Sex, Sex, Dating & Relationships

You Keep Using That Word, I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means

It’s probably inadvisable to read this post at work.

“I believe that sex is the most beautiful, natural, and wholesome thing that money can buy.” ~ Steve Martin

You remember those spam adverts and pop-ups offering me sex that I told you about the other day? Well, in addition to assuming that their offer presented me with my one and only chance of getting laid, ever – as though they were completely unaware of the millions of other spam companies out there – they were all also working on the basis that there was only one particular kind of sexual encounter that I could possibly be looking for.

They all promised me dirty sex, actually, downright filthy sex in a lot of cases.

And that’s got me to thinking; these spam sites aren’t the only places where ‘really dirty’ is seen as the pinnacle accolade to be given both to the act itself and to an actual, potential, or desired sexual partner.

I haven’t heard a single heterosexual male mention the actress Megan Fox without using the word dirty more than once. And almost everybody I know who’s seen Die Another Day used similar terms to describe Halle Berry.

But I don’t think that word means what y’all seem to think it means.

Sex isn’t ‘dirty’.

Unless you’re really covering each other in mud, or garbage, or something while you’re doing it.

Or coprophilia is your thing. Which I suppose it could be. According to Wikipedia over 17% of people have apparently tried it.

Maybe that is it, maybe everyone who tells me that the sex they had last night was dirty is really trying to come out to me as a coprophiliac – or a urophiliac – and I’m just being colossally insensitive in not sitting them down with a nice cup of tea, reassuring them that I still love them, and letting them talk about it.

And yet somehow I doubt it.

Or maybe there are just a lot of people around with a more straight forward desire for a partner who is lax in their personal hygiene.

Although I rather hope not. I’ve had quite a few men tell me that they imagine that I’d be ‘dirty’ and I shower as often as the next manic depressive.

And it seems unlikely looking at any random sample of the people you hear, ‘I bet s/he’s dirty’, hurled at. It’s just the wrong word.

You don’t look at Christina Aquilera in the video for her single ‘Dirrty’ and think, “Gee, she needs a shower.”

She looks obvious, yes. Also unattractive, tacky, and ridiculous.

But dirty? Not all. Her face is all made up, her hair is styled, and her clothes will have been new on for the filming.

I guess the idea dates back to the time when religion was more influential and oppressive and people allowed the clergy to make them feel ashamed of any sexual activity they engaged in with anything other than reproduction as its motivation or aim.

Unless they were pecattiphiliacs, of course. They get off on doing things that are considered to be sinful.

It was still the wrong word.

And, anyway, the only people I’ve so far come across who still feel that sexual feelings and activities are things to be ashamed of were the, now former, friend who thinks that the staff of sexual health clinics should make their patients feel as bad about being there as possible.

Which I would think would be counter productive to their aim of encouraging people to visit their gynecologist or andrologist as often as they do  their dentist.

And the middle aged, racist, chauvinist gynecologist I saw on one of said visits, who felt that he was entitled to be offended that I’d slept with someone who was half Pakistani, an American, and an Israeli, in that order. Apparently it was against his religion and I should have thought of that before hand.

But the only people who can legitimately describe sexual activity as dirty are those with an OCD thing about germs and saliva.

Otherwise the touching, kissing, licking, or otherwise interlocking of your own body parts with those of another human being(s) in the consensual expression of a mutual feeling of the perfectly naturally occurring emotions of love and/or lust cannot accurately be described with the use of this particular adjective.

Neither can people you happen to find attractive.

Dirty is a meaningless word to use in this context.

And while we’re on the subject, the same goes for X rated. Although conversely.

Anything that you do sexually is X rated.


That’s because films and images that depict people actually having sex, rather than just pretending, are deemed to be pornography. And at some point it was decided that we as a society didn’t want children and young teenagers to view pornography.

Not that that appears to have particularly stopped them.

So telling someone that you got lucky last night and that it was X rated is pretty much redundant.

Unless you filmed it. And you plan to make copies and sell it. In which case, yeah, okay, the film classification people will stick an X rating on it.

Otherwise you just sound a bit dense.

I’m not really going anywhere else with this, it’s just what you get for reading the blog of someone who’s pedantic about the wording of things for a living.


8 thoughts on “You Keep Using That Word, I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means”

  1. This post might over eight years old, but I was listening to ‘How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain’.
    The idea of cleanliness in that time was all about keeping your clothes clean, particularly your underwear. You didn’t actually wash yourself very often, as you washed off your natural oils. Therefore, they considered naked skin ‘dirty’ . Therefore, someone who showed bare skin was ‘dirty’. It made me think of this post, and where the term came from.


  2. It seems ‘dirty’ has come to mean ‘sexually unchained’ or ‘wrong’ when pertaining to sex nowadays. It is still an inaccurate use of the word. Unless sex in the mud is your thing, then I figure that’s pretty dirty sex.

    Of course it depends on one’s definition of dirty. If by dirty one means covered in bacteria, organisms, and dead skin cells then we are ALWAYS dirty whether we like it or not. By that definition then I am a dirty dirty girl while I sit benignly typing at this computer.


      1. This was also the post I nominated for a 20SB award. I’m tired of lackluster posts winning the Speakeasy awards (at least the Review post award went to a deserving candidate).


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