Thursday, August 1, 2013

Al Vernacchio - Our Metaphors Shape Our Sexual Experiences (Video) - Baseball vs. Pizza

From the Good Men Project, this is a TED Talk I had missed, but is worth the 20 minutes or so to watch or listen. Al Vernacchio looks at how the language we use to talk about sex - our metaphors - shape our experience of sex. Language has power.

[Note: I edited this a little bit for clarity - there were typos and such that made it a rough read.]

How Our Metaphors For Sex Shape Our Sexual Experiences (Video)


How the baseball metaphor for sex is toxic to our understanding of sexuality and why pizza might be a better metaphor.

“I only got to second base,” is a common lament from young men but they aren’t always referring to America’s past time, baseball, often they are referring to a sexual experience. Yes, baseball has become the dominate American metaphor to talk about sex but this metaphor, as Al Vernacchio points out, is toxic to our understanding of sexuality. Its competitive, there are winners and losers, two “teams” (genders) pitted against each other. There are set times when its expected—you can’t tell the coach you just don’t feel like playing today. There are set roles—you're a catcher, not a pitcher—which means there is little discussion.

Vernacchio suggests we change our metaphor to pizza. Wanting pizza is an urge for which there is no set time, no season. Ordering pizza with another requires communication. Even if you’ve been ordering pizza with that person for a long time you ask, “do we want the usual.” Finally, pizza is a common experience, where everyone gains some pleasure, and if someone didn’t like the pizza, you take that into consideration the next time you order out.

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