A quickie introduction to dirty talk in literature and film

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Doing it. Bumping uglies. Chesterfield rugby (look it up).

The English language has hundreds of terms for sex, some of which have been around for centuries. Many of these terms are euphemisms — seemingly innocuous words or phrases that stand in for something more offensive or taboo. Other terms for sex are, well, a bit crude — “fuck” doesn’t really qualify as a euphemism.

There are even more ways to talk about sex than ways to have sex. Here’s a quick and dirty linguistic breakdown of a few creative sexual euphemisms from literature and film:

Sample some chili

This seems to be a tasty euphemism for oral sex. It appears in the 1958 movie “Touch of Evil” when Orson Welles’ police captain character says to Marlene Dietrich: “When this case is over, I’ll come around some night and sample some of your chili.” To which she responds: “Better be careful — it may be too hot for you.”

Sure, they could just be talking about food. But the proposed nighttime setting for this chili-eating points to something a bit naughtier. Additionally, “sample” is suggestive; Welles is being a tease — he just wants a little taste. But, as indicated by Dietrich’s reply, maybe even a taste would be too much for him to handle — Dietrich’s chili might be too spicy.

That’s some fiery innuendo.


Here’s an equestrian euphemism that throws it all the way back to François Rabelais’ 16th-century pentalogy of novels “Gargantua and Pantagruel.” Nowadays, a croupier is a type of employee at a casino, but the word has a slightly convoluted French origin; “croup” means the hindquarters of an animal, and “croupier” refers to someone riding behind the croup, i.e. the posterior area. In the saucy context of “Gargantua and Pantagruel,” sercroupierizing means a different type of riding from behind. You get the picture.

Horizontal mambo

The mambo is already a fun, lively type of Cuban music with an accompanying dance. You can make the mambo sound even more sensual by using this easy formula for creating a sexual euphemism: Start with the adjective “horizontal.” Add a noun of your choice (hula, refreshments, jogging or, in this case, mambo). That’s all there is to it.

“Horizontal mambo” appears in a scene from “Mrs. Doubtfire” in which Robin Williams as the titular character cheerily lets loose a string of filth. Watch the whole scene to hear someone dressed as a kind old British woman talk about “cunning linguistics” and “Rumpleforeskin,” making Pierce Brosnan’s character visibly uncomfortable — as he should be.

Groping for trout in a peculiar river

This Shakespearean euphemism is from the comedic play “Measure for Measure.” In context, “groping” sounds like it might refer to clumsy intercourse, ill-advised infidelity or fingering. “Peculiar” is often used in modern times to mean “strange,” but some older definitions are “unlike other; special; remarkable; distinct” and “of property, possessions, etc.: that belongs or relates to one person, place, or group, as distinct from others; that is a person’s private property.” This is a unique, private “river” — meaning vagina.

Initially, the word “groping” made me think this wasn’t just another euphemism for cis heterosexual intercourse — there are already so many of those. But alas, an antiquated definition of “trout” is “to curdle, coagulate,” so it seems like “trout” may refer to semen.

Put my bike in your trunk

And now, we transition from the Bard of Avon to Judd Apatow: When the hapless Andy from “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” gets drunk and tries to sound cool, this is what he comes up with. The phrase is a bit of a non sequitur; the character Beth has just offered to take Andy home with her, but she hasn’t mentioned either a car or driving — if she had, then this could have been kind of a clever quip. But in context, it’s an absurd pickup line and good comedy writing. The sentence’s structure — put my (noun) in your (noun) — makes it clear enough what he’s talking about, and we pity the protagonist for saying something so goofy.

Whether you like love-making, nailing or bedroom rodeo, there are plenty of sexual terms in film, literature and beyond to suit both your sexual style and your sense of humor — because there are few activities as giggle-inducing as talking about sex.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Bears. Go engage in some fun, consensual hanky-panky.

Nick Furgatch is the night editor. Contact him at [email protected] .