Monday, February 16, 2009


I really don't like the word "penetration" when it pertains to sex. It suggests so much stabbing and unwillingness on the part of the penetratee. Like if you're taking someone inside your body, you're just lying there while they stick something into you. It sounds invasive. It connotes violence.

It's hard to find a word, though, that conveys the same action without being awkward. I find myself referring to intercourse as penetration in public contexts because it's the socially acceptable term for fucking. It's a euphemism, the word you can say on television or in a classroom. It's almost scientific. They use it in textbooks. It's like an official term. I use it all the time, for lack of a better word.

I really don't want to do this anymore.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a book on pornography (I can't remember which one, unfortunately) and instead of calling it penetration, they called it intromission.

Activities like fingering, dick in pussy, and strap-on anal are intromissive. To intromit very simply means "to enter." I don't think it has the same connotation of active and passive roles or of aggression that "penetration" has. It also preserves that scientific quality, the euphemism that's useful in stuffy situations. I definitely like it.

What do you think. Do you like/dislike the word penetration? Would you ever use "intromission" instead? I'm curious to see if it's something that could ever catch on.

Cross posted at Paper Cuts and Plastic.


I-M-N-O-T-H-I-N said...

Intromission is still problematic in that it frames the act as one-sided, and it goes without saying whose side that is.

I'd like a word that implies a coming together, a word that gives equal agency to the person with the orifice in question.

In certain cheap romance novels, phrases like "they came together," or words like "joined" are used, but they don't quite cut it - too bland and general.

A word that gives sole agency to that other, the so-called "penetrated," "receiver," would also be appreciated, to describe when "she" is doing "him." Something that describes an active taking in, enveloping, almost a consumption, but not, least we unnecessarily agitate those with deep Freudian fears.

Alyssa said...

You make a really good point. I guess I was trying too hard to find a word that would directly replace "penetration," but that kind of defeats the purpose of changing the underlying meaning, doesn't it?

I too would like a word that describes what I'm doing when I take someone inside my body, or more put my body onto theirs in some way. It is so much more active than any of the words imply.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere i heard the awesome term 'envelopment'. While it's also one-sided, the agency is with the body typically gendered in a far-too passive way. Am quite sure plenty of dudes & penis-possessing individuals might even find the new outlook sexy ... i do!