Baseball metaphors for sex
The game of baseball is often used as a euphemistic metaphor for physical intimacy in the United States and other places the game is played, especially to describe the level of sexual intimacy achieved in intimate encounters or relationships.
In the baseball metaphor, sexual activities are described as if they are moves in a game of baseball. In the United States from the end of World War II through to today, adolescent boys would sometimes use this competitive analogy to describe, usually to boast about, their successes in "making it" with girls..
Although details vary, the most broadly accepted description of what each base represented is as follows:
- First base is commonly understood to be French kissing, but can also mean any mouth-to-mouth kissing, or to an established romantic relationship in general.
- Second base usually refers to fondling or groping, especially of the breasts, and possibly stimulation of the genitals from outside of the clothing.
- Third base means fingering, a handjob or oral sex.
- Scoring a Run (or "scoring", "going all the way", "coming home", etc.) is sexual intercourse.
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This sequence of "running the bases" is often regarded as a script, or pattern, for young people who are experimenting with sexual relationships. The script has changed slightly since the 1960s. Kohl and Francoeur note that with the growing emphasis in the 1990s on safe sex and efforts by the feminist movement to expand sex beyond phallo-vaginal intercourse, the "home run" has taken on the additional dimension of oral-genital sexual intercourse. Richters and Rissel similarly point out that "third base" has since become seen, by some people, to comprise oral sex as part of the accepted pattern of activities, as a pre-cursor to "full" (i.e. phallo-vaginal) sex.
Mullaney reports the idea that the introduction of oral sex is in fact a "new teen model", that is replacing the "traditional base system", in part as an "unintended offspring of 'abstinence-only' education". In this new model, sex acts, including many that were not included as part of the traditional "base" system, are classified in a wholly different way. The acts that count as "sex" (i.e. what would in the traditional system have constituted a "home run") are distinguished from those that do not count as "sex" according to whether it is possible to become pregnant, or lose one's virginity, from them. Thus oral sex, anal sex, and "a variety of other acts" are reclassified in the new model as "not a big deal" and "part of the realm of abstinence". Mullaney states that "obviously, not all teens subscribe to this revised model of classification".
Other parts of the baseball metaphor include "striking out" (sexual frustration), "pitcher" (for the penetrating partner) and "catcher" (for the receiving partner) in male homosexual intercourse, "charging the mound" or "stealing home" (rape, esp. date rape), and more obscure allusions such as a "catcher's mitt" for a contraceptive sponge, "inside the park home run" (anal sex or having sex with a person inside of the establishment in which the couple met; e.g., frat house, bar bathroom), "hard slide into second" (for having penile intercourse between the breasts), and a balk refers to premature ejaculation. A "dropped third strike" may refer to intercourse that is interrupted or halted.
Educators have found the baseball metaphor an effective instructional tool when providing sex education to middle school students. Levin and Bell, in their book ''A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About Sex'', make use of it to aid parents in the discussion of puberty with their children, dividing the topics into "first base" ("Changes from the neck up"), "second base" ("Changes from the neck to the waist"), "third base" ("Changes from the waist down"), and "home plate" ("The Big 'It'").
In popular culture
- In Rush Hour 3 James Carter (played by Chris Tucker) becomes intimate with Genviève (Noémie Lenoir) before discovering she is Shy Shen, afterwards at George's house when she removes the wig - Carter exclaims: "Holy Mother of Jesus! She's a man! I went to second base with a damn Frenchman!
- David Letterman once had a Top Ten List of "baseball euphemisms for sex."
- Woody Allen, in his 1972 feature film Play It Again, Sam, has just awakened in bed with Diane Keaton, and the following dialog ensues:
- :She: What were you thinking about while we were doing it?
- :He: Willie Mays.
- :She: I wondered why you kept yelling, "Slide!"
- This was a follow-up to an early standup bit in which Allen talked about the later stages of a date, who turned out to be his second wife:
- :"That was two o'clock in the morning, and I get my date back to her apartment, and the two of us are alone, and we're going pretty good. I have to explain this very delicately, 'cause it's really tentative. As I... as I am an inordinately...passionate...man. Volatile. Sensual. In general, a stud. When making love...when making love...in an effort...to prolong...the moment of ecstasy...I think of baseball players. All right, now you know. The two of us are making love violently, she's digging it, I figure I better start thinking of ballplayers quickly. So I figure it's one out, the ninth, the Giants are up. Mays lines a single to right, he takes second on a wild pitch. Now she is digging her nails into my neck. I decided to pinch-hit for McCovey. Alou pops out. Haller singles, Mays holds third. Now I got a first-and-third situation. Two out, the Giants are behind one run. I don't know whether to squeeze or steal. She's been in the shower for ten minutes, already. This is too...I can't tell you anymore, this is too personal. The Giants won."
- The metaphor was highlighted again by Meat Loaf's song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" on the 1977 album Bat out of Hell.
- :...He continues to push the matter, and makes some progress, mirrored by New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto broadcasting a portion of a baseball game that serves as a metaphor at his attempts.: "Things are looking up, and it appears the boy is going to 'score': "Here he comes, squeeze play/ It's gonna be close/ Here's the throw, here's the play at the plate/ Holy cow, I think he's gonna make it...!" when suddenly Ellen Foley bursts to life telling him to "Stop right there!"
- In the 1999 movie American Pie, third base was described as feeling like a warm apple pie, referring to digital penetration. A character in the movie has sex with a freshly made apple pie to test this theory.
- In an episode of "Drawn Together", Spanky Ham claims to have let Captain Hero get to a fictitious "seventh base" with him, presumably referring to his stoma.
- In the sitcom That '70s Show, the teenagers, mainly Fez, refer to their sexual endeavors with baseball metaphors. In particular, after Big Rhonda dumps Fez, he later laments, "No more baseball for Fez. Now it's back to handball."
- On the show "The Office (U.S. TV series)", Kelly Kapoor asks Jan Levinson what it means when Michael Scott, the boss, is said to have rounded second base with Jan.
- On the show "Robot Chicken," during a Harry Potter parody, Draco Malfoy has rigged the Sorting Hat to say how sexually experienced the wearer is. For Harry the hat spouts "VIRGIN!" and when put on Hermione Granger the hat shouts "SECOND BASE!" to the shock of everyone in the Great Hall.
- In "The Simpsons Movie", When Homer dares Bart to skateboard naked from 742 Evergreen Terrace to Krusty Burger and back, Bart replies "How naked?" Homer then replies "Fourth Base".
- In the 1988 version of Hairspray, while outside Motormouth Maybelle's All Soul Review, Penny urges Seaweed to "Go to second, go to second!"
- In an episode of "Scrubs", Kim says to JD "At least I got to third base with you" referring to her having to treat JD's genital area after bareback horseriding.
- In Blades of Glory (film), Chazz (Will Ferrill) yells to Jimmy (Jon Heder) as well as a full skating arena, "I didn't have sex with Katie! We didn't even make it to second base!"
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