The Curious Use of Genital and Anal Slang

Andrew Siegel MD   10/24/15

* Warning:  This blog contains adult language that you may find offensive. 


(Asshole Emoticon, by marynightshade; no changes made Link:  Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution—Share Alike 3.0 License)

What an…“asshole”; “dick”; “dickhead”; “bell end” (British variety of dickhead)

He’s such a “jerk-off”; “wanker” (British variety of jerk-off)

She’s a “cunt,” “pussy,” “twat” (British variety of pussy)

The weather “sucks.”

This situation is so “fucked” up.

The aforementioned nouns and verbs are used metaphorically with negative and disparaging intent. What these phrases have in common is that they employ slang terms that refer to either the anatomy of the genitals and anal area, or alternatively, to some element of sexual function.

It is a curiosity that it is the slang terms that are used for derogatory purposes, but the non-slang, proper anatomical terms are never used in this context. Who ever refers to another person as an anus, penis, glans penis, vagina, etc.? Or, he’s such a masturbator? Or, the weather is like oral stimulation of a man’s penis? Or, this situation is like having sexual intercourse?

This genital and anal anatomical region of concern is valuable, often unappreciated human real estate. I am puzzled as to how our slang language evolved to use anatomy and physiology of the nether region in such a pejorative sense. Perhaps it is the fact that our culture has strong underlying puritanical roots. The word pudendum, meaning genitals, derives from the Latin “pudenda,” meaning “shameful parts.” Certainly the fact that these are the most “private” areas of our body and the most “private” of body functions—the only anatomical regions and activities that are considered off limits and politically incorrect to expose or pursue, respectively, in public venues such as beaches—may explain why they are fodder for ridicule.

I think we have it all “ass backwards” (pun intended). Pelvic function—sexual, urinary and bowel—is truly remarkable and never appreciated until dysfunction sets in.

For many men—and women for that matter—the vagina is a dark and mysterious place, but an amazing and versatile structure if you consider that it is a sexual organ that allows entry of the penis, an inflow pathway and receptacle for semen, an outflow pathway for menstruation and a birth canal for the fetus. Vagina magic!

The penis is an equally extraordinary multifunctional organ—no less so than a Swiss army knife—with an impressive ability to multi-task, having an array of functions including urinary, sexual and reproductive. In the words of Eric Gill: “The water tap that could turn into a pillar of fire.” It allows man to urinate with a directed stream and when erect, it enables vaginal penetration and sexual intercourse. Ejaculation deposits semen in the vagina, with the passage of genetic material and ultimately the perpetuation of the species. Penis magic!

Last but not least, the anus is nothing short of brilliant, the “asshole” not only capable of distinguishing gas, liquid and solid, but also is the structure standing between you and diapers. I care for patients with the devastating problem of fecal incontinence and recently evaluated a youthful 50-something year-old woman who recounted to me her circumstance of standing in an elevator with others present when fecal material started dripping out of her bikini bottoms, without her awareness.

So, if you wish to address a contemptible person, call them a “shit” or a “shithead”—so much more appropriate and meaningful slang than calling them an “asshole.” (Thank you Greg Lovallo, MD and Jennifer Bonilla, MA for pointing out the true utility of the S-word as opposed to the other genital and anal slang words.)

Bottom Line: Your “asshole” is your close friend and should never be taken for granted. Likewise, the entire genital/anal region should be admired, respected and held in the highest of esteem and not ridiculed, belittled and vilified. Think about that the next time you call someone an “asshole,” “dick,” or “pussy.” Just sayin’.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

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Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: or Amazon.

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