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Pop Quiz: how well do you know your Victorian sex terms?

Back in the day, Web Watch took a college course in Human Sexuality.

It was supposed to be one of those “easy A”-type classes, but sometimes when word gets around about the alleged “underwater basketweaving” reputation of a college course — even one seemingly as trivial as Human Sexuality — the Powers That Be decide to makde some dramatic changes by firing the teaching staff and hiring new professors to turn the class into something a bit more… challenging.

So now we were stuck with writing essays about the Human Condition, and discussing “feelings”.

It ended up being a much more difficult course than those who took previous semesters had experienced.

Damn them.

Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism
Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism

But in the end, everything worked out okay.  We may actually have even learned something along the way.

So let’s talk about one of the class sessions we had:  the professor split the class up into two teams – one team of men, and one team of women.

The challenge?  Write down as many different terms that your team could come up with for different body parts.  Each round presented a new challenge:  “Penis”, “Vagina”, “Breasts”, “Sex”.

At the end of each round, the teams would read off their list so duplicates could be eliminated.  The team that had the most unique terms for each body part was deemed the winner for the round.

Needless to say, it really wasn’t a fair competition.  The men’s team won each round handedly.  The point of the exercise was not to identify new names for body parts that you never knew existed, but that there was a distinct gender difference in how men and women use sexual language differently — with men being extremely more creative with their turns of phrase versus what women would come up with for the same round.

It’s a fun party game.  Try it the next time you’re at a bar with your friends and see how you do against them.

But while we digress, there is a reason behind our story today.

See, it ends up that Victorian England had quite a way with language, and some of the terms that they used back then would never be considered to have the same connotations today.  So why not take a look at some VICTORIAN SEXUAL PHRASES and see if you can identify what some of these refer to:

  • Cupid’s kettle drums
  • Whirlygigs
  • Twiddle-diddles
  • Old hat
  • Prigging
  • To give a green gown
  • Bunter
  • Nancy
  • Melting moments
  • Quail pipe

There are dozens more for your amusement.  Some, of course, would never be appropriate in today’s day and age – but we’ll leave those to you to determine which those are.