“What is in a Name?”: The Beauty of a Shared Erotic Language
Juliet wistfully proclaims to Romeo, “What is in a name? That which we call as rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. Her point that her lover is still her lover regardless of his name overlooks the fact that “Rocky and Juliet just doesn’t convey the same elegance and romance. (Although it does bring to mind a fascinating cultural mash up¦I digress.)
Our word choice can and does have an effect on how the sentiment we are sharing is received. It’s the difference between hearing: “Wow, you look beautiful today, and “Wow, you look bootylicious today. No judgment there. The words just convey different sentiments and maybe bootylicious is, in fact, exactly where you were headed with that compliment. Rock on.
One key factor we sometimes miss is the fact that the perception we have of words is different than the perception others may have of the same words. This is especially and specifically applicable to erotic language. This phenomenon that different erotic words strike a different chord in everyone most often leads us in two directions, either miscommunication or no communication. When it comes to communicating about our sexual needs and desires, these two paths lead us all to the same place: Dissatisfaction.
Whether it is subtle and chronic or grand and acute, communication about sex that misses the mark can often be due to the lack of a shared erotic language. Words that are loaded with sexiness for one person can be a complete turn off for another. With so many word choices for even the most basic sexual anatomy, from clinical to the basest slang, no wonder sexual communication is so fraught. It seems as though it would serve us well to consider what the definition of “is is.
One exercise I find that my clients have a lot of fun with that I share with you here is the exploration of finding a shared erotic language. Encouraged to toss out the window any preconceived notions or even prior knowledge about each other’s linguistic preferences, I invite them to leave no etymological stone unturned and discover together what words actually do hit the mutual mark.
No room for judgment in this exercise. The words that work for you together are the words you have every right to use, clinical or slang, serious or goofy, whispered or exclaimed. This shared language is yours! Explore anatomical words as well as phrases for practices and behaviors. If you find that staring into the face of your lover while exploring sends you into fits of giggles, sit back to back or, if I may suggest, turn the lights off. You won’t be the first to discover not only a creative shared erotic language, but also perhaps some new fun things to try while communicating with your broadened vocabulary.
One of the most beautiful incidental consequences of enhanced communication about our sexual lives is that communication about other facets of our partnerships tends to come a bit easier. After you tread through the sensitive and often repressed territory of erotic language, discussing paying the bills or other more mundane issues can feel simpler and less complicated. For some, the skill of finding a shared language can carry over into finding a shared solution. Whether it is just an entertaining bit of fun or a deeper skill-building exercise, enhanced communication leads us closer and closer to a place of satisfaction and fulfillment in our partnerships. Sweet, indeed.