Social Question

Nullo's avatar

Why are some people so hung up on sexually-themed insults? [Could get NSFW]?

Asked by Nullo (21826 points ) October 5th, 2012

You know the kinds that I mean, so I won’t be writing any.
What’s the point? Why not say something truly hurtful, if the goal is to harm? Or something actually funny, if the intent is to amuse?

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33 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

like what?

zenvelo's avatar

Well, I am reading your mind, because I am not exactly sure what you mean, but if you mean insults like “don’t be a dick wad” it’s because sexual imagery is pretty much a common denominator.

And sex is used by many less evolved people as a power issue, so making insults out of it adds to the power symbolism.

FutureMemory's avatar

He probably means things like “cock sucker” or “mother fucker”.

Nullo's avatar

@FutureMemory @zenvelo For example. And I recall people making much of John Boehner’s name, since they didn’t like him. I was disappointed. “An entire career to criticize,” I thought, “and all you lot can do is liken his name to man-parts.”

ninjacolin's avatar

Good suggestions guys, but I don’t think we’ll ever really know what he means until he uses one himself. What a mysterious question! :P

When good people I know use words like that.. I think it comes across as some kinda verbal slapstick. The content isn’t meant to be taken seriously at all. It’s the shock value alone that has value. The term “off the wall humor” seems appropriate.

I don’t know how you would see the art in it.. hmm.. Maybe try counting how many people are truly original in the words they string together. There’s some kind of skill going on with some people that can’t be denied or ignored. Like how could they come up with this stuff? Sometimes just clever rewordings of symbols we’ve all heard before. But the wordplay can be amazing.

I dunno, good comedy is good comedy. But yea, there’s a lot of bad comedians. Maybe that’s the real problem you’re experiencing?

FutureMemory's avatar

It’s a good question, really. It’s a strange phenomenon that sexual acts/body parts/bodily functions make up such a large variety of insults.

“You’re a fuckin’ pussy!” means someone is a complete coward…why?

“You’re a cunt!” is considered just about the worst insult you can hurl at a woman. Why?

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Well.

I would say that technically it isn’t cool to insult someone over something they cannot help.

But sex reassignment surgery has made great advances of late.

Did I just say But sex?

augustlan's avatar

What an interesting question. I don’t have an answer for it, but I do rather enjoy hearing them. My favorite (I’ve posted this many times, skip if you’ve read it):

You lascivious, dog-fucking whore.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In Russian, many of the common insults have to do with the anus and what comes out of it.

glacial's avatar

In Quebec French, the swear words are all about religion and the Catholic church (although in France, they are more about sex). It’s not a universal thing.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey, Is that 5/8 wave, 900 MHz, omni antenna in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I can hear the lone RF engineer here say: “Snap!”

For the other 99.999% of you, here’s a 900 MHz, omni antenna.

Blackberry's avatar

I guess insulting someone’s sexual prowess is an insult. Then there’s the whole sexism aspect where we use female terms as insults because women are supposed to be weak (according to the insult).

glacial's avatar

@Blackberry Yes, and further to that point, and @FutureMemory,‘s the word cunt is a different insult depending on the sex of the person being insulted. If it’s a woman, the implication is that she is little more than her sex organ (i.e., she’s a whore). If it’s a man, the implication is that he’s weak (i.e., he’s a pussy). Admittedly, it’s much more likely to be used in the latter sense in the UK than in the US.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If I understand the question correctly, I wonder the same thing. Here is what it seems to come down to:
* They are used to hearing this type of language and thus use it without any thought. It’s common language to them.
* They aren’t aware of the implication.
* They know it will create a verbal shock factor.

When a person tells me that I had balls to do or say something, I understand that this is meant as a compliment. As a female, it isn’t taken as an insult. Still, it would mean more if the person had just said something that wasn’t gender-related.

Whether any sexual term is used as a compliment or an insult, my first train of thought goes to what their upbringing might have been like. It could also boil down to peer pressure. All I can tell you is that a person who uses ‘sexually themed’ words goes down a notch in my respect meter. Sometimes I call them out on it; other times, I don’t. It depends upon how much I know and care about them.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t use, and generally dislike sexual insults because they tend to demean something I think is, when kept in the proper setting, beautiful and ethereal. And yes, that includes cunts, assholes, pricks and dick wads. To me, a better insult is to assert that someone is sexless. Bill Murry’s disdain for the dickless inspector in Ghost Busters was a perfect example. And that, I thought, was funny.

Kayak8's avatar

In large part, I think it is because we are quick to speak rather than taking the time to explore the delicious insults available with facile use of the language:

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
Groucho Marx

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
Mae West

“I don’t know what your problem is, but I bet it’s hard to pronounce”

Etc.

DominicX's avatar

They only work because of the taboo of sexuality; if sexuality weren’t taboo, I don’t think sexual insults would be as common. It draws on something that makes people uncomfortable and targets something that a person might also be insecure and/or ashamed about. They might not be directly targeting what you want to insult about a person, but the shock value is good enough for most people.

It’s cross-linguistic too; sexual insults are used in all kinds of languages. When Catullus wanted to insult his two friends for criticizing his poetry, he came out with “Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo”.

Pazza's avatar

I’m looking for Mike Hunt…..
Has anybody seem Mike Hunt?

Oh come on, don’t be such a ‘Donald-Duck’ just tell me!

this is silly, I’m not even a woman…..

Coloma's avatar

My favorite is ” I’m more woman than you can handle and more man than you’ll ever be.” lol
I do not like extremely nasty sexual insults, at all. If you’re going to hurl insults at someone make them based on truth, such as mine. lol

fremen_warrior's avatar

Why do people do anything? Because. Additionally nobody is really “grown up” people just age.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Most non-engineer types have a banana in their pockets.

Sunny2's avatar

@Nullo Just a comment; not an explanation. The people you speak of making fun of John Boehner’s name are ignorant. Boehner is pronounced Bayner and I’ve never heard it pronounced with a long o on any news program. I had to think what on earth you were talking about.

ucme's avatar

Because shoulder hugger or elbow head don’t really work that well, scratch that….elbow head sounds quite good as petty insults go.

Paradox25's avatar

With the way everything is ‘oversexified’, the ease at which sex is thrown around, disregard for other’s feelings in relationships/marriages, and the me me me attitude concerning sex/dating/relationships a stigma has become attached to almost anything considered sexual. Looking at all of this it is no wonder why sexually themed insults are so prevalent.

wundayatta's avatar

Does anyone think it’s a class thing? Not class as in economic class, but class as in how classy someone is.

I also think there is an issue of intellect involved. I think more creative people are less likely to use sexual swearing as much. Of course, I mean creative in the sense of imaginative and the ability to put out new ideas. If you can be new and fresh, you don’t need to fall back on the cliches, like sexually oriented swearing.

AshlynM's avatar

Maybe by calling someone a female body part, they think they’re being even more insulting rather than calling someone stupid or idiot and they might think they’re driving their point home.

Coloma's avatar

I have always been fond of “weenie.” If I were a guy I think “weenie” would be more offensive to me than “dick.” After all, “weenie” insinuates a stupid little dick. lol

ETpro's avatar

@Coloma They do have foot-longs. And there’s the fact that most everyone is willing to eat a weenie.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ LOL Ya got me there.

FutureMemory's avatar

I have always been fond of “weenie.”

My kind of gal!

livelaughlove21's avatar

@futurememory Your response made me think of this… http://youtu.be/DcM0DPH2bNo

:)

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Cunt.

The word trumps all and is gender ambiguous.

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