Advisory: This post contains frank and uncensored sexual terms because the weight of such language is its topic. If you’re uncomfortable with informal sexual terminology—words that in the English language are typically disguised with asterisks in written form and bleeped out when spoken—then this post is not for you.
Let us concede from the start that it’s hard to write about the act of sex. Whether writing scientifically or pornographically, it’s a hazardous undertaking: a poor choice of wording or inelegant usage can instantly transform the clinical into the obscene, or turn a bit of sensual exposition coldly clinical—or make it laughably and childishly mechanic.
Sex is a private and intensely personal activity about which people tend to have private and intensely personal opinions. It’s unique in that it’s the only human activity that requires the willing and enthusiastic participation of two people granting one another access to body parts that are in almost all other circumstances kept concealed from the world.
It’s also a lot of fun.
Because it’s so powerful, private, and fun, it’s obviously wildly interesting: it gets people’s attention in ways that nothing else does.
Which is why we often see “respectable” publications putting out articles like this:
True or false: do squirting orgasms actually exist in reality?
Laura Bøge Mortensen, DR.dk, October 11
Before we go any further, let me clear the decks a little.
Danes take a much more relaxed approach to human biology and sexuality than Americans do: the human body simply isn’t cloaked in all those layers of shame and secrecy. This can sometimes make Danish culture seem a little indecent to Americans. When I first moved here, I was shocked by the amount of nudity in television commercials and on billboards, by the toplessness of women at the beach, by the co-ed “nude swim” nights at the local swim hall, and most of all by the fact that an ordinary cable television station broadcast hardcore pornography late at night. (I said shocked, not unappreciative.) At the workplace I found it odd that instead of breaking long meetings with gentle euphemisms (“let’s take five in case anyone needs the facilities”) there were simply suggestions to take a “piss break.” I thought it was weird that my daughters’ kindergarten teachers referred to animal droppings quite frankly as shit. And I will never forget how long and hard Eldest laughed when I had to explain to her, aged five or six, that although the English word for lort was in fact shit, she shouldn’t use that word around her American relatives.
That much said, Danes are no more or less “decent” than Americans: they’re not all exhibitionists or sex maniacs and they don’t all go around talking like drunken sailors. They just don’t get quite as wound up about things.
With all that in mind, let me first observe that the clinical words for penis and vagina are, in Danish, penis and vagina—and then share with you the following “explainer” inset from the DR article cited above:
Male, female or something completely different?
“Sex with P3” is made in collaboration with 300 young people from all over the country and several experts. For some, gender and sexual preference is important—for others it is not.
Some with a dick clearly identify as male, some with a pussy clearly identify as female—and others lie somewhere in between or as something else entirely. For some, the labels are downright irrelevant or redundant.
For the sake of comprehensibility and our individual sources, we have chosen to write woman/man in some places—other times we write “people with a dick” or “people with a pussy.” Whatever you prefer, we hope you learn more about yourself and sex.
That’s not the kind of text you’re going to encounter in any English-language news publication.
But it’s also not the kind of text one ordinarily encounters in Danish news publications—least of all the taxpayer-funded Danmarks Radio (DR).
It was shocking when establishment American outlets used the worry “pussy” to describe the hats worn by the deranged liberal women marching against Trump before he assumed office. But the media knew it was shocking: that was part of its appeal. The word was gradually returned to its place in the lexicographical closet.
I don’t think DR is attempting to shock its readers with the use of pussy and dick instead of penis and vagina. I don’t even think they’re trying to shock anyone with the imagery included in the article—images like this one:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the verb “to come” used in a news publication in English or Danish: the usual euphemisms in both languages are to orgasm or climax.
The article’s lede says that “P3 tests seven statements about the body’s very own festive fireworks.”
And the article opens with the following passage:
Is it piss that comes out if the pussy has a squirting orgasm? And is it true that women can come many more times in a row than men?
There are many myths about orgasm, but what is bullshit and what can you really trust?
On the occasion of “Sex with P3,” which you can watch right now on DRTV, we have confronted doctor Mikkel Marquardsen from the Sexological Clinic in Copenhagen with seven statements about the mysterious, sexual climax.
Here are the seven statements—along with the expert appraisal of their veracity.
1. The woman’s orgasm can be divided into vaginal, clitoral, and anal orgasm (False)
2. People with pussies can come many times in a row (True)
3. Men find it easier to orgasm than women (True and False)
4. There are women who have never had an orgasm (True)
5. It’s only in porn movies that people with pussies have squirting orgasms (False)
6. An orgasm can be stress-relieving (True)
7. The goal of sex is to have an orgasm (False)
None of those strike me as any kind of “mythbusting.” Several of them actually strike me as so commonplace as hardly to warrant mention. (Orgasms can relieve stress? Really?)
But DR has a new series to promote, goddammit, and they’re willing to literally shove pussy in your face to get your attention.
Yes, literally: here are some more of the illustrations from the article:
As a heterosexual man, I’m a big fan of the female body. I’m enchanted by the sight of attractive unclothed women. As an open-minded, free-thinking sort of guy, I’m not offended by frank sexual discussion. As a functioning adult, I’m not offended by mere words.
But I think DR is walking a very fine line here, even in laid back, sexually liberated Denmark.
And that’s because, when you give it a little thought, their approach makes no sense.
On the one hand, they clearly understand the old adage that sex sells: that sex catches people’s attention like nothing else. The forced coarsness of their language and the in-your-face labia are proof enough of that.
But their whole premise is basically hey, man, relax, sex is part of who we are, it’s wholesome and natural and good, and nothing to get all uncomfortable about.
In other words, they’re deliberately using the shock value of sex to push the idea that there’s nothing shocking about sex. Remember: they “hope you learn more about yourself and sex” from this listicle posing as an article. It’s not intended to shock you, but to teach you!
The “More about this story” link at the end of the story—the clickbait feature designed to keep readers glued to the site—refers readers to another P3 article about another “Sex with P3” episode: “Porn actor: There is a big difference between a movie blow job and a Wednesday blow job.”
See what they’re doing there? They’re talking about blowjobs on DR to get your attention, while at the same time acting as though blowjobs were the kind of thing people talked about around office watercoolers and coffee machines.
They’re not. And I pity the Danish fool who believes they are.
Of course they’ll say it’s part of their public service mission: that they’re exploring these topics precisely because they’re not the kinds of things people ordinarily talk about and are therefore things people can benefit from hearing discussed dispassionately by experts and professionals: “Everything you always wanted to know about coming but were afraid to ask.”
We’ve been talking in the comments about morality: about the left’s deliberate chipping away at the Judeo-Christian morality on which western civilization was built.
So here’s an open question: is morality prudery?
Are newspaper articles that dicuss how frequenty a pussy can come, relative to a dick, or that offer a porn star’s tips and tricks for giving blowjobs—are such articles overcoming our dysfunctional prudery, or are they a conscious and deliberate effort to denormalize what we once called decency and propriety?
Does anyone anywhere, even in Denmark, actually refer to women as “people with pussies?”
I know there’s been some recent experimentation with calling women “bleeders,” “people who menstruate,” and “birthing people,” which were bad enough. And I’ve seen “people with vaginas.” But “people with pussies?”
Of course, in finding any of this off-putting or inappropriate, I’m sure I’m flagging myself as some kind of awful misogynist or transphobe, or both.
But how do we reconcile all this with the #metoo movement?
I work alongside a lot of women. Am I bad for saying so? Should I have said I work alongside a lot of people with pussies? I don’t think they’d like that. Or maybe some would and some wouldn’t—if so, which group is “right” and needs to be accommodated? If Denmark’s going to follow the EU guidelines on requiring that 40% of large companies’ board of directors be women—because that’s how we fight sexism in this most sex-equitable country on earth—shouldn’t it actually be insisting that they not be women, but people with pussies?
Isn’t it sort of hateful and transphobic not to?
And when you get right down to it, wouldn’t it just be easier to identify people by their genitals?
After all, it’s easier and more direct to say, “Four of my colleagues are pussies and three of them are dicks.” The prefix “people with” is superfluous: obviously they’re all people, I don’t work with dogs or leopards or emus. Or mannequins. Or aliens. (Not to my knowledge, anyway.)
It’s much easier that way, isn’t it? To be able to refer to a person with a vagina using just a single word?
I’m being cheeky, obviously, but this is clearly the direction we’re headed. You can’t call a woman a woman, but can refer to her freely as the owner of a pussy or cunt—or a twat or a gash or a gunt or a snatch. You can’t call a man a man, but you can refer him to as someone with a dick or a cock or a prick or a johnson.
But if you’re a person with a dick and you use that kind of language around a person with a pussy who identifies as a woman, the #metoo brigade will be on you in a New York minute. Because that would be sexualizing her.
Do you see how insane it is?
You must not sexualize a person with a pussy!
It’s childish and stupid—and being promoted by people who want very badly to believe they’re enlightening us.
Well, fuck those assholes.
Sorry… I mean those people with assholes. Fuck them.
But wait, as long as I’ve already warned the squeamish away, here’s a favorite old joke of mine just to end things on a light and happy and less lascivious note:
One fine day in Eden God summons Adam and Eve.
“I’ve got two attributes I forgot to assign you,” He says. “It doesn’t matter which of you gets which, so I thought I’d let you pick. The first one is—”
“Mine! Mine, mine, mine! I’m the man, you made me first, so I go first, it’s only fair. Give it to me!”
“Okay,” He says, “You henceforth have the ability to pee standing up.”
“Yes!” Adam exclaims, jumping around in excitement. “I can pee standing up! I can pee standing up! Woohoo!”
Eve just rolls her eyes.
“So what do I get?” she asks.