid concerns. The average age of first exposure to online pornography is now 7, 6 worldwide. Research suggests that 88% of these scenes are “aggressive,” physically or emotionally violent. Then, and this is the important one – about 64 % of early teens report going to the internet to fill in the gaps in their sexual education.
Kids are naturally curious. What parent of a child over age 10 (or 8?) hasn’t had to answer the question, “What does ‘fuck’ mean?” Then, comes the uncomfortable moment of explaining that people use the word as a way to describe sex. Of course, this child goes on to eventually hear the word used in harsh, charged, and disdainful moments.
What are we perpetuating here?
Let’s take a look at this tragic compilation of definitions from Wordnik:
v. 1. To have sexual intercourse with.
v. 2. To take advantage of, betray, or cheat; victimize.
v. 3. Used in the imperative as a signal of angry dismissal.
Aye de mi! Can we now see the problem clearly? To have sex, to betray and victimize, and to angrily dismiss. All the same word!
No, I say. Fuck no.
Let’s leave Fuck alone and decide – Right Here and Now – to separate out definition 1. to have intercourse with; from definitions 2 and 3. to betray and angrily dismiss. I would even go a step further and defend Fuck as worthy of higher tasks in itself…
We need to let Fuck do its job, of bringing that extra oomph and conviction to all the necessary moments. Moments that say:
“Flip that on its head!”
“Forever turn that down!”
Fuck absolutely has a place in our lexicon. It just doesn’t have a place in the bedroom.
Besides, Fuck’s busy — what with being a noun, a verb, an adverb, and an adjective. It doesn’t have time to be confusing sex with violence. Give Fuck a break, huh?
Yes, I will stand up as a proud advocate for both healthy, consensual sex – and swearing, when necessary.
For example, swearing has been scientifically proven to help increase tolerance for pain. Even more exciting, psychologists Kristin Joy and Timothy Jay found in their study, people who swear a lot are highly intelligent, stating, “People who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately,” the researchers wrote. “The ability to make nuanced distinction indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge.” They also tend to be truer to themselves and more reliably honest. “It had substantial data to suggest that honest people tend to swear a lot. Psychologists also mention that individuals who tend to swear a lot are more at ease while expressing themselves. Hence, also suggesting that they are more true to themselves than those who tend to mince their words or hold back entirely.”
I can get behind that shit.
I am also in full support of consenting adults enjoying whatever kind of sex satisfies and brings them closer to their partner. Even wild, passionate, animal-instincts-sex (if that’s how some think of the F-word). To each their own. I just want to change the way we talk about it.
So, I assert, it is time to Get the Fuck Out. Not, as in, “Get the Fuck out of Dodge.” We need to get Fuck out of our concept of what sex is. I ask you, reader, to pledge to no longer refer to having sex as “fucking.” No Fuck meaning Sex. If we must refer to the act of intercourse, this is an opportunity to get poetic…
If a friend or acquaintance asks, after some encounter with your date,
“Did you fuck?”
We would instead reply, “No, we lusciously savored,” or, “We passionately ravaged.” You get the idea. Or, for the less poetically-inclined, simply, “Do you mean, ‘did we have sex?’”
Language is powerful.
It shapes our experience of reality. That which we can articulate gives definition to experiences that may have otherwise been outside our grasp. It is a currency we exchange to reinforce consensus reality. It can bring the ethereal into form so that we remarkably, blissfully see.
Yes, it shapes culture.
Yet, I had to say this all now, while the time is ripe. No need to delay, when two perfectly wondrous things are asking, pleading for mutual liberation…
Let’s get the Fuck out of Sex.
Vanessa Osage is a sexuality educator, Certified Professional Coach (CPC) in love, sexuality & human connections, and Leader of the Social Enterprise, Love & Truth Rising. She has spent more than a decade positively transforming culture to embrace a healthier experience of gender, sexuality and intimacy. Her written work has been featured in Circles on the Mountain, The Confluence Journal, Practicing Community and more. In 2017, she won the “Kickass Single Mom” grant for her work in rites of passage and sexuality education. You can enjoy her interview here. For an overview of all of Vanessa Osage’s work, please visit: www.loveandtruthrising.org