Grind My What?! – Historical Euphemisms For Sex That Will Leave You Baffled



You may be surprised to find out that many of our most popular sexual euphemisms, including “humping,” “shagging,” “getting frisky,” and even good old “f*ck,” aren’t modern inventions; they’ve been part of the English language for centuries. While it may go against what you’ve learned about history in school, people have always loved to use ridiculous euphemisms to describe filthy things (the F word is actually one of the oldest sexual euphemisms in the English language, first recorded in 1508).

Why? Well, our embrace of saucy slang was partially designed to get around societal restrictions on dirty talk in the past; but sex euphemisms have also always been popular because, well, using slang is fun. Which is why, in addition to terms that we still use today, the English language is also littered with hilarious, ridiculous, and outdated phrases used to describe sex — old-fashioned expressions, which make no sense to our modern ears.

Make The Beast With Two Backs – Time Period: 1500s to 1600s

Of all the past euphemisms for sex, this is one you’re most likely to know — mainly because Iago uses it in Othello. And, of course, it’s a pretty visual image.

Give Someone A Green Gown – Time Period: 1300s

Oddly innocent-sounding, this term specifically means having sex in the grass or on a hillside.

Shaking Of The Sheets – Time Period: 1500s to 1600s

This is actually a reference to a medieval kind of dance, though if you wanted to be really wink-wink, nudge-nudge about it, you’d add “without music” to the end of the phrase.

Play Nug-A-Nug – Time Period: 1500 to 1510

The actual meaning of the word nug has been lost to history, but a lot of English slang uses “playing something or other” as a euphemism for sex. Which is charming, because it at least implies that everybody’s having fun.

Have Your Corn Ground – Time Period: 1800 to 1810

This term — meant to represent a lady’s sexual perspective — references the method where corn is ground by pounding it repeatedly with a stone. Sounds less than satisfying, but hey, what do I know?

Fadoodling – Time Period: 1611

Well isn’t this just fabulously delightful? James VI was the King of England, and fashion was questionable to say the least. It goes to follow the language would be just as gushy.

Play Itch-Buttocks – Time Period: Late 1700s

No, this isn’t actually a reference to STDs — it’s just another reference to playing a game of the era. Trying to itch each other’s buttocks doesn’t sound particularly sexually alluring, though.

Make Butter with One’s Tail – Time Period: 1590s

To make or churn butter involves a lot of vigorous, circular movements. And if you’re moving your buttocks (or tail) in circles, it probably means you’re having a good time in bed.

Pierce The Hogshead – Time Period: Early 1600s

A hogshead wasn’t actually a pig’s head, but a measure of wine or liquor — quite a huge amount, actually. You broke into it by piercing the side with a knife to drink from it. Hello, phallic symbolism!

Take A Turn At Bushy Park – Time Period: 1800s

Not the reference to hairy nether regions that you might expect. Bushy Park is a real park in London, and this euphemism probably sprang up amongst the men who went there to solicit prostitutes or have illicit liaisons.

Make Whoopee – Time Period: 1920s

This charming term from the ’20s is now a famous jazz standard sung by the likes of Ray Charles — but there’s no question that this phrase means getting dirty, not just having fun.

Horizontal Refreshment – Time Period: 1860s

This gives the pleasing impression of breaking for a mid-coital ice cream. And is about the only one of these terms you could use to propose sex to a person in this day and age without getting punched in the face.

These days, since speaking frankly is the norm and making up elaborate euphemisms for sexy time is mostly left to either the deeply religious or college lads looking for a laugh. So if you were thinking of using any of the above old-timey sex euphemisms in your next dirty talk session, beware — while we might find these no longer used terms funny or charming out of context, using them while you’re actually getting down might send the wrong idea, and leave you with one very puzzled (and possibly giggly) partner on your hands.


So guys, which of those do you think was the weirdest? What other whacky terms for getting down and dirty have you heard? Share with us in the comments.