Sex continues to be a taboo topic in most cultures. Fortunately, we have come up with some fun idioms, euphemisms, and metaphors for sex that help us discuss it without getting flushed with embarrassment!
Here are some of my favorite sex metaphors:
- Sex is a drug
- Sex is a slice of heaven
- Sex is an adult nap
And some great sex idioms and euphemisms:
- Bumping uglies
- The beast with two backs
- The bedroom rodeo
A Note on Metaphors, Idioms, and Euphemisms: These three categories overlap significantly. Generally, idioms are common figurative expressions; metaphors are ways of saying one thing is another thing, and euphemisms are considered ‘polite’ idioms. We use them to say taboo things in polite ways. But generally, an idiom can also be a metaphor and a euphemism, so these categories overlap a whole lot.
Top Metaphors for Sex
1. Sex is a Car Driving at 200 Mph
When you’re driving a car at super-high speeds, you might have very high adrenaline. You feel like you’re alive! It’s one of those few moments when you’re focused and really in-the-moment.
Another time when you might have this amazing feeling of being ALIVE is when you’re having sex. If it’s good, you’re likely not getting distracted or thinking about your taxes. You are 100% living in the moment and feeling the adrenaline pumping through your system.
So this idiom doesn’t say that sex is literally driving at 200 Mph, but rather than it feels like. However, “feels like” isn’t put in there to provide an extra effect in your language.
2. Sex is a Drug
This sex metaphor is similar to the one above. Drugs, like driving fast cars, can make you feel amazing. They’re a temporary feeling of being invincible and on top of the world. You might have a temporary spike in euphoria, in particular, and have a moment of ecstasy. Being on drugs could be a phenomenal experience!
You might imagine sex to be similar. You might feel ecstatic, euphoric, and even invincible in the moment. And like taking drugs, it’s also short-lived (although hopefully not too short-lived).
Again, by saying it is a drug is an example of metaphorical language, while saying it is like a drug would be a simile.
3. Sex is a Feast for the Senses
The operative word in this sentence is ‘feast’. A feast is obviously a delicious meal – of food! But here we’re talking about a feast for the senses, which is a metaphorical way of saying that it feels really good.
Just like a feast of food is fulfilling, satisfying, and feels great … so, too, does sex. But this ‘feast’ is ‘for the senses’, meaning it’s not your stomach or taste buds that are feeling good. Rather, it’s your sense of touch and smell that are extra enhanced.
4. Sex is a Little Slice of Heaven
Heaven is a place that we imagine will be the absolute nirvana. It’s the place where only good people get to go. It’s the ultimate reward for good behavior here on earth. So, we imagine it to feel amazing.
When we try to think of something here on earth that might feel a little like heaven, sex might come to mind. It’s got that feel good satisfaction you might expect you’ll get when you go to heaven.
5. Sex is an Adult Nap
This might be a way of explaining sex to children. It highlights that sex is a thing for adults, and that it usually happens in bed! But, it doesn’t give away much more information than that.
So, maybe try this one if you’re a teacher in sex education classes. Teenagers or adolescents might laugh, and younger kids would just nod and go along with it!
Top Idioms for Sex
6. Afternoon Delight
An afternoon delight is, well, what it sounds like! It’s a way of describing sex that occurs in the afternoon, usually quickly! (We sometimes call it a ‘quickie’). It’s also usually spontaneous. For example, it may occur during the mid-afternoon when the kids are at school and mom and dad are both working from home for the day.
This idiom was popularized in 1976 when the Starland Vocal Band released a hit song by the same name.
7. A Beast with two Backs
This idiom highlights the idea that when two people are having sex, they look like one person. They’re hugging closely, and all you could see if you were observing from a distance were two backs and no front!
The ‘beast’ part is metaphorical, indicating the idea that (if you squint your eyes), you won’t really see two people, but something that might look like a single scary beast.
8. An Act of Darkness
This idiom refers to the fact sex is something that’s taboo. There could be two interpretations here.
First is the idea that things that are taboo are usually talked about ‘in the shadows’. They will not be spoken of openly or ‘in daylight hours’.
Second is the idea that it literally will take place in darkness because it’s taboo. People will have sex without telling other people, keep it between themselves, and only do it once everyone else has gone to bed.
9. Grinding the Corn
A grinding motion is often associated with sex. But, adding the corn aspect gives us an even stronger visual. Corn, of course, looks like a certain organ! And if you can imagine the motion of grinding it … well, you can fill in the gaps!
10. Hitting a Home Run
The baseball metaphor for sex is perhaps the most popular of all. We visualize the act of courting a girl in four steps: first base, second base, third base, and home run.
First base is kissing, then each base goes up and up until the home base, which is of course sex.
You’ll often hear teenagers or young adults using the baseball metaphor when talking about dates they went on. They might come up to their friends the day after a date and their friends might ask: “So, did you make it to home base?” To which the answer might be: “No, she only let me get to third base.”
11. Horizontal Tango
The horizontal tango is another nice visual idiom.
The ‘horizontal’ aspect obviously refers to the concept that sex usually occurs on a bed – horizontally. It’s of course much more comfortable that way!
The ‘tango’ aspect refers to the idea that sex is like a dance. You’ll jiggle around with one another almost like people dance around together on the dance floor.
Bringing the two together, doing the ‘horizontal tango’ gives us a strong image in our minds of two people in a bed wiggling or dancing about!
12. Making Whoopee
This is a very old-fashioned but still often heard term. ‘Whoopee’ refers to having a good time. In fact, without “making” in front, there is no sexual innuendo here. For example, you could say “the party was a whole lot of whoopee”, meaning it was a lot of fun.
But to “make whoopee” is unambiguously understood as “to have sex”. Making whoopee may mean to ‘make fun’, if we were to interpret it to its literal origins. But, today, it always means to have sex.
13.The Bedroom Rodeo
The bedroom rodeo is a bit similar to the “horizontal tango” idiom discussed earlier. If you go to the rodeo and watch the bull riders, there’s a lot of tossing and turning! The up and down motions, combined with the odd “yee-haw!” can be analogous to sex.
And of course, the phrase ‘bedroom’ here brings that analogy to sex, because as we’ve seen, sex usually takes place in the bedroom.
Top Euphemisms for Sex
14. Netflix and Chill
This relatively new euphemism refers to the idea that inviting someone over to your house to watch a movie can often lead to sex. In the past, people might have said “do you want to come over to watch a movie?”
Millennials modernized that saying to “Netflix and chill”. So, you might ask someone you’re dating to come over to Netflix and chill. But, both of you know that the idea is that you’re going to end up having sex!
15. Taking a Turn Among the Cabbages
The origins of this euphemism may be the idea that ‘babies come from the cabbage patch’. This old wives tale is commonly told to children by parents who don’t want to educate their kids yet about exactly how babies are made.
Stemming from this, the idea that you’re “taking a turn among the cabbage patches” implies that you’re going to the place where babies are made to … do what’s done there! Use your imagination.
16. Bumping Uglies
Bumping uglies alludes to the idea that our private parts aren’t the most beautiful features of the human body! So when we ‘bump them together’, we’re bumping uglies!
This euphemism is dated back to the 1990s from a House of Pain song:
And let’s get down to do the nasty, freaky, funky, stinky, junky, let’s bump uglies in the night time between the sheets.
17. Churning Butter with your Tail
This colloquialism refers to the idea that churning butter requires a lot of repetitive stirring action. Similarly, sex will require a repetitive thrusting motion! So, to churn ‘with your tail’ gives us a very clear image in the mind of how sex occurs!
The Wynonie Harris song Keep on Churnin’ employed this euphemism with great effect:
Keep on churnin’ ’til the butter comes
Keep on churnin’ ’til the butter comes
Keep on pumpin’ make the butter flow
Wipe off the paddle and churn some more
You can use your imagination to interpret that!
18. Dancing in the Sheets
Once again we see the idea that sex can be analogized to a mix of dancing and bed. It’s very similar to the “horizontal tango” discussed earlier.
The first part of this euphemism is “dancing”. Two people dancing together will be embracing in a similar way as when two people are having sex. In fact, dancing is seen as a way of stimulating people’s arousal prior to sex.
‘In the sheets’ refers to the idea that sex usually occurs in bed. So, dancing in the sheets brings these two ideas together to create this euphemism.
19. Doing the Deed
While you can say ‘doing the deed’ to refer to many different things, we’ll often relate it directly to sex.
But more generally, doing the deed can refer to doing any ‘dirty’ or taboo task. You could do the deed when robbing a bank, for example, or maybe even doing a particularly gross plumbing job.
But, I would say that most of the time, doing the deed refers to sex. It’s the ultimate taboo deed that no one wants to talk about, but everyone wants to enjoy in the privacy of their closed-off relationships.
20. Knocking Boots
Before researching this one, I thought this euphemism had to do with the fact that sex will involve a lot of knocking and bumping. But, according to several sources, it relates to the Old West.
Cowboys used to put their boots under the bed each night. So, if there are boots under the bed during sex, the boots are going to knock as the bed rocks.
21. Peeling the Banana
There are quite a few sex euphemisms that involve a banana. For example, there’s also “throwing the banana in among the fruit salad”.
Overall, these euphemisms are because a banana looks a lot like … a particular organ! Peeling the banana implies a bit of touching and fondling and even some finesse required, whereas the ‘throwing’ of a banana into a fruit salad implies a little bit less delicacy involved in the interaction!
Sex metaphors, idioms, and euphemisms are all over the place in our language. Partially, this is because we want to find polite ways to discuss a relatively taboo topic. But, it may also be because sex is something that’s so central to the experience of being human.
Don’t forget, you can always come up with your own metaphor for sex! Something I feel that a lot of these sexual metaphors is missing is the idea of sexual intimacy. Terms like ‘doing the deed’ and ‘knocking boots’ lack any sense of romance. So, if you come up with your own metaphors, maybe you can come up with gentler, more loving ones!
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.