Going off half-cocked

Courtney Weaver delves into the issue of bedroom talk.

By Courtney Weaver
Published September 16, 1996 7:00PM (EDT)

in this election year, I suppose it's appropriate that I can't keep politics out of the bedroom.

Sprawled across my bed after a bottle of pinot blanc ($11.99, thank you), I was wrapping my legs around my new lover, Terry. We were in that supreme window of time -- the archaeological exploration of the other person's body that takes place before you actually have sex for the first time.

All the ground rules had been established in the days before. We'd already talked about AIDS, condoms, past relationships, tempo of involvement, etc., etc. We'd done enough dry humping to put Erica Jong to shame. Now it was apparent that it was going to happen, tonight. He had already undressed me in a slow, languorous way, and I had peeled off his shirt, and his jeans, leaving us down to underwear.

In my opinion this is the most enormously exciting part of lovemaking, particularly if you're into talking, which I am. When he reached down and eased off my panties, I purred "what do you think of my -- "

Suddenly I stopped. What word to use? "Pussy" was on the tip of my tongue. But perhaps he found that offensive. Cunt? No, that was worse. Snatch? Beaver? Hole? No, no, and no. Plain old vagina? No, he wasn't my gynecologist.
I sighed. Terry, interpreting that as a sign of something else, gently guided my hand to the interior of his boxers. I struggled to slam shut the thesaurus of politically-correct sexual terms. As I grasped him I whispered in his ear, "I love the feel of your -- "

Now what? Dick? Prick? Rod? Cock? "Your, your ..." I stuttered. Giant pole of manhood? Column of strength? Horse-like appendage? How would Terry react if I used the wrong word? Personally, I love the word "pussy" and think it's a rather accurate noun, but what a wetness-inducer is to me could be a witherer to him. Finally, I just shut up.

Freud said that whenever two people come together, there are actually six people present: the couple and the couples' parents. Now I could add my linguistics professor, Larry Flynt, my feminist friends and Michel Foucault into the bedroom bleachers. Great.

At Brown, I majored in semiotics with a seething politically correct passion. I was the first to insist that words are freighted with more import than their literal meaning. Now I'm irritated that I've let external forces control my vocabulary. After all, what's so wrong about saying "cunt," or "pussy," or "wet split beaver," for that matter? It only feels wrong because the porn industry's appropriation of those words has made them smack of misogyny.

Well, enough. Just as gays have reappropriated "faggot," we heteros should launch a raid to steal back "cunt." I propose a Take Back The Pussy night. Let me say "cock," let me ask my lover to fuck me, without feeling like I've let down the side. Maybe then the talk can come back to the bedroom -- and I can kick out the crowds.

Courtney Weaver

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