He Said/She Said: The Best and Worst Words for Sex

We speakers of English have a great talent for euphemism. I admire that; although our language is comparatively un-poetic, English speakers have nevertheless coined a great deal of terms in order to discuss social taboos. But, even in the post-sexual revolution, post-feminist, post-modern world, I think we are yet to adopt a suitable phrase for ‘having sex’. For me, ‘to have sex’ is both a grammatically awkward construct and far too clinical a term to adequately describe the act. But in all honesty, the alternatives don’t really do a good job of it either. Consider:

Bumping uglies/Making the beast with two backs

Granted these euphemisms do manage to describe the aesthetics of the act, if not very tactfully. I prefer for my sexual encounters to be more delicately described, thank you very much. For me, these phrases take the sexiness out of sex and make me think of crass teenage boys and/or songs by the Bloodhound Gang. Do not ever use these phrases around me – I will kick you out of bed.


Ugh, misogynistic much? These phrases remove women from active participation in the sex act. You’re not banging a chick, you’re banging her vagina. And hey, that can hurt! I don’t think I’ve ever heard these terms used outside the context of brash male banter, and I hope I never do.

Tapping (and Gapping)

Have you ever noticed how this term rarely moves beyond the hypothetical? ‘I’d tap that’ has entered our generation’s lexicon, but not ‘I was tapping this total babe last night.’ The use of ‘tap’ also extends to the concept of ‘tapping and gapping’, or as your parents would say ‘to love and leave’. In neither of these situations is ‘tapping’ particularly sexy. Let’s keep this one in the hypothetical, shall we?

Business Time/Sexytimes

Both these terms will illicit from me a wry smirk, but very little panty-soaking. Sorry guys, but these words suck all the sexiness out of the sexytimes. Probably because I’m giggling to myself and mulling over ill-conceived jokes to do with business socks. In a Borat accent.

Making love

I’m in several minds on this one. Clearly that thing you do with your friend-with-benefits ain’t ‘making love’. But if it’s with someone you love? Perhaps it’s different – I can’t comment, I’ve never been in love. Moreover, this is a term I always seem to associate with ‘the thing that mummy and daddy do’. Shudder. In any case, the term probably has its place, but I wouldn’t use it to describe your one-night-stand with a German musician.


This, ladies and gentlemen, is my favourite euphemism for sex. Despite its vulgarity, there’s something endearingly forthright about ‘fucking’. You know what you’re getting into – it’s a little bit dirty and it’s downright sexy. There’s no mincing of words, innuendo or deflection. Sometimes a girl just needs a good f*ck, right?

That said, I think our sexual lexicon needs an overhaul for the better. Any horny teenager can dream up a crass descriptor for a roll in the hay, but what about a term that encompasses sex between two willing, actively participating people who are enjoying themselves. Nothing crass, nothing vulgar, nothing demeaning nor humorous, but something a bit more passionate than plain old ‘having sex’. We’re talented euphemists, are we not? Surely it can’t be that difficult to settle upon an appropriate term? Well, until we do, just remember to never ever begin a sentence with ‘So we were bumping uglies the other night….’. Okay? Fantastic.

Curious to see what He Said about his favorite ways to tell you he’s getting down and dirty? Take a look at!

    Related TopicsGuys Love He Said She Said Sex


    1. kim says:

      I like, "do it"
      "wanna go do it?"
      "let's go do it."
      "we did it."

    2. Nat says:

      Me and my friends pretty much exclusively use the term banging. And ya, we can say "She banged him".

    3. editor says:

      Bumping uglies is offensive to everyone involved.

      1. Sex Bullshit says:

        Not if both parties are drunk…

    4. […] • The best and worst words for sex. (College Candy) […]

    5. Kiya says:


    6. sasha says:


    7. Maura - Rider University says:

      Smushing. Thats probably the worst.
      I typically just say 'we had sex' or 'we hooked up'. No need for crazy words!

    8. Joyce says:

      My hubby is a big fan of the term "pounding". Me? I came with a codename for sex: "to play playstation".

      1. Sex Bullshit says:

        So I guess one could say your a gamer or he is?

    9. Dakota says:

      My friend's sister and brother in law call it "tappy." Sometimes my friend will get a text from her sister that says "It's tappening!"

    10. Sex Bullshit says:

      Friends with benefits can make love. Even though in today's world you think any relationship by two people is fine. NO.. You can have to people who are so attracted to each other, remain friends and yet they can not be together. Whether people believe it, this happens on a daily basis. These poor souls love each other, and yet can NOT be together for different factors. I am actually working on that post now. When I saw this, I was like right on, and started crying.

    11. […] for SEX. This post was fumbled by an IDIOT by the name of Raquel, which you can find this at  Raquel, now known as “The Storyteller”, because that is exactly what she […]

    12. Dana says:

      Just say: babe or honey …let's "ngolo ngolo"…… heeheeheeh …

    13. qysfwv says:


    14. Dave says:

      You are absolutely right! Having sex is so 'fucking' clinical. It is unfortunate there isn't a word to use. I don't like the word fuck because it is used for everything. 'It's fucking cold', I will go home and fuck off' (is he going to go home and jack off?), and the ultimate, WTF.
      I use 'trip the light fantastic'. I know, I know, it is rather dumb, but its better than so many others.

      It's unfortunate you have not found 'love', making love is so pleasurable with the one you love. The idea of making love to the one you love is such a turn on just thinking about it. The last time I truly made love was over 15 years ago, befor my wife passed away. I say it this way because mynext wife and I didn't truly 'make love', we screwed, and that is a different story…

    15. Casie says:

      In neither of these situations is ‘tapping’ particularly sexy. Let’s keep this one in the hypothetical, shall we?

    16. Magan says:

      For me, ‘to have sex’ is both a grammatically awkward construct and far too clinical a term to adequately describe the act. But in all honesty, the alternatives don’t really do a good job of it either. Consider:

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