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Metaphors for sex: Replacing baseball euphemisms with pizza and ice cream

I ran from the university dorm and toward my truck. I knew I wasn’t going to make it, he was too close behind. I shot a frantic glance at the security guard standing just outside the doorway. He met my tear-streaked face for a second and then looked away. A sob escaped my chest as I fumbled with the keys. With my truck finally unlocked, I climbed in as quickly as I could as I cradled my bruised shoulder. I slammed the driver door shut…only to have the passenger one open.

He slammed the door shut, grabbed the keys from my shaking hands and locked us in the truck. I struck out at him, but he caught my wrist and squeezed hard. I cried out and screamed at him to get out! I tried to meet the eyes of the security guard again, but he had turned his back and was looking at his phone.

I tried to pry my wrist from his hard grasp, but it was no use, he only held it tighter. My torn shirt, with buttons missing, shifted to show a fresh bruise forming. I tried to hit him again, but he was faster…

In most games, there is a winner or a loser. In the relationship I was in, I was often the loser. I was the loser physically, mentally, and sexually. If I were to compare my past relationship with baseball, the option to strike out was not there. He would be the winner, especially in the bedroom.

When in competition, people usually want to always be the winner. Baseball is no different. There is always a catcher and pitcher, a giver and receiver. In terms of the bases, your end strategy is to ultimately get a home run without striking out. When compared to sexual activity, baseball is a cultural metaphor.

It was a joke among him and his friends. They joked about the baseball metaphor for sex. Their laughter about bases and home runs still linger in my mind. It taught me not only to hate baseball but the intimacy of sex as well. I knew that whatever I did with him, or didn’t do, he would be joking about it with his friends. “What base did you make it to?” “Hit a home run?” Baseball, bases, and home runs have been used to vindictively explain sex for ages. The bases are as follows:

  • 1st base implies kissing and making out.
  • 2nd base enters the realm of touching and feeling.
  • 3rd base can be anything between 2nd base and the ultimate home run.
  • Home run… sexual intercourse.

In a TED Talk by Al Vernacchio, Vernacchio tried out a new metaphor: one of pizza. Pizza, as he describes it, is something where there is no competition. Pizza implies pleasure and fulfilment. All good points but when ordering pizza, there is still competition and disagreement.  What I want versus what you want. I want olives, you want pepperoni, but I don’t like pepperoni. We still sit and argue over what to have on our pizza. Unless we get individual personal pizzas there must be some type of compromise.

When we get together with someone for pizza, we’re not competing with them, we’re looking for an experience that both of us will share that’s satisfying for both of us, and when you get together for pizza with somebody, what’s the first thing you do? You talk about it. You talk about what you want. You talk about what you like.

— Al Vernacchio

While compromise is usually effective in relationships and ordering pizza, it is easy to begin to lose ourselves in the act of compromising. Compromise is all good but when we compromise, we essentially give up something that we wanted to achieve, as does the other person.

What if there was a way in which no one had to give anything up?

A better metaphor for sex would be ice cream. Ice cream is sweet, comes in hundreds of flavours, and rarely do people have to share their ice cream cone. When you go and order an ice cream cone, you do not do it to share. Yes, you may let someone have a bite and allow them to experience the deliciousness of what you ordered but you do not order with someone else in mind. Ice cream is something you can eat alone or with friends. There is no competition with ice cream.

Imagine your relationship as ice cream. You both have your favourite flavours and you each know what the other likes. Yet, you enjoy trying your partner’s flavour here and there just as they like trying yours. Without bases, home runs, and strikeouts, the competition of sex and relationships is dissolved. The competition becomes less of winning since you both are getting the flavour you like. It becomes more of enjoying yourself with your partner.

Let us do away with baseball as a metaphor for sex. I would much rather have ice cream with my partner. While I enjoy a grand competitive game of chess, I would rather keep competition in the sense of a winner or loser out of my relationship and very much out of my bedroom.

Written by Rachel Wicksall

Rachel Wicksall is a freelance author from the state of Michigan in the United States. Wicksall studied history at Central Michigan University and explores the feminist theory and liberating females in history. With those topics, she also studies gender inequality throughout history and how it relates to today’s world.

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